When I first heard of microblading – I’ll fully admit, I cringed at the thought of a tattoo on my face. I mean what if something goes wrong? What if they get messed up? What if I end up looking like Post Malone?!
I’d been thinking about microblading for a really long time. My brows had gotten to the point where they weren’t really growing and had become patchy, and I hated how they looked without makeup. The tails were so short and sparse that every day I had to draw them on. Some days they looked great, and other days no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get them to look even. It was also very embarrassing when I got sweaty or my face got wet and I accidentally wiped one of them completely off (ok it may not have been THAT bad, but I was very self-conscious about it!).
With my 30th birthday looming, I decided that I was going all in... I was going to get a tattoo on my face. But I wasn’t just going to go to anyone. I started doing a lot of research, and I can’t tell you how many late-night worm-holes I went down while watching Instagram videos about microblading. As always, there are horror stories to be found with any beauty trend, but if you spend a little time researching to find the right person, it can be life changing!
Luckily, during one of my late-night spirals, I came across Spot On Beauty Kara Gutierrez’s Instagram account. I was amazed. In so many of her photos I couldn’t tell that the brows were fake! Also, Kara is licensed (not just certified- big difference here!) and insured- which is a HUGE deal for me because there are SO many artists that aren’t. She was willing to go through the hell of putting in hundreds of hours and hard work at a tattoo shop learning the craft to give her clients the best results. She's located in Lee's Summit, and doesn’t just do brows! She also does eyeliner, lips, and even areola tattoos.
I want to say it took me about 5-ish months of back & forth to finally pull the trigger and set up an appointment. I was extremely nervous the whole day leading up to it, but when I arrived, Kara immediately put me at ease.
The appointment started with filling out some paperwork, and then Kara went into explaining the process I was about to go through. Instead of using a microblading pen, Kara uses a tattoo machine. She says this is because the machine works well for all skin types, causes less damage to the skin, and gives the most natural looking healed results. When it comes to color, she uses Li Permanent Makeup Tattoo Pigment and Eternal Ink Tattoo Ink. She makes the decision on what type if ink to use based on what the clients desired finished result is, as well as their skin type, age, & lifestyle.
When she asked what my goals were for my brows, I told her I wanted a nice full look but I didn’t want them to look like they were painted on. I also have very oily skin on my forehead; so that combined with the look I desired, Kara thought that a powdered brow as opposed to the individual hair-strokes would give me the best healed results. Kara said that knowing a person’s skin is just as important as knowing the proper tattoo technique, which is something I didn’t realize made any difference! Since my brows were so sparse, doing the powdered technique would give them that full effect that I really wanted.
We took some before photos, and it was time to say goodbye to my old brows forever. Now that it was time to get started I was nervous again, so she handed me two little stress balls in the shape of boobs which made me laugh and relax a little bit. She laid me back in the chair and set up her equipment, all of which was sterile (think dentist or surgical setup with new, prepackaged instruments), which I very much appreciated.
She then got to work on mapping out my new brows. She was very particular about this process, and all of her lines and measurements were precise (thank goodness!). She explained that the ‘map’ is different on each person, and is all about creating the best shape for each face – a totally personalized approach for each client. For my face, she noted that the tails of my natural brow were too low, giving my eyes a slightly droopy effect when they really weren’t. To correct this, she was going to raise the tails a bit and give my eye area a nice little lift.
Once the mapping was complete, she then filled in the new shape she created with a dark pencil and had me sit up. She had me make all kinds of different facial expressions while she intently studied my brows, making a few tweaks here and there. I then looked in the mirror to give my approval and make any adjustment requests.
Now it was time to bring out the gun.
Let me start off by saying that I have zero tattoos, so I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I knew it would hurt, but I was slightly surprised at how much. It wasn’t unbearable by any means (I’ve had a baby, and laser hair removal... so…) but it was uncomfortable, and due to the area being tatted my eyes were instant waterfalls. Kara moved quickly though (another perk for the tattoo machine!) and once she got the edges done she applied some topical numbing cream which really helped take the edge off. She had me sit up again and move my face around to ensure that the shape was just right, and made a few minor tweaks before announcing that we were finished!
The actual tattooing process took about an hour, but felt like it went by much quicker due to the easy conversation Kara kept. She really made the process of tattooing your face a breeze!
Now came the important part- the after care. Kara went into great depth about what I needed to do to take care of my brows once I left her studio because it made a big difference on what the healed results would be. You should basically treat it like an open wound, and avoid things like makeup and harsh skincare products.
She also said that the aftercare process can be slightly different for each person due to their skin type, lifestyle, and climate they live in. Here in the Midwest, she sends you home with a little pot of After Inked, which is a non-petroleum jelly, to apply twice a day for at least the first week. If we lived in a dryer climate, she would use something like Aquaphor that is a petroleum jelly. The goal is to have as little scabbing as possible so that there is minimal pigment loss.
After at least 6-8 weeks, you come in for a touch-up appointment to make any adjustments or fill in spots that didn’t take the color as well. Throughout the years, you may have to go in to get tweaks here & there depending on how your skin ages, and because of this how long your brows last will vary from person to person.
See below for some photos and a breakdown of what my healing process was like!
Immediately after my first session, my brows were super dark and slightly swollen. THIS IS NORMAL! Kara reminds you numerous times throughout your session that for a few days after they are going to be much darker than the healed result, so don’t freak out when you leave the studio!
The morning after my session, I woke up with a pretty bad headache and my eyebrows felt super sore. Making extreme facial expressions hurt, which for some reason was slightly comical to me. I never realized how much I moved my face! This soreness lasted a few days, but was less & less with each day that passed.
My brows started to flake about 3 days post-session, and continued to flake for roughly a week. DO NOT PICK at the flakes, no matter how bad you want to! I’m a picker and they were kind of itchy, so it took all of my willpower not to touch them during this stage.
After the flaking and about a week post-session an odd thing happens where parts of the pigment looks like it fades away, then at about day 14 it randomly comes back... weird, but don’t freak out if this happens because it does come back!
About 3-4 full weeks after my first session, my brows looked great. They were nice & full but didn’t look over-done, and I found myself going out of the house without makeup more often than I used to. Not ever worrying about accidentally rubbing one of them off or smudging them without realizing it was such a relief! It also cut a lot more time out of my daily morning routine than I realized, which was an added bonus!
I went back in for my second session 6 weeks later, and I decided that I wanted to go just slightly longer and thicker. Kara did some more mapping to ensure that they were even, and made the adjustments. It hurt again of course, but this time it was expected so it wasn’t a surprise. Post-session I didn’t have the headache, and there was only some slight tenderness. The flaky-ness the second time around was worse for some reason, but I don’t feel that I lost any of the pigment.
Now, just over 3 months since my last session, I am absolutely loving my brows. For the first time ever, I am getting compliments on them from strangers, and I’ve had so many makeup artists not even realize they were microbladed until they wiped their finger over them and didn’t have a smudge.
Having my brows done was the best beauty decision I’ve ever made, but I can’t stress enough how thought out of a decision it was. Remember, microblading is a form of tattooing, which means you can’t change it immediately. This is not a service where you cut corners and go with the cheapest artist you can find. A bad service will end up costing much more time and money in the long run, and no one wants to be out & about with botched brows!
Be sure to follow Kara on Facebook and Instagram to see her amazing work. If you’re thinking about getting some permanent makeup or would like to get new areolas after breast reconstruction - she’s your girl!