Eyebrow Microblading: How It Works and Before & After

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How to cite: Wong M. Eyebrow Microblading: How It Works and Before & After. Lab Muffin Beauty Science. September 25, 2017. Accessed June 12, 2024. https://labmuffin.com/eyebrow-microblading-review/

I recently got my eyebrows microbladed, after years of trying to draw them on consistently. You might have noticed them in my YouTube videos and selfies – I’ve gotten so many unsolicited compliments on them!

Brows are probably the thing I find the most annoying in my make-up routine, and I’m not alone. Even drag queens who do their own makeup for a living find them annoying! Like most people, I’d heard of permanent makeup before, but knew of it as faded green-blue eyebrows on middle aged women.

Enter microblading. Microblading, also known as feathering or eyebrow embroidery, is a newly popular technique that gives you semi-permanent, natural-looking results. I went to Sydney Cosmetic Clinic to have mine done by Leona Gallagher, an eyebrow expert who flies down from Brisbane once a month to work her eyebrow magic (her home base is Simply Laser in Brisbane). Here’s my review!

What is microblading?

Microblading has been around for a long time, but it’s only become all the rage recently. In microblading, pigment is implanted into the upper dermis of your brow skin in individual hair strokes, using a manually operated blade.

It’s more shallow than a regular cosmetic tattoo which results in more natural colours. It’s also safer, but less permanent (the pigments used are more easily broken down by your body than regular tattoo ink).

The results last for up to two years, depending on the individual and their skincare routine – tanning and intense exfoliation will cause faster fading.

My microblading experience

Microblading is generally done over two sessions. In the first session most of the strokes are done, then the second session (for touchups) takes place around 30 days later, when the results from the first session has settled into the final look.

All up, the whole shebang took about two hours. At the first session, after signing some forms, Leona chatted to me about my skin type, skin tone, what my brow goals were and told me what to expect from the procedure. She then designed my brows for me based on what I requested, and what she thought would work best for my face:

Eyebrow Microblading Review + Before & After


After I was happy with how it looked, Leona put an anaesthetic numbing cream on my brows and we waited 20 minutes for it to set in. During this time, Leona mixed up the pigment that would be implanted, taking into account the fact that the skin on top would change the final colour.

Leona’s microblading technique involves making lots of tiny cuts with a blade containing a row of needles (if done correctly, the cuts shouldn’t leave any scars). Here’s the blade, which looks a bit like a tiny musical instrument carved into the end of a scalpel:

Eyebrow Microblading Review + Before & After

And here’s how the microblading looked (yes, that’s me taking the video on selfie mode!):

After doing the strokes, Leona covered the area with dye. At the end, she wiped off the dye, gave me aftercare instructions and I was done. (There’s a full video of Leona microblading someone else’s brows here.)

How much does microblading hurt?

Pain level was my number 1 question, and apparently everyone else’s too! So: does microblading hurt?

The answer is: it depends. Different microbladers use different techniques – some don’t use anaesthetic numbing creams at all since they believe it hardens the skin underneath and affect results.

I’m incredibly glad Leona is one of the practitioners who uses anaesthetic. It worked very very well and I felt almost zero pain during the microblading procedure! There was a little discomfort when the cream was fading, but Leona quickly applied more and it was fine again. As you can tell, I’m chill enough to videotape the procedure. At worst, it felt like someone was drawing on my skin with a ballpoint pen.

The worst thing about the actual procedure was the sound of the blade cutting through my skin, which sounded a bit like a box cutter going through cardboard. I couldn’t help cringing for the first few minutes but I eventually got used to it. I’d recommend taking some earbuds and loud music if you’re easily squicked out.

The second worst thing was that there was a short period of pain about an hour after the microblading when the anaesthetic wore off . This felt like a less intense version of the throbbing feeling of shampoo in a paper cut, but it lasted a longer time. It was bearable, but distracting. It faded 15 minutes after I took a couple of paracetamol tablets.

After that, there was pretty much zero pain, except for a tiny bit of discomfort when I put antiseptic cream on my brows that evening.

Overall, the pain was far less than I expected, and I’m someone who can’t handle laser facial rejuvenation. Unless you have zero pain tolerance, you should be fine with anaesthetic cream!

Microblading Aftercare and Healing Process

The microbladed area is a healing wound, so aftercare is critical. Leona sent me away with antiseptic cream and strict instructions to not let my brows get wet for the first 10 days. This included avoiding cleanser, shampoo, makeup, sweat and water. The only things that were OK on the eyebrows were antiseptic cream and coconut oil. This led to me using a lot of facial cleansing wipes, micellar water and washing my hair with coconut oil-slathered brows and a paper tape “roof” over my brows like this:

Eyebrow Microblading Review + Before & After


(Don’t worry, the super thick layer of coconut oil stopped the tape from sticking down on the brows!)

I also had to avoid heavy exercise, sun exposure and exfoliation in the first 10 days. Leona also warned me not to scratch my brows later when it would get itchy, as picking at the scabs can cause the strokes to wear off, or even cause scarring.

Here’s what my healing process was like. Keep in mind that different people heal at different rates depending on health, age, etc., although good aftercare will make you heal better. Luckily my brows didn’t look overly unnatural at any point during the healing process!

  • Immediately after the treatment: There was a little swelling and redness around the site, but it was pretty unnoticeable, even in the most severe throbbing stage.
  • For the first few days: My brows looked quite dark and a bit redder than usual. The little blood spots weren’t noticeable according to people I asked, even though they look pretty bright in these photos!
  • Day 4 onwards: The area got unbelievably itchy as the scabbed areas healed, but I resisted the urge to scratch and instead pressed the itchy bits firmly.
  • Day 7: The scabs started flaking off, and my brows started looking less dark as the superficial pigment came off.
  • Day 10: Healed, but quite light. Water is OK again!

The strokes darken again over the next 20 days as the skin finishes healing during the stage that tattooists call “milk skin”. You have to be patient when you’re healing, as the final look won’t develop until 30 days after the procedure, so make sure you wait a full month before you start panicking about your choices in life.


Eyebrow Microblading Review + Before & After

Here’s how it looked on Day 5 – a bit darker than normal, but not abnormal looking to a stranger:

Eyebrow Microblading Review + Before & After


If you’re curious what the scabs look like, here’s a photo of a big flake that fell onto my laptop out of the blue

Eyebrow Microblading Review + Before & After


Microblading Before and After

Now that my brows are set, I’m absolutely loving them! Microblading has saved me so much time and angst in the mornings, and it’s much easier to maintain my brows now that I have a template etched into my skin. Leona is also incredibly experienced with brows, so the shape is fantastic at framing my face. These photos are with no brow products.

Eyebrow Microblading Review + Before & After

Eyebrow Microblading Review + Before & After

Update (14 November 2023): I’ve gotten my brows microbladed again 3 times (every 2 years) since the first round – clearly it’s been working really well for me! I’ve been going to Nikki at Mii Beauty.

Here’s how my latest microblading looks on Day 10 (after lunch with Dr Mara of Dermomtology):

microblading day 10

What to Look for When Picking a Microblader

The results you get from permanent cosmetics are very dependent on the skill of the practitioner.

Much like tattooing, there’s an art to microblading brows. The brows need to be customised to suit your face – the right brows can balance out your features, while the wrong brows will just look… wrong.

There are also a lot of things that need to be taken into account when implanting the pigment. The type of needles and the size of needles need to be taken into account your skin. The colour of the pigment needs to be considered with your skin tone to work out how the final colour will look. The pigment also needs to be implanted at different depths depending on the part of the brow.

Leona’s advice for picking a microblader is to look at clear photos of their past work. Most microbladers will have a website or Instagram gallery with the results (here’s Leona’s before and after gallery). Look for testimonials as well.

What you’re looking for:

  • What their work looks like, including their healed work (ideally 1 and 6 months later)
  • The colour along the brow: Are the colours natural? Is it ashy at the ends? (This can happen if the pigment isn’t implanted at the right depth.)
  • Does the tattooist design the brows to suit the person’s individual features, or do they use a generic brow? If they design the brows, do they look good?
  • Do the hair strokes look natural all along the brow? Different people have different brow hair patterns (ethnicity also makes a difference), so the same hair strokes won’t be the same for everyone.
  • How experienced is the microblader, both at microblading and at brows in general?
  • If you can, ask for a consultation first so you can see what the clinic looks like, and see if you can do an allergy check. Infections are bad in general, and more importantly can ruin the results. You don’t want an infection somewhere as visible as your brows! (Click this example only if you have a strong stomach.)

Leona also does HD brows, where your brows are drawn, dyed, tweezed and threaded for results that last about a month. I actually had a HD brow appointment with her earlier, so I was pretty confident that she knew what she was doing! I would recommend asking your microblader if they’ll do your brows first (either before the microblading or as a separate appointment) so you can test out the shape before it’s etched into your skin. While you’ll get to approve the brow shape before they tattoo it in, it can be difficult to picture the final look when it’s just a dark outline.

Eyebrow Microblading Review + Before & After

I would highly recommend Leona! My microblading experience was better than I ever expected, and I’m completely in love with my brows. If you’re in Sydney, she’s at Sydney Cosmetic Clinic once a month (you can contact them on 1300 736 353 for more details and for bookings). She’s also in Brisbane at Simply Laser.

Eyebrow Microblading Review + Before & After

This service was provided in exchange for an unbiased review. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.

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35 thoughts on “Eyebrow Microblading: How It Works and Before & After”

  1. If you hadn´t included the before pictures I would have guessed you had nothing done. It really looks natural and suits your face very well. For me my brows are not my area of concern, they ony have a few sparse areas so I wouldn´t personally do it, but it seems to be great for someone struggling in that departement.

    • Thanks! I’m super happy with how natural it looks, I was a bit worried because I’m not a huge fan of the heavy eyebrow trend on me (I have resting bitch face so I look really angry) and this is perfect!

  2. Your brows look great! Research is definitely key when it comes to choosing someone to do it for you. I’ve noticed a huge upsurge in really badly-done microbladed brows recently, since the procedure has become so popular. Just because someone has the technical know-how doesn’t mean they have the artistic skill to execute natural, realistic-looking brows. Yours are excellent, they look totally real.

    I have regular tattoos and the itchy healing part is the worst for me. I can deal with the pain but the itchiness and my overwhelming desire to pick the scabs? So hard. I don’t know if I could handle that on my face, haha!

    • I totally agree with your thoughts on research! It’s just like picking a tattoo artist.

      I can’t wait to get a tattoo! I’ve been wanting one for so long, I feel like microblading is my first taste of it…

  3. This looks fantastic! I’ve seen some BAD (too dark, too dense, super obvious) microbladed brows, but yours are excellent! I reaaaally want to get this done, but I don’t think there’s anyone around my small town who can do it [well]. I hope you’ll update on how they’re wearing/fading over the coming months!

    Just out of idle curiosity, did you go in for a consult with your brows done how you normally do them yourself, or provide her with photos? It’d be interesting to know whether she recommended a look/style/size/etc that was significantly different from your usual.

    • Yes I did go in with my brows done, but my “normal” brows are way way worse than this! Leona’s design is far superior haha.

  4. I think the colors they use on Asians in Australia are really dark. Another friend of mine had her brows done in Australia too, and they are super opaque. I had mine done in Taiwan, and the beautician lean towards lighter grey, taupe shades. I guess it’s just cultural differences.

    • I think so too! I do really like this shade on me though – I think if it was any lighter I’d feel like I’d have to fill them in every day.

  5. I would never EVER do this!!! NEVER What is that going to look like when youre over forty LOL EYEBROWS GO GRAY HONEY!! Good luck you dumb vain twat

      • Wow, what a rude comment! Well done for such a restrained reply! Also, I’m 42, my hair is mostly grey, my eyebrows only have an occasional white hair.. I think eyebrows (like beards!) often stay your original colour for longer.

    • It is extremely rude. I’m appalled. Though while we are on this post, as another DVT, I highly recommend inner liner tattoo!! My best money spent on beauty treatment ever!

    • WOW Mick is a dick for posting that stupid ass comment!! Your eyebrows look beautiful !! Pay no attention to dumbass people like Mick!!

  6. I am Mircroblading expert from SIX+AIT Microblading Studio NYC….and I must say that your brows look so beautiful after the microblading. Good luck!

  7. I love your brows 🙂 I’ve been researching microblading and i love how natural and effortless yours look. Not all technicians are skilled, so its important to look at their portfolio and make sure they can execute your vision!
    Thanks for the content!

  8. Thanks for sharing such a nice content. I agree with the points you have mentioned here on eyebrow microblading.

  9. Hi Michelle
    I recently stumbled upon your review after I was madly googling why my brows were fading. I got mine done 10 days ago and wanted to know if the fading is normal. My therapist did go through step-by-step on the healing process but you know alone with your own thoughts and a mirror staring into your fading brows…anyway next I was reading your healing process and I’m calm again. Ha ha!! Your brows look great, can’t wait for my true reveal! Thanks.

  10. Hi, I was just wondering if you’ve had any issues using tretinoin, vitamin C, chemical exfoliant, etc. with microbladed eyebrows (could not find conclusive information on whether this leads to faster fading). I’m considering microblading and also getting literally two freckles reinforced via tattoo (my favorite “personality” ones as they’re all fading from actives), but given the financial investment, I want to find out how actives would interact with these shallower types of tattooing.

  11. I made microblanding probably more than 3 years ago, and still there but every line is thick and not clear like at the beginning. Should make them again? wait until disapear? because it dosent look that well like was at the firs 2 years.

  12. Could not agree more, but with the right precautions and carefully undertaking all things to be considered before it, the procedure itself has tremendous results! Got mine done from the Brow & Lash Boutique here in Albertson, NY and I am VERY satisfied!

  13. This is a great account of your microblading experience. Especially when you outlined the healing process, it could be annoying with the itch but it definitely is best not to scratch it, you did the right thing. Just a note though, you meant no “swelling” not “selling”?

  14. Hi, I just wanted to say that after reading this post, I decided to have my brows done. You answered all of my questions, and addressed every fear I had.

    And now I have eyebrows that require almost zero maintenance and look great every day! It is absolutely the best thing I have ever done for myself. I enjoy them every single day.

  15. Thanks for sharing such positive reviews. I will recommend your blog to my friend because he needs these types of reviews regarding microblading eyebrows.

  16. Thank you for being the only site I could find with a picture of a scab off of the skin. Lol. It was very helpful. Mine looked just the same and I was worried it shouldn’t have that much color in it.

  17. Thanks for sharing, microblading must be done by an expert for sure! I really appreciate you sharing the healing process as it definitely let me know what to expect!


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