If I could map a list of beauty obsessions in the current times, ‘brows on fleek’ will definitely make it to the top five, three even. That’s how crucial brows have become in today’s day and age. From skinny thin ones to bushy and fluffy ones, brows have witnessed quite a revolution over the years. While iterations and trends will keep emerging, one thing is crystal-clear: filled-in and fuller brows are here to stay. I, for one, haven’t put down my eyebrow gel (that adds volume, tint and separates each hair for a bushy look). As an extension of the fuller brow trend, people largely sign up for mircoblading and nanoblading. We speak to Arti, who also goes by the name 'Brows by Arti' on Instagram, house of talent, The White Door India who has worked her charm on a bunch of celebrities like Malaika Arora, Nargis Fakhri, Shibani Dandekar and more.
What’s the difference between microblading and nanoblading?
Microblading is a technique for creating semi-permanent, hair-like strokes on your eyebrows to enhance your natural eyebrows. Although the method is similar, microblading is not considered a tattoo, a tattoo goes deeper into the second layer of the skin, and microblading is performed on the upper layer of the skin. It can generally last 1-2 years with most clients. Also, unlike a tattoo machine, microblading is performed using a handheld manual pen attached to a sterile blade that consists of tiny needles which are dipped into pigment and lightly scratched on the skin to create hair-like strokes. Nanoblading is performed the same way but the blade is much smaller which results in creating more finer and wispy strokes.
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When and why, according to you, do people sign up for these?
Saves time: For people that want to save time in the morning from filling their brows in, nanoblading gives you that natural enhancement instantly is smudge-proof and sweat-proof. So you won’t have to worry about your brows washing off at the beach or pool. Also, it keeps your shape so you don’t need to worry about your brows being damaged when going for your regular threading or waxing appointments.
It could give you back your brows: Losing your brows from medical conditions, alopecia and chemo can be so traumatic. With nano blading you can get back the closest to your original brows and in most cases. It’s so natural you won’t be able to tell what’s nano blading and what the real hair is.
People are scared of the tattoo look: It does not give you that full-on tattoo look and will not go to any funny undertones like red or green after a while. Nanoblading pigments are organic, oxide-free, and are created to not change colour over time. Even if they fade over time, it does not show as it’s gradual.
What’s the most common brow shape type that people aspire for?
Most people want just a natural enhancement to what they have and what’s suited for their face shape. So I take everything into consideration when deciding the right shape for the client. All clients require a different approach when correcting their eyebrows. The most common shapes would be:
Straight – horizontal lines without any bends, S-shaped (curved) – the most difficult type of eyebrow, which can only be done by an experienced master. Angled – the classic shape, which is an ascending smooth line, the outer tip of which is much thinner than the head. Rounded – soft, with a smooth arch in the middle and ascending – do not have a bend, their tail tends upward.
How have the brow trends changed across the years, in your opinion?
Full natural brows are a very much sought-after look nowadays compared to a pencil-thin brow look that was a fashion statement back in the 1920s. It’s gone from plucking the life out of your brows to now growing them as thick as you can with growth serums and oils. Back in the 1920s-1930s, it was all about the pencil thin, arched brows with definition and downward long tails. The 1940s-1960s is when natural and fuller brows became a thing – embracing your natural brows look but still keeping them defined. It went back into the extremely thin brow trend in the 1970s where again you would pluck the brows into extinction. From the 80s to today is all about the full and fluffy look.
Walk us through the process of microblading?
To start off, I would consult the client on what she would like to enhance on her brows and advise the best possible outcome. I would then clean the excess stray hairs either by threading or shaving. A numbing cream is then applied for 30 minutes and while she is numbing we discuss the colour, usually, I tend to keep it as close to the natural hair colour as possible. Once numbed it’s time for pre-draw, I would first measure the symmetry points of the brows according to the eyes and brow bone and draw on a shape using an eyebrow pencil. Once we are happy with the shape I begin the blading process. Lightly depositing the pigment onto the surface of the skin with hair-like strokes. This is repeated a couple of times and halfway, a numbing gel is applied throughout so the client does not feel any discomfort. Lastly, I will add a layer of pigment on the brows for 10 minutes, to ensure the pigment is deposited evenly on all the strokes that have been created, and then we are done and left with beautiful, natural and fluffy brows. A retouch is required between 6-12 weeks in case any pigment has been lost during healing or any areas that need more filling.
Who should avoid getting microblading done?
Microblading is safe for everyone except individuals that are prone to keloid scarring, on very strong blood thinning medication, not encouraged if you are pregnant or suffering from an autoimmune disease that affects your skin’s healing process. If you have sensitive skin or skin allergies, it is recommended to patch test before the treatment.
Does it hurt or come with any caveats?
As we use strong numbing creams, the treatment is almost painless. The numbing cream is what makes the treatment so long as the blading is very quick. My clients usually say threading is more painful. For some clients, it’s the sound of the treatment that can be a little weird but not so much the feeling of the treatment.
What is the pre- and post-care?
So before the treatment, I recommend for clients not to have an intense chemical peel facial, botox around the brow area, no tanning and avoid retinol products close to the brows for at least 2 weeks before. Aftercare is crucial for 7-14 days after the treatment to ensure you get perfect healed results! On the first day, you just clean the brows with cotton pads soaked in water to remove any lymph and excess pigment a few times throughout the day. A healing balm needs to be applied twice a day for 7-10 days. Only the smallest amount should be applied; don’t overuse it. The healing balm aids in perfect healing and protects the brows from infection. I recommend avoiding any blood-thinning medication, vitamins, and alcohol in the first 24 hours. Try and prevent your brows from getting wet as much as possible for about 14 days so be careful when washing your hair; no water activities, spa treatments, and also no intense sweating. No makeup on the treated area for at least 10 days as this can affect the healing process and cause irritation on the brows.
What about touch-ups? Are they required? How long-lasting is microblading?
Once your brows are healed, it’s time for a touch-up to make sure everything has healed okay and to go over any areas that need doing. As the pigment used in nanoblading is more superficial, meaning it doesn’t go too deep on your skin, and it’s normal it will fade with time. After the first nano-blading touch up it lasts 1-3 years depending on your skin type. Usually, clients get a yearly touch-up to keep up the look.
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