Drop that arched brow. Skeptics, believe: Microblading is the best thing that has happened to eyebrows since Cara Delevignge.
I wouldn’t consider myself as a typical beauty girl, but I do have a very precious relationship with my eyebrows, having discovered early on that shaping them immediately gives my face a certain feel, a certain attitude. For as long as I can remember, I’ve tended to their naturally sparse existence every morning, willing them to grow thicker and look more visible on their own, otherwise with the help of a battery of brow products through the years.
While scrolling through Instagram a few months ago, an unceremoniously cropped photo of well-groomed, well-combed brows stopped me dead in my tracks. It was a sponsored post about microblading, apparently the biggest thing that has happened to eyebrows since Cara Delevignge’s bushiness put ours to shame in 2011. I have no clue how Instagram tapped into my deepest, darkest desire for full arches since #eyebrows had never been in my Insta history, but that moment proved IG’S creepy brilliance at targeted marketing, and one that had me googling until I was convinced enough to let someone take a sharp blade near my eyes.
Microblading is associated with the less scientific-sounding, more decorous phrase “eyebrow embroidery,” but don’t confuse it with the scraggly, Sharpie-esque eyebrow tattoos of yore. Though microblading is essentially similar to an eyebrow tattoo in that pigments are deposited into incisions on the surface of the skin, where it differs is in its verisimilitude. While eyebrow tattoos tend to be opaque, arched fragments that often turn a weird tinge of blue over time, microblading mimics actual hair—their direction, growth, color and thickness—resulting in “tattoos” that look as feathery as the real thing.
Given that artistic technique is clearly of utmost importance, I chose Momoi Supe of Strokes for his microblading expertise (starts at P14,000, Greenbelt 1; cel. no. 0916 774 9497), and not least because of his background in makeup artistry and interior design (the cosmetic understanding of faces is an obvious winning factor for any microblading artist, but an educational comprehension of proportions is a huge bonus as well). Momoi has been practicing microblading since November 2015 and has traveled extensively and trained with experts from Russia, Germany, Israel and Singapore.
Before going under Momoi’s blade, I consulted with Sean Clores of Strokes, who’s in charge of shaping clients’ arches. This consultation is the most important part of the microblading process that you can actively be a part of: While Sean will measure your face and map out your ideal brows according to the phi ratio, it’s ultimately up to you to decide how you want your eyebrows to look like. I was very specific with mine, coming in with my brows drawn so they could see how I usually do it.
Once we settled on the shape and placement, a strong topical anesthetic was applied to the area, and while waiting for it to take effect, I dozed off on a La-z-boy in the adjacent room while another aesthetican gave me the Yumi Lash Lift (details at left). After waking up with gloriously curled lashes, under Momoi’s hands I went.
Is microblading painful, you ask? More weird, I’d confess—i could feel the blade carving its way into my dermis with an icky scraping sound, but there was no pain whatsoever, just an overall unsettling sensation, amped up by knowing what Momoi was doing to my face. I could feel every stroke, but Momoi made me feel at ease by chatting me up the whole time, and it was totally fine for me to move my face and reply since the brow blueprint was already drawn right there on my face.
Momoi finished the first batch of incisions, pigment was deposited (I brought my fave eyebrow pencil so they could approximate the shade), then a second go was done. After a few rubs here and there to absorb excess pigment, I was done. I tried to quell all blaring thoughts of disaster as I sat up and inched my way to the selfie-lighted mirror— can you feel the anticipation?!—and when I saw myself, I just went, “Oh. My. God.” Not only did I look like I had sprouted perfectly grown strands on my brow bones, the area also wasn’t red or inflamed considering what it just went through. I felt so good, I didn’t hesitate to go out for drinks right after! The topical anesthesia did wear off after about an hour, and I had to tell people not to make me laugh because I didn’t wanna lift my brows as they felt tender and sore. But that was it for the pain—totally negligible.
Aftercare consisted of the Softap Recoverall Ointment, which sealed in the pigment, and moisturized and healed my skin. I applied it numerous times daily during a strict seven-day period, when I was also forbidden to wet my arches, perspire too much, or pick at any scabs that inevitably formed on the area. I did the aftercare ritual with the same religious fervor I did drawing in my brows, and weeks later, I still get surprised whenever I catch my perfectly arched self in the mirror first thing in the morning. I made a ceremony out of putting my brow products away, which I hope not to use again in the next year or two when my new brows could last with proper care.