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HomeHealth TopicDermatology

Eyebrow Microblading: Process, Healing, and Aftercare

Jennifer Clements, MD, MSEd, NBHWCPatricia Pinto-Garcia, MD, MPH
Published on June 3, 2022

Key takeaways:

  • Eyebrow microblading is a cosmetic procedure that can restore or enhance the eyebrow’s natural look.

  • Eyebrow microblading can be pricey, but the results are semipermanent. 

  • Complications from eyebrow microblading can be serious. Make sure you choose a provider who is licensed to perform microblading. 

Black and white image of an adult getting an eyebrow microblading procedure.
Milan Stojanovic/iStock via Getty Images

Microblading is a type of superficial micropigmentation — a cosmetic procedure that uses a needle to place ink into the skin. It helps restore the natural appearance of hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows. 

Eyebrow microblading helps if you’re looking to restore or enhance your natural eyebrows. If you’re considering eyebrow microblading, here’s everything you need to know about how the procedure works and how to care for your skin afterward. 

What is microblading?

Microblading is best known as a semipermanent way to enhance eyebrow shape, color, and appearance. It’s popular because the results look very natural, and it lets you avoid the hassle of applying makeup on a regular basis. 

But microblading has many uses beyond eyebrow enhancement. The procedure has been around for years and has helped people restore the appearance of hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows. Microblading can be helpful for people with hair loss from:

During microblading, your provider applies a pigment to your skin using a handheld instrument that has a needle. Then they draw small lines with the needle to mimic eyebrow hairs. The needle pushes the pigment into the upper layers of your skin. 

The pigment will stay in your skin, giving the appearance of fuller eyebrows. Another way of thinking about eyebrow microblading is that it’s like using makeup powder to fill in your eyebrows, but it won’t wash off at the end of the day. 

Microblading is different from the following procedures:

  • Eyebrow tattooing is a permanent procedure. During eyebrow tattooing, pigment is placed deep within the skin, so it doesn’t wear off over time. But tattoo pigment can change in color over time. Black and brown colors may start to look blue or green. Eyebrow tattooing also uses a machine with a needle to place pigment instead of a handheld device. 

  • Microshading is a semipermanent procedure like microblading. Both procedures use the same type of needle and hand-applied technique. But in microshading, the provider uses a “dotting-in” technique to fill in sparse areas instead of drawing lines to resemble eyebrows. 

How long does microblading last?

Microblading is semipermanent, which means the pigment will fade — but not fully go away — over time. The full results last about 12 to 18 months.

Microblading places pigment into the upper layers of skin. Over time, you’ll make new skin that pushes off older skin. The pigment fades away as that older skin gets replaced. Your skin cells may grow at different rates. So you might notice that some areas of pigment fade faster than others. 

How much does eyebrow microblading cost?

Microblading can be expensive. The cost of microblading varies based on where you live and the credentials of your provider. Prices can range from as low as $250 and up to $2,000. On average, microblading costs about $600. 

Getting ready for eyebrow microblading

Before your eyebrow microblading procedure, there are a few things you need to avoid:

  • Retinol: Don’t use retinol products for 1 month before microblading. Retinol products can make your skin more sensitive, which you want to avoid before the procedure. 

  • Cosmetic procedures and tanning: Avoid Botox, facial peels, and brow tinting for at least 2 weeks before your appointment. You should also avoid tanning and excessive sun exposure. These things can change the shape and shade of the skin around your eyebrows, making it harder for your provider to see where you need more pigment. 

  • Hair removal: Stop any hair removal (including tweezing, waxing, or electrolysis) at least 2 weeks before your appointment. This helps make sure your eyebrow keeps its natural shape. That way your provider can see the spots they need to fill in.

You may need to stop blood thinners for 1 to 2 days before your appointment. But talk to your healthcare provider — never stop taking medications without discussing it with your provider first.  

What to expect during microblading procedure

Your microblading procedure can take up to 2 hours. Here’s what to expect:

  • Your provider measures your eyebrows and marks them with a wax marker. This helps outline where you need pigment. 

  • Your provider cleans the skin around and over your eyebrows.

  • Your provider gives you a numbing medication, like lidocaine, so that you don’t feel pain during the procedure. Lidocaine comes in a gel form that can be applied to the skin. It also comes as a liquid that’s injected into the skin. You might be able to request one form over another.  

  • Your provider makes the micro-cuts and applies the pigment. 

  • After finishing the procedure, your provider cleans off any extra skin from your skin and applies an antibiotic ointment to your eyebrows.

What to do after a microblading procedure

It takes about 1 week for your skin to start to heal. For the first couple of days, try not to touch the area, so you don’t accidentally introduce bacteria into the open cuts. 

You should also take care to keep your eyebrows away from direct contact with water and avoid sweaty workouts. After these first couple of days, you can wash your face with water. But you shouldn’t use any soaps, creams, or other skin care products for at least 1 week. Make sure you get the green light from your provider before you start using any products again. 

You shouldn’t swim or go into a steam room or sauna for 30 days after your microblading procedure. It’s also important to avoid retinols and waxing for at least 4 to 6 weeks. 

Microblading is not perfect. Many people need more than one application. You may require a touch-up after 2 to 3 weeks and after 2 or 3 months. 

What are the complications of eyebrow microblading?

Microblading is a medical procedure, so it comes with risks. While complications are rare, they do happen. Some of the most common complications are:

  • Cosmetic complications: This is the most common complication and refers to anything that causes the outcome of your procedure to be less than what you wanted. Eyebrows may look asymmetrical or unnatural. Pigment might seep into the skin around your eyebrows. Cosmetic complications can be upsetting, especially after investing so much time, money, and energy. Although microblading fades over time, you might have to live with the results for months or even years. If you have a cosmetic concern, you can talk to a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist about laser pigment removal. There’s some research that laser removal helps remove microblading pigment. 

  • Infection: It’s not common, but the skin under and around your eyebrows can get infected after microblading. There are reports of people developing orbital cellulitis and other skin infections that bacteria cause.  

  • Scar formation: There have also been reports of people developing scars and other scar-like skin reactions after microblading. If you’re prone to scarring, you’ll have to consider if microblading is right for you. 

  • Allergic reactions: Some people have allergic reactions to the pigment that providers use for microblading. This can cause unusual rashes and reactions on your eyebrows and face. People with nickel allergies can be more at risk of developing an allergic reaction. 

  • Koebernization: People with underlying skin conditions, like psoriasis, might develop new skin lesions on previously unaffected skin. In short, if you have a skin condition, microblading can trigger a flare over your eyebrow area. 

Getting treatments from untrained professionals can increase your risk of cosmetic complications and infections. Before you get your procedure, make sure your provider is experienced and licensed and that the facility is appropriately credentialed. 

The bottom line

Microblading is a cosmetic procedure that can enhance the shape of your eyebrows. In microblading, a healthcare provider uses a needle to place pigment under your skin. The results are semipermanent. Risks include cosmetic complications and infection. Be sure you do microblading with a fully trained and licensed provider. This can help make sure you have a great experience and are happy with the results. 


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Draelos, Z. D. (2019). Dermatologist discusses permanent eyeliner, microblading. Dermatology Times.

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GoodRx Health has strict sourcing policies and relies on primary sources such as medical organizations, governmental agencies, academic institutions, and peer-reviewed scientific journals. Learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, thorough, and unbiased by reading our editorial guidelines.

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