How to Avoid Getting Shitty Microblading

Last week I received a consultation form from a potential client and she explained that she had Microblading done previously. She was very unhappy with her results and was hoping to get a cover up. Once I saw the photos, I knew this would not be possible. The damage was too great and there really wouldn't be much I could do to fix it. Unfortunately, this isn't the first person I had to deliver the heartbreaking news to. Actually, it was the THIRD person THAT WEEK.

I felt compelled to share some tips on how to avoid getting shitty Microblading for multiple reasons. Microblading is fairly new in the US, so many people are going to get it anywhere they can find it without doing much background research. I can't tell you how many people have reached out to me with no previous knowledge of Microblading or who have never seen my work. They might have just heard about me from a friend or co-worker and taken their referral without any research of their own. With something like this being so new, it's easy for clients to end up with an artist that is providing less than desirable results. The consequences are pretty major since it's a very long lasting treatment. And while microblading is pricey, it's even pricier to try to fix previous Microblading. While it's hard to ensure any kind of result due to Microblading being an art and not a science, there are certain steps that can be followed to give you better chances of having a successful Microblading experience.

1. Research, Research, Research!

I can't stress this first point enough. This is a tattoo, on your face. While it only lasts a year, a year is a VERY long time to go around with hideous brows. And that's not even worse case scenario! Worst case scenarios range from infections to scarring to going so deep that the pigment actually wont go away after a year. So, to try to avoid any of these, follow these steps:

  • Knowledge is power so start off by watching some videos on Microblading and become familiar with the process. This way you know what to expect. You will also be able to recognize if something is wrong! Usually, there are many red flags, you just need to be able to identify them.

  • Once you are familiar with Microblading, start looking up artists in your area (or where ever you are willing to travel to). Look at MANY different artists so you can see what type of style you like. Without any example to compare to, you really won't know what qualifies as good work or shitty work, so research your artists thoroughly!

  • How much research is enough?: I had a client that had done so much research on me that besides doing the basics (checking out my website, facebook page and Instagram) she also followed my personal page, read all my reviews and contacted people who left reviews from months before to make sure that the reviews were real people and not just friends and that the brows would last. THIS is the kind of detective research you need to be doing! This is commitment to finding someone you can trust!

  • Why you need to look at work from MANY artists: The first time I saw Microblading work was on Instagram and I was in total awe. I thought this girls work was the most amazing thing I've ever seen! After seeing her work I jumped on the chance to become a Microblade Artist myself. Fast forward about a year, I decided to go and look at her Instagram again and see how her work was coming along. Now that I was more knowledgeable and have seen what I consider to be PERFECT works, I had different standards as to what I considered good and bad Microblading. So I find her page and I'm looking at her work and it's terrible! She did so many things that I had learned to be completely wrong and her technique looked as though it would not last past a month because it was so light. Moral of the story, you really don't know what is shitty work until you can compare it to non-shitty work.

2. Check their Portfolio

When looking at someones portfolio, there are 2 things you want to keep an eye out for. The first is artistic skill and the second is healed results.

  • Artistic Skill: Most transformation photos that you see are from directly after the treatment. The photos are great to show the artists' skill, which is extremely important. You want brows that are subtle, realistic, and natural. Here are some aspects to note when judging brows;

  • Hair strokes should always go in the direction of natural hair growth

  • Hair strokes should never cross with another hair stroke

  • Hair strokes should be about twice the thickness of a natural hair

  • Hairs should never be 100% stick straight (Maybe one or two hairs in the head of the brow may be straight, but not throughout the rest of the brow)

  • Beware of strokes that go in one direction for the entire shape

  • The following are examples of shitty Microblading. Please notice the direction of the strokes!

  • Healed Results: The true test of quality is whether your brows can last so you always want to see some examples of healed results. Now, your final results will depend on many things. The primary contributors will be your skin type and your aftercare regimen. Your results are 30% of your artists' skill and 70% on you. Your artist did their job, now it's time to do your part and take care of those brows like they're new born babies! Even though the healed results rely heavily on how you take care of them, ALWAYS make sure you go to an artist that has examples of healed brows in their portfolio.

3. Certification

If your artist does not list who they are certified through on their website/IG/FB, THEN ASK!!! Microblading is NOT a skill that you can "pick up" or "self teach". Even after going to training and getting certified, it took me about 6 months to really figure out how to do things right. And then it took me about a year to fully hone those skills to a place that I was very comfortable and satisfied with my work. Do not trust people who are self taught. Also, just a rule of thumb, if you want to avoid getting shitty Microblading, go with someone who has been doing this for at least 4-6 months and who are comfortable with their skills.

  • Pro-Tip: If you want to be really thorough, once you find out who your artist is certified with, do some research on the company and see how established they are. Check out some of the works of their other artists. If the top/majority of their artists do shitty brows, you may want to find an artist from a more reputable company.

4. Consultation

Consultations are extremely important for both you and the artist. This is your chance to really get to know your artist before the procedure. It is your chance to ask questions and to ensure that you both are on the same page as far as what you want for your brows. For me, it's a chance to manage my clients expectations as well as let them know how I operate and what to expect. Never go to an artist that does not require consultations or asks for some medical background! There are conditions that can respond very adversely to the procedure. A responsible artist will ask so they can counsel you on whether you are a good candidate for Microblading or not. Only irresponsible artists will accept you as a client regardless of skin conditions, medical background, or previous work you have had done.

5. Shaping

This one is easy. Never get your brows done by someone who doesn't draw the shape and allow you to see it prior to the actual Microblading. If your artist tells you they're about the start and you have not seen the shape or felt them draw the shape, stop everything immediately!

6. Photos

This one is very similar to #2, but I really just wanted to reiterate this point. Never get your brows done by someone who does not have any before and after photos! I don't care if they are in the fanciest, swankiest salon in your city. If they don't have a portfolio, move along! If you follow only one tip from me, THIS IS IT!

7. Ignore Price

Microblading is expensive and because it's expensive, a lot of people try to save a buck or two by comparing prices, looking for specials, and shopping for Microblading on Groupons. Don't be that guy [girl]. This is your face and this is expensive. This isn't a haircut that you can get away with going to Super Cuts and if they mess up "Oh well, it will grow back." THIS IS YOUR FACE. And if they mess up, best case scenario you have to get bangs for about a year until they fade out. Worst case scenario, they go too deep (easily done) and cause scarring. This pigment will not last a year, it will last multiple years. Even worse case scenarios, you get a horrible infection from malpractice. The point being, there will always be people who will charge less. You have to ask yourself, why is this so cheap? It's either because:

  • They are new and trying to get new business (Understandable)

  • The haven't been to a training so charge less because they don't have the skill to charge more (Very dangerous)

  • They use cheap products so don't charge as much. (Extremely dangerous)

  • Products used should be of the best quality possible. Pigments can range from $20 for a large bottle and loaded with harmful metals to $75 dollars for a tiny bottle but are organic with no harmful metals. Blades can range from 100 for $30 or 10 for $80. Worst case scenario is that they cut corners and reuse products that have been in contact with other peoples' blood. If someone is charging less, you need to be wary.

8. Follow Up

This point is more of a suggestion that an actual must but its a good idea to go with an artist who either includes or charges a nominal fee for a 4-6 week touch-up. With the healing process being so sensitive, this is a way for artist to ensure their work.

9. Cleanliness

The most important thing is your safety. While this sounds obvious, too many people get infections because they did not follow proper sanitation. At the very least ensure the following:

  • Your artist always uses gloves

  • There is a sharps container (small red box for used needles)

  • Your artist opens a new needle in front of you

  • No pets should be in the immediate vicinity

If you follow these guidelines, you have a pretty good chance of not getting shitty brows. If you are unsure, show works to a few of your friends and see what their opinions are. Reach out to your social media for recommendations. Be patient and take your time finding someone. Be willing to travel if you are in an area that doesn't have good options. But most importantly, always follow your gut! If your gut is telling you that something is off, listen! Best of luck and be safe!

Paula McPherson