The growing popularity of microblading has lent to some confusion about the difference between that and eyebrow tattooing. Although the process may look similar from the outside, there are key differences between microblading and eyebrow tattooing. In recent years, eyebrow tattooing has all but pushed aside by the term microblading. To help clients better understand some of the differences (and the similarities) between these two procedures, here are some of the main things that differentiate microblading from eyebrow tattooing.

Why get microblading or eyebrow tattooing?
The first thing people may ask is, what’s the point of having your eyebrows permanently tattooed? Eyebrows provide definition and dimension for the face, and provide an anchor and frame for the eyes. As trends come and go, perfectly symmetrical and sharply defined brows have become increasingly popular. This has resulted in a lot of increased interest in microblading and eyebrow tattooing. Regardless of having plenty of eyebrows or thin, sparse eyebrows, microblading or eyebrow tattooing can enhance the appearance of just about any eyebrow with minimal maintenance and upkeep.

How are microblading and eyebrow tattooing done?
While each procedure has differences, one thing people may not realize is that microblading is a form of eyebrow tattooing that is performed with a manual instrument. The process of microblading is characterized by dragging the needles across the skin. These needles can appear like blades due to their closed packed and slanted structure (hence the name). Eyebrow tattooing, on the other hand, can be performed with a manual instrument or with a machine that has needles attached to them.

Are they both tattoos?
The ubiquitous popularity of microblading has led to some confusion. Due to some misleading marketing, many people have been led to believe that microblading is a ‘semi-permanent’ cosmetic procedure and not actual tattoo procedure. This is not accurate. Microblading is in fact a cosmetic tattoo, just like eyebrow tattooing, but just performed somewhat differently. Any time color is deposited below the surface of the skin; it is considered a tattoo process. This definition is defined by the medical community and informed regulators. While the results of microblading will usually only last between one and three years, denying that the process is a tattoo could prove problematic for people who—for personal or religious reasons—don’t want to get tattooed.

Is one more painful than the other?
Pain depends a lot on your personal threshold, so it’s difficult to gauge how painful a procedure may be. While both procedures are considered low on the scale of pain as it doesn’t go below the dermal layer of the skin, you may still find some level of discomfort from either procedure. Either procedure can elicit a pins and needles feeling, but any discomfort should be temporary. A topical numbing agent is typically applied before the procedure to lessen any discomfort you might experience.

Of course, this is all very personal, and how it feels for you may not be how it feels for someone else. All our clients experience their cosmetic procedures differently, which is why we’re happy to walk you through what you can expect before the procedure starts.

What is the recovery time like?
As with any cosmetic procedure, proper aftercare is critical to producing the best results. Neither microblading or eyebrow tattooing will cause you any downtime or need you to take days off work, but they will still need time to heal. During the first few days, microbladed or tattooed eyebrows will look much darker than expected. This will soften as a layer of skin heals over the ink. If this makes you self-conscious, don’t plan any big events in the five to six days after your procedure.

Do they work for everyone?
There is no one cosmetic procedure that works for everyone. With any type of cosmetic procedure, you should take the time to do your research and discuss with your cosmetic tattoo artist what they recommend for your particular skin type—and this includes microblading and eyebrow tattooing. The dragging of the blade that typifies microblading might not be suitable for everyone. So, it’s really important to understand your skin’s condition and any issues that can arise have when implanting color regardless of what method is used. While no one can predict an exact outcome or how the color may fade and change over time because of so many variables outside of anyone’s control, an experienced cosmetic tattoo artist will be able to help you make an informed decision.