Semi-Permanent Brows 101

A Rising Trend Called Microblading

By Kymberly Taylor

Can something so simple as eyebrows and eyelashes change a life? Julie Nguyen, founder and owner of Lash Moi in Crofton, has proof that it can.

She recreated eyebrows for a recent client battling cancer using an advanced technology called microblading. “One woman was going on her fourth chemo treatment and had no eyebrows whatsoever. Now she can look in the mirror when she gets up. She said she had totally stopped. She has lashes and she has brows—she said it changed her life, the way she felt about herself.”

This emotional outpour happens often, says Nguyen who works with many cancer survivors and clients undergoing chemical treatments that cause severe hair loss. Some suffer from alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease causing bald spots. Semi-permanent brows also benefit anyone who wants liberation from makeup, from eyebrow pencils, from having “two different selves,” explains Nguyen. “People can go swimming and go to the beach and not worry. People are so happy when I am done. It changes lives. It restores their confidence to face the world again. I get hugs. I get tears.”

Microblading is a form of cosmetic tattooing that is semi-permanent and lasts about a year. This delicate procedure is done completely by hand using a tool containing very fine microblades. The technique, sometimes called microstroking or eyebrow embroidery, is common in Malaysia and Singapore and a rising trend in the United States.

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 7.48.12 PMIt differs from permanent makeup in several ways: The pigments do not penetrate the skin as deeply as permanent makeup. Permanent makeup involves machine-operated devices that may penetrate a little deeper into the skin to create larger hair-like strokes. Pigment is used to shade in the brows section by section, rather than stroke by stroke.

There is much artistry involved. Microblading involves two steps. After a brow consultation, the new brow shape is penciled on, the area numbed, and a brow created using very tiny needle strokes that penetrate the first three layers of skin. These are built up into the new shape and the area gradually made denser with lots of tiny hair strokes. Next pigment is carefully applied. One, two or even three different shades can be used, creating a single, double or even triple layer brow tattoo, giving a 3D brow effect, explains Nguyen.

However, there is no formula. Depth, placement and color vary for every client and are as crucial as the strokes themselves, she notes. Drawing on years of training, Nguyen uses color theory to formulate individual shades that mirror a client’s own natural pigments. Step one of the process takes approximately an hour and a half. Step two involves a follow-up visit six weeks later for touch-ups. The procedure costs approximately $450.

Let’s face it. Most forms of cosmetic tattooing just don’t look real. Worse still, sometimes the ink fades to blue. However, microblading is changing all of this, says Nguyen, who trains her specialty staff at Lash Moi. She began her career as a hairstylist but when she took her first permanent makeup class, she was hooked. “It is so transforming, to see the process happen, and to see the reaction.” She opened Lash Moi in 2009 and keeps a close eye on national and international developments in permanent makeup technologies.



Lash Moi,