Aléz Odendaal | There may be nine ways to skin a cat (eew), but there’s only one way to fluff up a 90s-Gwen-Stefani brow: unsuccessfully. After repeatedly dropping mad dollar into my makeup bag in hopes it would make for a visible browline, I eventually decided it was time to see a professional.
I’d heard a lot about microblading, but it was expensive, and I’d got it into my head that the ink stayed visible for up to five years. That’s a long time. Brow shapes and trends come and go – I didn’t want to be living my best 2023 life with 2018 brows, you know?
But when a visit to a friend sparked a conversation about her gorgeous, thick, manicured brows, I decided to get hold of her technician and give it a try. So began my foray into microblading with the fabulous Cape Town-based, Daniela Rau – head technician at The Brow Lady. After my mostly pain-free session (there was a lot of topical anaesthetic involved), I asked her a bunch of questions that I and any other microblading beginner should know the answers to. Here they are, huni!
Who is microblading for? | Microblading is for everyone. Perfect for adults of any age and gender, one of the best parts of my job is helping all kinds of people to feel better about themselves.
Is it safe for cancer patients? | While patients always need to check with their oncologists beforehand, generally we can microblade up to a week before treatment starts and then wait six weeks post treatment to do the touch- up. So, yes.
Is it safe? | Yes, if you go to a reputable technician . How? Using top pigments that are FDA approved, making sure that your space is sterile and that all consumables are disposable. This way, there will be no cross contamination or infection.
What’s one thing you wish people knew about microblading? | That it’s nothing hectic, that it’s only semi-permeant and isn’t at all invasive.
The first four weeks look like they are a complete whirlwind. What goes on and what’s the thing that’s going to get you through it? | I would say its only the first 1-2 weeks post procedure that you may appear to have two caterpillars on your face – especially if you have dark hair. If it bothers you, wear lots of mascara. This will balance things out. Its really short lived in comparison to how beautiful your brows will look for the next six months to a year. Read more about the ins-and-outs of the first six weeks after your initial appointment here.
How do you know you’ve chosen a good microblading therapist? | I always advise my clients to have a look at my recent work and see if they like it. All microblading artists have their own style. You need to feel comfortable with that style, and make sure the technician is crating the right brow for your face. Ed’s note: In other words, if all the before-and-after pics feature the same brow shape on loads of different people, the therapist isn’t paying enough attention to each client, or doesn’t know enough to make a set of eyebrows work for each individual person.
What effect does oily skin have on the ink? I’ve read somewhere that it can lead to a powdery effect once the pigment fades – is that true? | This can most certainly happen. Your brow technician must blade with larger spaces between each hair stroke to avoid the hairlike strokes form joining together.
What effect does it have on dry skin?| I cant see it having any negative effect. But it is important to follow pre- and post-care instructions from your microblading technician.
What are the initial costs and what are the follow-up costs thereafter? | 1st Procedure will cost around R1800 and a follow-up R750. Ed’s note: This sets you up for six months or more, after which you’ll need to do touch-up.
How do you suggest people go about choosing the brow shape that is right for them? | A good technician will draw the best shape suited to your face shape. It is important that they listens to exactly what you want and work with that! Microblading shouldn’t start until you’ve seen the final shape and are happy with it.
What’s the worst thing you can do for your brows in the weeks and month after treatment? | If you love your brows and want them to last, the worst things you can do are 1) apply anti-ageing or anti-blemish treatments (retinoids and acids, for example) to your brows, 2) get direct sun exposure, 3) allow brows to become wet five days after procedure (no hot yoga, babe), and 4) scratch your brows.
What if you don’t like the work – can you get rid of it? | There is a process whereby we can remove the pigment, but the cheaper option would be to find a microblading artist that could try and fix the job you not happy with. Or you can do all the dont’s on your aftercare list.
If you want to get in touch with Daniela for your next trip to Cape Town, you can reach her on firstname.lastname@example.org, and see her Instagram page here. Bit too permanent for you? Try our list of brow makeup-must-haves instead.