Those seeking fuller brows are likely familiar with microblading, the semi-permanent tattoo technique used to create the illusion of more lush, natural-looking brows. But unlike microblading, in which strokes are tattooed along the browline to mimic the look of hairs, microshading may be even more discreet—although the process is nearly identical. Read on for what to expect from the latest brow craze, according to Washington D.C.-based celebrity esthetician Sarah Akram and Nneka Garel-Portes, owner, brow artist and trainer at Color Lab NYC.
What Is Microshading?
Unlike microblading, microshading does not tattoo full strokes along the browline, but rather small points to “shade” in sparse areas. “Instead of creating the illusion of individual hairs, microshading fills in the entire brow with light pigmentation through the use of a fine tipped needle,” explains Akram.
The two techniques can also be combined to get the best of both worlds. “This method be combined with microblading for a bespoke look,” says Garel-Portes.
“The results will not appear to be individual eyebrow hairs, but rather a shading that more closely resembles penciling or powdering your brows with makeup,” explains Akram, who adds that microshading “provides for a more airbrushed and powdered brow look.”
Brows will appear extra bold following the appointment, but “the color will soften approximately 30 percent over the following 14 days,” according to Garel-Portes.
Depending on your skin type, the results can last between one to one and a half years. (Oily skin types may need a touchup sooner than drier skin types.)
How Much Does Microshading Cost?
It depends on your salon and location, but microshading can cost between $350-$500 in smaller cities, and upwards of $1,000 in places like New York City.
What Are The Side Effects?
First things first: Do your research and choose a certified and trusted brow expert. Then, be advised that there may be some light pain associated with this technique—after all, tattooing is involved. “Some people have found there’s less pain than microblading due to the pointed dotting technique, versus longer strokes,” explains Akram, adding that “it’s much more kind to sensitive skin.”
Garel-Portes says it’s “about a three” on the pain scale, but adds that “most clients fall asleep during the appointment.”
“We advise all clients to continue cleaning up unruly hairs by tweezing or threading, but not waxing,” says Garel-Portes. “Waxing tends to remove skin cells, and can make the brow color fade faster.” Be sure to use SPF too, and avoid using harsh exfoliants and ingredients that promote cell turnover on brows.