Everyone knows that having good brows is essential to having that perfect frame for your face. The brow industry has catapulted to the front row and centre of the beauty industry thanks to the preponderance of social media platforms extolling the virtues of eyebrow perfection and how to achieve it. The result is the unstoppable rise of microblading and microshading brows.
For many, the answer to eliminating yet another arduous step in their beauty routine to keep up an excellent brow game is to take it up a notch and go ‘next level’.
Professional intervention and semi-permanent solutions mean that no matter the time of day, you will have impeccable brow impact 24/7 that needs no daily cosmetic interference on your part. They will just be luscious and groomed morning, noon and night.
So, you have probably heard all about microblading brows, but what exactly is microshading? We will be discussing in detail to tell you all about the benefits and what makes it different from it’s microblading cousin.
What is Microshading vs. Microblading?
Summary: Microblading is tattooing fine lines that look like real “hairs” to make the brows look fuller; microshading is tattooing fine “dots” to fill up the brow area with a full shade of color (hence the name “microshading”).
Microblading is a well known technique to create the illusion of thicker, fuller brows through the semi-permanent tattooing of fine ‘hairs’ that is done along the hairline to mimic your own brows and fill in perceived gaps. However, it does not penetrate as deep into the skin as traditional tattooing so can be less ideal for oilier skin types and is the least permanent of permanent makeup because of the shallow strokes.
Microshading is a similar technique that can appear even more discreet although it employs an almost identical process. It is without a doubt the latest eyebrow craze, and with good reason.
The subtlety of microshading is such that it only uses tiny ‘points’ of colour to densify the brow area using a lighter touch of pigment. It does not employ fully simulated hair strokes for definition which gives it a blurrier, shaded effect that is almost undetectable.
Some artists refer to the microshading method as airbrushed, ombré powdered, powdered, stardust, or mist tattooing techniques. These are all the same thing and involve the micro dotted deposits of pigment to the brows to give a fuller look that resembles what is achieved cosmetically with brow powders or pencils. It is a more solid looking fill for the brows.
Tools of the trade: Microshading requires a PMU pen and smaller sized needles compared to other procedures. The Minerva pen is a perfect for microshading tatoo needle cartridge – light to carry and uses smaller diameter needles.
How is it done?
Microshading has actually been around for a very long time. While it has been known in the past to create a highly saturated look that to some looked quite severe, modern microshading artists use a much more natural technique using a lighter hand and a very bespoke fill of the brow area eliciting a super natural and more contemporary feel.
Microshading can last longer than microblading as it does penetrate a bit deeper into the dermis layer whilst not being permanent. This is definitely a bonus for those with oilier skins types, as well as those who swim a lot or who have regular extended sun exposure as those factors can trigger premature fading of the pigment. It is also ideal for those with more sensitive skin.
Typically the procedure is prepared for by ensuring that in the 48 hours preceding the treatment no blood thinners, Botox, alcohol or pain relievers are used (as well as a specific list of medications). All of these will inhibit the ideal conditions for healing and a satisfactory result.
Numbing cream is applied to the area if necessary, and after agreeing on the final outline shading begins.
Using an ultra-fine point needle, usually on a rotary tool, it will embed tiny repetitive doses of pigment achieving what is non unlike a stippling method in painting.
It is imperative to fully understand and follow the aftercare instructions to ensure that you achieve a rewarding result after healing.
What are the Benefits of Microshading?
From an aesthetic point of view microshaded brows provide a more airbrushed effect, which is ideal if you prefer the look of powdered or pencil filled brows for your own personal style.
It can be dialled up or down dependent on your desired look. Is Kylie Jenner your brow hero? Or Gwyneth Paltrow? You can achieve either look with a skilled microshading artist that can make the look bold and dramatic, or ultra natural with subtle definition.
The modern take on microshading is a lighter front end colour of the brow (which follows our own natural brow definition pattern) which increases in intensity towards the arch and finishes with an even crisper tail flourish.
The added benefit is that it is particularly suited to sensitive skin as the dot application is less invasive than the longer strokes required for simulating individual hairs as in microblading.
Again, oilier skins can benefit as it is less susceptible to premature fading than microblading and this will result in less frequent need to touch up.
After having your first treatment, you will need to do aftercare which is usually 3-4 weeks, and 4-6 weeks for full healing to take place.
After you heal fully, you will need to have a second treatment to touch-up the first result to ensure even colour distribution and to clarify and refine shaping as necessary. This is an essential part of the process and should be considered Step Two in your first microshading experience.
Aftercare plays an extremely important part in how your microshading results will turn out. If you fail to pay close attention to your artists instructions, you could end up ruining or substantially reducing the beautiful result you have invested good money for.
These are some key points to stick to, but please follow the guidelines provided to you post treatment by your artist. Your artist will make individual assessments that may be especially applicable to your skin type and lifestyle.
- Do not get the brows wet. Follow any post treatment cleaning procedures as directed by your artist for the duration of the healing period.
- Do not pick at, rub, or scratch your brows, this can interfere with pigment retention and ruin the final effect
- Take extra care when showering to keep brows dry, or choose to carefully bathe in order to wash hair
- Do not exercise or workout, get overly sweaty, use steam rooms or hot tubs. Increased perspiration will interfere with pigment retention.
- Do not wear makeup or use skincare products on the face that contain acids, retinol or other highly active ingredients that exfoliate
- Let the natural scabbing process take place on its own, do not pull away scab tissue as this can also lift out pigment resulting in patchy results
- Do not go swimming and avoid sun exposure including tanning beds. If necessary to be outdoors wear a hat or visor to shade and protect your brows.
- Only use healing ointment sparingly as directed by your artist if recommended.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach or sides as this can also remove pigment due to creasing on the skin
For more details on a proper aftercare routine, please read our aftercare guide for microblading. The aftercare procedures are essentially the same.
What are ‘Hybrid Brows’?
Possibly the ultimate in desirable semi-permanent brow shaping is the ‘Hybrid Brow’.
This is a combination of both the hair-like strokes of microblading combined with the ombré powder fill effect of microshading to give ultra natural, plush, defined, 3D definition brows.
It combines the best of both worlds and can really deliver for those that need that extra depth to their shaping. Particularly those that workout a lot, get a lot of sun exposure, or who have oily skin. The results will give a natural look that lasts by combining the two techniques.
Frequently, the start of the brow is a higher percentage of microblading, and the arch and tail of the brow is microshaded, which gives maximum impact without looking overly heavy and dramatic.
The only pushback for this ultimate formula marrying the two types of semi-permanent design is that it’s two procedures, and each needs their own touch-up.
So it may be a little more costly, but if it’s brow perfection you are looking for, this just might be your holy grail.