Okay, just going to warn you – this is going to be a very long post. I have a lot to say and I’ve waited a while to really share the full experience just because I like to be very thorough in my reviews. One of the first things I absolutely have to clarify is that I won’t be sharing business names relating to this – and to be transparent, this is because I do not like sharing negative reviews of a persons work. In this post you will read about a negative experience and a positive experience and just to keep it fair I will not disclose any business names.
To really give you the ‘history’ on the brow situation, I have to go back in time to… circa 2011? This was before YouTube being big and beauty gurus online being super popular. We were all kind of ‘on our own’ with makeup. I really liked makeup but at this point in time I had just finished my MBA and moved to Virginia to be with John during his second year of medical school and I just didn’t have the funds to buy makeup. I would occasionally pick up something new at Walgreens but that was always a must-have item like mascara or something. I was not in a spot where I just randomly purchased or tried new high-end makeup and I also didn’t have YouTube videos to watch! Looking back on photos from undergrad, none of my friends filled in our eyesbrows at all which shocks me now because everyone of us are SO into brows now! So the spring of 2012, right before we got married, John had driven me to Charlotte, NC as a little getaway. We were only 2 hours from there at the time and we would occasionally treat ourselves to a trip to NC to eat PF Chang and window shop in the ‘city’. 🙈☺️ I went into a Benefit Brow Bar in Macy’s because I was due for a brow clean up and I was going to have the girls there ‘shape’ them for the first time ever. I will absolutely NEVER ever forget this experience because it was life changing, LOL. She cleaned up my brows and then used THIS product to tame the crazy hairs and then fill in and give me a bit of an arch. When I saw her final product I remember being SO elated! I specifically remember being like “wait! I have an arch like pageant girls!” 😁 This was huge for me because I look just like my dad and we have very thick eyebrows but they sit in more of a straight line right above our eyes… it looks great on my dad but it doesn’t look as good on me. The girl at Benefit taught me exactly what to do to achieve that look and I took some serious notes- though I never was able to get that same slight arch she got. I will say that the next time I was home with my mom and sister, I showed them and used my new products on them and they both were in shock and we actually went out to buy the products for them as well!
BACKGROUND + EASY HACKS
Now, this all happened in 2012 – brows and brow products have really evolved since then. Things have come a long way and there are more – and better production the market. I also have noticed that people are realizing the importance of not plucking all the hairs and letting their brows grow in as well. As soon as I saw what a little bit of filling in and shaping could do for me, I was committed to taking better care of my brows – aka don’t go crazy plucking and do what you can to encourage growth. Just recently, I posted a throwback photo on my IG stories and had a few people asking if I had a nose job – and I 100% have not -so I did a post all about my contour routine [here]. Additionally, I had a few comments asking if I had micro bladed because they could see the difference and I was like “YES IT IS LIFE CHANGING!” and I had many people ask for a review. I also had a girl ask if I had a “brow lift” and I laughed to myself because I knew exactly what she meant [and no I haven’t – I googled it and it sounds intense!]. I went from having brows that sit in more of a straight line above my eye in 2012 – to brows that have a bit of an arch and leave room to put eyeshadow! I never really thought anyone would consider that a “lift” but the past few weeks I have paid closer attention to my makeup routine and realized that so many of the little things I do while getting ready to help give more space between my lid and brow. **The main key for those who don’t want to microblade is to use a product like THIS or THIS to add a bit to the top of your brow to give the “lift” illusion and then use a product like THIS below to brighten the area and draw attention. [PS. Benefit calls their version of this pencil the “Highlight and Lift Brow Pencil” – aka this is what helps to give the illusion.] PS. Please let me know if you want demos of this on my IG stories – I know it can be confusing to read! More or less, brows can be a lot like contouring – using darker shades and lighter shades will help give a different type of illusion.
The past 5 years or so I really have fallen in love with all ABH products and techniques. One of my cheats used to be using their stencils — and training my brows to grow to fill in the stencils. This helps a lot if you are a beginner!
IMPORTANCE OF BROWS
This is just my opinion but I have used my knowledge with many girlfriends and family members and they have all had the same reaction – but I am sure if you are reading this post it is because you want to know about brows! First of all, brows totally shape your face. Sadly, there was a time where we all get heavy handed with plucking and when you do that too often sometimes the hairs never grow back. 😱 I am fortunate that my mom would never let me pluck too much – she always knew brows were important but every now and then I’d go a little overboard and shorten the tail of my brow, yikes. There’s a method for knowing where your eyebrows are supposed to go [this post goes step by step showing how to measure where they should be!!]. Brows will not only frame your eyes better and make them look larger, but it will balance your face. It can really be flattering and give a more striking look. My mom and sister have lighter eyebrows and they aren’t as into makeup as I am so when we went to the Taylor Swift concert and I got to do their makeup it was so fun to see the reactions. They both fail to fill in the tails of their eyebrows or enhance the arch so I did it to them both and they were like “wait how did you do that!?”. It takes literally 15 seconds of time – that is all!
A flat eyebrow shape tends to shorten the face shape, something that can be unflattering for certain faces. If you have a long face, it may help but if you are opposite it won’t have the same positive effect. Also, if you shape them correctly you can change the look of something you may not like on your face. You’d be shocked at how filling in and shaping appropriately will change your face. I am always shocked at how when I clean my brows up after not taking are of them I will have people comment asking if I did something different with my makeup!
MY MICROBLADING EXPERIENCE
Okay, so!! ☺️😁 [John says I say that too much on my IG stories, oops!] I have never really needed microblading necessarily – I have thick brows and I’ve learned how to deal with them but back in 2015/6? when microblading was hot, hot, hot with celebs in LA, I got interested. At the time it was not popular anywhere else and was very new and there were not many people trained to do it. One of the main reasons I got interested is because a girl who waxed and shaped my brows told me that if I got Botox in my forehead that it would also give an arched effect. I did it and I was an absolutely nervous wreck. I had heard of these nightmare stories like an eyebrow dropping because of botox. A few days after I had the Botox, I really liked the the way by brows sat – they had an arch and I really didn’t have to work on drawing an arch in as much!! I remember thinking “wow this is so cool!’… and then probably 6 weeks later it was like a balloon deflated!! My brows were back to normal. I don’t remember what I paid but I just remember thinking “wait, so I paid all of this money and it lasted 6 weeks?!” I asked around and everyone said “oh that is too bad, you must metabolize it fast.”. I gave it a try one more time and the same thing happened. It lasted 6 weeks – where as some people get Botox and it lasts 6 months!😱 I honestly just couldn’t justify it. I also knew we would be trying to have our first baby within the next year and I thought it was too dangerous to have Botox while even trying to get pregnant – as well as being pregnant and nursing which ended up taking like 2 years of my life! Around this time is when I was introduced to microblading and I’d seen a girl in LA who has amazing doing before and afters on her IG of her work and I was like “wait, I can have an arch!’ if I do that – and not be committed to the hassle of the other ‘stuff’.
I started doing research that summer and I ended up finding a girl in Dallas who is very well known for her amazing brow skills. [This is the negative story so I won’t be sharing her name.] I had been told that she does all of The Who’sWho of Dallas and reality TV stars and I was told “good luck getting in, shes booked out by 4 months!”. We live close to Dallas so I called and I was able to get in with her within 2 weeks because of a cancellation. John drove me there and I was a nervous wreck for some reason. I remember walking into her place of business and picking up on her.. lack fo warmth. She was not super friendly or warm, I tried to explain to her that I wanted to have an arch and she… kind of listened. She really just didn’t give me much time or seem interested. She started numbing me with the needle technique… not sure of the name? But basically she took needles around my brows to numb me and I never got numb. She was done very quickly and I felt every single stroke she added to my brow. EVERY one of them and it was extremely painful. I had already paid for my touch up but I didn’t go back because I couldn’t get rid of that memory. I left and my brows were okay… not what I asked for but I honestly was relieved to just get away. It was not the best experience.😏 Again, I won’t be sharing her info publicly because she could have just had a bad day or an off day– you just never know. I had heard great things about her work so I am still conflicted.
Over the first week of my ‘new brows’, they were very scabby and dark – which is normal. I did all of the care tips that I was given on a paper as I left and I just never fell in love with the look. After about 14 days the strokes turned red – almost like she used a red dye? She didn’t – but I think she chose the wrong color for me and it just didn’t set well. [You’ll be able to see the red strokes in the photos below.]
To be 100% transparent – this left a bad taste in my mouth for microblading in general. The next 2 years when friends would get it done and say “it didn’t hurt too bad”, I’d be so confused.
2 Years Later..
A friend here in Tulsa who used to do my hair and who is also very into brows had gotten hers done by someone else in Dallas and they looked AMAZING. And she also had gotten trained in doing brows and I’d seen her before and afters and was like “wait girl! You are so good!!!!”. I literally was in shock that someone locally was that gifted with brows- brows are a scary thing to work on!! This summer – in early June – I reached out to her and told her my bad experience and she had me come in and said she could fix mine and she used numbing cream and she had never heard of it hurting so badly. So, here we are two years later and she is doing my brows and I barely felt anything. When she finished, I sat up and she handed me the mirror and I – no joke – teared up. She had done EXACTLY what I had been wanting all along and I couldn’t believe how well she had done. She taught me where to pluck hairs and she had given me an arch. She used shading and brow strokes [read up on that HERE]. The shading I could feel- but it wasn’t anything near the pain I felt before.
I didn’t ever get scabby really – they healed nicely and never turned red. They’ve stayed the same color. I went in about 5 weeks later for a touch up and they have looked so great ever since. I’m going to post a few photos below so you can see my brows w/o microblading, before microblading w/no product on them, and then AFTER my most recent microblading. This is important because I know a lot of people do not want to undergo microblading since it is not cheap and it is a scary, kind of permanent thing to do! The first photo will is from May and I’d just filled my brows in with pomade.
^Taken May 2018 – this is just w/me filling in my brows – read about that in the first part of this post! ☺️ Filling in your brows only takes a minute once you learn where it goes! Don’t be afraid to try!
^June 2018 – before I had my brows micro bladed. You can see red strokes from where the girl in Dallas did them. And I didn’t clean my brows up at all, lol 🙈 I wanted them to be as hairy as possible so we could shape them appropriately. Just a tip if you are get yours done.
^ This is the AFTER of my first appointment this summer. You can see the strokes and shading and how natural it looks! You can also see how it gives a lifted effect since she plucked some hairs under my brow that made my brow set lower on my eye. I like to have lid space for eyeshadow. 🙂
^This is from July 2018 – 5 weeks later when I went in for my ‘touch up’. She didn’t have to do much but it definitely made them darker and enhanced the look! Also, these are taken very close up with super intense lighting so you can see every hair, flaw, pore, etc.
^Just added this because I took this in June the night I had my first appointment. You can totally see the the overall look of the brow here w/no makeup on.
I really love my brows NOW that they are microbladed. I still fill them in with powder on days when I wear foundation and eyeshadow just because the foundation can coverup the strokes and the real hairs – so I always apply some powder [linked in first section of post] so that it it makes the hairs show up. Having lash extensions and micro bladed brows makes it to where I don’t have to wear any makeup a lot of days! I do wear makeup when I am shooting and I still love makeup SO much! But when I’m home with Luke and we are doing #lyfe stuff, I like that I never have to get ready because my brows and lashes are there already! ☺️
If you not in a place where you are comfortable with getting microbladed brows – at least start by filling your brows in – I promise it can be worth it!
Hope you all enjoy this post!