Attention Gen X ladies: Microblading your eyebrows is a powerful fix against your 90s overplucking woes

What is microblading - Eyebrow enhancement

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Somewhere in your family’s past, there’s bound to be a sweet old aunt who always drew on her thin eyebrows with something that looked suspiciously like lipliner.

Fortunately, we don’t have to go down that path.

Thin eyebrows from the olden days - Click Americana and Lilyvolt

Pencils and serums and… microblading? Oh my!

Gen X eyebrows have seen it all, from the bushiest brows of Brooke Shields’ Calvin Klein heyday, to the skinniest pencil-thin brow that was even popular back in the 1920s.

Brooke Shields vintage Calvin Klein ad (1980s)
Brooke Shields vintage Calvin Klein ad (1980s)

If brows could have an identity crisis, well… actually, a lot of our brows may be having an identity crisis right now.

Why? If you plucked into oblivion during your Gwen Stefani/No Doubt phase, they may never have grown back fully. If you got lucky and they did, your changing hormone levels may be causing them to become super sparse again. (Yay.)

Vintage 1990s Gwen Stefani of No Doubt with thin eyebrows
Gwen Stefani of No Doubt at a Grammy Party at Four Seasons, NYC 2/25/98 — Photo by everett225/DepositPhotos

Can you reshape your eyebrow’s destiny?

Maybe you’ve relied this long on your artistic skill (or lack thereof) with an eyebrow pencil — or perhaps a growth serum like Nulastin (which seems to fill in thin eyebrows considerably; however, it does require daily maintenance, and the expense adds up significantly over time).

But what if we told you there is a semi-permanent solution that reinstates full control over your eyebrow shape?

Enter: Microblading. Could this technique solve an extremely frustrating problem?

Our conclusion is a definite maybe.


Microblading: The basics

What is microblading? It’s sort of like an eyebrow tattoo, but much more natural-looking, less painful, and not permanent.

Microblading Eyebrows. Semi-Permanent Makeup, Ink Application
Photo by microgen/Envato

Instead of the larger needle of a tattoo gun, microblading involves the use of a tool with several tiny needles. These itty bitty needles are used to draw delicate hair strokes while penetrating the skin less deeply than a traditional tattoo.

The ink used is different, too — the dye particles are less concentrated, and it is metabolized by your body and fades away — which is the opposite of what you want from a permanent tattoo.

Microblading procedure, master works with the eyebrows
Photo by leungchopan/Envato

Why is this important? In addition to a more natural-looking brow, the semi-permanence of microblading means you can change up the color and styling of your brows every so often.

Your color can be customized to complement your hair color and skin tone, and you can change their shape according to the current trends, if that’s your jam.

On average, microbladed brows last anywhere from 1 to 3 years, with most providers recommending a touchup every 18 months.

Microblading Eyebrows, Semi-permanent Makeup Procedure
Photo by microgen/Envato

What it’s like to get microbladed eyebrows

The process is pretty simple. The provider will first numb you topically and draw your brows in with a standard brow pencil to make sure you like the shape.

Professional Microblading of Eyebrows
Photo by microgen/Envato

Then they will use the microblading tool to create little incisions within that shape, depositing pigment along the way.

Microblading eyebrow tattoo, permanent makeup
Photo by leungchopan/Envato

If you happen to see yourself during this step, don’t freak out! The pigment may look like it has been applied really sloppily, but it will only seep into the skin that has been needled.

Asian woman having microblading eyebrows in a beauty salon
Photo by leungchopan/Envato

You’ll get two layers of pigment, and after it has set for a bit, the provider will clean it all off, and you will have the babe brows of your dreams!

It is super important to follow your aftercare instructions to a T — most notably, don’t use any exfoliants or acids in that area for seven days. Avoid long, hot showers for 10 days, sweating or direct sunlight for a week, and no facials, Botox or peels for a month.

In the week after your initial session, your brows will look a lot darker than you intended, and will probably scab, flake and peel. Again, don’t freak out! This is totally normal. After 7 to 10 days, the pigment will fade by about 40%.

Gen X woman - Microblading eyebrows
Photo by OlgaOsa/Deposit Photos

Want to try microblading? Here’s where to start

The best way to find a microblading provider is through word of mouth. If you don’t already know anyone who has had it done, check out Instagram. #microblading[yourcityname] should send you in the right direction.

You want to look for other customers, not providers at first. Ask them who they used and what their experience was. Then start making calls.

While your auntie’s way of drawing on her brows every day might have been cheaper — microblading costs can run as high as $2,000 in some areas — your results with this semi-permanent makeup will look much more natural and won’t wash off in the pool or melt off your face in the sun.

By the way, that 90s brow? It’s coming back in style. If yours never grew back and you’re not up for the steep price tag of microblading, you’re actually on trend again!

Caroline Goddard

Caroline Goddard

Caroline is an Arizona-based writer whose work has appeared on, Grateful (from USA Today) and other web and print publications.

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