Since microblading took over traditional eyebrow tattooing, we continue to see an emergence of newer and more sophisticated eyebrow enhancement techniques. You’ve probably now heard of Microshading, Powder Brows, Ombré Brows, and Microfeathering. What are these exactly and are they just different terms for the same treatment?
Some people tend to use them interchangeably but each has a very specific style. In some cases, you can even do a combination of techniques. What this really means is that more than likely, anyone can now find a treatment that is perfectly suited for them.
If you want to have your eyebrows microbladed but aren’t sure which type of treatment to choose, here is a comprehensive comparison that will help you pick one that will compliment your natural beauty.
Let’s jump right in.
More details about each style below this table.
|Effect||– Natural-looking |
– Hair-like strokes
– Lighter Finish
|– Makeup-filled eyebrow effect |
– Powder Brow Style – gentler finish, like powder brow makeup
– Instagram Brow Style – fuller, bolder finish Option to add a gradient effect
|– Denser, more defined brows |
– Hint of makeup
– Option to add an ombre effect
|– Lighter on the inside and denser and bolder on the tails |
– Two-tone effect
– Can be added on top of microshading and combination brows
|Perfect for||– Not too dense but not too sparse brows |
– Clients who want natural-looking brows as opposed to a more dramatic style
|– Very sparse brows |
– Over-plucked eyebrows
– Old tattooed brows *(must be significantly faded)
|Clients who want a little bit of both the microblading and microshading styles||– Clients who want a more dramatic effect |
– Fashion-forward individuals
|Suitable Skin Type||Normal to dry skin||Oily and sensitive skin||Various skin types||Various skin types|
|Tool||Manual microblade||Manual rotary tool/ machine/ both||Combination of manual tool and machine||Combination of manual tool and machine|
|Cost||$375||$375||$450||$375 – when done with microshading|
|Typical Maintenance/ Touchup Schedule||3-6 months *(all touchups still vary per individual)||6 – 8 months *(all touchups still vary per individual)||6 – 8 months *(all touchups still vary per individual)||6 – 8 months *(all touchups still vary per individual)|
Eyebrow microblading has gone by many names: eyebrow embroidery, micro-stroking, and feather tattooing, among others. This is why it’s so hard to accurately trace back its origin. Though not much is known about its earlier history, it really began to rise in popularity in the last 25 years.
As the name suggests, microblading uses micro needles to implant pigment into the skin’s surface layers. It is done with a manual hand tool and the artist carefully hand draws each hair stroke, making the brows look incredibly NATURAL.
This is a huge leap from traditional eyebrow tattooing because tattooed brows tend to look unnatural. Tattooing uses black ink and over time, the brows tend to fade into a bluish/greenish color and you may end up having blocky brows that look like they’ve been drawn over by Sharpie pens. That’s not a very pretty sight.
Microbladed brows have a more natural look and feel to them. The hair strokes follow your natural hair growth pattern. The treatment also uses pigments with yellow and orange undertones so when they heal, they appear to have a more natural brown color. You and your artist should work together to determine the most natural shade for your skin as well as hair color.
Is Microblading Right for You?
Aside from your style preferences, choosing the right eyebrow enhancement has other considerations.
Individuals who have normal to dry skin are perfect candidates for microblading. Since it uses a manual hand tool, the pigment doesn’t go as deep into the skin and when that’s done on an oilier skin, the retention will not be as good and it will not last as long. An alternative treatment called Microshading which typically uses a machine is more suitable for those with oily skin type.
Your microbladed brows can last anywhere from a few months to a year but their lasting effects will still vary per individual. Remember that microblading is considered as semi-permanent makeup so be prepared to come in for touchups anywhere between three and six months after your initial appointment. You can read about the factors that affect microblading’s lasting effect here. Microshading, on the other hand, tends to last longer in between touchups so that’s another thing to consider.
It is recommended that you set an appointment for an initial consultation to discuss the treatment that works best for you. Have previous eyebrow tattoo done? Read on to find out the recommended enhancement to cover them.
As mentioned above, microshading is great for those with oily or shiny skin, and those who perspire more often. It is also more suitable if you have sensitive skin.
The other main difference between microblading and shading is the technique itself. Instead of creating individual hair strokes, the microshading artist creates small pin-point dots on the brow area repetitively. This allows the pigment to set better on oilier skin.
There are two ways that microshading can be done, depending on how bold or how soft you want your brows to look like. And because it’s so versatile, you can combine or add several effects.
Soft, Powder Brows
Usually, clients who choose shading want a softer, gentler finish. This gives your brows a natural grow but will still look stunningly natural. This is great for those who like filling in their eyebrows with a lighter shade.
The Instagram Brow
Another popular term for microshading is the “Instagram Brow”. Because shading is more advanced and uses more versatile tools, the artist has the option to tweak the technique a little and give your brows a fuller, bolder finish. This is perfect for people who love the look of makeup.
With this technique, your artist can create a gradient effect on your brows as you usually see on models and celebrities. This is better accentuated when combined with microblading and this technique is called combination brows which will be discussed below.
Who is the Best Candidate for Microshading?
Aside from having sensitive or oily skin type, a client may choose shading because of the style preferences described above.
Your artist may also recommend microshading instead of microblading is if you have over plucked your eyebrows. Microblading requires that you have some of your natural brow hair to be present, even if they are sparse, so that your artist can follow or mimic your hair growth pattern.
Microshaded brows also tend to last longer than microbladed brows so it requires a less frequent maintenance schedule. You can learn more about maintaining your microbladed brows here. Considering the cost and frequency of touchup sessions, some may prefer microshading over other treatments.
Combo brows is a combination of the two treatments above. With this technique, the artist is able to achieve denser and more defined brows. The amazing thing is they will still look so natural with a hint of makeup.
Combination brows work on different skin types so it gives clients more options when it comes to enhancing their brows. You will also have the option to add an Ombre effect on top of this look.
The Combo Brow Look
Combination brows are characterized by feathered hair strokes from the beginning to the middle, and then transitions to a powdered finish toward the tails. This is what creates the added definition that’s not so prominent in microbladed brows.
The Best of Both Worlds
Most of the time, knowing that there is an option to get combination brows is what makes clients finally decide on getting a treatment. This is especially true when they can’t decide between the two.
The magic in the different microblading techniques is that there is so much you can do and combine together. As mentioned in combination brows above, some clients have the option to add an ombré effect to their brows.
This style has a similar look to that of the ombre hairstyle. It goes from light to dark and similarly, your ombre brows will have a two-tone effect.
According to our Master Instructor here at MicroBladers Studio + Academy, Mrs. Greisen, you can think of the Ombré Brow as “manicured brows“. They appear more defined, bold, and fashion-forward. Those who love keeping up with the changing fashion trends will really enjoy this look!
Is Ombre Brow Suitable for You?
This style will be suitable for a wider range of clients. It’s great for those with natural, oily, dry, and combination skin types.
If you want to include it as an additional treatment on top of microblading or microshading, your initial consideration should be if your skin type is suitable for the main treatment.
“Think of the Ombré Brows as manicured brows.”— Mrs. Greisen
Some circumstances will affect your artist’s recommendation on the most suitable eyebrow enhancement for you.
Covering Old Eyebrow Tattoos
For those who’ve had previous PMU (permanent makeup) work done on their eyebrows, such as eyebrow tattooing, there are several factors to consider when choosing the right treatment to cover them.
Many clients who have old eyebrow tattoos consider getting their brows microbladed to make them look more natural. One thing to consider is the depth of the ink that has been deposited into the skin. Compared to microblading, tattooing deposits ink into the deeper layers of the dermis. Microblading is only recommended if the ink has not gone way too deep. Otherwise, the brows will remain very dark and the hairlike strokes will not be visible enough to make a difference.
In this case, you might want to consider removal first before getting another semi-permanent eyebrow enhancement.
However, if your tattooed brows have significantly faded plus you have oily skin, microshading will still be the best alternative.
By now, you probably have a better idea of which treatment you prefer. If you still have questions, feel free to leave us a message.