When microblading first started gaining traction back in 2017, I thanked my lucky stars that I was a beauty journalist in New York City because there was nothing I wanted more than semi-permanent eyebrows. Not having to touch pomades or pencils for a couple of years sounded almost too good to be true, so I did what any savvy beauty writer does when they're curious about a new treatment — I booked a complimentary service with a local specialist and reviewed the service. Now, five years later, I wish I never had.
Back then, established microblading and cosmetic tattooing salons were harder to come by than they are now, even in a city like New York City. Nevertheless, it took mere minutes to pinpoint one of the best-regarded microblading boutiques in the city. For those unfamiliar, microblading is when a qualified technician uses a dedicated tool (it's kind of like an Exacto knife made out of tiny individual blades) to etch hair-like strokes directly onto your skin. "I dip the needles into pigment when I make each hair stroke, and I ask clients to sit and let the color sink in for a few minutes after I'm done drawing," New York City-based cosmetic tattooer Bethany Wolosky previously told Allure. "When you wipe it off, you've got eyebrows."The actual experience of getting the procedure — and getting a couple of touch-ups in the two years following — was nothing short of spectacular. The technician I saw and the salon where they worked carried every green flag possible: sterile, brightly lit space, a friendly and collaborative attitude, high attention to detail, the list goes on. I won't name this salon out of respect for its staff because my beef here has nothing to do with them, but rather everything to do with microblading as a whole.
Why? The so-called semipermanent pigments — which technicians often say should last maybe two years — still lingers in my skin more than three years after my final touch-up. You might think that to be a benefit, and the thing is, it would be… if I still liked the shape of my microblading. But I don't. It's not a bad shape by any means; it's just not the shape I want anymore. People can change a lot in five years (especially when they're in their 20s like I am), so had I known I was signing up for something that would last this long, I probably wouldn't have sought it out.