Although some of us grew up learning how to tweeze our brows or going to our local salon to get them waxed regularly, the variety of grooming techniques for our arches have since expanded. Along with brow lamination and threading, we’re adding two more popular options to the list: microblading and powder brows. Both are trending, but which one is better? We tapped an expert to learn more about powder brows vs. microblading to determine the superior treatment for getting fluffier, more defined arches.
Powder Brows vs. Microblading: Which One is Better for Getting Fuller Arches?
From cost to aftercare and maintenance
Meet the Expert
- Alixandria Capparelli is an expert brow artist and founder of Hairy Little Things, a salon that offers brow, lash and lip services in California. She has more than 13 years of experience, specializing in makeup and skincare. Her previous clients include Gwyneth Paltrow, Paris Hilton, Robin Roberts and Katharine McPhee.
What Is Microblading?
Microblading is a semi-permanent service that involves creating individual hair-like strokes using a handheld device filled with tiny, fine needles. This intricate technique gives the illusion of natural-looking brows. “It’s popular because it gives you the opportunity to enhance your brows using the technology of permanent makeup (PMU), all while keeping it natural and looking like real hair if done correctly,” explains Capparelli.
What Are the Benefits of Microblading?
If you have thin or sparse eyebrows, microblading can help fill in those gaps. The technique is also completely customizable to fit your desired aesthetic. Whether you want fluffy or super defined arches, microblading allows you to achieve any look.
Are There Any Downsides to Microblading?
Microblading is relatively safe, however, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult with their doctor. You also want to keep in mind that this technique penetrates ink deep into the skin (similar to getting a tattoo), so you may experience some redness and discomfort. You can also run the risk of infection or an allergic reaction if it’s not done by a professional. “If done incorrectly, microblading can look very blurry or off-putting. It can also create hardened tissue in and around the brow area,” adds Capparelli.
How Long Does Microblading Take?
The process can take one to two hours, including a consultation and step-by-step guide to the treatment. First, a numbing cream is applied onto the area to minimize the pain. Next, the artist dips the tool into the pigment and goes to work, applying individual strokes onto the brow. Finally, a soothing cream is applied to help heal and calm the skin.
How Long Does Microblading Last?
Microblading can last for a year or two depending on your skin type, sun exposure and lifestyle. Ink tends to fade faster on oilier skin, so you’ll want to consider a touch-up appointment every 12-18 months to keep up its appearance.
What’s the Healing Process for Microblading?
It takes four to six weeks to fully heal. During the healing process, your brows will look slightly darker, but will fade naturally in about three to four days. You may also deal with some redness, swelling and/or scabbing over the next couple of days, which is completely normal. Just avoid touching or picking at the scabs and stick to your aftercare routine.
How Much Does Microblading Cost?
The average cost of microblading is $300 to $1,000+, depending on the artist, location or salon popularity.
What Are Powder Brows?
Powder brows are a semi-permanent technique where tiny dots of pigment are applied to your skin using a digital machine or handheld tool. Also known as ombré brows or microshading, a lighter shade is used at the front of the brows and gets increasingly darker towards the tail to create a gradient effect. “It’s popular in the permanent makeup community because it mimics the look of eyebrow makeup. Clients who don't have a lot of natural brow hair to begin with tend to like this method due to the definition you can create with the powder technique,” says Capparelli.
What Are the Benefits of Powder Brows?
If you have thick or straight brows, powder brows can help define and shape your arches. The technique is also less invasive, so it’s a gentler option for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin. Bottom line: If you prefer a softer makeup look without having to use brow products, this procedure is the one for you.
What Are the Downsides of Powder Brows?
Similar to microblading, powder brows are generally considered to be safe. Just make sure to consult with your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. While it’s a gentler option than microblading, you may still experience some discomfort and minor redness. You can also run the risk of infection or have an allergic reaction in the wrong hands, so do some research before committing to an appointment.
How Long Do Powder Brows Take?
The process is similar to microblading. According to Capparelli, a numbing cream is applied onto the area for about 15 to 20 minutes to minimize the pain. Next, the artist dips the tool into the pigment and goes to work, applying tiny dots onto the brow. Finally, a soothing cream is applied to heal and calm the skin.
How Long Do Powder Brows Last?
Powder brows can last for one to three years depending on your skin type, sun exposure and lifestyle. Capparelli recommends getting your brows refreshed every one to two years.
What’s the Healing Process for Powder Brows?
It takes four to six weeks to fully heal. Similar to microblading, brows will look slightly darker, but will fade naturally in a few days. You may also deal with some redness, swelling and/or scabbing over the next couple of days. Just avoid touching or picking at the scabs and stick to your aftercare routine.
How Much Do Powder Brows Cost?
The average cost of powder brows is $500 to $1,000+, depending on the artist, location or salon popularity.
What's the Difference Between Powder Brows and Microblading?
Although they’re both semi-permanent techniques that enhance your natural brows, they have many differences that make them unique. The key differences are their methods, finishes, healing time, longevity and skin types.
- Methods: Microblading uses tiny needles to penetrate deeper into the upper layers of the skin and consists of small individual strokes throughout the brows. Meanwhile, powder brows use nano needles to gently scratch the surface of the skin and creates more of an ombré effect.
- Healing Time: While they both heal in about four to six weeks, microblading can take a shorter time to heal. Scabbing and flaking are minimal for microblading and can last for up to two weeks. On the flip side, powder brows deals with larger chunks of scabbing, so it’s best not to remove any as it can take away the pigment of the treatment.
- Finish: Microblading offers a subtle and natural finish, while powder brows are more dramatic and defined.
- Longevity: Both can last for up to a year or two, however, powder brows can stay on longer. As mentioned, the longevity varies depending on your skin type, sun exposure and lifestyle. Although both require touch ups, powder brows need to be refreshed every eight to 16 months after the initial session, whereas microblading needs to be touched up every six to 12 months.
- Skin Types: Powder brows work best on oily skin, as it would last longer and won’t blur as it would with microblading. Also, microblading doesn’t take as well to oily skin and can fade faster. Microblading may also be too invasive for sensitive or mature skin due to the tiny needles cutting through the skin.
So, Which One Is Better for Getting Fuller Arches?
Honestly, it’s going to come down to the factors we listed above. To help make your decision, Capperelli suggests looking through a handful of brow inspiration photos. “Sit down and dissect them. If all the photos you’ve selected feature brows that are fluffy and natural, then I would say to try microblading. If the brows have a more defined look, go for powder brows,” she says.
No matter which treatment you go for, Capparelli recommends keeping the area dry for a week or two after your appointment (so keep ‘em covered while showering) and try to refrain from sweating too much (so tone down your workouts while your new brows heal).
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