I’ve struggled with my eyebrows for as long as I can remember. Not only have they never had an arch, but they also tend to grow downwards. Luckily, my brows are light, but I also never thought penciling them in looked very natural on me. When I first heard about microblading I felt like I had finally found my answer. I found Kendra Bray of Better Brows NYC. A former model who herself had suffered from misshaped brows, Bray tried the beauty trend on herself, and after seeing the results, she got into the business full-time. Here’s a play-by-play of the process as I experienced it (before and after photos are above).
Day 1: I went to Kendra’s clinic in the Flatiron, which was clean and professional. She was very warm and immediately put me at ease about the whole process. Any beauty treatment with “blade” in the name isn’t the most inviting, after all. We went over in detail how I wanted the shape of my brow to look. I wanted to fill in my brows and create an arch, but I adamantly did not want to have perfect Kardashian-style brows. Most of all, I wanted them to look natural. I took an Aleve before heading to the appointment in anticipation of some pain. The needle felt like tiny little scrapes, uncomfortable, but by no means excruciating—and I’m a wimp with a very low pain threshold! The whole process took about an hour, but the actual needling took just 15 minutes. The result? My brows instantly looked amazing, but the dye is very strong the first day so it also kind of looked like I had really gone nuts with a brow pencil. I put Neosporin on them and tried to sleep on my back that night so I didn’t mess up the fresh dye.
Weeks 1 and 2: The next day I went to the office and everyone wanted to see my new brows; if they looked crazy, no one was telling me. In public, I felt the need to tell everyone I just had microblading done so they wouldn’t think I had a really weird makeup situation going on. I had dinner with a friend later in the week at The Standard Grille and while he politely didn’t say anything during that encounter he later told me, “I just kept thinking, ‘Don’t stare at her brows, don’t stare at her brows, don’t stare at her brows.” So yeah, they looked weird. Also, the brows have to heal, which means that they also start to peel and scab, so there was a brief period where it looked like I had dandruff in my brows…beautiful.
Week 3: Hooray! My brows are healed and look fabulous. I’m loving them.
Week 4: Time to go back and get bladed again. A second appointment about four weeks later is required to fill in any missing details after the initial healing process. This time I didn’t take an Aleve before the appointment and regretted it.
Weeks 5 to 7: Two weeks after my second appointment my brows are complete, and despite the long process and brief periods of looking like I had picked up on a bad makeup trend, I can say with full conviction that microblading is the best thing I’ve ever done for my brows. Proof? I went to dinner with some friends for my birthday around this time and the next day, my friend texted me: “Between us girls, did you get some work done?” New look, no knife (ok, a tiny blade but still…). Success.
Plus! The professional weighs in: Kendra Bray reveals more about what you can expect from the process.
How did you get started in microblading?
I was modeling for years and when you are in front of the camera you are very aware of all of your flaws. My eyebrows are very sparse and very asymmetrical. I was just so self-conscious about them and I was looking for a solution. I called different salons and researched—I had never heard of microblading. One salon told me that I might be a candidate for it. I went and got it done and I fell in love with it. At the time there weren’t many people in New York offering the service, so I saw a business opportunity there. I got certified, and the rest is history.
What do people expect from the process?
It varies. I get the extreme people who picture before and after on Instagram and think they can just make an appointment and come in and they are going to leave with these perfect brows forever and that’s it. Then I have others who have had theirs tattooed and have a little bit more knowledge. We’re working with the skin, which is a living organism that’s always changing. I have to educate clients as much as possible on all the stages they are going to go through.
What would you say if someone is fearing the permanency?
Traditional eyebrow tattoos go deeper into the skin. In microblading we’re going very shallow, and that’s one of the reasons it won’t last forever. The pigments that I use are designed to slowly fade over time. Microblading is a good place to start in the world of permanent makeup because you are not going to live with it for the rest of your life.
How does it work on different skin tones?
The big part is with the pigments. It’s not just about finding a pigment color that looks great in the bottle; you have to consider whether the skin has a lot of red tones or purple tones or yellow tones.
How much does it cost?
My fee is $699, which includes the first appointment as well as your touch-up appointment.