At Brow Exchange, we hear people sometimes refer to microblading as eyebrow tattooing, which is technically true but not 100% accurate.
Technically, microblading is eyebrow tattooing, but microblading is not like any eyebrow tattoo. Microblading is considered a “cosmetic tattoo.”
Let’s talk about the key differences between eyebrow tattooing and microblading a.k.a. cosmetic tattooing.
1. Microblading artists hand-draw each line. Eyebrow tattooing uses a machine.
This makes a big difference. Microblading features very fine lines and when applied by a skilled artist, those lines do not “bleed out” over time. Not true of traditional eyebrow tattooing. Eyebrow tattooing is usually done by a machine, with much greater injury to the skin. The lines created are not as fine and over time begin to bleed out. If you’ve ever seen someone tattoo handwriting on their skin, only to see the writing get thicker over the years, then you know the effect.
2. Microblading has different retention.
The fine lines of microblading often fade over time. For many, they fade over 1 to 3 years. With microblading, there is physically less ink deposited under the skin. In the dermis, where the ink is placed, this ink can move around over time, giving a slighter appearance. When there is a lot of ink, like in traditional tattooing, the tattoo remains very consistent, often expanding. With microblading, the ink will fade or disappear, depending on the skin type and how much ink was inserted.
3. Microblading inks maintain their color better.
Microblading does not use traditional tattoo ink. We use a different kind of ink that maintains its original hue over time. Many tattooing clients report that their tattoos turn blue or brown over time. With microblading, however, colors tend to get lighter, rather than changing hue.
4. Microblading is less painful. (And many consider it painless.)
Our artists use a topical anesthetic, which numbs clients of most of the pain. In fact, many microblading clients report little or no pain. Some people fear traditional tattoos on certain parts of their body because of the pain, but this is typically not an inhibiting factor for microblading clients.
5. Results from microblading are more natural than traditional eyebrow tattoos.
Each hair stroke is hand-drawn in microblading. To the naked eye, these initial hair strokes blend right in with a client’s real hair. While eyebrow tattoos may look more like a filled-in brow or a solid line (“sharpie look”), microblading looks more like natural eyebrow hair.
This is why microblading is such a great solution for clients with no eyebrow hair.
Men traditionally don’t get eyebrow tattoos, but men do get microblading.
6. Microblading artists are not necessarily tattoo artists and vice versa!
Microblading and tattooing each take specific training and are not linked! Microblading artists do not learn how to tattoo during their training and likewise, tattoo artists do not necessarily learn the skills necessary to become a microblading artist. For the noted differences, tattooing and microblading are each separate artforms that take their own time and training to master.