09.29.2022
Reader Question: The Difference Between Microblading and Feathering

woman looking in the mirror to share Microblading and Feathering

Hi Jamie,

I’ve been thinking about changing up my eyebrows a bit. Do you recommend microblading or feathering? Or both? I’m a little clueless here.

Thx!

E

Hi E!

Great question, for real.  In all honestly, I do feel like it’s a little confusing and I’m glad you asked this question.  The last few years have brought a big rise in the popularity of microblading and feathering to give you that that look of naturally full brows, and for good reason – they are both awesome options if you want thicker, fuller eyebrows. That said, I wanted to make a BIG note that it’s really important that you see a brow expert (a la Kristie Streicher if you’re in LA) because eyebrow tattoos, cosmetic tattoos, or whatever you want to call them are semi permanent and there’s no one size fits all for eyebrow hair.

Here’s the whole breakdown… <3

xo,

Jamie

The Difference Between Microblading and Feathering

What is microblading?

Microblading is a type of eyebrow tattoo, but it’s not totally permanent like a regular tattoo.  This semi-permanent technique is created with a tattoo gun and uses a tiny needle to create hair like strokes of pigment to fill in those sparse areas.  The technique is great for filling in sparse areas of the eyebrow and is meant to look like real eyebrow hairs.

PROS

It really does make your brows look full AF

Like I mentioned above, microblading is a great technique to give you the look of super, naturally full brows AND fill in sparse areas of your eyebrow hair.

It will last 1-3 years

Depending on your individual skin type (oily skin types beware!), microblading can last one to three years!  That’s a decent amount of time to not have to worry about filling in your brows, right?  That said, it is recommended that you get touch-ups every year or so just to keep up the look of real eyebrow hairs.

It’s not super painful

I put this under “pro” because I feel like you would expect microblading to be really painful, especially given that it’s similar to a real tattoo.  According to my friends, it really doesn’t hurt much.  Your brow expert can use numbing cream (don’t be a hero, use the cream), the pain is comparable to a slightly painful session of tweezing your eyebrows.

CONS

The cost

The cost is determined by many factors – your artist, what you need done, where you live, etc. – but you can generally expect to pay around $500 to $2,500, depending.  This ain’t cheap…but when you think about how much you’re already spending on eyebrow products, maybe you can justify it?

Healing and downtime

When my friends have had microblading done, I’ll be honest…they looked insane, lol.  The first few days you will see that your eyebrows are SUPER DARK and look huge, and that’s totally normal.  Redness, scabbing, swelling, etc. will be expected for about a week after you have the treatment done, so you’ve gotta plan accordingly.  You also can’t get your eyebrows wet, sweat excessively or be in the sun for the week after your treatment.  Basically, it just requires a little advanced planning – not a huge deal, but something to consider.

Not everyone is a good candidate

This is why it’s really crucial to get a consult with a brow expert; not everyone will be a good candidate, especially if your skin type is super sensitive or you have skin conditions like cystic acne around your brow area.  Got oily skin?  Microblading can actually fade super if your skin leans toward oily, which means you’re not really getting the full bang for your buck.

Eyebrow trends change

Big, thick eyebrow hair gained a lot of popularity a few years ago but, I gotta be honest, I feel like that trend is since very over.  I’m not saying that the pencil-thin brows of the early 2000s is back – definitely not – but I do think those bushy eyebrows are not as hot as they used to be (which I’m totalllly good with, lol).  So, point being – trends change.  If you do microblade your eyebrows, you are stuck with THAT look for at least one to three years.

What is feathering?

Eyebrow feathering, simply put, is a “lighter” version of microblading – you’ve probably seen the feathered brow look all over your IG, right?  This technique uses the same hair like strokes, but feathering is better suited for someone who already has a good natural brow shape and is only looking for a subtle change – and maybe a little extra oomph to get you some fluffy, natural-looking brows.

PROS

Very little downtime

Unlike traditional microblading, since feathering is less ink, there isn’t any official downtime after the treatment.  Your brows will look a little darker for the first few days, similar to microblading, but then will go back to normal.

It gives you a more-natural look

Like I mentioned earlier, the feathered brow look is essentially microblading light. It can be a better option for anyone who doesn’t want crazy, big brows that will go in and out of trend.  This technique is definitely better for overall fullness and symmetry, in addition to someone who wants to keep more of the look of their real eyebrows.

The cost

It can still be pricey, depending on your artist and where you live. Since you might only potentially be filling in an area to create fullness, you may end up spending a lot less than you would for traditional microblading.

CONS

It doesn’t last as long

Eyebrow feathering is slightly less permanent than microbladiing and typically lasts for about eight to 18 months, on average.  And you definitely also need touch-ups, just like with microblading.

It’s still not for every skin type

Just like microblading, if you have sensitive skin, skin conditions around your eyebrow area, or oily skin in general, feathering might not be for you. It’s important to consult your brow expert before doing any treatments.

Microblading Or Feathering: Which Is Better?

When it comes to eyebrow tattoos (aka microblading and feathering), I think it really depends on what your existing brows look like. Also, what your eyebrow goals are.  For me personally, if I WERE to do one, it would definitely be feathering.  I’m really not into the big, bold brow look, but I also have a really nice natural shape and thickness to my eyebrows…so it’s really just so dependent. Each technique gives you really amazing hair like stroke. And, either way, you will give you the look of naturally full brows.

 

Photo by Felicia LaSala

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