Full, natural-looking brows are still trending (and hopefully they always will), and we’re still big believers that well-groomed brows can transform your face. But, unfortunately, perfectly filled-in eyebrows requires a lot of products and adds extra time to your beauty routine in the morning.
That’s why microblading has become such a hit with on-the-go women, but we wanted to find out if it’s really worth all the hype. So, we sent our fashion editor Xolani Gumede to PhiBrows to be our guinea pig…
Read more: How to get perfect eyebrows in 10 minutes
Meet Xolani and her product-free brows
I have been filling in my eyebrows since I was in university. My mother – who has beautiful and full eyebrows, and really doesn’t need to fill them in – taught me how, and I have been happily doing it ever since. Except, like many women, on mornings when time isn’t on my side. That’s when the questions pour in: Did you over pluck your brows when you were younger? Why aren’t you wearing any makeup? Are you feeling sick today? (my favourite!)
So, when the Essentials team wanted someone to test out microblading, I said ‘yes, please’ right away. Since all the celebs are doing it, I thought this just might be the solution for me.
So, what exactly is microblading?
Microblading is a procedure similar to tattooing; but unlike a tattoo, the artist manually inserts pigment into the upper layers of the skin instead. The pigment is embedded into the top layers of the skin with a fine needle-like tool to create hair-like strokes mimicking your own hair texture and colour.
Because the pigment is not placed as deep as a normal tattoo, the results are semi-permanent. Your new brows will last between 1-2 years depending on your skin, and how well you take care of them.
I booked my appointment at PhiBrows, an international company brought to South Africa by Jade Petkov. After spending years in the tattoo industry, Jade qualified as a Micro-pigmentation Specialist and opened PhiBrows S.A in 2015.
Jade is now a PhiBrows master and trainer, equipping the next generation of South African artists with all the knowledge and skills she has learnt. Based in Townsend Office park in Bedfordview, Jade’s studio is quite central whether you’re coming from Pretoria or Johannesburg. And unlike other artists, Jade’s microblading price – which is R3 300 – includes a touch-up session.
What to expect during an appointment:
Honestly, I was very nervous going into the studio. As a person of colour, my fears went beyond just the pain to include questions like ‘Would she get my hair stroke correct? Would the pigment complement my skin tone? Would it heal perfectly without scarring?’.
But Jade put me at ease instantly, answering all my questions and showing me tons of photos of her previous clients – Jade has experience microblading men and women, all races, and all hair types. Plus, her own brows were amazing which always helps.
Read more: Would you pay R6 000 for flawless skin?
The procedure takes about 1.5-2 hours. First, Jade mapped out the best brow shape for my face – no crazy brow trends here, ladies. Once I approved the shape, the actual microblading began. For the first round, she didn’t use any numbing cream as too much can hinder the pigment from adhering to your skin.
Once both brows were done, Jade applied a numbing cream to embed more pigment to the individual hair strokes she previously made (now you really will feel nothing at all).
I know a lot of people are worried about the pain, but I was not uncomfortable during my appointment. It felt like my eyebrows were being plucked. And on a pain meter up to 5, I would rate it a 1. Besides, if you’ve had a tattoo in a sensitive area or even had your eyebrows threaded or waxed before, this will be a walk in the park for you.
…And the results (what you really want to know about):
This is me before and immediately after. Needless to say, I was thrilled with my results!
Is there an aftercare routine?
PhiBrows has put together a little aftercare package, that is skin-type specific: oily, dry or combination. In it, there was a mini neutral soap, their ‘skin candy’, an instructional pamphlet, and cotton wipes.
For the next two weeks, I had to avoid sunlight and couldn’t use water or harsh soap directly on my brows. After that, it was recommended that I used sunscreen, and avoid using peels or harsh chemicals on my brows for a longer lasting effect.