The Cost of Microblading
(Scroll to the bottom for a gallery of microblading done on the wrong skin types!)
What Is Microblading?
What microblading actually is is tiny cuts filled with ink. Cutting the skin isn’t great for anyone, but especially those with mature skin. In order for the skin to heal well from cuts, it needs an abundance of collagen for the repair. We start to lose 1% of collagen every year starting in our 30s…which means probably by age 40, *most* folks won’t have the ideal skin for microblading. Microblading this skin type will usually result in gray/black splotchy hairstrokes, especially on the outer half. And that’s just mature skin. Microblading also doesn’t work great on folks with inflammatory skin issues (if you flush easily or have a ruddy complexion in general) or those with oily skin, either. While there are some folks who are good candidates, the majority of the population is not!
Microblading is still one of the most popular search terms for brow tattoos. People are so drawn to the before and afters of the crisp hairstrokes that blend in with the brow hairs and they want it for themselves to fill in sparse areas and creating fuller, natural-looking brows. I get it. I’m a redhead and my own brows are sparse and super light blonde, so when I first started seeing microblading, my mind was blown! But read more to learn about the cost of microblading. The real cost.
Microblading Touchup and Refreshers
Many artists require annual refreshers (which I truly believe is a money-making scheme) and cut the skin year after year. Some well-known artists in our industry have created their own lines of pigments in recent years and those pigments DO NOT FADE in a year. The main ingredient in these pigments is carbon black. That’s what black body tattoos are made of. We’ve all seen tattoos on people that are decades old, so brows done with that same ink really aren’t going anywhere. Unfortunately, the elements of the ink that make the color brown, specifically yellow and red pigment, fade much, much faster. This leaves GRAY. Have you seen folks who got microblading done years ago and have gotten refreshers and now have a solid block of gray for eyebrows? Not a great look. :/
Why I Stopped Microblading
In 2021, I was realizing that most of my refreshers were more like full-blown brow corrections because not only were the brows mostly gray, you could barely see hairstrokes. That’s when I made a big decision: to stop microblading. I was booked a few months out working 5-6 long days a week and microblading is what built my business, but I couldn’t in good conscience keep doing that to people. Unfortunately, my business slowed way down because people were (and are!) still searching for microblading the most! Many colleagues had also taken my stance but some noticed a big drop in their number of clients and started offering it again. I will not be doing that. If my business slows to a crawl, so be it. I will continue to do the best work for each individual client.
Long-Term Results of Microblading
As of Fall 2023, I’ve done over 6000 cosmetic tattoo services, which makes me a master artist. A master artist should be using the knowledge they’ve gained through years of experience and the thousands of services to perform the best service for the best results for each individual client and their skin. Since I started my cosmetic tattoo journey with brows, the majority of my 6000 services have been brows. I’ve seen healed results from 2 months to 6 years and let me tell you something that is true: any hairstroke technique WILL blur together over time. Any fine line tattoo anywhere on the body will become much thicker, eventually, so when you’re trying to emulate individual hairs to build density in an eyebrow, it will eventually all blend together into a more solid brow.
Microblading is still the #1 training in my industry. A lot of folks offer training. In the state of Washington, you just need to be 18 and pass your bloodborne pathogens test and train for about 3 days to get your license. Someone who trains this week could tattoo people next week. This means there is a huge number of new artists being churned out in Washington. I wish the laws were different and that licensure required a lot more training and services under the belt. To get an esthetics license, for example, you have to perform 120 facials and dozens of makeup applications and waxing services and take a test to get a license. But until new laws are passed, Washingtonians especially need to really do their research or establish realistic expectations, especially for microblading!
Being a New Artist
We were all new artists at one point, but with a brand-new artist, they won’t have the knowledge base yet to know how to work on all skin types. I myself spent 6 months practicing and studying and taking more trainings, even though legally, I didn’t have to. Not everyone does that, or is able to, though. Many folks need to start making money right away, so they start their business right away. Even with all the extra work I put in, it still took a couple years before I had more confidence in my work.
The Cost of Microblading
Any cosmetic tattoo is a luxury service. But if you’re searching for a service solely based on cost, that’s a big mistake. I have had to fix hundreds of botched eyebrows that were gotten through groupon, practice models and just brand-new artists who don’t know who should and should not be microbladed. Many of these brows need removal done, either by me or to one of the laser removal technicians I refer folks to. Each removal session is $150-200 and most folks need 2-4 sessions, spaced 2-3 months apart. Then once the tattoo is light enough, getting a brow correction is more expensive than a brow tattoo service on virgin skin because it’s more complicated working on compromised skin. Many of these folks have spent well over $1000 and waited over a year to get their brows fixed. Saving up for a service a little longer or just financing all or part of it would save you so much time, money and frustration.
When I was a newer artist, my prices reflected that. My brow prices started around $250. Now that I have tons of experience and knowledge under my belt, my value has increased to where it is today because my healed results are excellent. It is worth it and you can see the results you’re going to get on many other clients who have come in. I am not botching folks. But even with my current prices, they’re still below the average for a master artist because I’ve made wise business decisions to keep my overhead lower, and can pass those savings onto my clients!
How to Find The Cosmetic Tattoo Artist That’s Right for You
I wrote this blog because of the amount of tears of frustration that have been shed in my shop by women who have been made to feel hideous from a botch job. It breaks my heart. So, how do you find the artist who is right for you? The absolute best way to find a good artist is by finding pictures and ESPECIALLY video of healed results on someone with skin similar to yours. Videos don’t lie. Someone who is 60 simply will not heal like someone who is 30, so it’s important to find a comparable client case. I post tons of healed work, so what you see is what you get…but you may not like my work and that’s okay. Just look for healed work. If you go with someone who only shows fresh work on young skin and you voted in the Bush/Gore election…your healed brows will likely look nothing like that.
I’m posting pictures of botched brows that have been sent to me in the last few months, or that I’ve seen in person. These clients wish to remain anonymous, but you can still see the eyebrows. Please, please do your research. Don’t let this happen to you.