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October 17, 2021

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Microblading has taken over Instagram and changed permanent makeup

Elly Brown Eyebrow Technique

L.E. Baskow

Elly Brown is investing in semi-permanent eyebrows done by Jenn Glover at Black Spade Tattoo on Tuesday, August 23, 2016. L.E. Baskow.

Elly Brown Eyebrow Technique

Elly Brown is investing in semi-permanent eyebrows done by Jenn Glover at Black Spade Tattoo on Tuesday, August 23, 2016. L.E. Baskow. Launch slideshow »


Q: What is microblading?

A: Filling in, shaping and defining natural eyebrows with false hairs applied through delicate tattooing.

Q:How long do they last?

A: 1 to 3 years.

Q: Do they look the same on everyone?

A: Artists spend a lot of time consulting with clients to understand who they are, what their lifestyles demand and what they want the end result to look like. The idea is to make anyone’s brows look personal but perfected. Artists work along bone structure to ensure the tattoos move the same way brows do.

How are the false brows applied?

Semipermanent dye is custom-mixed by the artist for color, then applied shallowly to the skin with a hand-held tool that has a row of needles almost like the fibers of a tiny paintbrush.

After the initial appointment, clients return for a touchup once the ink has settled and the brow has healed.

If artist Jenn Glover’s Instagram is a bit of a misnomer, it’s only a credit to her experience. “People ask me all the time, ‘Why is your account named @permanentmakeup_lv? I thought this treatment was semipermanent.’ And that’s true; microblading only lasts about three years,” Glover says. “But I started out long before the semipermanent microblading technology became popular. Nowadays, people have more options.”

With a full calendar of clients from as far away as Reno and Salt Lake City, Glover doesn’t need to change a thing. I follow her Instagram account myself, fascinated by the picture-perfect brows available with microblading.

How does it work? She expertly draws lifelike hairs with temporary pigment, mimicking the full, thick appearance of real brow growth. Getting the right artist is crucial to getting that enviable, bang-on precision.

I have to get my butt into her chair.

Now, I have eyebrows. I even like my eyebrows, but I dream of a day when I can quit filling them in with makeup to achieve that effortless “I woke up like this” vibe.

“I like this so much more than the old way of using a tattoo machine, which makes those funky pink/purple hues that fade to an odd color,” Glover said during my consultation at Black Spade Tattoo. “You’ve seen people with those ‘purple line’ eyebrows, and they’re just stuck with them forever. With microblading, the pigment we use is meant to fade away and lighten up. So you can refresh the color once a year, or you can eventually just let them go away.”

Unlike a traditional tattoo that delivers one thick line, you get a much more realistic, 3-D effect of individual eyebrow hairs.

“People love the natural look of it. And the color possibilities are unlimited,” Glover said. “But I talk with everyone about the aftercare first, because it’s pointless to go through the procedure if you can’t take care of it. ”

She sees the quizzical look on my face and drops the bomb:

“The biggest issue is makeup. I recommend absolutely nothing for two weeks. And for women working in certain industries, that’s hard. A lot of makeup contains minerals and chemicals you don’t want to put into an open wound. It can affect the outcome of the color. And sometimes after I do the procedure, they call back saying, ‘the color is different now, the color is not what I wanted.’ And I know instantly they haven’t been taking care of it.”

Yikes. Two weeks without makeup? OK. I can do this. There’s a bit of flexibility around my heavy-faced gig days as a singer and a showgirl, but I can see how cocktail servers and Cirque performers would have some trouble getting around the two-week rule.

When I arrive at Black Spade, Glover begins by applying numbing cream. She admits that her location downtown can be a bit of a deal-breaker. Tattoo-parlor stereotypes keep some potential clients who might prefer to get beauty treatments by an aesthetician in a spa or salon at bay.

“A lot of people assume I should work in a salon, which is completely counterintuitive. Many clients come in because of bad work done by an aesthetician. Plus, most salons use paid models for their advertisements — it’s not even their work. And my work is normal people. You can find them on my Instagram and ask them, ‘How was it?’ ”

I look around the shop, admiring the beautiful graffiti artwork of owner King Ruck and thinking I’d find more trouble next door at the donut shop. Meanwhile, Glover is working with the patience of a watchmaker, handing me a mirror every now and then as she creates the shape. “I take face shape, hairstyle, individual coloring and lifestyle into account, and I always offer my advice. But at the end of the day, it’s your face. I want to please the client.”

By the end, my average-looking brows are bold and defined. “Wait until you see what they look like after your two-week follow-up,” she says. “You really get the full effect.”

It’s the best thing I’ve ever done to my face.

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