Written by Valerie Monroe, writer and former magazine editor who was for nearly 16 years the beauty director at O, The Oprah Magazine.
My eyebrows have officially been microbladed—and it is the most aesthetically satisfying treatment I’ve ever had…in around 20 years of exposure to the best of the best.
I’ve tried filler a few times; I have neuromodulator injections (like Botox) in my forehead around twice a year; and I’ve had numerous laser and microneedling experiences over the past two decades. Of all these, I’ve found neuromodulator shots give me the best boost for my buck. Until recently.
If you doubt how your eyebrows can contribute to your appearance, please go read Arch Support now, a post about the many cues brows can communicate. Figuring out a maintenance routine for thinning or patchy brows, though it may take some work, can get you fine results. But there may come a time when enough of your brows seem to be playing hide-and-seek or successfully managing a vanishing act, and filling them in every morning becomes either impossible or a chore you’d rather skip. For me, it was the latter. Even though I’d found the perfect pencils—this one and this one—I decided I wanted the brows I like without all the sketching in.
Like many of you, I was reluctant to go the microblading route because it’s semi-permanent, meaning you can’t wash it off. I’d seen enough microbladed brows I wouldn’t want on my face to keep me from committing.
And then I read a post from Jessica Defino, a journalist who covers the beauty industry the way Woodward and Bernstein covered Watergate. She recommended someone who’d recently microbladed her brows and with whom she was very happy (here’s her story about it for Vogue). On that recommendation, I arranged a consultation with Delphine Breyne.
Before I get into specifics, here’s why my advice feels pickled: First, Delphine comped me. Ordinarily, it would be enough transparency just to tell you this, as beauty writers are constantly comped by marketers in an effort to increase product or service exposure. But I’m also going to tell you that Delphine is the only person I’d trust to microblade my brows.
Another issue: She has just one studio, in New York City.
And finally: She is wildly expensive. I blanched at her numbers and then I watched her work. And I’ve decided to tell you that if you really want to be microbladed, I believe it’s worth investing in an artist, and that you should read about my experience as a template for what to look for to get your money’s worth.
You do want your money’s worth, because we’re talking about your face. So you want someone like Delphine—Michelangelo with a microblade—whose work is completely natural-looking. (How natural? I can’t see the microblading unless I look at my brows with a 6x magnifying mirror.)
I deliberated giving you a blow-by-blow of my consultation and follow-up appointment. But all you really need to know is that I went to the consultation more unwilling than not to have the treatment—and that after a conversation with Delphine, I decided I trusted her. She was completely neutral about my decision and seemed unconcerned about the time it might take me to get there. When I finally decided to go for it, she explained the process, step by step.
She was meticulous, taking measurements, comparing various shades of dye against my skin, and asking how I was doing at frequent intervals. She sees no more than four clients a day in her atelier if they’re getting a first treatment because it can take up to two hours and she doesn’t want to be rushed. She sent me off with clear follow-up instructions, including a chart that indicates what to expect as the microblading healed.
It’s normal for brows to look different every few days as the skin recovers, though mine didn’t differ dramatically day-to-day. She texted me several times the following week to ask how I was doing. Results typically last a year or longer, and eventually fade.
You would be smart to wonder if my experience was unusual, as Delphine knows I write about beauty. Check out her reviews by civilians here.
As for the expense, think of it the way you’d think of finding a dermatologist or plastic surgeon for an in-office treatment. I’ve been to a few dermatologists whose work on me was less than satisfactory (the promised results never materialized) and I have paid more for treatments with doctors whose results I’ve found more pleasing.
If you decide to go the microblading route and you live outside the New York metropolitan area, my best advice is that you speak with the microblading technician, look at tons of before-and-after photos, and read reviews (but not on Yelp, which I find unreliable) before you submit.
In terms of risk, permanence, and potential satisfaction, microblading is probably as close as I’m going to get to a face-lift. And I’m glad I did it. If you’ve had it up to here with patchy brows, you might find it a rewarding option, too.