The difference between microblading and nano needling
Microblading or brow embroidery involves using a small, sharp instrument of 10-16 fine needles configured into a blade shape to deposit pigment into the skin. Once the cuts have been made, pigment is left on the skin for several minutes and the anaesthetic is then applied making the rest of the treatment virtually painless.
Nano needling or micropigmentation, uses a conventional needle device. Since the needle sits approximately 0.75mm outside the cartridge it is easier to apply the precise pressure to create the perfect crisp hair strokes. Thus, it tends to be a much cleaner process. The very tip of the needle is dipped into the pigment and the vibration pulls the pigment down into the cartridge. It is then dispensed gradually from the needle into the skin, allowing for a controlled movement.
Leader in permanent makeup cosmetics, Tracie Giles, explains:
"Nano needles are fascinating as they are the size of a hair and flexible. In essence they can be used to draw to replicate a real hair in the skin with minimum trauma. The can be sizes such as .35; .3; .25 and even .2 for fine wispy hairs.
"I LOVE these needles because even for heavier handed techs it is almost impossible to cause any real damage to the skin or to implant the mineral pigment too deep which is where many techs who don’t naturally have the magic touch can go wrong.
"Micro Blades give exactly the same result but the risk of injury to the skin is much higher. There are few true artists who can MB beautifully to achieve this really natural effect of hairstrokes.
"Sometimes I MicroBlade and I do have two Master Bladers in my clinic who I know and trust - they are truly gifted. One is called Sian and she is new to my team but I saw her beautiful safe work and knew that since ‘Microblading’ is such a buzz word right now, we would only have the best of the best working and teaching this technique for us."
It takes time
As you can imagine, etching hair stroke by hair stroke is a meticulous art so don't expect it to be an in and out jobby. The treatment itself isn't all that long (it probably took around an hour) but everything that goes before that: the drawing, the checking, the measuring symmetry - it all takes time, and when someone's armed with a needle-like device and your face you're kind glad they're so precise.
It might hurt (a little)
But it's totally worth it. Anaesthetic gel is applied before the treatment to minimise discomfort, but I'm not going to lie, I did find it pretty painful. That said I have friends that have had it done and they say they didn't wince at all. So either I could be a big baby OR the treatment hurts more if you've got strong skin... turns out I had strong skin.
Tracie explained, the tougher your skin the more painful you'll find it as she has to etch over and over to get the skin to take the perfect hair stroke. But, it also means in the long run the treatment will hold longer. Every cloud!
Since I've said it did hurt me I better try and explain what kind of pain it feels like. I've had a tattoo on my wrist and I can't say it felt anything like that. That said, I've never had a tattoo on on my face so anyone that has might want to beg to differ there. I found it to be more of a scratchy, vibrating, grit-your-teeth kind of pain. If that helps! I'm not sure it does, but you know, some people want deets! Would I do it again? Absolutely.
The results WILL be amazing
As Tracie Giles's treatments are bespoke, you're undoubtedly going to walk away with an amazing set of brows but I get it, brows are a bigger deal now than ever and you don't want someone to fudge them up.
Before my appointment, I trawled through Instagram and Tracie's account, screen-shotting all the brows I liked so she could see exactly what I wanted and so she could make changes where necessary to suit my brow shape. For me, it was about filling in the sparse, fair brows and creating a bit more definition to save me all that filling-in time. Big cartoon brows were an absolute no no - and though I might have felt like I was stating the obvious to the queen of brows herself (as if she was going to ever let me leave looking like a human Sharpie), it's so important that you're clear about what kind of result you want. Whether you want a strong statement set of brows of feathery and natural, Tracie will discuss which brow treatment is best for the effect you want to achieve.
It's worth noting that your brows will look up to 70% darker for the next 4-7 days after the treatment, so don't come away thinking sh*t the bed - they're Scouse! Mine looked slightly darker brown for around 5 days but even so, they still looked natural.
You then return for a top-up in 4 weeks time. This is also an opportunity to make any blurry hair strokes nice and defined again.
This is how mine are looking a week after my top up session. I have absolutely zero product in my brows. No powder, no pencil, no nada. Seriously, my makeup routine just got a whole lot quicker!
Tracie is LOVELY
During the treatment, Tracie will ensure you're comfortable and well-informed throughout. She'll probably speak to you about normal things like the EU referendum, her dog and this amazing Polish radio station with no adverts she's listening to. It's amazing and she's amazing.
Will I need downtime?
I always thought my skin was quite sensitive and I've seen many post-microblading/nano needling photos with a lot of redness but surprisingly, by the time I got on the tube from Knightsbridge, the redness had gone. If you do experience a lot of redness, Tracie has a specially formulated silicone concealer on hand to help a girl out.
The healing process
Again, it depends on your skin but Tracie gives you a whole heap of advice before you go on your way with your new brows. Generally, it's common sense advice like don't pick at the scabs, do not expose the treated area(s) to extreme heat or cold until the healing process is complete and use a sunscreen. But it also explains what products to avoid and how to cleanse the area affectively. I didn't experience any scabbing or swelling either, they were slightly dryer than usual but this wasn't noticeable to anyone else.
The price tag
Prices range from £495-£795 depending on which Tracie Giles Elite technician you go with and results should last for several years, though this is dependent on skin type, sun exposure and lifestyle.
Tracie recommends getting a touch up every 12-18 months.
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