As brows continue to be a huge part of our makeup and beauty routines, there are more and more treatments and products available to change how they look. While once you were doomed to live with it if your brows were naturally sparse or if you went a little overboard with the tweezers, nowadays there’s no end to the list of ways you can improve the appearance of your brows, no matter what you’re unhappy with.
Two increasingly popular options in the brow beauty world are eyebrow tinting and microblading. Unlike simple cosmetics, these two choices are permanent, or semi-permanent. If you’re ready to commit to a full-time bold brow lifestyle, eyebrow tinting and microblading are likely already in your search history.
But when it comes to eyebrow tinting vs. microblading, what are the similarities and differences between the two? And more importantly, which one is best suited to your lifestyle—and which is going to give you the brows of your dreams?
Let’s talk about what these two treatments are, and what the pros and cons of each happen to be. After all, your brows are one of the most important features on your face! So this is a decision you’re going to want to make with all of the information available.
What Is Eyebrow Tinting?
Eyebrow tinting is actually exactly what it sounds like—it’s the process by which you get your eyebrows tinted, usually a slightly darker color, to help bring them out and bring up the color of any smaller hairs that might naturally grow in a bit fairer. Because eyebrow tinting isn’t actually adding anything, per se, to your brows hairs or their structure, it’s important to be happy with the shape of your brows before you get them tinted!
Eyebrow tinting can give you the appearance of fuller brows, but if your eyebrows are naturally super thin or sparse, or if you’re waiting for them to grow in after some serious over-plucking, we recommend starting a Brow Enhancement Serum regimen to encourage your brows to grow in a bit more.
You can use brow serum even after tinting your brows, which, if you’re looking to thicken up the appearance of your brows. This can be key because eyebrow tinting will help them look fuller and bolder while you’re waiting for the serum to work its magic.
Eyebrow tinting can last anywhere from a week or a month, depending on how careful you are when it comes to caring for your brows. In order for the tint to last as long as possible, you’ll want to avoid getting your brows wet and maybe skin over them when you wash your face with a heavy-duty cleanser or exfoliant.
Eyebrow tinting can be done at home, but should mostly be performed by a professional. Because eyebrow and eyelash tints and dyes have not yet been approved by the FDA, it’s probably best to leave it to the experts, who know how to properly patch test dye and ensure that your skin won’t have a negative reaction.
Expense-wise, eyebrow tinting is fairly affordable! The price varies depending on the caliber of the salon and where you live, but it should cost somewhere between $25 and $75. So while it’s not cheap, it’s not likely to break the bank, and if not having to do any upkeep for your brows is worth it to you, brow tinting can be a great option to embolden your brows without spending every morning in front of the mirror.
What Is Microblading?
Microblading is an increasingly popular, semi-permanent way to get the brows you want without needing an army of cosmetics at your back. If you’re really sure of how you want your brows to look and you love the idea of not having to bother with them more than once every few years—yes, years!—then microblading might be for you.
Microblading is similar to getting a tattoo. A licensed professional will use a series of tiny needles to put pigment into your skin beneath your natural eyebrow hairs. The pigment should be drawn to mimic the look of your natural hair—so when you're done, you should basically have movie star bold brows, even if that’s not what your momma gave you. Your technician will likely shape your eyebrows before getting to work to make sure you’re both super clear on the shape you want, and then you’re off to the races!
Microblading can be slightly painful, but most people don’t find it unbearable, and depending on the amount of microblading you’re getting, it can take a couple of hours to complete. You’ll have to be careful with your brows following a microblading treatment, but it isn’t likely to totally throw off your daily routine.
You’ll want to avoid getting your brows wet or sweaty for the first week while your brows heal. If you can’t imagine being out of the gym that long, don’t worry—if you need to get your brows wet, applying a layer of petroleum jelly can help to protect them from water and any kind of infection. Your brows may scab slightly after microblading, and you’ll have to be mindful not to pick them, as tempting as it may be.
Although microblading isn’t the same as getting a tattoo, it comes with a similarly hefty price tag. Depending on where you are and the level of service you’re getting, microblading can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to a few thousand. That said, when you think about the time and money you might save not having to do almost anything with your eyebrows for up to three years… it might be worth it to you!
When it comes down to it, eyebrow tinting vs. microblading is very much down to your personal tastes and preference. Some people may prefer a shorter-term solution to their brow concerns—after all, trends change all the time. If you’re changing your brows to be more en vogue, committing to up to three years with the same brow look might be a bit daunting (we see you, commitment-phobes). On the flip side, if you’re confident you’re going to love the bold brow look for years to come, microblading is a really appealing option because it locks in your look with minimal effort.
Outside of staying power, microblading is definitely going to have a bigger effect on your budget, but in order to get a true understanding of comparative costs, you’ll need to think about how much you’ll spend re-upping your eyebrow tint every few weeks, as compared with the one time cost of microblading. And, of course, if you have a fear of needles or a low pain threshold, eyebrow tinting is going to be the clear winner.
Both options can give you amazing results! Which one you choose just depends on which one suits your lifestyle (and wallet) best.
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The Role of Eyebrows in Face Recognition | National Library of Medicine
Use Eye Cosmetics Safely | Food & Drug Administration
Fact Sheet: Microblading | Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals