Microblading vs. Tattoo: Understanding the Difference

Emily LaCroix

In the pantheon of brow modifications, microblading is a well-known goddess that can elevate even the sparsest eyebrows from thin to the divine. When we think of microblading, however, we often think of it as being the same as getting a tattoo, and this isn’t actually the case! 

Eyebrow tattooing is, however, a thing! Both eyebrow tattoos and microblading can be an excellent solution if your brows are on the thinner side and it’s not the look you prefer. But before you make a decision, it’s important to understand the differences between the two so you can select the best treatment for you.

What Is Microblading?

Microblading is a popular, semi-permanent way of enhancing your natural brows. With so many amazing eyebrow fillers on the market, there’s an endless list of ways to go about filling out your brows. But if a daily makeup routine isn’t in the cards for you, and the idea of having to go to a beauty salon every couple of weeks for maintenance also seems out of the question and you still want the look of thick, structured brows, microblading is a great option.

Similar to getting a tattoo (although not the same;  more on that later!), microblading uses a series of tiny needles to lay pigment under the skin of your eyebrow in delicate lines that match the color of your hair and mimics the look of full, luxurious brows. Microblading is done by hand, so your specialist can be very intentional about where they place these strokes, ensuring that you have the exact look you want.

Does Microblading Hurt?

The answer really depends on your pain tolerance. In general, people who get their eyebrows microbladed tend to report that they experience minimal discomfort—the needles are small, and as long as your specialist is skilled, they work quickly, so it should be a big deal. You might have some soreness afterward, but it shouldn’t be anything serious enough to interfere with your day!

How Long Does Microblading Take?

Getting your eyebrows microbladed can take a couple of hours. If that sounds like a long time, it’s offset by how long the effects of Microblading last. 

How Long Does Microblading Last?

Microblading can last for between one and three years. Yes, years!

When compared to the three to four weeks you get out of eyebrow tinting, that’s a seriously long time! If you can spare the money and hate having to bother with regular upkeep, microblading is a great option to give you the appearance of thick, lush brows with almost no effort after the initial appointment.

How Much Does Microblading Cost?

When it comes to money, microblading isn’t going to spare your wallet. Microblading can cost anywhere from $200 to $5,000, and sometimes more, depending on how upscale you’re going with your provider, and where you live (we’re just saying… if you live in a major city and you have a facility you trust in your smaller hometown… it might be a good idea to look into the prices in the smaller town next time you take a weekend away!).  

It’s tempting to choose the cheapest option when you’re looking at a number that might make a serious dent in your budget, but it’s important that Microblading is done in a safe and sanitary environment. So when it comes to choosing your specialist, microblading isn’t where you should be cutting corners! 

All that said, when you add up the amount you might spend otherwise on three years of more short-term eyebrow solutions, it might not be so expensive, after all.

Is There a Lot of Aftercare With Microblading?

There is some aftercare with microblading, but it’s not going to eat up your whole day. In general, the first week after your eyebrows have been microbladed, you should avoid getting them wet or sweaty. 

If you’re addicted to your morning run, you should probably apply an ointment to your brows first to offer them some extra protection. For the first 24 hours, it’s recommended that you apply an antibacterial ointment to your shiny new brows, and afterward, something thick like vaseline will help protect the affected skin for about a week after.

If your brows start to scab a bit after treatment, be mindful not to pick at them! And until they heal, you should avoid using anything acidic on your face, or applying any retinol. Once your brows have healed, though, you’re home-free!

What Are Eyebrow Tattoos?

An eyebrow tattoo is exactly what it sounds like! Instead of drawing many tiny hairs with a semi-permanent pigment with the use of tiny needles, eyebrow tattoos are applied like every other tattoo, typically using a tattoo gun and traditional tattoo ink.

How Long Do Eyebrow Tattoos Last?

Eyebrow tattoos last pretty much forever! Like any tattoo, the ink will fade over time. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but as tattoo ink fades, lines tend to spread, and the color of the ink can change slightly. It’s worth discussing with your tattoo artist what your tattoo will look like in the future, and see if they can show you pictures of clients a few weeks after their initial tattoo.

This doesn’t mean that an eyebrow tattoo won’t look great forever. All we’re saying is that it’s important to do your due diligence, to make sure you’re not going to leave with a tattoo that gives you perfect brows temporarily, and slightly off-colored brows later on. A tattoo artist with experience in facial and makeup tattoos should be able to solve this—so be mindful and diligent when you’re making your selection!

How Much Will Brow Tattoos Cost?

The short of it is, tattoos ain’t cheap! Anyone who’s become addicted to them after getting their first knows this all too well. A small, simple tattoo on an easy-to-tattoo area can cost at least $50, if not more if you’re going to a well-established artist. So permanent makeup can get up there in price quite easily.

If you think getting your eyebrows tattooed is the right choice for you, we highly recommend doing your research. It might be tempting to pop into any shop that has a price range that feels comfortable, but with something that’ll be permanently on your face, you’ll want to make sure you’re in the hands of a tattoo artist you trust, with a proven track record of delivering excellent results.

Tattoos are permanent, so if it doesn’t turn out as you imagined, or you go with an inexperienced artist who makes an even minor mistake, it can be a real heartbreaker. Tattoo removal is more expensive than the tattoo itself, and on a delicate area like the face, can be really difficult to achieve.

How Are Eyebrow Tattoos Different From Microblading?

They differ in a few key ways! For one, eyebrow tattoos have greater longevity, but they’re harsher on your skin, and because they last effectively forever, if you don’t love the results, it’s going to be a long road to fixing them. 

Eyebrow tattoos can be more expensive, and although they’re executed by an artist, they are usually done with a tattoo gun or machine, which gives the artist less control than a Microblading specialist is able to have, hand drawing with needles. Tattoos can also be slightly more painful for this reason.

What Are Your Options if You’re Unsure About Something Semi-Permanent or Permanent?

If you love the look of microbladed or tattooed eyebrows, but you’re daunted by the idea of making a modification that is either entirely permanent or will last for a couple of years, you have options! And we totally understand. While permanent makeup can be tempting because it’s low maintenance, and when done well, looks amazing… eyebrow trends are constantly changing! 

We laugh a bit at pop stars in the 90s with their pencil-thin brows now, but fashion tends to be circular, so who’s to say that the brow of choice won’t do a total flip from what it is now in the next couple of years. So if you're feeling a bit commitment-phobic when it comes to permanent or semi-permanent makeup, don’t worry. 

A TatBrow Microblade Brow Pen can give you the neat, perfect, thick brows you’re dreaming of with none of the pain, expense, or commitment. It comes in six natural colors to match the color of your hair, so your strokes blend in perfectly. 

Our brow pen also has a thin, flexible tip that enables you to fill in your brows with precision—and unlike microblading or getting your eyebrows tattooed, you can wash it off with your preferred makeup remover at the end of the day, or use makeup remover to clean it off and start over if you aren’t totally in love with your shape.


Shop eyebrow accessories now!


In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a long-term solution to thin, less-than-bold brows, both microblading and brow tattoos can be excellent options. But if you balk at the idea of making a permanent or semi-permanent modification to your face, using a TatBrow Microblade Brow Pen or Micro Precision Pen can give you the look you’re after without any of the risk, pain, or expense.



What Is Microblading 2021 - Microblading Cost, Risks, Pain, and More | Cosmopolitan 

15 Things to Know Before Getting a Tattoo - Facts About Tattoos | Cosmopolitan 

Microblading: Aftercare for Your Eyebrows | Healthline

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