Microblading vs tattooing--which is better?

I have spoken to peers of mine about what they think is better when it comes to enhancing and styling their eyebrows. Some swear by tattooing and others by microblading and both swear very passionately about their choice! Is it possible that they're equally effective but it just comes down to personal preference? I really don't know which to go for. That's why I want a professional's opinion. I feel like this is the smartest way to solve my dilemma. I appreciate your help.


F, 36, California

As we age, our eyebrows tend to get thinner. For years now people have been using makeup on a daily basis to make their eyebrows look fuller. Now there are options available that will bring the original look of your eyebrows back.

One of these is eyebrow tattooing, which is a permanent solution, while the other is eyebrow microblading, which is semi-permanent. With tattooing, the needles go a little deeper and the ink is stronger than what is used in microblading. Microblading, unlike eyebrow tattooing, uses pigments that will eventually fade over time if not refreshed, usually within 12 to 18 months. If you follow all the post-care procedures after your microblading session and go back to your technician to refresh your brows periodically, results can last for a very long time. Keep in mind that there’s usually a charge for these touch up sessions.

You'll probably want to consult with a few board-certified dermatologists or plastic surgeons whose office specializes in one of these procedures. You should also ask if the technician has had proper training in whatever solution you choose. Training for microblading and training for eyebrow tattooing are different things.

I'll assume you're referring to eyebrows in your question. Permanent makeup, permanent cosmetics, etc. are common ways to describe eyebrow tattooing. We are often asked what is a better procedure to enhance the look of one's eyebrows. Permanent tattooing of your eyebrows is one way to get the look you want and to keep it, although the color may dissipate over time.

For permanent eyebrows, a cosmetic tattooing machine is generally employed to implant ink into the skin using a variety of fine needles. Microblading is different. While still in the tattooing category, it’s generally performed by a technician who uses a precision hand tool to inject pigment with a variety of simulated hair strokes. If you're hesitant to go with permanent tattooing to give your eyebrow hair a fuller look, then perhaps you should try a microblading procedure. You may need to return for the occasional refresher every six to nine months if you want to keep the look of your eyebrows exactly the same. However, if you don't like it, it will eventually fade, at which time you may want to look into a more permanent solution.

We can provide you with information on both techniques, but the eventual decision will come down to your personal preference.

Microblading is a cosmetic tattoo that is typically used to enhance a person’s eyebrows (or fill in thinning spots on the scalp). Microblading, sometimes referred to as eyebrow embroidery, is semi-permanent and the results will eventually fade. It is sometimes confused with eyebrow tattooing, but the procedure and the results are not the same.

Eyebrow tattooing is considered permanent makeup. It can be performed by hand or with a machine. With eyebrow tattooing a needle is inserted into the skin and pigment is distributed. The depth of the injected pigment and the type of ink used gives your brow line its permanency.

Because microblading doesn’t use traditional tattoo ink or go as deep into the skin, it will not last forever. The technician will match your eyebrow color and do their best to mimic your real hair. If don’t attend any follow-up sessions -- meaning no touch ups to maintain the treated areas -- the effects of microblading will fade between twelve and eighteen months.

Some people are turned off by the fact that traditional tattoos sometimes expand, or the color changes and fades over time, while others are happy with the results and don’t wish to go back for refreshers. The upside of microblading is that if you don't like the results, your eyebrows will eventually fade. Microblading also allows you to change the shape and style of your brows if you like.

One thing that eyebrow tattooing and microblading share is that recovery time usually takes four to six weeks for either treatment.