When I walked into Piret Aava’s bubblegum-pink studio to have my eyebrows microbladed for the first time, I instantly felt at ease. Forget the fact that I was a few minutes away from having new arches needled into my head, the comfy couch, aromatic smell of coffee, and Aava’s cheerful, Colgate-white smile calmed me down and assured me I had nothing to worry about. I would soon be an owner of the plush, full eyebrows á la Cara Delevingne and Lily Collins.
Aava, who is also professionally known as the Eyebrow Doctor, is an artist and is often referred to as one of the best microblading artists in the brow game. Despite having ultra-sensitive skin due to a genetic condition I was born with, the whole microblading process proved (almost) totally painless and didn’t leave the surrounding skin itchy or irritated, aside from some expected redness. To my surprise, it took a mere 30 minutes. After cleaning and priming the area, Aava carved microscopic, hair-like strokes inside an outline that she drew for my brows, which she explained was based on my face shape and the natural curve of my caterpillars.
According to Aava, I was a bleeder and the skin around my brows was alarmingly red post-procedure, but that faded quickly. And while I experienced some additional bleeding and scabbing-over that night, the area was almost completely back to normal after a couple of days of care.
All of this is to say: If you have sensitive skin like I do, you can undergo microblading treatment. You don’t have to fret about getting your brows done because with a little TLC (a.k.a. the proper before prep and aftercare) and the go-ahead from your physician, you too can attain the covetable arches spotted all over your Instagram feed. Scroll down for my results and microblading advice for sensitive skin from dermatologists and the Eyebrow Doctor.
1. Talk to your artist (and your doctor) first.
In addition to consulting your doctor, which you should do first and foremost when it comes to any beauty procedure like this, you should communicate with your microblading artist beforehand, too. That way, they’re completely aware of your skin type and can tailor the experience to fit your needs. (Meaning: Maybe you’ll need some extra ointment applied afterwards or perhaps a cool compress to calm any excess inflammation.) What’s more, make sure you know exactly what will be going on your skin, in case it turns out to be something you’re sensitive to. “If you have skin that reacts easily to products, make sure to discuss that with your microblading artist, as people can have reactions to ink, etc.,” says Sejal Shah, a dermatologist and founder of Smarter Skin Dermatology in New York City.
Case in point: If your artist knows your situation, it allows them to care for you better and to personalize the procedure, so don’t be afraid to speak up.
2. Prep the area.
If you’re seeing a reputable artist, then there’s an excellent chance they’re going to take care of cleaning the entire brow area beforehand. But experts caution that it can never hurt to be prepared. “Dirt, oil, and bacteria on the skin can lead to infections and inflammation after the procedure so proper cleansing is important,” explains Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “Your aesthetician will do this, but prepare yourself at home.”
This means using a gentle cleanser (we like Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser) or your go-to exfoliator like this Best of Beauty winner to ensure the area is rid of any grime or lingering dead skin cells. Zeichner also notes that you want to make sure you use a cleanser that won’t compromise the integrity of your skin barrier. “It is important to clean the skin, but not overly strip it of essential oils that help maintain a healthy skin barrier,” he says.