Updated: Oct 9, 2019
The short answer? No. Microblading is permanent.
Most clients, especially women are turned off when words like tattoo or permanent are used to explain the process of microblading. Unfortunately, some ill-meaning artists will mislead clients into believing that microblading is neither a tattoo nor is it permanent, just to earn some quick cash. This sneaky disguise of non-commitment makes it easier for people to jump right in without thorough research or understanding of the entire process because they think microblading will simply disappear even if it’s badly done. Sadly, I’ve seen a significant increase in clients with botched work lately because of this misinformation that people have about microblading.
Let’s first establish the definition of the word tattoo. A tattoo is the permanent insertion of ink below the skin, using a sharp instrument. It doesn’t matter whether it’s done manually or with a machine. Plain and simple - when you cut or pierce the skin and put any sort of ink in, that it is already considered a tattoo.
To effectively distinguish the difference between temporary, semi permanent and permanent, let me illustrate the difference using eyebrow makeup, eyebrow henna tint and microblading and the longevity of each method on the skin as examples.
Eyebrow makeup either in the form of pencil, powder, pomade or gel is applied topically. This means this is applied on TOP of the skin. When it comes in contact with water or sweat, it will basically be erased. Makeup is temporary.
Eyebrow henna tint is a dye that is applied on the brows and left to set for several minutes. When it is wiped off, it will leave a stain on the hairs and skin that will last for a few days up to 2 weeks. It will gradually fade as the dye loses its potency the more it is exposed to the elements like water, sweat, oil etc. While henna is still only applied topically, the staying power is considerably longer compared to just eyebrow makeup. Henna is semi-permanent.
Microblading is performed using a group of needles aligned beside each other to form a blade-like apparatus. The fine needles cut the skin to deposit the pigment into the correct layer of the dermis where a new healthy layer will heal over it causing the ink to be permanently embedded under the skin. Microblading is permanent.
So, if microblading is permanent how come it fades so quickly?
When doing microblading, gaps have to be maintained in between each stroke to mimic the appearance of hair therefore not a lot of ink will be used throughout the procedure whereas if the artist has to shade the entire surface area of the eyebrow shape (as in a powder brow). This, along with the naturally occurring dispersion of the ink underneath the skin, accounts for why microblading is expected to fade within 6-12 months. Other personal factors such as sun exposure, skin care regimen and body metabolism also affects how regularly each client would need to come in for touch-ups to maintain their microbladed brows.