Is Microblading Painful? An Honest Answer

By Emily M.| Last updated on December 6, 2022
is microblading painful
⏱️ 4 min read

Microblading is a form of an eyebrow tattoo. Hence, it’s implemented into the skin. Hence, it involves sharp objects.

The natural, realistic look of microblading is achieved by creating tiny, hair-stroke tattoos across the surface of your brow arches with super-fine blades.

Yes, we know, you’re probably thinking, blades don’t belong anywhere near my face. But hear us out – it’s not as bad as it sounds.

PMUHub brings you an honest answer to the question on everyone’s minds – is microblading painful?

How Is Microblading Done?

The microblading technique brought us a whole new era of brow tattoos. Instead of the cartoonish block-of-black eyebrow tattoos of the 90s, what microblading gives us is a super-realistic brow enhancement that gives the illusion of naturally fuller brows.

The illusion is achieved by making cuts on the skin that imitate the shape, length, and growth pattern of natural eyebrow hairs, which are then filled with pigments of natural origins. The cuts are made by dragging a very thin blade through the surface layers of the skin.

How thin? Well, barely any thicker than the thickness of an eyebrow hair.

Since one of the biggest benefits of cosmetic brow tattoos is the fact that they fade, the cuts are made very shallow. In fact, they only reach the upper dermis, the second layer.

So the blade is pressed against the skin very lightly.

Here’s a comforting fact – microblading artists practice the pressure they apply to the blade on a balloon. And they don’t pop it!

How Is Microblading Done?Image source: Instagram @shad_azar

Is Microblading Painful?

Disclaimer – we can’t give you a definite yes or no answer to the question is microblading painful, because it’s different for everybody.

Most clients report that, no, microblading is not exactly painful.

How come? Well, a topical anesthetic is used before and during the procedure to numb the pain. They apply a layer of a numbing cream, sometimes cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit for about 20 minutes.

Once the blading starts, most states allow more numbing to be applied onto the treated area (since the skin is already opened, some health departments prohibit so-called secondary numbing).

The artist may be able to bring out the big guns and apply another dose of numbing on the open skin. That should numb you up completely for the rest of the procedure.

Does Numbing Completely Eliminate the Pain?

Artists have all sorts of tricks that ensure you won’t feel any pain during the procedure – they don’t need you wincing and making their job harder!

A plastic wrap maximizes the effects of numbing gels, so you may find your forehead wrapped up for 15-20 minutes.

Another common practice is to exfoliate the skin slightly before numbing. They either go over your brows with a harder makeup brush or a spoolie, or go over the area with a blade very, very, lightly, and then apply the numbing. That way, the skin takes it in better and the effects last longer.

They usually start slow. They know that this is a new experience and you probably don’t know what to expect, so they’ll do the first pass very lightly, just so you get the sense of what it’s like. Then, they gradually increase their pressure.

Does Numbing Completely Eliminate the Pain?Image source: Instagram @julieglam2020

Is Microblading Painful Without Numbing?

The answer to this question is very individual. It depends on your pain threshold and your definition of pain.

Not everyone considers the same amount of discomfort pain. In fact, what you find painful one day may not cause the same amount of pain on another occasion. It depends on the sensitivity of your skin, your hormone levels, mood, all sorts of factors.

So it’s not that surprising that some people don’t find microblading very painful at all, even without numbing. Some clients compare it to the pain level of a paper cut – uncomfortable, but not that painful.

Numbing can make the artist’s job harder – it smudges the outline they draw on. So what they sometimes do is ask their clients if they can draw on the outlining strokes without numbing, and the majority of clients get through it without a problem, especially those used to tweezing or waxing their brows.

This doesn’t mean that you should sit there and take it if you’re uncomfortable. Communication is key and you should be open and honest with your artist every step of the way.

Is Microblading Painful During My Menstrual Cycle?

Generally, yes.

The change in hormone levels during your period can make your skin more sensitive, so microblading can be more painful during those few days. Plan ahead and schedule your appointment before or after your period, if possible.

Is Microblading Painful During My Menstrual Cycle?Image source: Instagram

Is Microblading More Painful than a Tattoo?

No. Regular tattoos usually hurt more because, usually, no numbing is used.

So, What Does It Feel Like?

Provided that the anesthetic eliminates, or at least minimizes the pain, you will probably feel:

  • Pressure
  • Scratching
  • Tingling
  • Pinching
  • Some stinging
  • The urge to sneeze
  • The tightness you feel when your skin is sunburnt

Another discomfort some clients report is hearing the blade scratching the skin. But you probably won’t, unless you obsess over it.

So, What Do I Do If Microblading Is Painful?

Firstly, prepare yourself mentally before the appointment. Yes, there may be some discomfort, but just imagine your fab new brows and know that it’ll be worth it!

That said, if you feel more pain or discomfort than described above during the procedure, tell your artist immediately. They may be able to adjust their pressure or how far they’re stretching the skin, or apply more anesthetic.

In PMU, as in life, honesty is the best policy!

For more information on microblading, visit our detailed Microblading Guide.

Cover image source: Pexels



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