Combo Brows: All You Need to Know
A perfect combination of two techniques gives outstanding results. Learn all about one of the most popular eyebrow tattoo treatment – combo brows.
Last updated in November 2022.
It seems that new eyebrow tattoo treatments are emerging constantly, but just some of them stand out. One of them is combo brows. They look trendy, they are suitable for all skin types and they last longer than microblading.
Keep reading to find out all about this popular treatment.
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What Are Combo Brows?
Combo brows, also known as combination brows or hybrid brows, are exactly what their name suggests – a combination of the two most popular brow tattoo techniques. Microblading (hair stroke brows) and microshading (powder) techniques are used to create combo brows, that look attractive, yet natural, with a hint of powdery effect.
Combo brows, just like any other contemporary eyebrow tattoo, uses pigments formulated to fade after some time. So, combo brows last 1-3 years.
What Is So Special About Combo Brows?
Combo brows are getting more and more popular among people who really like the hair stroke eyebrow look but are not good candidates for microblading on its own. With combo eyebrows, they get hair strokes and some powdery shading which is great for people who have oily skin. Oily skin is not so great for microblading since the hair strokes get blurred after some time.
To find out more about the differences between combo brows vs microblading, read this guide.
Image source: Instagram @monicaivani.mybrows
How Are Combo Eyebrows Created?
Okay, we already know that it involves microblading and shading, but which one is done first?
Artists have different ways of creating combo brows. Most of them do the blading first, either with a manual tool or with a machine (nano brows). That is how they create the skeleton and know where to shade – they claim this is the easier version.
Others, however, do the shading first because it, as they say, gives better and more realistic results. After shading, they add hair strokes, usually to the head of the brow.
Whichever way they choose, the shading needs to be super light, to create a soft pixelated look. They need to look light and airy. Also, combo eyebrows need fewer strokes than microblading.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Combo Brows?
All people who love the result of the combination of microblading and shading, which is natural-looking eyebrows with a light makeup look. This style is perfect for clients with oily skin. As said above, if you have oily skin, your microblading hair strokes will probably blur, so it is better to add shading for better final results.
Combo brows are also a great solution for covering up an old brow tattoo if there is a light shadow. Microblading only is not a good choice for covering up old tattoos, because the pigment residues make the strokes look blurry and messy.
Who Isn’t a Good Candidate for Combo Brows?
There are certain contraindications, just like with any eyebrow tattoo. Combo brows are not safe for:
- People with diabetes (consult your doctor)
- People with any bleeding disorders
- People who take blood-thinning medications (consult your GP and discontinue use if possible)
- People who’ve recently had Botox injections or fillers (wait at least 4 weeks)
- Pregnant or nursing women
- People with a history of keloids or hypertrophic scarring
- People with viral infections or diseases
- People who are going through chemotherapy
- People with skin irritations or Psoriasis near the treated area
- People whose skin was tanned recently
Image source: Instagram @modernbeautyink
How to Prepare for Combo Brows Treatment?
Once you book your appointment, the artist will give you some instructions to follow in order to prepare properly for combo brows treatment. The preparations will include:
- You must be healthy. Most artists will ask for your medical history.
- No caffeine or alcohol at least 48 hours before the procedure.
- Stop taking blood thinners (Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Niacin, Vitamin E, B6, Omega 3, Ginkgo Biloba, Primrose, etc.) at least 1 week before your procedure.
- Don’t wax or tint the area at least 7 days before the procedure, because the artist needs to see the real shape of your natural eyebrows.
- You shouldn’t get any facials or peels at least 2 weeks before the procedure.
- You shouldn’t have any facial injections at least 4 weeks before the procedure.
What Does the Combo Brows Healing Process Look Like?
The combination brows healing process lasts up to 6 weeks, but your eyebrows will look good much earlier. Here are the healing stages they are likely to go through:
- Days 1-3: Your brows will look too dark for a few days after the treatment. Don’t worry, the pigment will fade up to 50%.
- Days 3-7: A scabby film will cover your brows around day 5. Do not touch it, let the scabs fall off on their own.
- Days 7-12: The scabs will start peeling off on day 7 or so. It may go through 2 cycles of peeling. Do not pick at the peeling skin.
- Days 12-14: Your eyebrows will appear too light. Don’t worry, this is the ghosting stage and the pigment will reappear.
- Day 14 onwards: The pigment starts showing again. Your eyebrows are taking their final shape.
What Should I Know About Combo Brows Aftercare?
The aftercare routine is very similar for all the treatments, i.e. microblading, shading, ombre brows, etc. You will get a card with aftercare instructions after the treatment, and get advised by your artists.
Here are the aftercare tips for all the cosmetic eyebrow tattoo treatments, including combo brows:
- On day 1, you will notice some lymph coming out of your freshly tattooed eyebrows. Clean the lymph build-up 2-3 times a day.
- Starting from day 2, wash the area as often as prescribed with water and antibacterial soap. Your eyebrows are an open wound which needs to be cleaned.
- There are two types of aftercare: wet healing, which includes an ointment and dry healing. If your artist prescribes an aftercare ointment, apply a thin layer 3 times a day, or following a different schedule prescribed by your artist. Always use clean fingers or a cotton swab.
- Never touch the treated area with your fingers unless they are completely clean. The same goes for q-tips, cotton swabs, and basically any surface that comes into contact with your brows.
- Sleep on a clean pillowcase, ideally a silk one.
- Do not scratch, rub, pick or peel the healing skin. Allow it to flake off on its own so as not to damage your skin or your results.
- Always apply a light coat of ointment on the area before a shower or bath, to protect your eyebrows from the steam and water.
- Avoid any makeup, facials, sweating, sun exposure, sauna, jacuzzi, or swimming until the area is completely healed.
- Try to avoid getting your eyebrows soaking wet. If they get wet, pat them dry as soon as possible. No rubbing!
- Do not use any anti-aging products, especially those that contain lactic acids, glycolic acids, and retinol, as they will fade your eyebrow area.
- In order to prevent future fading of your pigment color, use sunblock whenever you’re outside.
Image source: Instagram @forevervalentinebeauty
When do Combo Brows Need to Be Touched Up?
The first touch up is a part of the treatment – it is mandatory, and it is done 6-8 weeks after the initial treatment. After your eyebrows have healed, they may look patchy and need some perfecting, or you may want them darker, so adding more pigment is necessary. This is why the first touch up is a must.
Other touch ups, or color boost appointments, should be booked when your eyebrows start fading. On average, an annual touch up is enough.
How Long Do Combo Brows Last?
If the average lifespan of microblading is 18 months (without touch ups), you can expect your combo eyebrows to last slightly longer. Shading prolongs longevity, so you can have perfect eyebrows for almost 2 years or even longer.
This also depends on your skin type and lifestyle.
Are There Any Risks and Side Effects to the Combo Brows Treatment?
Every cosmetic tattoo carries certain risks since it involves breaking and/or piercing the skin. In order to avoid this, carefully research the brow tattoo artist. Make sure they work in sterile conditions, use quality products and most importantly, are certified and licensed.
Some complications that may occur are usually because the artist is unskilled or a client doesn’t follow the aftercare tips.
Some swelling and redness are normal after the treatment. Don’t touch the scabs during the healing period or you risk scarring as well as ruining the treatment.
Allergic reactions can be prevented with the patch test you should do before the treatment. Infections are very rare, and if you experience swelling, itchiness and redness which are unusual and don’t look normal, contact your artist and dermatologist.
Image source: Instagram @beautybrowtique
Can I Remove Combo Brows?
Combo brows can be removed. Currently, there are three methods for successful brow tattoo removal:
They are very effective at removing old permanent makeup. However, if you somehow ended up with botched brows and you need emergency removal, you can’t have a laser removal treatment. Only saline removal and glycolic acid removal can be done as emergency removals and only in the first 48h after the treatment, before the brows start healing.
How Much Do Combo Brows Cost?
The average price of combo eyebrows is $600, but the prices vary, depending on the location, permanent makeup salons saturation, expertise and popularity of the artist, etc.
Combo Brows – Main Takeaways
Combo eyebrows are a combination of microblading and microshading. They are perfect for all skin types as well as for people who like the combination of hair strokes and powdery effect. They are becoming very popular and in demand, because the results are really outstanding.
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