Combo Brows: All You Need to Know

By PMUHub Editorial Team| Last updated on April 2, 2024

A perfect combination of two techniques gives outstanding results. Learn all about one of the most popular eyebrow tattoo treatment – combo brows.

Learn all about one of the most popular eyebrow tattoo treatment - combo brows.

Image source: Instagram @ishnaebrows

Combo brows are a combination of microblading strokes and shading. They look trendy, they are suitable for all skin types and they last longer than microblading on its own.

Keep reading to find out all about this popular treatment. 

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What Are Combo Brows?

Also known as combination brows or hybrid brows, they are exactly what their name suggests – a combination of the two most popular brow tattoo techniques.

Microblading (hair stroke brows) and microshading (powder brows) are used to create an enhanced, yet natural eyebrow arch, with a hint of powdery effect.

Just like any other contemporary eyebrow tattoo, combo brows are done with pigments formulated to fade after some time. They usually last 1-3 years.

What Is So Special About Combo Brows?

Combo brows are great for people who 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 perfect for 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 and microblading, read this guide.

With combo eyebrows, you get hair strokes and some powdery shading which is great for people who have oily skin.

Image source: Instagram @monicaivani.mybrows

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 2 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

Who Isn’t a Good Candidate for Combo Brows?Image source: Instagram @modernbeautyink

How to Prepare for the Treatment?

Once you book your appointment, the artist will give you some instructions to follow 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 2-4 weeks before the procedure (depending on the type of injections).

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:

  • 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 and need to be cleaned.
  • If your artist prescribes an aftercare ointment, apply a thin layer 3 times a day, or follow a different schedule prescribed. 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, 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 you don’t damage your skin or your results.
  • 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 in the area, facials, sweating, sun exposure, sauna, jacuzzi, or swimming until the area is completely healed.
  • Try to avoid getting your eyebrows soaking wet. If they do get wet, pat them dry as soon as possible. No rubbing!
  • Skip anti-aging products, especially those that contain lactic acids, glycolic acids, and retinol, as they will fade your eyebrow area.
  • To prevent future fading of your results, use sunblock whenever you’re outside.

What Should I Know About Combo Brows Aftercare?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 need some perfecting, or you may want them darker, so adding more pigment is necessary.

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?

Every cosmetic tattoo carries certain risks since it involves breaking and/or piercing the skin. 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 or redness which are unusual and don’t look normal, contact your artist and dermatologist.

Are There Any Risks and Side Effects to the Combo Brows Treatment?Image source: Instagram @beautybrowtique

Can I Remove Combo Brows?

Yes. 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.


This guide is a result of 5+ years of studying and researching the permanent makeup industry. The information comes from reliable sources: a number of eyebrow tattoo technicians, and a wide variety of medical references.



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