Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2019. Updated May 2021.
If you’ve been paying attention to the trends in the makeup world, you must have heard about microblading eyebrows. This extremely popular semi-permanent makeup technique makes your eyebrows look full and natural at the same time.
The procedure has been a dream-come-true for many who grew tired of filling in their brows every morning.
But is microblading suitable for every skin type? Find out what are the challenges of microblading oily skin, and how artists overcome them.
Yes, microblading oily skin is definitely possible, but there are certain things to bear in mind.
Microblading on oily skin usually lasts shorter, and crisp, defined strokes are harder to achieve. That’s why powder brows are generally a better PMU option for oily skin and large pores.
But if you pick an artist who has a lot of experience microblading oily skin and uses adequate pigments, you’ll probably be satisfied.
Microblading is a semi-permanent technique in which the artist makes hair-like strokes using a thin blade.
These tiny incisions are then filled with a PMU pigment that resembles the natural hair color of the client. The final look is a full and natural-looking set of brows that can last 1-3 years. Over this period, the pigments gradually fade, so unlike the traditional eyebrow tattoo, the results of this treatment are not permanent.
This beauty trend has made life easier for many women and men who love the look of enhanced brows, but got tired of reapplying regular brow makeup over and over again.
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The potential problems when microblading oily skin are:
Don’t be disappointed just yet, because experienced makeup artists came up with solutions for these potential issues.
Primarily, when working on oily skin, technicians will make slightly deeper cuts, which will then be filled with the pigment. As the pigments are deposited deeper into the skin, they will be pushed out much more slowly. This doesn’t only make the results more long-lasting, it also prevents potential “spreading” as well.
Also, skilled artists will not make too many strokes at the initial session, and they will leave space between the strokes. This way, even if the strokes spread a bit, they won’t merge and look smudged. As there is less trauma to the skin, it will heal faster. Then, when you come for the touch-up, your artist will assess the situation and, knowing how your skin will take the pigment, they will do the second round of strokes and fill all the gaps.
Another trick experienced artists know is switching to water-based pigments, which work with oily skin better than glycerin-based ones.
The one issue technicians can’t help you with is the longevity of the results.
People with dry skin can enjoy their microbladed arches for up to 3 years with oily 1 or 2 touch ups, whereas people with oily skin will have to say goodbye to them much sooner, or get more frequent touch ups.
But all is not lost and you don’t need to worry.
Pigment fading is a result of two processes. The primary one is oil production, but the other one – exfoliation – works in the opposite direction. As the surface of the skin is exfoliated, the pigment comes off too.
Your artist will probably warn you against having aggressive facials and peels, but they may forget to mention the effects of skincare products on permanent makeup.
If you have oily skin, chances are you use skincare products aimed at your skin type. These products often contain aggressive ingredients such as acids, retinol, or similar substances that accelerate skin exfoliation, and will speed up pigment fading.
So if you have oily skin and decide to get microblading, you’ll have to adjust your skincare routine.
Microblading is generally done in two sessions.
During the first one, the artist will create the shape by adding some strokes at the edges of your arches and draw on some strokes between your natural hairs to add volume. If you have oily skin, the artist will draw fewer strokes than they would for a client with normal to dry skin in order to see if they will get blurry as they heal.
After the healing process is done, you need to go for a touch-up session during which all the imperfections and potential gaps are filled and corrected.
Therefore, a minimum of two sessions is necessary for this treatment. In the case of oily skin, an additional, third session may be required as well. The need for it will depend on your skin’s ability to retain the pigment and how successful the healing process was.
Touch ups are useful regardless of skin type, if, for example, you accidentally scratched the brows while they were scabbing, the pigment may have fallen off.
One of the first questions clients ask is whether microblading hurts, and microblading on oily skin is rumored to be more painful than on normal to dry skin.
There is some truth to this, as the blades are pressed harder and the cuts are when microblading oily skin to help with pigment retention. That said, your artist will use a numbing cream that will minimize your discomfort.
However, everyone’s skin is different and some people are a bit more sensitive, so no artist can guarantee you won’t feel anything. In any case, most people who’ve had the procedure report sensations of pressure and pinching, but not pain.
The two main aftercare “types” are dry and wet healing methods.
For people with oily skin, the best choice is the so-called dry method which involves cleaning the brows, but not using any ointment or oil but leaving them to dry and heal by themselves. Although this is generally considered a preferable method, you should still listen to the advice from your aesthetician and follow it every step of the way.
If you find a professional with experience working on oily skin who knows how to adjust the technique and pigment choice to your skin type, you can expect to have your microbladed brows for around 1 year.
Note, however, that the healing process is equally important as the procedure itself, so the final result depends on you too. The longevity of your brows will also depend on your behavior after the healing phase, as some skincare products and certain activities like swimming in the ocean also accelerate fading.
When you notice your brows are starting to fade, you should schedule a touch-up. If you wait too long, the artist may have to do the whole procedure all over again, instead of just doing a quick correction.
Before you decide to have microblading, you should know that you will probably have to do it more often than people with dry skin, which can get expensive in the long run.
The right answer to this question is research.
Google the artists in your area and read as many reviews as possible. Make sure you find a certified makeup artist with a lot of experience.
Of course, the most reliable recommendation is the one you get from someone you know. That way, you can see the results in person. But in case you don’t know anyone, before and after pictures are a close second.
Another criterion should be the price. Think of your brows as an investment. Check the prices in your area and if you come across artists who charge significantly less than the average microblading cost, you should probably stay away from them. They may not be licensed, or have no experience, which can be a bigger problem if your skin is oily.
Once you find the right person for the job, make sure you tell them you have oily skin so that they know how to adapt the procedure.
In general, if you have oily skin, you will probably be advised to get machine strokes or machine shading instead of manual microblading.
Some artists claim that nano brows, which are done with a nano needle machine, are a better option, as the strokes end up looking more defined.
Artists who have experience in microblading oily skin claim that microblading with the addition of machine shading works great for oily skin because the shade effect will last longer and you can prolong the period between touch-ups. This combination of manual strokes and machine shading is often called combo brows.
Alternatively, you can explore treatments like powder brows or ombre brows, which last much longer on oily skin than microblading, due to the technique used. Pixelization means using a machine to deposit pigments in tiny dots, so there’s no risk of strokes getting blurred.
To sum up, performing microblading on oily skin is indeed possible, but some adjustments have to be made.
The truth is that the procedure itself is slightly more aggressive when applied on oily skin, and maintenance can be a bit trickier. It requires paying more attention to them in the healing process, rethinking your skincare routine, and perhaps, doing touch ups more often.
But the results are definitely worth it!