Microblading is a type of semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo. Since it uses PMU pigments that are formulated in such a way that the body breaks them down over time, and since they’re implemented only into the surface layers of the skin, it fades out after about 18 months.
But what if it doesn’t?
There are cases of microblading lasting out much longer than a year and a half, and although everyone likes the idea of having 5 years of perfect brows at the price of just 1 treatment, it’s actually not a good thing.
Let’s take a look at what can happen to microblading after 5 years with no refresher touch ups.
Scenario #1 – Microblading Has Faded
Eyebrow tattoos of the 21st century are done in a semi-permanent technique which allows the PMU pigments to fade out. The average expected longevity of microblading is around 18 months, and for most clients, it fades significantly by this time and they need a touch up.
If however, they decide they don’t want to prolong their microblading at that point, they can just do nothing and let what’s left of the pigment fade out entirely.
Microblading after 5 years should be invisible, if the treatment goes according to plan and your system reacts well to the pigments. Once injected, some of the pigment will always remain in the skin, but if the artists did everything right, it should become invisible.
If that’s the case and your microblading after 5 years becomes invisible, or fades into a very light shadow you don’t even see unless you try hard, great, you’re now free to get fresh microblading or another brow PMU style, or go on living microblading-free for the rest of your life.
Image source: Instagram @thebeautyroomec
Scenario #2 – Microblading Hasn’t Faded Completely
The alternative scenario that happens sometimes is microblading after 5 years not fading entirely.
Microblading not fading can happen due to a number of reasons, primarily improper technique – the pigments injected too deep. It’s also possible that the pigments used were not formulated in the best way, or the tech may have used tattoo ink. The PMU industry is much more advanced now than it was 5 years ago and formulas have been improved significantly.
It’s possible your microblading after 5 years has faded only to a certain degree, and:
- a shadow remains that hasn’t changed in the past 12 months (this is a sort of grace-period – if it doesn’t go any lighter within a year, your body can’t break down all the pigment ingredients and probably never will)
- the brow shape still looks okay, but the color turned orange or bluish
- the brow shape still looks okay, but the strokes have blurred together into a block of color that looks more like powder brows
- the shape has changed due to pigment migration and looks messy.
Whichever description matches your microblading after 5 years, it’s probably not too attractive and you want to do something about it.
Here’s a list of fixes and the cases where each is applicable.
A Cover Up Touch Up
If your microblading after 5 years has turned into a very light shadow and you want to get new brows, an extensive touch up might be able to fix it.
If the shadow is light enough, the artist might be able to draw on new microblading or machine strokes and they might look good on their own.
But if the shadow is any darker, that means the pigment saturation is too high for strokes alone and you might have to get combo brows – some new strokes, and machine or manual shading between them.
The existing shadow can make the strokes look blurred and messy, so if you add shading, the blurriness is not so striking and they’ll look like you’re just wearing a bit of brow powder.
Image source: Instagram @browsbysamanthaclark
Your brow shape is fine and pigments didn’t migrate out of the initial outline, but the color of microblading after 5 years has turned either reddish/orangey or gray/bluish.
If your brows are not too saturated, this can be fixed with a microblading color correction. The artist can go over the existing pigments with a corrector shade that will neutralize the unattractive hues and give you the color you want, or something very close to it.
Find an artist who has extensive knowledge on PMU color theory and experience doing color corrections.
The thing to know, though, is that they probably won’t be able to achieve the defined hair-strokes look, so you’ll get something more like a combo or a powder brow.
Image source: Instagram @covetbeautystudio
Lightening or Removal
Your brow shape is okay, but the strokes have blurred and merged together, so what you have now looks more like a patchy powder brow.
The pigments have migrated outside of the initial brow arch outline, and your brows have spread and look messy.
Image source: Instagram @sketch.yyc (not her work)
If either or both of these is the case, you will need to get microblading removal. If the unwanted pigments are black or gray, any removal method will work – laser, saline, or glycolic acid removal. But if their color is warm, orangey or reddish, laser removal won’t work, so you can choose between the 2 non-laser methods.
PMU removal is not a quick one-and-done treatment. The pigments are removed gradually, and depending on how saturated the skin is, it can take up to 10 sessions, with 6-8 weeks of recovery time between them.
If you’re planning on getting a fresh brow tattoo, it may be enough to just lighten the pigments through 1 or 2 sessions and cover them up with a powder brow.
But if you want to get rid of the brow tattoo altogether and never repeat the treatment, be prepared for total removal to drag on for months.
Image source: Instagram @fahimeh_mardani.phiart
These are the options available for correcting or removing your microblading after 5 years. Which one is applicable depends on the state of your skin and the brow tattoo – how saturated it is, and how your skin retains pigments.
We’ve given you the basic info, but only a professional PMU artist can tell you what works best in your particular case.
So if you’re dealing with unwanted microblading after 5 years, book a consultation appointment with an artist who has experience doing corrections (check out their social media and portfolio), and let them assess the situation. You may need a combination of fixes.
Cover image source: Pexels