What's in and what's out changes often when it comes to eyebrows. Long, skinny 'brows that were once all the rage have since become a thing of the past. The latest craze is full, thick brows—and one way to attain these without busting out a brow pencil is by undergoing a process called eyebrow reformation.
Otherwise known as 3D eyebrows or eyebrow embroidery, brow reformation is a procedure that's been popular for years in Europe and is now gaining momentum stateside. We spoke to Hibba Kapil, brow reformation expert and founder of NYC threading and waxing salon Hibba Beauty, to find out more about the practice—what it is, how long it lasts, how much it costs and its risks.
Here's everything you need to know about eyebrow reformation, according to Kapil.
What is eyebrow reformation?
"It’s basically a semi-permanent tattoo that is put on using a very fine blade. The reason why it’s called everything else but a permanent tattoo is because it only lasts for a year—if you have drier skin, it could last up to a year and a half. You scrape the skin with a very fine blade and then fill it in with whatever ink you want. It’s called 3D embroidery and micro-blading in Europe. Reformation is more of a service kind of name, but really, it’s like an embroidery."
How long does the process take?
"An easy two hours. Consultation takes a while. We have to think about where the arch should be and we want to make sure it’s not too thick and that the color is right. That takes an hour, then prep takes half an hour. The actual process take another half an hour. Then I usually ask everyone to stick around for another 15 minutes because your skin will have a little white fluid, discharge. Once that stops, we put a little ointment and then you can go home."
Does it hurt?
"The procedure isn't that painful. It’s like scrapes. It’s like someone is scratching you with a nail really hard. But everyone has a different pain threshold so if they want, we do offer a topical numbing cream beforehand. If we use a numbing cream, you might have to come back a little sooner because the numbing cream acts like a barrier between the skin and the ink. If someone really wants it, we just let them know that it’s probably not gonna have the same results as someone who won’t use it."
Will the tattoo fade into strange colors?
"This doesn’t happen. I have no idea why [discoloration] happens, but it only happens with a needle tattoo, the permanent one. [Semi-permanent tattoos] fade like anything fades, in the same family of color. Brown goes light brown, black goes light black."
What are the side effects?
"If you have sensitive skin, you might scab a little bit—after all, you are being scraped. If you scab, just don’t pick at it, put A&D ointment on it, come back and we can put another stroke in there. Also, you can get reactions if you do numbing cream during the process."
What happens if you hate it? Is it reversible?
"The first seven days you have to be very precautionary about sweat, water, soap, oily makeup, anything oil-based. So if you really don’t like it, go ahead and put water on it and it will fade away in seven days. But also right away, I can remove it. I have a little ointment for when you're checking the second or third time and if you say, 'Oh, I don’t want this hair to be that long,' I can cut it short. But again, that needs to be within the hour. Otherwise, we’ll have to work harder to take it off. But it doesn't need a laser and all that. It’ll just fade away."
How much does it cost?
"I have done it for $250, if someone just wanted a tail or if someone was missing a front. I’ve also done it for up to $500 for someone who has no eyebrows. So anywhere in that price range."
Want Beyonce's dark lip look from her "Formation" video? Check out our tutorial in the clip below.