A Guide to Microblading in South Africa

South African Microblading Artists

4 South African microblading artists open up about their craft and give us insight into how microblading works, the do’s and don’ts and what to look out for.

 

The advent of social media has introduced a lot of negativity into the world, but at the same time it has undoubtedly introduced a whole lot of positivity too. Instagram in particular, can not only be a black hole for time and productivity, but also a medium of fakeness, putting up facades and promoting a world of comparisons, the idea of perfection and making people feel not … enough.

 

I can’t say I’m immune to the dark side of Instagram, but the side I’ve grown to love and use Instagram for, is discovering new brands, products and services. When using Instagram means you can discover amazing small businesses with powerful stories that you want to support, and amazing talent that provide educational content for you, for free – you and the world around you becomes a better place.

 

A few years ago, roughly about the time I started browsing Instagram, microblading was becoming a very popular beauty treatment internationally. Microblading, similar to tattooing, but semi-permanent and done by hand, is a technique that eyebrow artists use to create tiny hair like incisions in the skin, depositing a pigment, matching the existing brow colour, to create hair like strokes. Microblading gives the effect of an overall natural fuller looking brow and for some who have suffered hair loss, a natural looking brow from scratch. But microblading is an art and the best results only happen when done in the right hands.

 

If eyes are the windows to your soul, eyebrows are the frame.

 

With brows on the sparser side, and filling them in part of my everyday routine, I became intrigued with watching incredible artists creating amazingly natural looking results. I toyed with the idea of getting mine done but always assumed I’d need to plan a trip to the US to go to an expert, so I come out with results I can trust to look better not worse. That was until my sister introduced me to The Browery’s Instagram page and opened me up to the idea that amazing talent exists in South Africa too.

 

The Browery, run by Misha, is a Johannesburg based microblading studio. Misha takes her work seriously, has a no-nonsense approach and her before/after pictures speak for themselves. While Misha and The Browey might be the perfect match for me, realising our audience is spread out around South Africa, I set out to find a Misha in every main city. I scoured the gram, contacted my best finds and asked each artist to give some insight into their training, style, microblading in general, and how they work.

 

If you’re looking for South African microblading talent in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria or Durban, settle in and get acquainted with Misha, Cara-Leigh, Zanie and Lola. Please note; I have no personal experience with any of their work and have chosen my selection on who I would contact and potentially go to based on their before-after photos, websites, contact-ability and answers to the same set of questions.

 

My belief is that when choosing a service that pertains to your body, medical and beauty alike, it is incredibly important to do your research beforehand, trust the professionalism of who you choose and be sure you are comfortable with them one on one.

 

JOHANNEBSURG

THE BROWERY by Misha

 

 

How and when did you get started with microblading and learn? And do you have an art background?

 

My belief is that the best microbladers are those with a background in art or design of some description. Microblading is not a paint-by-numbers procedure; each and every client is different and needs to be approached that way. I started going to private art classes when I was 6 years old, and eventually did a formal stint in graphic design and art direction at the Red & Yellow School in Cape Town. I’ve always had an obsession with eyebrows and when I discovered microblading about 5 years ago I knew I just had to be a part of the magic. I did a private course and spent many, many hours looking at brows, drawing brows and then microblading brows well before I started charging clients for my services. You need to be passionate about eyebrows if you want a career in microblading; if you’re in it for the money you’re in the wrong place. I kept my corporate job in investment banking for about 10 months before I reached a tipping point where I could run my studio full-time. It was the best decision I ever made.

 

How do you determine shapes and thicknesses when microblading? 

 

The face has certain markers and measurements that help to ascertain the bulb (inner), arch and tail of the brow. I work with those markers, existing brow hair growth and hair-direction to determine the individual shape for each client. I don’t work with templates and advise against clients bringing in reference photographs.

 

In a recent instagram post, your caption said: “My work is subtle and I aim to create as natural a result as possible. If you’re looking for hard-core instabrows, I’m not for you.”  How many clients come to you with a set opinion of what they want vs. clients that come to you for your expert opinion on what should be done?

 

I think clients have come to know my style over the 3 years I’ve been microblading. They know my work has a specific signature and end-result and they choose my services because of this. As a result, very few come with a pre-determined ‘look’ they’re trying to achieve. I often get the “oh I trust you, do what you feel looks best” comment before I start measuring and drawing the initial shape. I love that women (and men) put their trust in me like that.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bj_wwwbFmjG/

 

How do you handle/ balance what they think they want vs what you think would look best?

 

If clients ask for something that I feel will look bad/wrong, I explain why not to proceed with that route using theory, measurements and then a mock-up. Sometimes I go as far as drawing two different brows (the one they want vs the one I’m recommending) and fortunately they opt with my recommendation. I honestly don’t think I could give someone a set of brows I don’t believe in.

 

Do you show your clients what the final product will look like before starting to avoid unhappiness after? And does it ever fade away completely to a point where you wouldn’t recognize you had it?

 

Yes, in the pre-draw or mock-up I use a special brow pencil to give the client an idea of exactly what the microblading will look like. The beauty of microblading is it does eventually fade away entirely due to the nature and depth of the procedure. Because microblading works in the shallow, epidermal layer of the skin, the gradual exfoliation of skin-cells over time will eventually get rid of the pigment completely. If a client wishes to keep their microbladed brows looking fresh and fluffy, I advise an annual top-up session (one hour). Clients who do not follow proper post-procedure care can experience a complete fade in the weeks following the procedure. If you’re not prepared to look after your new brows for 10 days post procedure, don’t waste your time.

 

What should people know before microblading?

 

It’s not as painful as they imagine. It’s not as scary as they imagine. It’s not as permanent as they imagine. Oh, and if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys – so please understand that if you want to spend R500, you’ll end up with R500 brows and I will not fix them.

 

What do you love about your job?

 

I love the reactions I get when I reveal a new set of brows to a client at the end of our session. Many end with tears (good ones) and I get a lot of compliments about how my work has given women confidence and allowed them to feel more beautiful. I also love it when women tell me I’ve helped make their daily make-up routine so much quicker and easier. I’m a people-person and I love that every day I get to have the most fascinating conversations with incredible women from all backgrounds and walks of life. I’ve got a client who flies in from Nigeria with an entourage of bodygoards, many are doctors and some are cancer-survivors. Many tears have been shed on my studio bed and strangers walk away as friends.

 

What are the biggest challenges?

 

I think working with skin which is unpredictable in nature can be challenging, particularly because I’m an A-type personality and it can be frustrating to know that you don’t have complete control over the end result. Fortunately I’ve got pretty good at reading pigments and skins, and the balance is then in the hands of the client in the weeks that follow our procedure.

 

Microblading is for you if:

 

You think you could do with a little more fluff and an improved brow shape. Even women with full brows already, achieve great results through microblading. If you draw your brows in, then microblading is for you.

 

Microblading is not for you if:

 

You’re not prepared to commit to the after-care process in the healing phase.

 

How important is aftercare in maintaining the look? and are you specific in telling your clients what to do and not do after?

 

It’s EVERYTHING. Not following the after-care instructions can undo all the work I’ve done in our first session and render the brows 100% faded. I have a unique, detailed set of instructions I walk each client through before they leave my studio.

 

Why is a refinement session needed 6-12 weeks after your first session?

 

It takes a while for the pigment from our first session to settle, hence the gap. It’s also rare that I see a set of healed brows that are absolutely perfect after only one session which is why a refinement session is included in the initial price. The refinement session allows me to add some dimension to the foundation layer, and also to correct any areas with gaps or where the pigment didn’t take as well. It takes two sessions to get a perfect microbladed result.

 

How do you book and how much does it cost

 

Bookings are done strictly on the Browery’s website. For new clients bookings open on the first Monday of the month at 9AM for two months ahead. For new clients the cost is R2600 which includes two sessions – the initial and refinement sessions. For existing clients after the refinement session, it costs R1300.

 

To find out more about The Browery, visit their website

CAPE TOWN

THE BROW LAB by Cara-Leigh

 

 

How and when did you get started and learn? And do you have an art background?

 

I originally studied makeup artistry after school, and have been doing makeup for the last 10 years – so it was only natural for me to broaden my horizons in terms of the beauty industry by training in the art of Microblading. I began researching the microblading trend in late 2016, and finally found a reputable and certified academy to train with in early 2017 – and so my journey began.

 

How do you determine shapes and thicknesses when microblading? 

 

There is a definitive “science” behind the shape and thickness in the sense of measuring the clients face to determine the “new shape” so essentially I am using the clients own bone structure and face shape to guide me to the perfect shaped brow for their face. It does also help if the client has some existing brow hair to work with, as this gives me a rough idea of “what used to grow there”.

 

What is your signature/ preferred microblading style i.e. bold/natural?

 

Definitely natural!

 

 

Do most clients come to you with a set opinion of what they want or for your expert opinion on what should be done? 

 

They like to leave it up to me which is awesome that they are putting their faith and trust in me. We do however discuss what they would ultimately like to achieve with the procedure.

 

How do you handle/ balance what they think they want vs. what you think would look best? 

 

This is where the “pre-draw” process comes in to play. Once I have determined the correct / most flattering brow shape for their face we discuss why this will work for them and set the level of expectation. Every client is different in this respect and will never walk out of my studio with the same brows as anyone else – as they have their very own tailor made set of brows to suit them.

 

Do you show your clients what the final product will look like before starting to avoid unhappiness after? And does it ever fade away completely to a point where you wouldn’t recognize you had it? 

 

Its not 100% possible to accurately show them the “final result” before starting the procedure. I do however explain to them why the specific shape and pigment colour is best suited to them and also reassure them that this can be refined in their touch up session if at all necessary.
There is a possibility that a client’s skin can reject pigment completely after the procedure but these instances are extremely rare.

 

What should people know before microblading?

 

That it is a semi-permanent procedure, and that annual touch ups / colour boosts will be necessary to maintain your brows. AND you get what you pay for! I cannot stress this enough. You need to research artists in your area and make sure that they are certified / accredited & look at their portfolios before making a decision, and to not just go for the cheapest option.

 

What do you love about your job?

 

The best part of my job is seeing my clients’ reactions when they look at themselves in the mirror after the procedure, and I love the fact that I am able to change peoples lives with Microblading.

 

What are the biggest challenges? 

 

Unrealistic expectations and not understanding that this is a process which needs to be carefully followed to achieve the most perfect results possible. You need to put in the work from your side if you want your procedure to last.

 

Microblading is for you if:

 

You are an alopecia sufferer, have thin or sparse brows from over tweezing / waxing, or would just like to define what you already have naturally.

 

Microblading is not for you if: 

 

You are pregnant or breastfeeding, use any medication which thins the blood, you are undergoing chemotherapy, you are a Haemophiliac.

 

How important is aftercare in maintaining the look? and are you specific in telling your clients what to do and not do after?

 

It is SO important! I always tell my clients that I assist with 50% of the procedure and the other 50% is up to them with the aftercare. They receive a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts from me when they originally make their bookings, along with their aftercare instructions – as this prepares them for their appointment day. We also go through the aftercare instructions on the day of their procedure. They also receive a special aftercare balm after both procedures that needs to applied during the healing period.

 

Why is a touch up needed 4-6 weeks after your first session?

 

A touch up is necessary as everyone heals differently and the results will vary from person to person. Some areas may not retain pigment during first session and these areas will need to be “refilled”.  The touch up is also where your pigment colour may need to be adjusted, brow thickness changed and more strokes can be added if necessary. Clients with oily skins often require a deeper colour with their touch up session as the skins natural oils tend to lighten the pigment. Most importantly, your touch up session is when we refine your brows to ensure it looks perfect and retains the colour for the whole year until your annual colour boost appointment.

 

How do you book and how much does it cost

 

Booking are done via the contact form on the brow lab’s website. The cost is R1650 for the first procedure and R850 for the 4 – 6 week touch up.

 

To find out more about The Brow Lab, visit their website

                                                                                                  

PRETORIA

BROWGINERING by Zanie

 

 

How and when did you get started and learn? And do you have an art background?

 

This is a very common question but also gets overseen. It is imperative to have a background in art or some sort of feeling for the arts in my opinion. One needs to have an eye for this sort of thing, to be able to distinguish depth and perception. Although this can be cultivated over time and with practice. In my case, I use my art in almost everything I do, therefore I simply can’t imagine not being artistic in my industry. I did a course in beauty as a bridge in between deciding what I wanted to do, and I there discovered the art of permanent makeup in 2010 and fell in love instantly. I did the course but then quickly decided I wanted to work abroad, which I did for a few years. When I came back, I started my career full time.

 

How do you determine shapes and thicknesses when microblading?

 

This gets determined by each distinctive face making it completely individual and personalized. Taking each person’s facial shape, structure and symmetry into regard every eyebrow gets designed BY HAND tailor made to the particular face. The shape is drawn on by a brush after which the predawn shape is shown and approved before commencing the procedure. The chosen shape is dependent on your own individuality, personality and of course the natural shape and thickness of the brow, the idea is to enhance through subtle changes. After all they make the biggest difference.

 

What is your signature/ preferred microblading style i.e. bold/natural?

 

I honestly have no signature. I work according to the client’s natural facial structure, therefore whatever the client needs I essentially do. For instance, if the client does not have a lot of natural hair, I normally do hairstrokes known as microblading, whereas if the client has many hairs, I normally would recommend shading (dependent on client’s desires). There are just so many factors on deciding which brow will be best suited. This is however where my discretion comes in and I can easily translate what each client wants.

 

Geplaatst door BrowGinering op Dinsdag 25 september 2018

 

Do most clients come to you with a set opinion of what they want or for your expert opinion on what should be done? 

 

Generally, yes. All clients already have a preconceived idea of what they want whether it will be best suited for them or not. In cases where I feel the request may not work or look aesthetically pleasing, I am known to be candid and open about the reasons of why it wouldn’t work and how we can improve upon the request, I do however explain the reasons and give a better alternative as there are many factors that play a role like hair type, whether the natural brow is thick or thin, skin type if its normal, dry or oily. Not to mention lifestyle and overall health. These factors also help me determine which outcome to take into regard.

 

How do you handle/ balance what they think they want vs what you think would look best? 

 

Simply put I am honest with my clients. As I have their best interests at heart and I take pride in what I do so if I feel it may not look pleasing, If I feel I am jeopardizing my instincts by creating something that may not be classic – I sit my clients down and we have an honest conversation about why I recommend doing something else, if that is the case, and we always find a compromise. Although this kind of situation is very rare it’s also almost always based on a client that may have some sort of body shaming issues and the situation needs to be addressed eloquently and delicately all at the same time.

 

Do you show your clients what the final product will look like before starting to avoid unhappiness after? And does it ever fade away completely to a point where you wouldn’t recognize you had it? 

 

I ALWAYS show my clients exactly what I’ll do and how it will look prior to starting. They have a very good idea of my work from all the examples I have online. There is never any question on how it will turn out. The shape is drawn beforehand, the colour is shown prior to the procedure and the technique is discussed in detail. Yes, of course it WILL fade away eventually. This is quite common as today’s technology in pigments are developed to fade away completely over time. Depending on how your body metabolizes the pigment, this can happen faster. Generally, the longevity is anything between 1-3 years

 

What should people know before microblading?

 

That this is a procedure that will be done on your face, the first thing people interact and identify with as a person therefore the decision on where you go cannot be taken likely. It’s not a fad, it’s not something to do on a whim or impulse and it isn’t something you decide overnight, you need to do your research adequately and make sure that where you go is professional. Look for healed results.

 

What do you love about your job?

 

Everything, but mostly I love the art and being able to fulfill that by truly making a difference in someone’s life. I like to think that my art gets shown off in the most beautiful way. On my clients. A showcase of diversity. That’s the most important thing to me the reward of the satisfaction I get from my clients.

 

What are the biggest challenges? 

 

Continuously innovating.

 

Microblading is for you if: 

 

You know the difference between the contrasting techniques. Hair strokes do not work on everybody, but permanent makeup is for everyone.

 

Microblading is not for you if:

 

You have an oily skin however then there are different techniques that is will be best suited for that particular skin type.

 

How important is aftercare in maintaining the look? and are you specific in telling your clients what to do and not do after?

 

Aftercare is the most important part. I always say that I can do my job to the best of my ability but if my clients do not take care of it accordingly there is no point to doing it at all. What we do is we send a sort of preparatory terms and conditions before the procedure and after the procedure is done, we give you all the necessary info needed for the healing process and make sure you are well prepared for every thing that is to come.

 

Why is a touch up recommended 8-12 weeks after your first session?

 

Technically the procedure is not complete after the first initial procedure. A touch up is recommended based on skin type and lifestyle. It comes down to pigment retention and how well your body maintained the pigment, this normally gives me a very good indication of what the long-term results will be moving forward. The touch up is basically a layering or condensation of pigment that will ensure the longevity of the procedure over a certain period. My preference for the initial touch is 3-6 months, this allows the skin to heal fully and in do doing so for myself to see exactly what the body did with the pigment. Then I can easily inform the client of how long it can last.

 

How do you book and how much does it cost

 

Booking are done via booksy, the Browginering website, email and phone. The cost ranges between R2300 – R2500 for a new set of brows. The initial touch up, if done within 6 months, is R1350.  An Annual touch up is recommended and costs R1600.

 

To find out more about Browginering visit their website

 

DURBAN

NINA LOLA by Lola

 

 

How and when did you get started and learn?

 

I got started after my brows were botched by a technician who claimed to offer microblading, the before and after pics on the website were not their work. I did research, found a reputable academy and did the course. I walked away almost clueless and that’s when I realised why the other technician had botched my brows – the training in South Africa is not as comprehensive or intense as it should be, considering that you are cutting into someone’s face. I was determined to get it right so I spent every spare second of my time practicing and learning and reading articles on international forums. I would use my tool and practice till the early hours of the morning. There are no shortcuts, and it is a skill that must be practiced often, to remain skilled.

 

Do you have an art background?

 

Yes, I paint and draw, which is what saved me during my course, and after.

 

How do you determine shapes and thicknesses when microblading?

 

This is determined by the client’s wishes, the shape of their face and the condition of their natural brows. Its always best to stay as close to the natural shape as possible, unless the natural shape is not complimenting the face at all. Measurements are done in pencil and approved by the client before any work is done, they must be happy about what they’ve chosen as this is not something they can simply wash off.

 

What is your signature/ preferred microblading style?

 

I personally prefer natural looking brows so I tend to try stick with just the hairstrokes if possible, and if the client is happy to have a natural look.

 

 

Do most clients come to you with a set opinion of what they want or for your expert opinion on what should be done?

 

Most have an idea of what they want, which helps. If their chosen shape is one that will not work for their face I will advise accordingly, however the final decision rests with the client. There are a few that are happy to let me do it my way.

 

How do you handle/ balance what they think they want vs. what you think would look best?

 

I draw both options, one on each brow, and let them see what I mean so that they get a clear understanding of why I am advising against their choice. The final decision is still theirs though, except that I reserve the right to refuse a client if I feel that the chosen shape is totally unrealistic and a risk to my reputation.

 

Do you show your clients what the final product will look like before starting to avoid unhappiness after?

 

Always. Absolutely always. That’s the first part of every procedure. 

 

Does it ever fade away completely to a point where you wouldn’t recognize you had it?

 

It will fade over time, however there may still be a faint remainder of colour on the skin, depending on various factors including skin type, skin care routines and lifestyle choices.

 

What should people know before microblading?

 

Everything. Absolutely everything. They should do extensive research, visit every microblading page and website, check before and after pics, read comments. it’s your face. Don’t take it lightly. Also, have realistic expectations, for example, if you have naturally oily or combination skin then your brows will lighten faster than someone with dry, non porous skin. If you are into lasers and peels, this will lighten the brows. Ask the chosen technician to give you info on their procedure protocol, pay for a consult if need be, be fully informed before doing this. One last thing, aftercare is key. I can create the most beautiful brows but if instructions are not strictly adhered to the results will be terrible.

 

What do you love about your job?

 

2 Things… The opportunity to be creative and draw new shapes every single time. The look of sheer joy when the client realizes that they got exactly what they asked for.

 

What are the biggest challenges?

 

Getting them through the first 2 weeks after the procedure, when the scabbing is happening. It can be difficult for some. Tattoo corrections, especially if the shape is so bad that I can’t make them look as spectacular as I would like.

 

Microblading is for you if:

 

You have very sparse brows and are unable to find time or the skill to draw brows every morning. If your skin is healthy and normal.

 

Microblading is not for you if:

 

You have very oily skin, (opt for some shading). If you prefer a dramatic brow (hairstrokes will be too natural and simply frustrate you). If the skin on the brow has been damaged by previous work (results may be compromised). If you use peels, skin resurfacing products (pigment retention may be a problem).

 

How important is aftercare in maintaining the look?

 

Aftercare is 70% of your result and retention.

 

Are you specific in telling your clients what to do and not do after?

 

Very specific, we do a full consult prior and we remind them as they leave, as well as sending a detailed aftercare text that same day.

 

Why is a touch up recommended 6-12 weeks after your first session?

 

For refinement and to darken the initial shape as it does lighten up to 40% after the initial procedure. About 10% of our clients are fortunate enough to retain all the pigment after the initial procedure and with these clients we do not do touch ups.

 

How do you book and how much does it cost

 

Bookings are done via whatsapp or phone call. A deposit is required to secure all bookings and there is a cancellation policy in place, which is included with all the booking info you receive on making contact with them. Costs start at R1950-00 for an initial and up to R3500 for tattoo correction work. Touch ups are from R950-00 up to R1700-00.

 

To find out more about Nina Lola, visit their website.

 

Have you had Microblading done in South Africa? Share your experiences in the comments below.

 

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Feige Lewin

Feige Lewin

Feige is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to code things, design things, and all things beauty.
Feige Lewin

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