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Guide to Cosmetic Eyebrow Tattooing (Microblading)

As soon as someone says the words, “tattooed-on eyebrows”, you imagine something that looks fake and inky. While this is a possibility, the tools, techniques and artistry have come a long way in the industry and the results can be stunningly natural looking. Tattooed or micro pigmented eyebrows are able to provide much more than just a cosmetic change for people – it can offer convenience, time savings and increased confidence and self-image. Think of this as a quick primer that will help you see the wider implications and factors influencing tattooed eyebrows.

People Who Can Benefit the Most from Tattooed Eyebrows

It is easy to say that anyone who wants to look their best with the least effort would benefit from cosmetic eyebrows. But that’s just looking at the superficial benefits of this technique. It can be life-changing for people who:

  • Are too busy to apply make-up every time they go out

  • Want to look good all the time – wake-up with make-up

  • Are allergic to traditional makeup

  • Have poor eyesight and struggle with makeup application

  • Are limited due to unsteady hands or other physical incapability

  • Are dealing with partial or complete hair loss and want to correct a thinning or no brow situation, caused by conditions such as alopecia, hypothyroidism or due to chemotherapy

  • Are tired of runny makeup and sweaty smudges during sports or sex or due to oily skin

Nothing Micro About It, Except the Needles

Microblading, a technique used to tattoo eyebrows, involves a handheld pen and blade combo that has tiny little needles on one end. When the blade is dipped into the pigment, these needles then deposit color into the skin via the hand drawn strokes that mimic natural brow hair. Contrary to what people think, the main eyebrow hair isn't removed. The objective is to fill in the gaps with strokes of pigment, for a full and appearance enhancing eyebrow shape.

Another technique involves the use of a rotary pen or coil machine, which is also used for tattooing, but can create a bolder or soft powdery makeup look. A rotary machine can also create hair strokes that tend to last a bit longer than microblading, due to more consistent deposition of pigment. With either technique, semi-permanent pigments are used – not your typical body tattoo ink - which is meant to heal in natural hair tones. These inks typically last 2-5 years at most if color is not refreshed.

It Isn’t Time Consuming or Painful

It takes around two hours for an experienced artist to complete the process. This also takes into account the time taken to numb the brow area. The topical numbing gel will reduce most sensations of pain. To most people, it feels scratchy and not unbearable.

The Cost Can Vary

Where you are when you decide to get the procedure done will undoubtedly influence the price. The average cost for tattooed eyebrows in Calgary, AB falls between $400-$850. The average cost of follow-up visits will vary from $150-$350. Different factors will affect the cost of the procedure and some of these include:

Number of Visits

While the tattooed eyebrows are meant to be ‘permanent’, the ink used to construct them (typically) lasts for 12-24 months. If you are thinking of getting your eyebrows tattooed, then understand that there will be some upkeep. Like anything – getting your hair cut; nails done; car oil changed or going to the dentist – maintenance is required to keep the shape and color fresh. The initial visit will be the most expensive, while you’ll spend a fraction of the cost when you go in for the recommended annual follow up procedure.

Several factors influence the longevity of your semi-permanent cosmetics. Some factors can be easily modified, while others cannot. Some are technician dependent, while the other half are client dependent. The following factors will determine how long the results will last, which in turn, will influence the number of follow-up visits:

1. Skin type, texture and health

2. Exposure to the sun or UV rays

3. Degree of adherence to after care (both short and long term)

4. General body health, medical conditions and medications used

The Artist

Always choose a certified technician and do your research on their technical knowledge, experience and artistry. Factors that affect the cost of the procedure are dependent on the artist’s geographical location (supply/demand), supplies used, overhead costs, training/education received and the value they place on their work.

The Facility

Pay attention to the quality and caliber of the facility when you choose to have this procedure – whether it is home based, in a studio or clinic space. Home based vs leased space may influence procedure price due to costs required to upkeep the facility.

The Technique

Permanent eyebrow tattoos can be done via machine or hand tools. For instance, you could choose between strokes or partial or full shading. Your decision will influence the cost of the procedure as more tools or time may need to be devoted to the technique.


While it is prudent to be skeptical of the potential outcome of tattooed eyebrows, if it is something you have considered, it is well worth doing your research and consulting with different artists to learn more. It could be better than you imagined.

Do you think tattooed eyebrows are for you? What are your concerns? Let us know in the comments!

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