In case you happen to be new here at Bree At Last, let me just fill you in right quick on my dire brow situation, but first, WELCOME!:)
I have been struggling with a major lack of eyebrow hair for well over a decade. I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as ever being an over-plucker per se. Especially since I haven’t put a set of tweezers near my spermy little eyebrows probably since Y2K. And when was the last time you heard the term “Y2K”?? Really puts things in perspective, huh. So yeah….I plucked my brows like every other girl did for the better part of my senior year of high school waaaay back when skinny brows were all the rage, and mine just never grew back. I don’t think I can attribute all my brow loss to the plucking though, as my poor mom has zero visible brow hair, so basically the writing’s on the wall for me.
Ever since I can remember, my mom has talked about getting her brows tattooed (like the old school way), and my sister and I always cringed at her desire to do this. I mean…we’ve all seen some pretty awful permanent brow tattoos over the years. It was about three years ago, however, when I came across the brilliant art of microblading while surfing social media. It was around Christmas time, and I actually proposed to my brother and sister that we should buy our mom new eyebrows for Christmas, but unfortunately for my mom, my brother didn’t go for the idea (men just don’t get it. AmIright??).
Fast forward to earlier this year when my own brow struggles really began to bother me. I tried all sorts of brow fillers, and those new-ish pencils that are super thin and attempt to mimic the look of a microbladed, or natural brow. However, every single one of these brow products had one major shortcoming (among others): they don’t hold up to any semblance of an active lifestyle.
I’m someone who doesn’t leave the house to check the mail without putting at least foundation on. I wish that weren’t true, but my hormonal melasma (aka hyperpigmentation) has made me super self conscious about my skin, but that’s a topic for a whole other post. My point is I LOVE makeup because it makes me feel like I can actually face the world confidently, and if I’m traveling further than my mailbox, I can almost guarantee that I’ll have put my eyebrows on to try to ‘complete’ my look;) But it sure gets super awkward when I’m out having a good time and one of said brows partially gets rubbed off with a swift swipe of my hand as I’m cracking up at a friend’s joke, or brushing my long bangs off my face. I’m also ‘that girl’ who wears makeup to the gym, on the boat, or to the beach (again, I wish I didn’t have to, but that whole melasma thing…) and I look ‘incomplete’ without a healthy set of brows framing my face, but guess what happens to my fake, penciled in brows after an hour of pouring sweat at the beach or gym? Or after diving off the boat into Charleston harbor?? Yep….they’re goners.
So after doing some research into microblading artists here in the Charleston area, I came across the website for Ultra Brows, located just outside of Charleston in Summerville. Terra is the owner of Ultra Brows and after seeing several before and after shots of her work and reading her bio, I was beyond impressed and reached out to her. After talking with Terra, I knew I trusted her to give my pathetic little brows new life.
Terra had a long cosmetology career before she traveled to Miami to train under some of the top microblading artists in the industry. She stays very very busy, as her exquisite microblading skills are in demand in the Charleston area, so she has tons of experience under her belt in the nearly two years she’s been transforming brows around the South Carolina Lowcountry.
If you’re not very familiar with the miracles of microblading, you should definitely check out her website here, If you are familiar with microblading, you probably know that it generally requires two appointments to complete the job, so I had my first appointment last Tuesday, and I cannot tell you all how well it went!
Let me try to walk you through my experience. My hubby, Michael was there to help document the process for you all:)
Also, yes, I touched up these photos to make my skin easier on your eyeballs. Ain’t nobody wanna see my pores and melasma this up-close and personal.;)
When we first arrived at Palmetto Med Spa in Summerville, which is where Terra performs all her microblading miracles, Terra greeted us and placed us in a cozy room, complete with a TV and working Netflix subscription. This is when she applies some heavy duty topical lidocaine (i.e. numbing cream), and this is also when the Netflix comes in handy, as the cream needs to sit on there for at least 30 minutes to get you good and numb. The plastic wrap helps speed things along, and looks super cool;)
Terra’s a one woman show, but she sure has her operation down to a science. While I was numbing up and happily watching one of my 42 favorite episodes of The Office, she was wrapping up her previous appointment. Even though I would personally never be embarrassed to be seen at a clinic to get my brows done, she does a great job of ensuring privacy, as her clients don’t cross paths due to the layout of the clinic and the way she schedules her appointments. Seriously, Ultra Brows is run like a well-oiled machine;)
I really felt at ease right away during this first in-person encounter. It was like she immediately knew exactly what my brows needed. I imagine in this profession that’s probably one of the first things she notices about everyone, but regardless, her confidence and quick wit about my sad brow situation helped me to relax and assured me I was in great hands.
My numbing period went by pretty fast (especially since we were able to watch The Office while waiting;)). Terra then brought us into the room across the hall where all the magic happens and asked me about my brow goals, and then began mapping out my face to determine the best shape. I had a few photos of some eyebrow crushes that I showed her, which seemed to help her with sketching. Especially since I’m not the best at verbalizing what I’m envisioning.
She’s so good that she almost nailed my desired shape with the very first sketch. My natural brows (what’s left of them, anyway) are unusually high on my brow bone, so I wanted her to fill in the underside a bit more. She made that one little tweak and then we were good to go.
Tip: One thing I did not do, which I wish I would have, is put my fake brows on that morning. She asked me questions about how I normally wear my brows, and how dark I generally like them, and I didn’t even have my usual brow pencil and filler with me to show her. It would have been so helpful for her, and I honestly can’t believe I thought I was actually doing her a favor by not putting makeup on that part of my face that morning. She has to clean the area anyway, so it wouldn’t have been a big deal to clean my makeup off as well.
Next we decided on a color, which kinda looks like I have baby poo smeared on my forehead, but it’s not poo, and it’s only temporary, so no biggie;)
Luckily I haven’t touched up my roots leading up to my appointment since I’m in the process of working toward a more balayage type look, so it was easier to see which color would compliment my skin and natural hair color. I don’t really have enough brow hair to give a great indication of color, so I was actually thankful for my three inch roots;)
I couldn’t decide between two different colors. One was really pretty, but I was afraid it would be too light, but the other I was afraid would be too dark….a classic dilemma. Terra then brilliantly suggested we blend the two pigments together, which is the color you see between my brows, and it was perfect.
Then she got down to business with my brows;)
I wasn’t sure what to expect pain-wise. I’ve had laser hair removal, chemical peels, botox injections etc etc in the past, and I frankly just didn’t give it much thought bc no matter how painful it was, I knew I was willing to endure it. Thankfully, I was pretty well numbed up, so I only felt occasional discomfort when she worked on the outer edges of my new brows. The more painful part was actually when she plucked a few stray brows, if that’s any indication of how tolerable this procedure is;)
Some people apparently have issues with the scraping sound that’s made with each stroke. Michael could even hear it from where he was sitting in the corner of the room, and he asked me if it bothered me. My response: “Heck no! Because I know that every scrape I hear is one more brow hair I didn’t have before.” I’ve seen photos of some women wearing noise canceling head phones, but I’m a talker, so I don’t think I’d like to just lay there listening to tunes. Definitely an option for those who are bothered by the noise though;)
This was at around the midpoint of the procedure. Despite what my face says, I was actually thrilled with the progress at this point. Terra likes to check in at various progress points to be sure the new brows are shaping up the way her clients envision, which is great. At this stage she wanted to double check how I wanted the inner brows to appear. She explained that a lot of her clients don’t want those short little wispy hairs on the inner brows, which I personally love, so she always gets clarification before working on this area.
Re-measuring for the inner corners, and the tails (outer edge of brows).
Terra working her microblading magic again to complete the shape.
Well? What do you all think?? What a HUGE difference, right? Yet, they’re not at all overwhelming or unnatural looking, which is amazing to me.
I think Terra was spot on with this color and shape for my face, and I seriously don’t think I could love my new brows any more if I tried. She said the second “touch up” appointment is when they really come to life, but right now it’s hard for me to imagine them being any better than they are now. Needless to say, I can’t wait for my next appointment.;)
In the meantime, I’m carefully following her aftercare instructions to make sure these puppies heal as they’re supposed to;)
I must mention that Terra generously gifted me her time and talents to bring me my new brows in exchange for my honest thoughts about my experience in the form of this post, but I’m so thrilled with my visit and her work, that you all will definitely be hearing about it A LOT in the future;)
If you’re considering microblading, I say DOOOO ITTTT!!! And if you’re lucky enough to be living near the Charleston/Summerville area, I say definitely reach out to Terra bc I think you’ll love her and her work as much as I do (here’s the link to her website again, and here’s the link to her Instagram account so you can following along and see her before/after photos, which she posts almost daily).
If the cost of microblading is a factor for you, I totally get it, and my advice would be to skip out on your next few hair appointments and you’ll likely have saved up enough for your new brows, AND they’ll last much longer than your $150-$200 hair do. You can always DIY your hair to get by, but you cannot DIY your own microbladed brows. Believe me, as a die hard DIYer, if it were possible, I would have tried already;)
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Let me know what you all think of my new look! It’s pretty incredible the difference these two tiny strips of hair can make on a face, right?
If you’ve had your brows done, I’d love to hear all about your experience too:)