If you have sparse or light-colored brows (hi, that’s me), you’ve probably at least been intrigued by the modern version of permanently inking your arches: microblading. But if you have sensitive skin (also me), you might be hesitant to pull the trigger. Meet the brow technique’s softer, gentler little sister, microshading.
Traditionally, microblading is done by tattooing super fine lines throughout your entire brow to look like natural hairs. It can be used as a way to fill out super sparse brows, or add extra oomph for an even fuller look. (Its cousin microfeathering, is the same idea except pigment is only applied to the sparse patches in your arches.) But of course, there are horror stories that will make anyone with even slightly sensitive skin shudder.
According to a report from New Beauty, there’s a new technique in town that promises to put sensitive skin fears to rest. Microshading is the same basic idea — permanent pigment applied to your arches with the use of teeny tattoo needles — but with a twist in technique. “Microshading, often referred to as the ‘Shadow Effect,’ gives the brow a gradient appearance with small pin-point dots,” brow expert Nadia Afanaseva of Eye Design New York, told New Beauty. “Microblading leaves tiny, natural-looking hair-strokes, whereas microshading leaves small, pin-point dots.”
It sounds a little weird — like the signature teeny dots found in Roy Lichtenstein’s iconic art — and at first, the result looks like what you’d get if you drew on your brows with harsh lines. But in about a week, the block of color fades, giving way to a softer, fuller looking arch.
So why go with microshading over microblading? Experts say it’s better for sensitive or oily skin. “I recommend microshading for clients with oily skin because the microshading technique takes better to their skin type,” Afanaseva told New Beauty. Just like microblading, microshading will last anywhere from one to three years.