Microblading under attack

Microblading gone wrong is all over the media right now.

We’ve seen this trend getting worse, and with the increasing mainstream popularity of microblading, we’ve noticed horror stories are also becoming more and more frequent and even viral.

Last week was a particularly bad week for microblading. I think by now we’ve all heard the story…

A single mother goes to have a microblading procedure in the hopes of attaining fuller, perfected eyebrows, only to wake up the next day with horrifying results. Her skin actually became so irritated that it peeled right off her face, causing her both physical and emotional trauma that she is still reeling from. Her skin literally fell off her face.

This issue is so prominent, that the term “botched microblading” is the second suggested term on google when you type “botched m”

It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

If you are looking for a microblading procedure today the chances of getting a bad experience and being exposed to health risks are higher than finding a pro and getting a high quality treatment. The combination of artists accepting clients that are not good candidates and the extremely high volume of new artists entering the industry after getting only 2-3 day training courses with limited education is contributing to a dramatic upswing in microblading horror stories.

Now more than ever, clients should be hyper-vigilant when selecting a microblading artist.

If you are looking for a microblading procedure and you want to limit your exposure to health risks and increase the chances of a great outcome we’ve got you covered.  The list below is a guide for how to find a high quality artist. This is not suggested best practices or nice to haves… this is the absolute bare minimum requirements. If anything is missing from the list (and you like your skin attached to your face) - DO NOT BOOK a procedure.

  1. Book a consultation and site inspection

    Instead of relying on Instagram or website reviews, take the time to pick up the phone and call the artist and book a consultation.  This is particularly important if the artist is not a direct referral.  The consultation will give the artist a chance to understand your needs, assess your skin condition and provide answers to your specific questions.  Plus, you’ll be able to do a site inspection at the same time to view the working conditions.  Look for an environment that is tidy, well-lit, pet-free, and sanitary.  Most states and provinces also require a sink to be in each procedure room. An unsanitary environment is a huge red flag when someone is making incisions into your skin.

  1. Tools and equipment inspection

It is essential that all microblade needles the artist uses are sterilized.  This is usually a basic requirement of the local governing body.  Sterilization markings should be indicated on the packaging.  No sterilization markings being a big red flag.  

Make sure the artist mentions sterilization or educates all clients on their process for ensuring sterilized blades, needles and handles. You should also see a sharps container and watch that used tools be deposited into the sharps container.  The SPCP advises that one-time use disposable microblade tools are the safest for both the artist and client and reduces the risk of cross-contamination in the work area.  You should also watch that the artists uses a new tool for every microblading procedure and that she/he opens a new package.  Unfortunately, a lot of artists re-use their handles and in some cases even re-use microblade needles.

  1. Copy of training certificates

Before booking an appointment or sitting in an artist’s chair, make sure they display their training certifications and any other permanent makeup/microblading courses they've taken, either in person or online. If you're unsure and don’t see this information displayed anywhere, ask the artist if you can see their credentials. Due to the recent surge in popularity of microblading and the lack of regulation for training, there are so many new artists out there who have not been properly trained, which highly increase the chances of client complications with the procedure. In addition to looking at the training certificate, it is also a good idea to see who provided the training and gauge the reputation of the trainer as many trainers have only 6 months of experience or less.  

  1. Blood-borne pathogen completion course

You may need to do some digging and research for this one, but when someone is going to perform any type of microblading procedure like this, it’s important to do your research and ensure that your artist is well-educated. If the artist has completed this necessary course, they shouldn't have a problem presenting it to you. Read our blog post about Blood-born pathogens here.

  1. Seeing Previous HEALED Work

At the end of the day, even microblading artists who are certified and use sterile needles may still be new to microblading. Make sure to always do your research on the artist’s previous work and read any and all reviews on the experience, healed results, and interaction with the artist.

Remember this rule of thumb:  “immediately after” pictures show art, “healed” pictures show skill.

  1. Gloves

You may think this one is obvious. Ensuring that an artist is wearing gloves throughout your procedure is a given. But it’s critical that those gloves that are touching the open wounds on your face haven't been contaminated by touching reusable objects in the procedure room such as lights, mirrors, phones, or worse yet - by another client.  Microblading artists that are educated in the transmission of blood-borne pathogens understand and are acutely aware of not touching non-disposable items with contaminated gloves.  The tiny cuts that are made on your eyebrows during a microblading procedure are very susceptible to infection. If an artist is seen not taking proper precautions, think twice before booking your appointment with them.   

  1. Disposable Environment

Does the artist live in a disposable universe? Do they dispose of all microblades, handles, needles, gloves, and everything else that may be contaminated immediately after they no longer need them? Well-educated and professional artists will dispose of all needles INCLUDING handles to reduce the risk of transmitting disease or infection.  Beware of artists that re-uses handles in order to save a few bucks.  This is a widespread issue. Companies that sell handles and needles typically sell 25 needles for every handle.

  1. Aftercare and Follow-up Appointment

During your consultation, it is good to take note of what the artist’s typical protocol is for microblading aftercare, and follow-ups. Does the artist give you an ointment and send you on your way? Or do they take the time to sit down and explain aftercare, and why it’s important.

  1. Do You Qualify for the Procedure

We recently wrote an article called “Am I A Good Candidate for Microblading”. We wrote this article because not everyone is a good candidate for a microblading procedure. Reasons for this can vary depending on your skin type or medical conditions you may have, including medications or supplements you may be taking.  Either way, this is something both clients and artists have a responsibility to research prior to any procedure so that they both understand that results may not be optimal. For more information on qualifying yourself or clients for a microblading procedure, please see our blog post here.

10. Business License, Annual Health Inspection Report, Insurance

As a client looking to have a procedure like this done, it’s your responsibility to do your research on artists in your area. If you have determined that the microblading artist and their space meets the standards listed above, there is no reason that a microblading procedure can’t be an amazing experience that adds convenience and self-confidence to your life. If you are diligent enough to ensure that artists are well trained, and are following best-practices, the chances of your procedure going smoothly and successfully will increase, leaving you with awesome results that you love! 

11. Proper aftercare is JUST as important as the procedure itself

The healing period provides the opportunity and breeding ground for infection. After you leave your artist's salon, your results are no longer in their hands. But there are precautions and steps you can take to ensure that you don't end up with any unexpected issues. Educate yourself on different healing methods and assess what your artist recommends. See the difference between Wet V.S. Dry Healing here. Ask your artist if they use an anti-bacterial product that will provide protection between your healing brows and dangerous viruses and infections like this one HERE. This will ensure that you are protecting the vulnerable area from any harm, and reduce your risks. 

Caveat Emptor!

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“I set out to design a microblade that I knew would put our needs first as artists.”

- Tina Davies