Big brows have been having a major moment recently — you can’t go on Instagram without seeing a brushed-up, full and bushy eyebrow. But the irony of natural and full brows is that for many of us, there’s nothing natural about them; it takes a lot of technique and eyebrow products to obtain the “born with it” look. And so with the rise in popularity of full eyebrows comes the rise in popularity of cosmetic procedures to achieve them, like microfeathering.
Microfeathering — which is different from microblading, another common brow treatment — gives the appearance of naturally thicker, more sculpted eyebrows through semi-permanent pigmentation. But if this is all too much to keep straight, don’t worry, we asked Joey Healy, celebrity brow stylist, to give us the scoop on microfeathering so you can determine if it’s right for you.
What Is Microfeathering?
“Microfeathering is actually a technique that was created and trademarked by Kristie Streicher, who is a brow specialist in Los Angeles,” says Healy. ”So very specifically, microfeathering is her trademarked technique of semi-permanent eyebrow pigmentation.” But because microfeathering is trademarked, you may also see the technique listed as “feather touch,” which is essentially the same thing under a different name. “The feather touch technique is a slightly lighter version of microblading.” Both use a small blade rather than a gun to create the hair-like strokes of pigment.
The Difference Between Microfeathering and Microblading
The biggest determining factor of if you should get microfeathering instead of microblading is the state of your brows pre-treatment. “With microfeathering, you really want to have fuller brows to start because it doesn’t do nearly as many strokes,” says Healy. “Another difference is that the strokes are not as deep, which also means it doesn’t last as long.” This also delivers more natural, less noticeable results. “People like Kristie who do microfeathering really want you to have fuller brows to start. Where microblading covers the entire brow and creates a whole new grid of line work, microfeathering fills in small gaps, just where it's needed,” he explains.
How to Prepare for a Microfeathering Eyebrow Treatment
Before you do anything or make any appointments, do your research. “Look at reviews, ask for recommendations, ask to see their work and follow them on social media,'' says Healy. Leading up to the day of your appointment you’ll want to grow out your brows so that the natural shape is in the best possible state. Do not, however, use an eyebrow tint as this could affect the outcome of the microfeathering. “Also, no tanning and no chemical peels or other intense facial treatments prior to your service,” Healy adds. “Basically, leave your brows alone before a service like this.”
What to Expect During a Microfeathering Treatment
First things first, Healy advises showing up for your microfeathering appointment with well-groomed and shaped brows. Then, the technician should apply a topical numbing cream to lessen some of the pain. “While it lessens the pain, it doesn’t fully get rid of it,” warns Healy. The entire procedure can take from one to three hours, but the post-treatment care is just as important as the microfeathering itself. “You want to keep excess moisture away from your brows and keep them very clean,” which means no working out, swimming or soaking in a bathtub. It’s also likely that the microfeathering spot will scab when healing. Once those scabs fall off, you’ll be able to see the final results. “With these processes, including microfeathering and microblading, there’s a second session weeks later,” says Healy. “This is where little areas are touched up that might of not healed as well or that need a little bit of extra attention.” Microfeathering lasts for eight to 12 months, maximum.
The Risks and the Perks Associated With Microfeathering
Worst case scenario, the risks associated with microfeathering are not much different than those associated with microblading. This includes scarring, infection or allergic reactions. “Scarring with microfeathering is a little bit less likely because the blade doesn’t go as deep, but it is a serious procedure,” cautions Healy. “You are taking a blade with pigment to your eyebrows.” On the other hand, there are plenty of perks to microfeathered brows, as well. Number one being that you’ll be able to use less makeup and therefore spend less time getting ready. “This is less work for you! They will photograph better and you feel more confident. In my opinion, I always like a little bit of powder on a microbladed brow or microfeathered brow (like the Luxe Brow Powder) to kind of blend it all together.”