Microblading is a semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo procedure that utilizes a hand-held device to manually apply hair-like strokes of pigment on the brow area. It often results in a natural and fluffy looking brow. Powder brows, also known as ombre powder brows, is another semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo option known for its realistic results. It is achieved through a special shading technique and often gives a soft yet defined look.
Below, we discuss the main differences between microblading vs powder brows, and which one is the best option for you.
What Causes Sparse or Thinning Eyebrows?
Aging is the top factor as to why eyebrows start to thin out or become sparse. It is completely natural and can happen to both men and women once they hit their 40s. Around this time, the natural production of growth hormones slows down, which leads to hair loss or at least, the slowing down of hair growth on mature skin.
Skin Conditions and Autoimmune Diseases
A variety of skin conditions and autoimmune diseases can have an impact on hair growth either due to hormonal conflict, physical trauma to the hair follicles, or other factors. Some of the most common conditions and diseases include:
Psoriasis. This is a type of autoimmune disease that creates thick and scaly patches in the skin. It can be very painful and will eventually block the hair follicles from growing new hair.
Alopecia Areata. This is another type of autoimmune disorder wherein the system starts to attack the hair follicles.
Dermatitis. There are 3 types of dermatitis that, when manifested around the eyebrow area, can cause your eyebrows to thin out. These are contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and seborrheic dermatitis, and they can cause painful inflammation, which stops hair growth.
Ringworm. This is a type of skin condition that produces inflamed, ringlike patches with blisters. If these appear on the brow area, they can cause hair to fall out.
Not getting enough nutrition to supply the system with what it needs to produce hair can greatly impact hair growth. There are greater chances of thinning brows if your body lacks:
- vitamin C (collagen)
- biotin (vitamin B-7)
- vitamin E
- vitamin B-12
- vitamin D
- vitamin A
- omega-3 fatty acids
It is best to maintain a diet rich in these or take supplements in order to prevent eyebrow loss.
While it generally depends on the dosage given and how the body naturally reacts to it, certain types of medicines can hinder some bodily functions, including hair growth. Some of the most common examples are chemotherapy, antithyroid drugs, cholesterol-lowering pills, blood thinners, and valproic acid.
Over-tweezing or pulling
Waxing, tweezing, or pulling out brow hairs can lead to physical trauma of the hair follicle and cause scarring in the long run. When done too frequently, this can bring about prolonged issues with hair production.
Similarly, experiencing burns and other injuries that cause scarring can also hinder hair growth.
Have you ever had hair fall out due to immense stress? This is called telogen effluvium. It is known as temporary hair loss often caused by stress or hormonal imbalances from surgeries, infections, and other circumstances that demand a lot from the body.
Hypothyroidism is a disorder wherein the thyroid gland does not secrete enough thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, is a disorder wherein it secretes too much. Either one of these can affect the hair follicles and how they produce new hair.
Powder Brows vs Microblading: Key Differences
Despite the two procedures being rather similar, there are some key differences to take note of.
Microblading vs. Powder Brows: longer-lasting results
Both microblading and powder brows are semi-permanent tattoo procedures. They both utilize pigment and do not apply it too deep into skin, which allows the pigment to fade out after multiple skin cycles. Because of this, both procedures will require regular touch ups to stay fresh and well defined.
Microblading can last between 1 to 2 years before needing another touch up, while powder brows are known to last between 1 to 3 years. Thus, powder brows can last a little longer.
Microblading vs Powder Brows: Different Styles
Both procedures result in natural and realistic looking hair strokes. However, the technique in applying either one is a little different, which can make an impact on their styles.
Microblading is done using a manual hand-held machine to administer individual hair strokes, which can create somewhat light, fluffy, and natural brows. Powder brows, on the other hand, utilizes a hand held PMU machine that allows for a special shading technique. This shading technique is what gives off a soft, powder-like style that is also very well defined.
Microblading vs. Powder Brows: Healing Time
Either type of tattooing takes about 2 hours per session, and would require some aftercare. When properly taken care of, brows that have been micro bladed can heal anywhere between 4 to 8 weeks. Powder brows, however, can take between 4 to 6 weeks to completely heal.
Thus, depending on how your skin reacts to the treatment and how well you handle aftercare, powder brows can save you a couple weeks of healing time.
Microblading vs. Powder Brows: Pain Level
Because microblading utilizes a manual tool, it can be quite painful depending on one’s tolerance level. Powder brows, on the other hand, are not expected to be too distressing.
Microblading vs Powder Brows: Costs
On average, there is not much of a difference in price between powder brows vs microblading. At reputable clinics, either one costs around USD $600.
Microblading vs. Powder Brows: Which is better?
Both procedures have their benefits. However, based on the above comparison, we can see that powder brows may last longer with proper maintenance, may heal faster with consistent aftercare, are generally less painful, and are roughly the same price as microblading. Since most of the differences are not too significant, the ultimate deciding factor lies in the type of style you want to achieve - light and fluffy or soft and defined?
Who Shouldn't Get Microblading or Powder Brows?
Minors, pregnant women, or lactating mothers are not eligible for a microblading session. Moreover, individuals taking thyroid medication, accutane, steroids, blood thinners, or recently had botox injections / fillers should also refrain from undergoing treatment.
Those with the following conditions are also not suitable:
- Allergies to cosmetics or pigments
- HIV, Hepatitis, and other transmittable blood conditions
- Skin cancer in the brow area
- Healing disorders
- History of keloids or hypertrophic scarring
- Cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy
There are some individuals with special conditions that can only undergo the procedure with a written approval from their doctor. These conditions include:
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Organ transplant
- Pacemaker or other major cardiology problems
- Undergoing treatment that affects the immune system.
Can Microblading and Powder Brows Be Combined?
Yes, combination brows is another semi permanent makeup technique that perfectly pairs both microblading and powder brows treatment. In order to blend the two seamlessly, micro bladed strokes will start off from the head of your brow down to the middle. From there, it will gradually transition to powder brows until the tail end.
This results in a natural, well groomed brow. Moreover, combo brows will look full and bold but with a fluffy and soft finish. It typically lasts about 2 years before requiring a touch up, and takes at least 4 weeks to completely heal.
How To Choose Between Microblading vs Powder Brows?
When choosing between microblading or ombre brows, first consider the kind of look you want to achieve. For those that want their brows to look light, soft, and fluffy, microblading is a great option. However, if you want your brows to look bolder, fuller, more defined, while still having a soft finish to it, then powdered brows are your best choice.
Secondly, determine your pain threshold. Microblading is said to be a little painful, especially when you are thick in the healing process. Powder brows, on the other hand, are relatively painless. Moreover, if you are in a rush, powder brows may offer a shorter healing time - that is, if you religiously follow the aftercare routine.
If you want a pain-free, quick, and affordable option that has zero aftercare and zero healing time, we suggest looking into temporary eyebrow stickers. These are perfect for those with no eyebrows, having difficulty growing them back. They can also be applied in the comforts of home in 3 easy steps - no appointment necessary!
What can you choose instead of microblading & powder brows to create realistic hair strokes & fuller looking brows?
If you are not convinced on either microblading or powder brows, there are still other options you can look into. While many often resort to getting cosmetic tattooing, we strongly advise doing more research on your chosen artist and method since this technique has resulted in many bad eyebrow tattoo experiences.
Instead, try one of these:
- User-friendly eyebrow pencil
- Other types of eyebrow makeup
- Growing brows back with Minoxidil, also known as Rogaine
- Stimulating hair growth with castor oil, or other natural oils
- Promoting healthy hair follicles by moisturizing the area with Vaseline or aloe vera
Check out our article for an in depth guide on choosing: the best eyebrow replacement options.
You’re All Set!
With the many similarities between microblading vs powder brows, it is understandable to take a little time deciding. Ultimately, both procedures are semi-permanent and you can try one initially, and the other one in a couple year’s time to truly experience it for yourself. You can’t go wrong with either one, so long as you achieve the style you want and are ready to properly maintain those brows to let it last even longer!