Microblading is (where have you been?) an upgrade of the much maligned brow tattoo of old. Carefully trained aestheticians map out your ‘best’ bespoke brow shape, then use a microblade to create the shape. It’s still a form of tattoo, but it delivers medical grade pigment to the upper layers of the skin only, meaning it is semi-permanent and more natural looking. My brows were fine in their day, a little thin for my liking, but totally doable. I could fill and shape them well enough. But as I’ve got older they’ve become patchy, thinner, a bit shapeless and my brow-filling skills are not up to par enough to deal. It is time.
I was nervous precisely because I had done my Instagram research. I may be the last beauty editor in London to try microblading, but that’s because I’ve seen vastly varying iterations not only on Instagram, but also on my friends and colleagues. Also, it may be the upper dermis, but you’re still basically tattooing your face, so it’s not the most obvious trend to take off. Imagine a few years ago everyone asking everyone, ‘Oh Shannon, have you tattooed your brows yet? You should totally get them tattooed.’
So when I went in to see high priestess of microblading Suman Jalaf, I gave it to her with both barrels: "I know you’re the pre-eminent pioneer of this treatment, but do NOT give me blocky brows." Suman smiled knowingly. ‘As if’, her smile said. And don’t start them off square. And keep it feathery. "Don’t worry Sophie, it’s going to look beautiful."
"But feathery yes? Like you’ll see space between the hairs…" I rabbited on nervously until she finished threading them for me and I realised this was just the consultation. The actual appointment would be next week.
So when I came back the following week I repeated the process, in case she hadn’t grasped it the first time (“FEATHERY!”) then I sat in the waiting room for forty minutes while the numbing cream did its job.
Suman maps out the precise shape and placement of your brows depending on your face shape, eye positioning and current brow state, and then she pencils them in so you can take a look. I took the opportunity to show her an Insta-post of someone whose brows I did NOT want, and she set about scratching - OK, slicing - into my skin with a microblade that etches tiny hair-like cuts. It’s like papercuts, which is as cringeworthy as it sounds, but you don’t feel it in the same way. This part is not pleasant, but it’s not at all awful. If you can switch off and not think about what is actually happening, it’s perfectly OK. Except the sound is a little bit grim, like scratching blades across your skin (because that is what it is).
"Ooh great, your skin is like butter! And you’re not a bleeder." I take this as good news and get back to trying very hard to switch off.
After about five minutes on each brow Suman tests which colour pigment to apply by dabbing it onto my forehead and showing me in a mirror. We settle on medium-dark and she applies it in massive scary blocks and leaves it for about five minutes.
Once she’s wiped it off and given me the mirror I am in shock. My brows! They look...They look. AMAZING.
There’s a bit of redness, but I can already see Suman has worked some serious magic. My brows look like my brows, but so so much better. They’re much darker than they’ll end up being, so I need to live with them looking more Instagram-ish for about 10 days, but deep down I quite love them this strong. It's like upping the contrast on my camera phone. They’re perfectly arched and they look feathery! She always knew what she was doing. Of course she did - she’s Suman Brows. I need to go back in about six weeks to get a top up to fill in any places the pigment didn’t quite take, but already I can see the huge difference. Full disclaimer alert; I was obsessed with trying to book some pre-big-birthday botox, and was mortified when my appointment was cancelled with no possibility of rescheduling before I turned 40. Once my brows became my microbladed brows, I honestly didn’t bother rebooking, and I still haven’t, such is the anti-ageing power of a pair of perfect brows. My newly restructured face-framers will last up to 18 months. Uh oh, I am definitely going to have to keep doing this forever.
From £500 including top up
305 Brompton Rd,
London SW3 2DY