The 9 Best Brow Pens for Creating a Microblading Effect

Because the ink doesn’t go as deeply into the skin as body art, microblading fades over time. Depending on your skin type, it could last one to two years. Sometimes, you even need a touchup four to eight weeks after your first appointment.

However, getting that touchup right now isn’t exactly an option. With salons across the U.S. shuttered due to the COVID-19 outbreak, people have been trying professional services on themselves, like facials and haircuts. But at-home microblading is absolutely not an option. Luckily, brow pens that create the same effect — no painful incisions necessary — exist. Sure, their hair-like strokes for the illusion of fuller, defined arches last only about two days, but the pens work in a pinch. They provide a quick touchup for your next Zoom meeting and will hold you over until you can finally make an appointment with your favorite cosmetic tattooist once again. For those who’ve never gotten the procedure done before, consider this a way to satisfy your microblading curiosity, too.

Most of the brow pens on this list take a three-pronged approach to master a microblading effect — literally. Milk Makeup and Maybelline New York launched pens with toothed applicator for quickly etching on lines that look just like naturally grown brow hairs. MAC and Urban Decay also make ones with felt or brush tips like your go-to liquid liner, so you’ll be used to maneuvering it. No matter what applicator you prefer, you’re sure to find a suitable option for your brow grooming routine on this list of best brow pens for creating a microblading effect, below.

Essence The Eyebrow Pen

The Essence The Eyebrow Pen is a no-nonsense take on the toothed marker trend. Rake it through your arches with short, upward strokes, and your handiwork won’t budge until you wash your face. Fans of the tool also speckle on faux freckles with the pen. 

$4 (Shop Now

Glossier Brow Flick 

Glossier Brow Flick fills in where Boy Brow doesn’t. The latter tames and fluffs up arches; the paintbrush-like applicator of Brow Flick, on the other hand, focuses on the details. 

Fill in gaps and add definition where you need it, but keep this tip from New York City-based makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes in mind: the pen works best on “completely clean, oil-free brows, so you shouldn’t have any moisturizer on them or any oils or serums or any skin-care product — and no highlighters.” 

$18 (Shop Now

L’Oréal Paris Micro Ink Brow Pen

Comb the L’Oréal Paris Micro Ink Brow Pen through your brows like a little brush to bolster every hair for up to 48 hours straight. Its applicator has the sharpest edge on the market. Flip it over and elongate the tails of your arches with it. 

$11 (Shop Now

Milk Makeup Kush Triple Brow Pen

The ingredient list for the Milk Makeup Kush Triple Brow Pen could be confused for a skin-care product as it touts aloe, sunflower oil, and CBD oil – all to help nourish your brows and the skin underneath them. The pen is offered in a whooping eight hues in warm, cool, and neutral tones of blonde and brown, as well as auburn and black, so you’re find to find your perfect match. 

$22 (Shop Now

Revolution Pro Build & Grow Brow Serum Duo

The Revolution Pro Build & Grow Brow Serum Duo wants to be a part of all of your beauty routines. While doing your makeup, uncap the pigmented side in one of three variations of brown: ash, warm, and dark to sculpt your brows. 

When it’s time for your nighttime skin-care regimen, remove the white cap to reveal a market-like applicator to coat your arches in a transparent serum. We can’t attest to its hair growth claims, but millet seed extract and panthenol are sure to moisturize the area. 

$10 (Shop Now

MAC Shape + Shade Brow Tint

The forces of a pen and powder join together in one powerful baton. One of the MAC Shape + Shade Brow Tint is an ultra-fine felt tip liner to fill gaps; the other houses a self-depositing sheer pigment in its cap that clings onto the spongey tip. Smooth it onto arches to add dimension and lock in your brow look all day long. 

$22 (Shop Now

Maybelline New York TattooStudio Brow Tint Pen

Press down the tip to conveniently replenish the long-lasting inkiness of the Maybelline New York TattooStudio Brow Tint Pen — a genius feature most of the other pens lack. (For the others, store them cap side down to force the pigment to collect at the tip.) 

$10 (Shop Now

Sephora Collection Microblade Effect Brow Pen

Another thin brush tip option if the three-pronged applicators intimidate you: the Sephora Collection Microblade Effect Brow Pen. You can pick from two universal shades – light and deep – to make the faux microblading process that much more foolproof. 

$12 (Shop Now

Urban Decay Brow Blade

Although the Urban Decay Brow Blade is the priciest option on this list, it’s the perfect selection if your partial to a pencil. The two-in-one solution has a tiny retractable one that’s equally as neddle-like brush applicator for a subtle stain. Its shade range is also the most numerous with nine to choose from, including a universal color called Taupe Trap. 

$26 (Shop Now

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Everything You Need to Know About Microblading Your Eyebrows

Whether tweezers hit you hard in the ‘90s and the brow grow-back never happened, or you just don’t feel like filling in your eyebrows every morning, microblading can be an easy solution for full, perfectly groomed, natural-looking eyebrows.

But while the term “microblading” is fairly colloquial these days, the in-salon procedure (and what happens to your eyebrows after the fact) can still strike up a ton of confusion. What is eyebrow microblading, exactly? Does eyebrow microblading last forever? Will you end up with Instagram brows? The questions are endless.

What Is Eyebrow Microblading?

Unlike an eyebrow pencil that you wipe off at night before you go to sleep, eyebrow microblading is a semi-permanent tattoo procedure where a special handheld microblading eyebrow pen is used to draw on strokes that mimic the appearance of real brow hairs, Aava explains. While it’s a similar process to getting a tattoo, the ink that is used is far less concentrated than that of a regular tattoo and is specifically formulated for the microblading process.

Who Should Consider Microblading?

While there are thousands of eyebrow products on the market, those that tend to opt for microblading want fuller, natural-looking eyebrows but don’t want the hassle of filling them in every single morning, or the worry that the pigment won’t last all day. “If you benefit from a brow pencil, then you will benefit from microblading,” explains Aava.

However, if you are pregnant or have any medical contraindications, Aava says you should not microblade your eyebrows.

How Long Does Microblading Last?

Not forever, but way longer than your waterproof eyebrow gel, that’s for sure! In fact, according to Aava, microblading can last anywhere from one to three years, depending on your skin type, lifestyle, sun exposure, and the products that you use. However, touch-ups are commonly needed about once a year, especially for those with oily skin, as the ink tends to fade and blur faster.

What Happens During a Microblading Appointment? 

After the area is sanitized and numbed, Aava consults with the client on the eyebrow shape that will be drawn on. While you can bring in pictures like a haircut, Aava says that in order to create a true natural-looking brow, she likes to follow the direction of the natural brow hairs and takes into consideration the client’s face symmetry and age. She also consults with the client on the pigment of the ink, which she explains is chosen based off of the natural color of the brow hairs and the skin’s undertone.

Then, she moves onto drawing the strokes in using the microblading pen, which can take anywhere from 30-40 minutes, depending on the eyebrow area. After the eyebrows are finished, she applies an aftercare ointment to help healing and a follow-up appointment is scheduled for four to six weeks later. At this appointment, she is able to tweak the final result if needed.

What’s the After-Care Like When Microblading Your Eyebrows?

This isn’t a suggestion to take lightly, as it can have a direct impact on the brow look you end up with. To prevent blurring or fading, Aava suggests keeping them dry from water and sweat for a week or longer, and to refrain from wiping. She also recommends applying her ointment once a day to speed up healing.

Right after the treatment is done, the brows will be darker and slightly red, but the redness and the pigment will slightly fade in color as the brows heal. “Besides them being darker while healing there isn’t any major side effects,” says Aava. “Infection is always possible if you don’t take care of them and don’t follow proper aftercare. All the instruments are disposable in our office, so chances of infection happening is slim to none. Just choose your artist wisely.”

Do You Still Have to Use an Eyebrow Pencil After?

That’s up to your personal preference. “If you wish to add more to match more dramatic makeup, you are more than welcome to add more pencil,” says Aava. However, you should wait the recommended one week (or longer) before applying product.

Who Can Perform Microblading?

There’s not much regulation when it comes to microblading, so you truly have to use your best judgment, do very thorough research, read views, and check out photos of the salon and the artist’s work. You’ll also want to actually go into the salon to check out the facilities sanitation, as Aava says that’s where the chances of infection can increase.

It’s commonly offered at salons or specialty eyebrow boutiques, and microblading artists usually have to undergo some sort of training. For example, Aava is a cosmetic tattoo specialist, and many other microblading experts are also estheticians.

How Much Is Microblading Your Eyebrows?

Your geographical location, the artist’s skill level, and how much microblading actually needs to be done to your eyebrows can all impact the final cost of your procedure. It can range anywhere from $250 to $1,500. 

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