Henna brows and microblading are both ways to create the look of thicker and fuller brows. Here is a straightforward guide to these treatments and how they compare to each other.
Henna brows treatments use dye to color the eyebrow hairs and the skin below the brow. The effect is strongest in the first week but generally lasts 6-8 weeks in total. Microblading uses medical-grade pigment to tattoo the skin on the brow so that it looks like hair. The effect lasts up to 3 years with annual top-ups.
What Are Henna Brows?
Henna brows are a modern implementation of the age-old art of using henna to dye skin and hair.
One major improvement is that you can now choose from brown and black shades as well as the traditional red.
They also fade away cleanly rather than turning bright orange as old henna-based dyes were notorious for doing.
The process of a henna brows treatment is fairly similar to the process of dying the hair on your scalp:
- You and your therapist will agree on the shape you want for your brows.
- Your therapist will then cleanse the brow area and apply a barrier cream to keep the dye where you want it.
- They will then apply the dye.
The dye usually takes about 10-20 minutes to be absorbed. Any excess is then cleansed off along with the barrier cream.
This may be you done. Alternatively, your therapist may then tidy your brows in some way, for example by plucking, threading, or waxing them.
It’s important to note that the quality of a henna treatment depends on the quality of the dye used as much as on the therapist’s skill.
Genuine henna-based dyes tend to give the best results and have the lowest risk of skin irritation.
Chemical-based dyes often fade more quickly and can provoke an unpleasant reaction (although not usually a dangerous one).
What Is Microblading?
Microblading treatments are semi-permanent tattoos for the brow area.
They are applied using a specific microblading tool. Microblading tools are designed to hold 10-12 needs of around 12-15” in length.
These needles are chosen for each client’s specific skin type and treatment preferences. For example, they come in various thicknesses and can be curved or straight.
The therapist uses the microblading tool in much the same way as an artist’s paintbrush. They paint fine lines onto the brow area using microblading ink.
This creates the illusion of real hair. Microblading ink is based on iron oxide. This delivers a rich and realistic effect but does fade slowly over time.
It can, however, last up to three years with annual top-ups.
Another difference between microblading and tattooing is that microblading is suitable for people with a low pain threshold.
Microblading needles scratch the surface of the skin rather than piercing it. This is not pleasant but it’s not really painful either. Most people can tolerate it easily.
Main Differences Between Henna Brows And Microblading
Here are the main differences between henna brows treatments and microblading treatments.
Henna brows treatments have much lower prices than microblading treatments, even microblading top-up treatments.
Length Of Effect
Henna brows have the most impact in the first week. This is when the dye colors the skin as well as the hair. The overall effect typically lasts for 6-8 weeks.
Microblading treatments can last for up to 3 years albeit with periodic top-ups.
Type Of Effect
Henna brows treatments are all about creating volume, color, and gloss. Because they are dye treatments, they can be used to change the color of the brow hair.
For example, they can cover gray hair and/or color-match natural hair to microbladed effects.
This is why henna brows treatments are often used as “top-ups” to microblading treatments.
Microblading treatments, however, deliver photorealistic detail. In other words, microbladed brows look just like natural brows, even close up or in photos.
Type Of Treatment
Henna brows treatments are, fundamentally, hair-dying treatments. Unless the dye triggers a reaction, they are completely pain-free.
In fact, some henna brows treatments actually condition your hair as they color it. Microblading treatments, by contrast, do involve some discomfort.
On the other hand, henna brows treatments do not tend to last well on people who have very dry, very oily, or very porous skin and/or skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis.
They also work best if your lashes are already relatively full. Microblading treatments are effective for almost everybody.
A henna brows treatment will usually take about 30 minutes. The initial microblading treatment will usually take 2-3 hours. Top-up treatments will usually take 1-2 hours.
With henna brows treatments you just carry on as usual. The most you will have to do is apply a sealant. Even this is usually optional.
It just helps to make the effect of your henna brows treatment last as long as possible.
With microblading treatments, it’s vital to follow the aftercare advice given by your therapist.
This will typically be similar to the advice given to people who’ve just had regular tattoos.
For example, you’ll generally have to avoid moisture and use a special aftercare ointment to protect your skin.
Henna Brows Vs Microblading- Which Is Right For You?
You don’t actually have to choose between henna brows and microblading. You can combine the two treatments to make the absolute most of your brows.
If, however, you do want to go for just one, here is a quick guide to what you need to know:
Reasons To Choose Henna Brows
There are both pros and cons to henna brows but here are the three main reasons to choose henna brows over microblading.
Easy To Afford
Individual henna brows treatments are much more affordable than microblading treatments.
You can schedule them for around your payday every month or even every other month.
Henna brows are basically a hair-dying treatment. The only time you’ll experience any irritation is if you have a reaction to the dye.
If you choose a therapist who uses high-quality, plant-based dyes, this is highly unlikely.
Also, even with plant-based dyes, your therapist will usually do a patch test before a treatment (or send you one to do at home).
Henna brows treatments are great for working out what you want for your brows.
If you decide you don’t like what you see, you only have to live with it for 6-8 weeks.
In fact, you may be able to shorten this period if you really work on getting rid of the dye.
Reasons To Choose Microblading
Here are the three main reasons to choose microblading over henna brows.
Great return on investment
The cost of a microblading treatment is more expensive than the cost of a henna brows treatment but the effect lasts for far longer.
This means that you get excellent value for money.
Minimal pain lots of gain
If you choose microblading over henna brows, you do need to be prepared for some discomfort.
Your skin is, literally, going to be lightly scratched. The payoff for this, however, is the sort of fine detail that looks totally realistic even close up.
One and done (almost)
If you know what you want from your brows then microblading treatments can deliver it for far longer than henna brows treatments.
Over the course of three years, you’re looking at a total of three visits for a total of 4-7 hours of treatment time.
Some therapists might ask you to make an extra “check-up” visit after your first treatment but that will be it.
For henna brows treatments, you’re looking at 18 to 24 salon visits for a total of 9 to 12 hours treatment time.
For most people, however, the issue is probably not going to be the treatment time itself.
It’s going to be the need to schedule appointments, travel to them, and probably wait for the therapist to be available. Microblading reduces this to a minimum.
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