Henna Brows Vs Semi-Permanent Tattoos – 5 Important Differences

Reviewed by: Isabella Sylvester - Beauty Therapist

Henna brows and semi-permanent tattoos are two ways to improve the color and shape of your eyebrows. Here is a quick guide to everything you need to know about henna brows vs semi-permanent tattoos.

Henna Brows Vs Semi-Permanent

Henna brows use henna-based dye to color the eyebrow hair and skin. A henna brows treatment usually takes about 30 minutes and lasts for 6-8 weeks. Semi-permanent tattoos use pigment to tattoo the skin. The initial treatment usually takes 2-3 hours and lasts for up to three years (with annual top-up treatments).

What Are Henna Brows?

Henna brows treatments involve dying the eyebrow hair and the skin behind it.

Dying the skin as well as the hair allows a beautician more freedom to shape the eyebrow.

Henna brows treatments have been known for literally hundreds of years.

They have, of course, vastly improved over that time.

There are many benefits to using henna but three improvements stand out in particular:

Firstly, you can now get more natural colors, especially browns and blacks. If, however, you like the strong red tint of traditional henna treatments, you can get that too.

Secondly, they now fade both more slowly and more cleanly (i.e without discoloration).

Thirdly, high-quality modern henna dyes now hit the sweet spot between effectiveness and gentleness.

Be aware, however, that there are still low-quality dyes out there. At best these are ineffective.

At worst, they can trigger an unpleasant reaction. That’s just one reason why it’s important to have a henna brows treatment at a reputable salon.

The process of a henna brows treatment is very simple.

Your skin is cleaned and a barrier cream put on to keep the dye where it is supposed to be. The dye is then applied and left to develop.

Once it is ready, your beautician will clean your skin again. If necessary, they will finish off your brows with a final tidy (e.g. plucking, threading or waxing them).

What Are Semi-Permanent Brows?

Semi-permanent brows come in two main forms.

These are microblading and powder brows (also known as ombre brows). Both forms of semi-permanent brows use medical-grade pigment to color the skin in the brow area.

With microblading, the pigment is applied with a needle.

The beautician creates fine lines that closely resemble natural hair, even close up.

With powder brows, the pigment is applied using a digital tool or a hand-held tool.

The beautician creates numerous tiny dots, to build up the color in the brow area.

Neither microblading nor powder brows deliver the same drama, volume, and gloss as henna brows. On the other hand, both look more realistic close up.

Microblading delivers photorealistic detail.

Powder brows are slightly less realistic but offer more definition and drama than microblading.

Main Differences Between Henna Brows And Semi-Permanent Brows

Main Differences Between Henna Brows And Semi-Permanent Brows

Here is a rundown of the five key differences between henna brows and semi-permanent brows:

How you pay

Taken over a three-year period, the overall cost of henna brows is likely to be similar to the overall cost of semi-permanent brows.

What is different is how you pay. With henna brows, you pay a relatively small amount every 6-8 weeks.

With semi-permanent brows, you pay a fairly high amount for the first treatment and somewhat less for the touchup treatments.

This means that henna brows are less of a financial commitment.

If money is tight for one month, then you can go without the treatment.

With semi-permanent brows, by contrast, you are definitely committing your money.

How your brows look

Semi-permanent brows deliver a more realistic look than henna brows.

This means that they are less intense and dramatic. Henna brows can have a lot more visual impact.

As a result, however, it is more obvious that the effect has been achieved cosmetically.

Your ability to change your mind

Semi-permanent brows last for up to three years.

They can fade more quickly if you don’t top them up. Even then, however, you can expect them to be noticeable for at least a year.

That can be a long time to live with a look you decide you don’t like after all.

With henna brows, on the other hand, the effect will typically last for 8 weeks at the most.

What’s more, there are ways you can remove the dye more quickly if you dislike the result.

This is exactly why henna brows are often used to try out an eyebrow shape until you make a final decision on it.

The treatment process

Henna brows treatments are completely non-invasive.

Semi-permanent brows by contrast do require you to put up with some discomfort. Saying “no pain no gain” is way too strong.

Unless your skin is exceptionally sensitive, the treatment won’t be painful. It can, however, be very irritating.

Aftercare considerations

With henna brows, once your treatment is over you can basically carry on as usual.

You’ll probably be advised to apply a sealant. It’s advisable to do so but this is purely to make the effect lasts as long as possible.

If you forget, the worst that’ll happen is that you’ll need your next treatment sooner than you thought.

With semi-permanent tattoos, you will be given specific aftercare guidance.

You absolutely must follow this to the letter. If you do not then the best outcome is that your treatment will not work as well as it could have done.

The worst is that you experience skin damage and infection.

Henna Brows Vs Semi-Permanent Brows- Which Is Right For You?

Henna Brows Vs Semi-Permanent brows

Henna brows and semi-permanent brows are both great treatments. You can use either or both. Here are some key points to consider when deciding which is right for you.

Reasons To Choose Henna Brows

Here are the three main reasons to choose henna brows over semi-permanent brows:

You want a low upfront cost

Over the course of three years, the price of henna brows could actually work out higher than the price of semi-permanent brows.

With that said, the difference is likely to be fairly small.

With henna brows treatments, however, you pay a little every 6-8 weeks.

This can be a lot easier to manage than paying the higher upfront cost of semi-permanent tattoos.

You just want occasional treatments

You can use henna brows as your go-to eyebrow treatment.

If, however, you just want occasional treatments, then henna brows are definitely the way to go.

Henna brows have their strongest impact for 7-10 days after the treatment. That will cover you for most special occasions.

The overall effect lasts for 6-8 weeks. This is generally more than enough for going on holiday.

You like to try out new looks

If you have your heart set on a particular eyebrow shape, then semi-permanent tattoos are probably the way to go.

If, however, you like to try out new looks regularly, then henna brows are by far your better choice.

Similarly, having a henna brows treatment can be a way to test a look before committing to it.

Reasons To Choose Semi-Permanent Brows

Here are the three main reasons to choose semi-permanent brows over henna brows:

Saves your time

The cost of any beauty treatment really comes in two parts.

The first is the cost of the treatment itself, including the beautician’s time. The second is the cost of the time you spend being treated.

This includes the time you spend going to and from the salon and the time you spend waiting to be treated.

With henna brows, you need to go to a salon every 6-8 weeks.

What’s more, a lot of your treatment time will be spent just waiting for the dye to develop.

You can use this time for other treatments but that only makes sense if you actually want them.

With semi-permanent brows, you will probably only need to attend three or four appointments over the course of three years.

While you’re in those appointments, the beautician will be working on you the whole time.

Has a more realistic effect

The results of microblading look highly realistic even in close-up photos.

The results of powder brows are less realistic than microblading but more realistic than henna brows.

They essentially look like you’ve already enhanced your natural brows with makeup.

With both types of semi-permanent brows, you can use other treatments or makeup to boost the effect if you wish.

In fact, it’s quite common to use henna brows to top up semi-permanent brows when your annual retouch appointment is coming due.

Ensures a consistent look

Because semi-permanent brows last for so long, they ensure that you have a consistent look throughout that time.

How important that is to you may depend on your preferences and your lifestyle, particularly your job.

For example, if you have to represent your employer publicly and/or are regularly photographed, you may prefer to keep a consistent look.

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