Microblading, Tattooed Eyebrows, May Come With Health Risks

Microblading is one of the hottest beauty trends of the year and women in search of the perfect eyebrows are flocking to salons for the permanent, tattooed eyebrow.

Christine Newell-Rodriguez, of Lashes By Christine, is a licensed tattoo artist based in Frisco and has seen the demand for microblading skyrocket.

"A lot of celebrities have been focused on it and a lot of women have problems with it, whether they tweezed 20 years ago," Newell-Rodriguez said.

She's done eyebrows on countless of women, including Amy Thomas, who says the procedure has completely changed her make-up routine.

"I can get up and put some makeup on, or not put some makeup on. I can put lotion on and just go," Thomas said.

Newell-Rodriguez uses special cosmetic pigment and a hand tool fitted with a small blade to tattoo delicate strokes that mimic hair.

The results are full brows that can last for up to two years.

"Everybody wants to have beautiful eyebrows and this is the easiest way to achieve that," Newell-Rodriguez said.

Industry experts say advancements in tools and techniques have helped the trend soar in popularity this year.

Before-and-after microblading photos show results that most women try to get with cosmetic pencils, powders or other fillers.

"Many women suffer from loss of hair and sparse brows, and some clients don't even feel comfortable leaving the house unless they've made up their brows," Newell-Rodriguez said.

However, experts have a warning for the consumer: Be leery of under-trained technicians offering deals that seem too good to be true.

A botched brow job could jeopardize more than your look.

"People that are not effectively trained themselves that are trying to teach other people. It's all about making a dollar," said Dixie Medford, with the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals.

"They're having these little classes for two days and showing people how to use this blade to shape a brow and implant some color, and they're harming people," Medford added.

A properly trained technician should be licensed as a tattoo artist in the state of Texas, as well as have completed hours in blood-borne pathogens safety and color theory pigmentation courses.

"You've got to learn the colors, the pigments, how do they work, what if you make a mistake?" Medford said.

"This is opening up the skin. When you open up the skin, it's a whole new world," Newell-Rodriguez said.

The Texas Department of State Health Services regulates the industry and says it has received 640 tattoo license applications since January 2015, though officials can't determine how many of those were for microblading.

They say they try to inspect salons where microblading is performed at least once a year.

The procedure should cost between $400 to $700, and according to Thomas, it's worth every penny when done right.

"I think the best part is when you get the mirror and you get to look at yourself and see your eyebrows. It makes it all worth it," Thomas said.

Learn more about microblading from the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals.

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