Microshading: The Microblading Alternative That Keeps Your Brows Filled In Permanently

Ever since "eyebrows on fleek" became a thing, we have all collectively been obsessed with having the best brows in town. Gone are the days when we had to overpluck our bushy brows so that they were so thin and wiry, they looked like the long division symbol. Now, we embrace the bushy, we feel for the full, we live for the long, and we want that to last a lifetime. If you're lucky enough to have bushy brows, you're probably not in need of things like microblading, which is a semi-permanent tattoo that will fill in any blank spaces in your brows to make them look fuller for longer. The procedure is deemed one of the most popular cosmetic brow solutions in the world, per Beauty Babe Club, and shows no signs of slowing down. But with a hefty price tag, and the need to refresh it after a few months, it does have its drawbacks.

But hark! A new hero appears on the horizon. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Why no, it's "microshading!" All right, it may not have a cape or the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but it is a procedure that might just unseat microblading as the world's favorite. Here's what it is and how it can help you put your best brow forward.

Microshading gives your brows a more powdered look

Like microblading, microshading involves using a needle to inject pigment below the skin's surface, but there are some marked differences. While microblading uses a brush stroke motion to create the illusion of hair, making the tattoo look like real brow hair, microshading uses a dot method, per Skin and Tonique, giving it a powdered look, like you just applied your makeup. This new procedure will give your brows a softer look than microblading because you don't see the brush strokes. As brow expert Joey Healy explained to MindBodyGreen, "You're using little dots that, depending on how close together and concentrated they are, influence the depth of color that is perceived." That means that the color goes deeper than microblading, which makes it pop way more, giving you a finished look all day every day!

The reason why microblading tattoos fade — especially for oily skin types — is that the color can be washed away with the oils. Microshading, however, is best suited for oily skin because the color will stay for years. It's even suited for sensitive skin, because it causes less irritation than tattooed brush strokes. "Microshading is less invasive than microblading and gentler on the skin," microblading and makeup artist Betsy Shuki told Well+Good. "This makes the microshading technique ideal for those with more sensitive and oily skin."

Microshading is more cost effective than microblading

Microshading has other benefits that might suit you better than microblading. Because microshading lasts longer than microblading, it's more cost-effective. One session of microshading may cost between $350-$500 depending on which city you live in (if you're in NYC, the price may hover closer to $1,000). However, for microblading, the cost is much higher, ranging anywhere from $500 to $2,000, and considering that it fades faster, that means top-up sessions are going to cost you.

With microshading, the effects last much longer, with an average of about two years, while microblading might only last 18 months. That's why microshading has garnered the moniker of "permanent," even though it truly is semi-permanent because after a couple years, it will fade away. However, there are a few similarities with microblading, which is why you'll want to do your research first to determine which procedure is better for you. For example, just like with microblading, there may be itchiness, redness, puffiness, and swelling at the site and that can last for a few hours. That's why brow expert Michele Holmes told MindBodyGreen to read up, ask questions, and choose well, because, "These techniques are still relatively new and sadly under-regulated in this country."