Plenty of trends from the ‘90s are coming back — straight leg jeans, platform shoes, claw clips — but there’s one thing we’re leaving behind for good; skinny, pencil-drawn eyebrows. Fuller brows are all the rage these days, and for good reason. The right brow can dramatically change a face for the better. 

Salons can offer brow services, ranging from wax and style to permanent options like microblading, to satisfy client demand. Powder brows are another permanent makeup technique you should consider.

Here’s what you need to know.

What are powder brows?

Powder brows — which are also called ombre brows or shaded brows — are a type of permanent makeup where a pixelated effect is created on the epidermis layer of the skin using a tattoo machine pen. The tattoo machine or permanent makeup pen requires a needle cartridge to be inserted, and then the surface of the skin is gently scratched, inserting pigment underneath. This technique creates a soft, almost velvety appearance on the brows, similar to makeup. 

Who is best suited for powder brows?

Clients who have thin or overplucked brows will see great results from powder brows. Or, if a client wears eyebrow makeup daily, they’re a good option. Lulu Azizi, aesthetician, owner of Luxe + Lulu in Madison, WI, and an expert in powder brows, says they're suitable for most skin types, including oily, porous and mature. 



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How does the process work?

The whole powder brow process will take about 2 hours. 

Consultation: You’ll chat with the client about what they’re looking for in terms of shape, color and other preferences. 

Cleaning and numbing: You’ll thoroughly cleanse the brow area to remove any makeup and oil, then apply numbing cream.

Choosing a pigment: You and the client will decide what color will work best for the brow.

Mapping: You’ll measure and outline the perfect brow shape for the client.

Fill in: You’ll use the machine to fill in the brows with pigment. This will require several passes.

Hair strokes: If the client requests a combo brow, microblading will take place at this stage to add hair strokes.



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How long do powder brows last?

Powder brows can last anywhere from 1-3 years — depending on factors like quality of aftercare, skin type, sun exposure, etc. — before they start to fade. Azizi suggests a touch up 6-8 weeks after the initial appointment to assess and finish the healed work. “The eyebrows will heal 30-50% lighter, which is why it's important to discuss the initial fresh color versus the healed target color,” she says.

How are powder brows different than microblading?

There are four types of permanent makeup procedures for eyebrows: powder brows, microblading, combination brows — which merge the two together — and machine hair strokes.

Whereas microblading utilizes a very small blade to implant pigment into the skin manually, stroke by stroke, powder brows use a machine that layers color onto the skin. The look is also very different, too. Powder brows result in a more defined, makeup-like application. Microblading actually mimics natural hair strokes, so it’s more natural overall.

Machine hair strokes is also machine work, similar to powder brows, but instead of creating a flat powdered effect, machine hair strokes are created.

The needle cartridges for the machine and microblading are all configured and chosen depending on the client’s skin type and desired result, so it’s important to decide what’s best based on these characteristics, not just what the client wants. 

“Each artist offers their own signature combo brow,” Azizi explains. “But for instance, microblading is not recommended for all skin types because it’s an invasive procedure that doesn’t heal properly for everyone. I tell clients to seek an artist that posts a lot of healed work because you’ll be able to determine how the procedure heals on skin.”

What’s the cost of powder brows?

The average cost of powder brows is about $600, according to PMUHub. This typically includes the initial visit and the touchup.

How can you get trained in powder brow technique?

To become certified in powder brows, a beauty professional will need to complete a live or online course, or a combination, through an organization like Phi Academy and Beauty Angels.  

“I highly recommend a company that offers both live (hands-on, typically 2-3 days) and online training because the online course is essentially continued education for 6 months,” Azizi says. “There are thousands of instructors that offer courses, but unfortunately, there aren’t any regulations for training in permanent makeup.”

With advances in technology, permanent makeup has continued to gain popularity, and eyebrows remain at the top of clients’ want lists. “Powder brows will continue to be the most popular service from an artist's perspective because it’s less invasive and it heals well for most skin types,” Azizi says.

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