A black woman looks into the camera as she gets her eyebrows microbladed by a gloved hand.

Microblading Eyebrows Before Losing Hair to Chemotherapy

One of the best pieces of advice I received prior to starting chemotherapy was to have my eyebrows microbladed. It didn’t cross my mind at first, but when you go through chemotherapy-induced hair loss, you lose so much more than the hair that’s on your head. You also lose all of your facial and body hair, which can definitely have its pros and cons.

But perhaps one of the worst aspects of this includes losing your eyelashes and eyebrows. I’ll be honest, there’s not much you can do to replace your lashes once they fall out. But being able to microblade my eyebrows was a total lifesaver.

What is microblading?

Microblading is a semi-permanent tattoo technique, but instead of using a tattoo gun, the microblade artist applies pigment to the skin using microscopic needles via a manual handheld tool. Results can last between one and three years, depending on several factors: 1) skin type (those with oily or thin skin may experience fading or blurring rather quickly), 2) lifestyle (i.e. smoking or excessive sun exposure can also cause fade-out), and 3) how often you receive touch-ups. It's worth noting that at least one touch-up is required after the initial appointment for the best long-term results.

How much does microblading cost?

This all depends on where you live and which salon or technician you visit. Overall, average costs range from $400 to $600 throughout the United States. Like with most services, you get what you pay for. So if the rate seems too good to be true, then it may be unsafe or poor quality. It's always best to do your research, and if possible, read the salon and/or microblading technician's reviews prior to booking your appointment. Many beauty professionals will often share some of their clients' "before and after" photos on their social media profiles, as well.

Prep and aftercare tips

Please first consult with your doctor to see if this procedure is safe for you. While it's significantly less invasive than permanent tattoos, the process of microblading still breaks the skin and creates a wound. Thus, infection is always a risk.

Because of this, it's recommended that cancer patients (or otherwise immunocompromised individuals) have their brows microbladed at least two to three weeks prior to starting chemotherapy treatment. (Don't forget to also take into account the two-week post-treatment touch-up appointment.) Not only will this help prevent excessive bleeding and reduce the increased risk of infection, but it also helps maintain the shape of your natural brows, and prevents any visibility of thinning eyebrows as chemotherapy-induced hair loss progresses.

Each microblading technician's aftercare instructions vary, but regardless these steps must be taken seriously. Clients are typically asked to gently wash the brow area with their fingertips using a mild, antibacterial soap and water, then pat the area dry with a clean towel or napkin, and lastly, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment or a recommended oil (i.e. avocado, coconut, or grapeseed oil) using a cotton swab or one's fingertips. This is suggested twice a day--once in the morning and once at night.

Most importantly, avoid scratching or picking at your brows as they heal, and do not be alarmed if you notice some light scabbing. Once completely healed, you can return to your everyday skincare routine.

There is no shame in wanting to feel good about your appearance, and this small step can do wonders for one's self-confidence - especially while undergoing cancer treatment.

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