Semi-permanent eyebrows: microblading or machine?

microblading london

Worth an estimated £20m in the UK today, semi permanent eyebrows are big news right now. According to research company NPD, the average British woman spends around £200 a year on perfecting their arches, and with over half a million tutorials available on YouTube, it seems everyone is working on achieving brow perfection.

Since the introduction of eyebrow tattoo treatments, many women have opted for this quick and easy fix to achieve the ideal arch. We’ve been delivering semi permanent eyebrows to our clients for many years now, as more ladies (and gents, we hasten to add) realise the face framing power of these hairy little beauties.

More recently, microblading has rapidly risen in popularity as a workable alternative to semi permanent eyebrow tattoos. If you’re wondering whether the tattoo of the blade is better for you, here’s what you need to know about both treatments.

What is microblading?

If you see a consultant about microblading in London or any other major UK city, they may still refer to this treatment as semi permanent eyebrows, or even an eyebrow tattoo. The technique is still firmly within the tattooing family, but involves the use of a hand-held blade to make manually tiny cuts to the skin, with an aim to replicate every hair stroke individually.

As with the treatments you’ll get for semi permanent eyebrows in London, this type of tattooing does not go as deep into the skin as a traditional tattoo. Only the upper levels of the dermis are pierced, and the natural inks used means the tattoo will only fade, not discolour like a skin tattoo would over time.

There are many similarities between microblading and machine applied semi permanent eyebrows, but there are also some crucial differences. Make sure you understand all the pros and cons of each treatment before committing, so you can be sure you’re making an informed decision.

Microblading versus machine applied semi permanent eyebrow treatments

Let’s help you weigh up some of the pros and cons of each treatment, and see which will suit your needs the best.

  • Design: Because semi permanent eyebrows London practitioners set up the machine prior to application, you can be confident you’ll be getting precisely what you asked for in terms of shape and colour. Microblading relies completely on the skills of the technician, so you’d better be sure you’re working with an expert if you don’t want a wonky result!
  • Result: Microblading offers a more precise, some would say more realistic treatment than semi permanent eyebrow tattoos. However, with a skilled practitioner, it’s possible to create detailed hair strokes with the machine treatment too, and to achieve a highly natural looking result (no sharpie brows here!). On the other hand, if your microblading practitioner is not the best at hair stroking, you could be left with an unsightly mess or even deep scarring.
  • Pain: Both treatments only pierce the top layers of your dermis. That means it’s simply a scratching sensation as opposed to the cutting feeling you get with a traditional tattoo. However, because microblading is hand controlled, it can be all too easy for the technician to cut just a little too deep, causing scarring and more pain than is necessary.
  • Infection: Both treatments require good aftercare, of which you should be informed at your consultation. However, because microblading can sometimes reach too deep into your skin, there is a slightly higher risk of infection with this treatment than with the precision-controlled depth achieved via machine.
  • Longevity: Microblading tattoos should last for around 6 – 12 months before a top up is required. Our machine semi permanent eyebrow customers usually come back for a top up after a year or two, but results tend to last for 3 to 5 years, gradually fading over time.
  • Cost: Machine applied semi permanent eyebrows in London cost from around £250 – £500, depending on the salon location and practitioner’s experience. Microblading costs at least £200, although with its rapid rise in popularity and competition, we’ve heard of some salons lowering their prices to even £90. Offers so low can be found on Groupon, just make sure you check the practitioner’s experience, portfolio and qualifications. Always check their website, reviews and whether the cost includes a necessary second treatment (colour boost).
  • Risk: There is a low level of risk with both treatments. However, if your microblading practitioner is inexperienced and cuts you too deep, you could be left with scars for life. Scarring is not possible with the fine control of a machine.


semi permanent eyebrows


Despite the rising popularity of microblading in London and other major UK cities, we recommend you think hard before jumping on the bandwagon. There are a lot of newly qualified technicians out there, who just don’t have the experience required to assure you of a top-class job. Semi permanent make up applied by machine still requires immense skill and extensive training but has a lower risk of a poor result or permanent damage.

As with any invasive treatments such as permanent makeup, it’s crucial you don’t deal hunt, and instead pick the most experienced, capable person to work with you. Talk to us today about your thoughts on microblading versus machine, and we’ll help you make a decision that’s right for you.

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Call us now for more in depth advice, or book an appointment to enjoy your own scalp micropigmentation experience.