How to Become a Microblading Specialist
Microblade artists can give their clients their best possible brows without all the daily upkeep. Some clients want to make thin eyebrows look fuller or can't get the hang of shaping their arches with regular makeup. Others hope to counter the thinning process that comes naturally with aging. Some are tired of darkening their eyebrows every time they put on makeup, while others might have lost their brows altogether from a condition like alopecia. A great microblade technician can fill in the desired eyebrow shape and density for clients to feel their best.
What Is Microblading?
Microblading is the application of semi-permanent cosmetic tattoos to create the appearance of hair, usually on the eyebrows. Instead of a tattoo gun, microblade artists use handheld tools that look like utility knives. The blade, however, is made up of tiny fine-point needles that embed pigment under the client's skin. This specialized tool gives microblade artists precise control over every stroke.
The result is incredibly lifelike and natural hair strokes that are thinner and shallower than pigment from a tattoo gun. The commonly used term "permanent makeup" is misleading because the pigment is not embedded as deeply as a tattoo. The body eventually metabolizes the ink, causing the strokes to fade over time.
What Happens in a Microblading Session?
A typical microblading appointment starts with the microblade artist explaining what the procedure is, what it can do, and what it can't. Clients are often worried about pain. The technician explains that while some people experience varying degrees of temporary discomfort, it's not a terribly painful procedure like tattooing. With the use of numbing creams, it's comparable to the experience of eyebrow threading.
The tech then asks what the client hopes to achieve. A more defined shape? Fuller brows? A darker color? There is more than one type of microblade tool, which achieve different looks.
The client then lies down on a sterile bed like the kind you'd find in a doctor's office. The tech outlines the shape with removable makeup to make sure it's what the client wants. Once the client approves the shape and style, numbing cream is applied. Then the tech spreads a pigment within the boundaries of that outline and uses the microblading tool to create hair strokes of the pigment to embed it into the skin. The procedure takes an hour or two.
Drawing the outline
Using a microblading tool to apply pigment under the skin
Closeup look at the fine lines
All photos via Shutterstock. They are used under license.
Choosing Microblading Classes
The exact rules and regulations that govern microblade artists vary by state. No matter where you live, you'll follow roughly the same steps to become a working microblade artist:
Learn about microblading as an art and a profession.
Organizations like the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (SPCP) and the American Academy of Micropigmentation (AAM) offer a wealth of helpful information about the field like insurance, laws, and certifications, and even offer training.
Complete a microblading training course.
Even in the most loosely regulated states, you have to complete a training program to learn the craft. Both the SPCP and AAM provide approved lists of certified trainers. Look for SPCP or AAM logos on any program you consider and avoid short courses that promise complete training in less than 100 hours. How much do microblading classes cost? Expect to pay between $4,000 and $5,000 for a legitimate course.
Take a BPS course.
Most state boards require you to complete a Bloodborne Pathogens Standard course. These courses are much shorter and cheaper than a microblading course and can often be completed online.
Consider an internship.
While they're not mandatory, internships can give you real-world, hands-on training that supplements your education and makes you more marketable. You might find internships—which are almost always unpaid—on job boards, sites like AAM and SCPC, or by calling a local salon, spa, or microblading specialist.
The SPCP and AAM offer voluntary certifications that show you have mastered microblading skills at the standards set by those organizations. You'll be required to join the organization and pass an exam to get certified.
Earn a license (if required) and learn your local laws.
Some states require you to earn a license from a state board. Additionally, some local municipalities enforce separate rules on microblade techs, just as they do for tattoo artists.
Skills for Becoming a Great Microblade Artist
Microblading is precision work that requires physical abilities (a steady hand, good eyesight, coordination), mental strength (the ability to concentrate), and artistic creativity. It might not be the right line of work for those with short attention spans or who are easily distracted.
Finally, they need to be able to read their client and put people at ease. Misconceptions about the procedure—and frequently, quite a bit of trepidation—are common. A good microblade tech can convince their clients that they're in good hands, that the tech understands what the client wants and doesn't want, and that they have the training and experience to make that happen.
Salary and Job Growth for Microblading Specialists
It's difficult to nail down exact salary data for microblading specialists. Popular career sites like GlassDoor and CareerOneStop don't list salary or job-growth information for the profession at all.
ZipRecruiter, however, does provide salary information specifically for microblade artists. According to that site, although the low and high ends of the salary spectrum are extreme, the majority of salaries range between $29,500 and $61,000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide job growth data for microblade artists specifically, but it does report that the future is bright for skincare specialists in general. Job growth from 2018 to 2028 is projected to be 11%, which is much higher than the national average across all occupations.
Laws and Regulations for Microblading
According to World Microblading, "microblading is largely unregulated in the United States." There is no unified federal agency that regulates the industry or licenses the professionals who work in it. Just like cosmetology, esthetics, and so many other fields in the beauty industry, state laws are an inconsistent patchwork of regulations that can vary wildly from one state to the next.
Some states license microblade techs through their Department of Health or through the board that regulates cosmetologists, barbers, and other traditional beauty professionals. In many cases, microblade artists are governed by the same regulations as tattoo artists. Some states have reciprocal arrangements, meaning that a microblading artist licensed in one state is automatically qualified to work in another. Other states don't regulate or license the service at all.
In all cases, you'll need to prove that you've completed an approved training program. Additional certifications, like the previously discussed SPCP and AAM credentials, are voluntary. They serve only to make you more marketable, more credible, and better at what you do.