Blade and Shade Eyebrows: Beauty Made Easy (& Where to Find the Best Microblading in Auckland!)

Having considered microblading for months, I decided to finally take the plunge and have Amanda Guerin sort me out with a set of gorgeous semi-permanent eyebrows.  To share my experience, I’ve jotted down all of my thoughts and have done my best to answer all of the questions that I had prior to my treatment.  I hope it helps you as you decide whether semi-permanent brows are the right choice for you.

Anyone that knows me, knows that though I’d love to look gorgeous every day of the week, when it comes down to it, I’d just rather get that extra bit of sleep in the morning.

Imagine my excitement then, when I realised that microblading would mean I could stay in bed that little longer and wake up feeling put together without doing a thing!

Not only that, but I can be racing around whilst we travel without having to think about my makeup application (and still being somewhat Insta ready).  I can scuba dive and go canyoning whilst still looking presentable.

It’s kind of like a slightly improved version of myself and who’s not keen for that?!

Join me as we explore the world of modern semi-permanent makeup…

The Lowdown on Semi-Permanent Eyebrows

Microblading, Blade and Shade, Ombre, Powder, Feathering – What’s What in the World of Eyebrows?

Though there are numerous names for these different semi-permanent eyebrow procedures, they all fit into two categories; microblading and microshading.  When it all comes down to it though, your choice of brows will likely be based on two factors; the type of skin you have and the look you’re after.

Microblading: Feathering, Eyebrow Embroidery, Feather Touch

Microblading is the process of ‘drawing’ thin lines, designed to mimic a naturally full, gorgeously shaped brow.  The microblading pen (which has a top that is made up of a series of tiny needles) creates small scratches the epidermis, allowing the artist to deposit pigment just under the skin. 

Microblading will make brows appear thicker and more filled in, but skin will still be visible throughout the brow, creating a more natural appearance.

Microshading: Powder Brows, Ombre

By comparison, microshading gives the appearance of a more ‘made up’ look.  Coverage is much fuller and ‘powdered’ in appearance.

The procedure itself is similar to microblading but instead of creating longitudinal lines, artists use small needles to puncture the skin, inserting pigment directly into individual points on the skin.

The Best of Both Worlds = Blade and Shade

Though microblading originally caught my eye, for me, it was Amanda’s gorgeous blade and shade work that sealed the deal.

A procedure that gives the appearance of naturally full brows that are always perfectly ready-to-go without being overly made up?

Eyebrow perfection!

How Much Does it Really Hurt?

The million dollar question!

Honestly though, if you’re even remotely motivated to have one of these procedures done, you’ll absolutely be able to handle it.

In my opinion, neither of them hurt.

Some artists opt to use topical numbing cream throughout the entire procedure but doing so can cause the first set of strokes to blur.  To avoid this, my artist chooses to complete the first pass without anaesthetic.  Though you’ll feel these cuts, following this process ensures that each and every stroke starts off crisp.  It means that a stronger numbing gel can then to be applied to the open skin, making the remainder of the procedure virtually pain-free.

At most, I’d describe the procedure as being uncomfortable for the first pass of the ‘blade’.  There’s also a small amount of stinging when the pigment is rubbed in but as I was laying on the table, I noticed my toes didn’t curl up even once (and I can’t say the same for having my teeth professionally cleaned!)

If you’re feeling a bit nervous (and I promise you don’t need to), do as I did and pop a paracetamol beforehand (avoid ibuprofen though) to help take the edge off.

I promise, you’ll be 100% fine.

Really, I wouldn’t be laughing mid-procedure if it hurt!

How Long Does it Take?

Initial appointments take approximately three hours.  Half of this time is spent measuring and drawing up your new brows and the remainder is spent carrying out the procedure.

Appointment times will, however, vary based on a number of factors.  If your skin is not as prone to soaking up the pigment then it may take a little longer (as was the case for me) and if you have a lot of questions or love a good chat, again, you can expect your appointment to take a little longer.

As with anything like this, you want to be sure plenty of time and care is being taken.  Thankfully my eyebrow artist was on the same page in this regard, intentionally allowing additional time to ensure the best possible outcome.

How Much Does Microblading Cost?

The price of semi-permanent eyebrow procedures vary from artist to artist.  As you would expect, the location, equipment, training and most of all, skill-level will be reflected in the pricing.

As a benchmark, the following are the current prices through Amanda Guerin:

  • Microblading
    • Session One – $399
    • Session Two – $230
    • Session Three – $150 (Unlikely to be required)
  • Powder/Ombre
    • Session One – $399
    • Session Two – $230
    • Session Three – $150 (Unlikely to be required)
  • Blade and Shade
    • Session One – $599
    • Session Two – $350
    • Session Three – $150 (Unlikely to be required)

When you are investigating different artists and studios, ask plenty of questions and trust your gut.  Though the price is obviously a consideration, it shouldn’t be your main concern when trusting someone with what could be a relatively substantial change to your face.

From the moment I spoke to my artist, Amanda, I felt comfortable and at ease with her.  So much so that I decided to forgo my initial consultation (which was instead done online) and launched straight into our first appointment.

Ever the professional though, Amanda does recommend a minimum of one in-person consultation to allow you to get to know your artist and to give them the opportunity to properly plan out your brow-perfection plan.

What’s Involved in Healing my Gorgeous New Brows?

Once you’ve committed your time and hard-earned money to your new brows, you’ll want to do the best job possible in healing them.

Afterall, your brow artist will do the hard work at the start but it really is the manner in which you carry out your aftercare that makes all the difference.  Up to 70% of the final outcome comes down to what you do!

On the day of your procedure, you will be instructed to wash your brows at least four times over a number of hours to avoid lymphatic fluid (plasma) or blood from settling on your skin.  From that point on, it’s just a matter of applying the supplied cream and doing your best to heal everything up.  That means eating well, trying to get enough sleep (ideally on your back so you don’t inadvertently rub your healing brows), avoiding cream or makeup application, staying away from saunas and sweaty gym sessions and above all else, not touching your new brows.

When they start to peel, leave them.  If they get itchy, ignore them.

Just leave those beauties alone to heal up.

Will They Look Perfect Right Away?

Maybe but don’t count on it.

I was amazed by just how dark my brows looked initially and I must admit, had a fair case of regret doing to bed that night!

My brows weren’t exactly bad in the first place.  What had I done to my face?!

Fortunately though, Amanda was always very upfront about what to expect in my journey of healing and exactly as promised, things soon started looking up.

Over the course of the first few days, as the pigment begins oxidising, your eyebrows will appear much darker.  As the colour begins to settle, you’ll hit a period of peeling (after approximately a week) before you notice the colour seemingly disappear.

As is the golden rule with the healing period – don’t worry.

After approximately 3 weeks, the implanted colour will reappear and you’ll see your brows in all their glory.

Finally, after 4 weeks you’ll have the opportunity to rejoin your artist to build further on the foundation you’ve already laid, resulting in those perfect brows you’ve dreamed of.

Who’s a Suitable Candidate for an Eyebrow Makeover Like This?

Though a professional artist will have a solution to suit everyone, there are some procedures that are better suited to individuals than others.

Firstly, you’ll want to consider the look you’re after.  Remember that microblading offers a more natural, hair-like result whereas micropowdering creates a more ‘made up’ look.  Would you prefer a subtle look or more obvious brows?

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, you’ll need to consider the suitability of your skin for each procedure.  Though powder and ombre brows are a great solution for almost anyone, microblading has its limitations.  This procedure is not well suited to those with particularly oily skin as the natural oils can cause the pigment to blur or be prematurely rejected.

Remember as well that there are a number of factors that influence the longevity of your semi-permanent brows.

It’s important that you have a frank and open discussion with your potential artist to ensure not only that the shape and style of brows that you’re after are possible, but that you’re a good candidate for your procedure of choice.

I’m a Commitment-Phobe; Are Semi-Permanent Eyebrows for Me?

Yes and no.

Though the appearance of your new brow colour is temporary (lasting up to three years), the pigment itself stays in your skin, invisible to the eye.  That means that for up to three years you’ll be living with your new brows on a daily basis.

For me though, the important question was not whether or not I should go ahead with the procedure but with whom I should book.

As with all facial procedures, decisions should not be taken lightly.  Don’t entrust your face to someone you’re not certain that you can trust.  Even if you have to spend a little more, budget for it – it won’t amount to much over the life of your brows and might just be the difference between perfection and disaster.

Did you know?  It really doesn’t matter what state your brows are in before your treatment – whether you’re brow-blessed or a little lacking.  This incredible woman, for example, beat cancer and aside from radiating beauty, absolutely rocks her new brows!

How Long Will My Beautiful New Brows Last?

Your skin type and aftercare will play a significant role in determining the longevity of your semi-permanent brows.

Assuming you’ve opted for a manual technique (as I did and have discussed throughout this post), those who have appropriately decided upon microblading can expect their brows to stay looking gorgeous for at least 1 year (and realistically up to 3).  A refresher appointment is recommended at 12-18 months to freshen them up and keep them looking tip-top.

If you’re looking for something that will last even longer (or have particularly oily skin), then you may benefit from considering a machine application (suitable for powder and ombré brows).  Again, a top-up appointment is recommended as it’s much easier to stay on top of your existing already-perfect brows than it is to start from scratch down the line.

Microblading Auckland:  Are all Eyebrow Artists Equal?

Unsurprisingly, no, they’re not!

Before settling on a visit to Amanda Guerin I spent a fair amount of time researching the different procedures available and the different brow artists in Auckland.

At this stage, the industry is largely unregulated and training processes are not standardised.  This means that you’ll potentially find a significant range in artist skill and ability.

Though I’m no expert, I saw an obvious difference in Amanda’s work.  She is an absolute pro at designing the right eyebrow shape (to compliment your natural brow line and facial features), creates incredibly natural looking strokes and is just one of the loveliest, most approachable women in the beauty industry.

Generous with her time, it was clear to me from the get-go that Amanda is motivated by making people feel fabulous about themselves.

There was no hard sell.  No inaccurate promises.  Just a genuine professional, looking to make a difference to women around Auckland – all off the back of her own botched brow journey (don’t worry though, her procedure was totally different).

And from a practical point of view?  Centrally located in Remuera, Amanda’s brow studio was close to home for me and thanks to free onsite parking, it was a whole lot easier logistically than heading into New Market or Auckland’s CBD.

Without doubt, you’re in good hands with the Amanda Guerin Brow Artistry team.

I’m Outside of Auckland… Help!  What Questions Should I Ask of My Potential Artist?

If you’re not able to pay a visit to Amanda, you’ll want to ask any potential brow artist the following questions (or already be confident in their answers)

  • Have you been professionally trained?
  • How long have you been carrying out this procedure for?
  • What procedure do you recommend for me, based on my skin type, desired look and lifestyle?
  • Are you using a modern, high-quality pigment?
  • What aftercare do you recommend?
  • Do you carry out a pre-procedure interview/questionnaire to check my suitability?
  • Could I please see examples of the work you’ve carried out?
  • Am I able to view prior client testimonials?

When All is Said and Done, Am I Happy with My New Eyebrows?

Undoubtedly, yes!

Though it’s still early days (and I’ll have another follow-up appointment to fill in any lost colour and fine-tuned my brows), there’s no doubt that my new eyebrows frame my face and make me feel that little more put together each morning.

Check out the difference!


If you’re considering microblading, why not pin this post to return to it?

All microblading photos on this post are Amanda’s work unless watermarked otherwise.  I was invited to have my brows ‘bladed and shaded’ for the purpose of this review but as always, all thoughts are my own.  I had investigated other artists prior to settling on Amanda and could not have been happier with my decision to use her services.

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