If you’re like us, you’ve long relied on your trusty eyebrow pencil to fill in thin, sparse brows so they appear fuller. But using a pencil can be a tiring and meticulous task — and sometimes the results look more artificial than natural. Enter: Powder brows. This innovative semi-permanent eyebrow enhancement is trending on TikTok with over 660 million views and for good reason. Women who have gotten powder brow services are singing the praises of how they wake up with no need to fuss with their eyebrows before heading out the door. And best of all, the results look anything but fake as you’ll see below. Read on for all that you need to know about powder brows and why you should consider getting it done.
What are powder brows?
Before you think that this is a typical brow tattoo method that licensed esthetician Mary Schook says, can look like a stencil was applied to the face and most of the time would fade to orange, green or blue, think again. Powder brows are a semi-permanent makeup technique. “It is applied using a digital pen to place tiny micro-dots of pigment into the upper layer of the skin, creating a soft powder effect,” says permanent makeup artist Emilia Berry, owner of Permaline Cosmetics. “The results can range from extremely natural to decorative depending on the client’s preferences.”
To see how the process is done, watch the tutorial from @PhiAcademy on YouTube.
The benefits of powder brows for women over 50
Powder brows offer several advantages for women of all ages, but particularly those over 50, says Berry. “As we grow older, our eyebrows tend to thin out, lose their evenness and sag at their outer edges,” she says. So during this service, a skilled technician will create full, well-shaped eyebrows that significantly enhance facial features, resulting in a more youthful, revitalized and lifted appearance.
Plus, “the convenience of having flawless brows every day can be a considerable confidence booster,” adds Berry. “Semi-permanent makeup brows are a great time-saving solution, substantially cutting down on the time needed for the morning makeup routine.”
Powder brows vs microblading
While they are both semi-permanent techniques that make brows look fuller, the biggest difference is how they are done. “Microblading involves the use of a manual hand tool to craft delicate hair-like strokes, replicating the appearance of hair,” explains Berry. And as mentioned above, powder brows are administered using a digital pen.
“Think of [powder brows] as shading a brow or filling it in versus creating a hard line the way microblading does to create the [look of] actual hair,” says Schook. This difference causes powder brows to be a more natural tattoo technique than microblading, she notes. And while both techniques are safe, Schook says, “there is a higher increase of infection with blading than powder brows.” That’s because powder brow pens generally do not go as deep as microblading tools.
To determine the ideal treatment for your needs, Berry recommends consulting with your technician. “Note that microblading may have certain skin-related restrictions, whereas powder brows are a suitable option for all skin types.”
How much do powder brows cost?
As with all services, pricing is wide ranging depending on your provider’s level of skill and the quality of pigments used. On average, the cost of powder brows is $600. This price typically includes two sessions: The initial procedure and a touch-up appointment after 6-8 weeks.
Some technicians may charge additional fees for consultations or additional touch-ups. “Although cost may be a factor, carefully researching and selecting a qualified, licensed technician with years of experience should be the focus,” explains Berry.
What upkeep do powder brows entail?
After powder brows have fully healed (this takes 4-6 weeks), you won’t need much maintenance, says Berry. “To keep them in good condition, it’s crucial to refrain from using Retin-A, vitamin C or anti-aging products on your brow area,” she advises. “The duration of the results can vary based on your skin type and lifestyle, but we suggest a touch-up every 18-24 months to maintain the best appearance for your brows.” That said, powder brows typically last 18-36 months on average.
Things to keep in mind when considering powder brows
Your lifestyle can factor into how long it lasts
Depending on your age, amount of UV exposure and use of anti-aging products, powder brows can wear away faster, says Schook . “That’s why they’re usually referred to as semi-permanent versus permanent makeup.” It’s also important to note that “skin is thinner on the face than the body, says Schook so this can contribute to powder brows fading fast. Tip: After powder brows have fully healed, apply sunscreen to them to help them last longer.
Healing time can vary
“In my training, I was taught for every decade of age is a week of healing time, says Schook. “Ideally for someone who’s 40, they should have four or five weeks of healing, age 50 should have five or six weeks healing, etc.”
There’s a risk of scarring and skin lightening
Also, even when in the best hands, scar tissue can still develop. And this can also effect the longevity of powder brows. “Every time you pass over an area that has been tattooed where scar tissue has formed, the pigment is less likely to stay,” says Schook. She also notes that on certain skin types those areas can hypopigment, so not only do you have to think about ink not staying and scarring, but skin can turn lighter in the areas that are tattooed, she warns.
How to fake the look of powder brows at home
If you’d prefer to recreate the look of powder brows at home, makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci says it’s doable with the 3 following steps. Not sure how to select a brow shade? Ciucci advises those with light hair to use a color that’s a 1-2 shades darker than your hair. And if you have dark hair, choose a color that’s 1-2 shades lighter than hair.
- “Use a small, stiff angled brush to fill in brows with a brow powder or powder eyeshadow, advised Ciucci. Then, brush brows downward with a spoolie brush and apply the shadow to just the root areas of hair, then brush brows upward (this will soften any harsh lines). And apply more powder where additional fullness is needed, like “into the body of the brow, under the arch or along the tail,” says Ciucci. One to try: Iconic London Eyebrow Cushion 2-Colour Sculpter (Buy from Iconic London, $28).
- Follow with a brow marker to sketch hair-like strokes into other areas where the hair is sparse, says Ciucci. “This way you have the weight of the powder giving depth and the ‘hair’ sketches giving a natural look to the application.” Ciucci’s favorite brow marker: Ardell Stroke-a-Brow (Buy from Amazon, $5.12).
- “Finish with a clear brow gel to keep everything in place,” says Ciucci. “Make sure to apply with a soft hand as to not wipe off what you’ve put on.” She recommends using Benefit 24HR Brow Setter (Buy from Sephora, $26).
Powder brows before and afters
To see the brow-thickening magic of powder brows yourself, keep scrolling for 4 transformations that we love:
1. The below powder brow before and after posted by @_galglam on Instagram shows how the technique naturally bulks up brows so they frame the face and give features a youthful lifted look.
2. Instagram user @gemma_at_fourteen shared the below transformation of how subtle and age-defying powder brows can be. This client also got permanent eyeliner and lip blushing to enhance her natural beauty.
3. The below before and after from @californiaglowbeautybyssb on Instagram shows how powder brows can darken and reshape eyebrows for a naturally fuller look.
4. Instagram user @browlash shared in the below post how they took one client’s brows from sparse to stunning with powder brows.
First For Women aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission. Questions? Reach us at email@example.com
For more tips that will help you achieve thicker brows, click through these stories: