The scenario goes like this: You recently had a beautiful microblade eyebrow session and love the new look. In this scenario, you were clearly informed that in the first week of the healing process, the results can shift into darker color before shedding the outer “bandaid.” A few weeks later you notice some gaps in the hair-strokes and the color looks a bit ashy or gray.

What happened?

Understanding human skin is important. Human skin is the largest organ on the body and has multiple functions, including retention of heat, protection from invaders, blood transportation, and much more. In regards to to permanent cosmetics, there are cells in the skin that literally remove pigment.

The skin is not a fan of tattooing in general and responds as if there has been an invasion.

The skin also responds with healing over the implanted pigment, which creates a temporary “haze” over the pigment. If the skin has color, then the pigment dulls even more as the pigment is seen through. There are many reasons why the above-mentioned issues can happen, but I will address the top seven (7) most common below.

Here are the top 7 reasons permanent eyebrow makeup changes colors or gaps form:

  1. Aftercare was not adhered to properly and a scab formed too thick – pulling pigment out.
  2. The client’s skin was not in the best health.
  3. Medication and/or alcohol was injected too soon before or after session (alcohol thins the blood creating more bleeding.)
  4. Darker skin types turned ashy upon healing and hyperpigmentation occurred as a result of the tattooing.
  5. The color choice was too cool to begin with and a modifier should have been added.
  6. Client did not wear sunscreen daily and the UV radiation created a faster fade during the healing process.
  7. The area of tattoo has a high movement rate.

Why gray or blue?

Most eyebrows are pigmented with a brown or black pigment. All of these pigments have different degrees of blue in them, and is the last color to fade out. When the upper colors such as reds and yellow fade, the last one is blue/gray. Adding an orange-based modifier is necessary to prevent this occurrence although it is not foolproof. Even with a modifier, fading can happen.

All pigments fade. There is no such thing as an ink or pigment that does not fade with time and UV radiation. The eyebrow area is unique in its position: it is always exposed. Other tattoo areas such as the eye area are covered with the brow bone and lashes generally fade slower. Body tattoos use different inks with larger molecules that can hold in the skin a bit longer but even they fade. Until they can invent a pigment that has the ability to hide from the human body and resist fading from UV light , this will always be a common issue.

So far, the best we can do is touch ups as needed for clients. When the colors start shifting, it is time to have a touch-up. One thing to note as well for eyebrows, the “tails” tend to hold pigment longer as there is little movement in that part of the brow. The front part tends to drop pigment and fade faster due to the high level of movement by brow musculature.

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