And which one’s right for you? We explain the newest brow trend that delivers semi-permanent brow colour and shape with a few key differences…

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There’s no beating around the bush: microblading  was big beauty news this year. UK bookings for the semi-permanent cosmetic brow tattooing treatment were up by over 503 per cent according to beauty bookings platform Treatwell  and the company predicts similarly sky high take up of nanoblading in 2019. Just what is this new nano brow treatment about to go gigantum and should you opt for it over microblading or other eyebrow tweaks? Here’s nanoblading in a nutshell…

I’d just got my head around microblading…

Yes, we’re with you there. As ridiculous as it seems to declare that a facial feature is ‘trending’, enhancing our eyebrows remains high up on the beauty agenda, with Treatwell citing that the most requested style is “natural looking bushy brows, with definition at the arches and hair brushed upwards.” Microblading has helped many women and men achieve density and shape post 90s plucking binge, hair loss or simply because they desire a fuller brow or specific shape, and now nanoblading is coming to the fore. Just to take the temperature of the trend from the off via the Instagram tag-o-meter, ‘nanoblading’ has garnered 27k posts thus far, so it’s paling in comparison to microblading’s 7.3 million but give it time.

How nanoblading differs to microblading

First off, it’s not all about the blade…

It uses needles

According to Treatwell brow experts, the treatment “involves the same technique but with super fine, flexible needles rather than a blade.” The fact the the needles are very thin and flexible allows for extreme accuracy, a more precise application of pigment and many practitioners and clients believe that it creates a more natural-looking final result than microblading, but actually, a combination of the two techniques might suit you best.

The new Microblading & Nano Needle Brows treatment offered at Meghan Markle ’s brow grooming bar of choice Nails & Brows  in London’s Mayfair utilises needles and/or blades depending on client preferences and how thick or thin your natural brow hair is, with the technician assessing your needs and desired outcome before deciding on a bespoke plan of action. Typically microblading is used to create shape while nanoblading mimics the dimension and diameter of real hair on your skin. It comes in at an eye watering £995, including a follow-up treatment after eight weeks, but if you have the cash and some clear cut brow goals, it’s the regal choice.

It’s less painful

Although perceptions of pain are highly subjective, the fine, flexible needles used during a nanoblading treatment are reportedly less painful than the harder blades used in microblading. Either way you’ll have an anaesthetic cream applied before the treatment which will make the needles or blading feel more scratchy than excruciating. Permanent makeup specialist Laura Kay  states that healing times tend to be quicker post-nanoblading than after microblading, but you’ll still experience swelling and redness after nanoblading and some scabbing a few days later - don’t pick and you should be golden. This simply means that the pigment is settling in - you’ll notice brow colour fade from the starker, darker shade you saw in the mirror initially.

It lasts longer

Again, how long shape and pigment last can depend on lifestyle factors and skin type, but many specialists agree that nanoblading tends to create a more long-lasting effect than microblading as ‘needling’ in pigment creates greater colour intensity and adherence. While the treatment itself takes around two hours, with a slightly shorter follow-up session required a few months later, after that you can expect up to three years of brow definition but you’ll most likely want a top-up treatment after two. The fact that nanoblading can last longer will be especially welcome news if you have oily skin, as high sebum levels can lead to pigment breaking down sooner, and those with darker skin often prefer nanoblading as it can be used to create a more prominent shape and colour match, although as always the treatment you choose is up to you.

Stick to the rules

With both microblading and nanoblading, having a patch test at least 24 hours prior to treatment and sticking strictly to your aftercare advice is essential to high brow results. If you’re a swimmer, gymmer or multimasker , it’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll need to temporarily change your ways…

The week after

Basically, keeping your eyebrows dry is your main objective. Short of crafting little shower hats for your brows, try to adhere to the following:

Don’t get your brows wet - that means no swimming, no splashing your face, minimal sweating, no lotions and potions and definitely no brow makeup. You won’t want to poke around up there anyway. Blot your brows if they do get a bit damp but go gently.

Do apply the supplied aftercare balm (don’t whack on any old thing - follow your technician’s orders here to avoid irritation, reactions and pigment breakdown).

The months after

Do keep out of the sun to protect your post-treatment brows.

Don’t book facials, peels, light or laser treatments to avoid potential reactions, scarring and discolouration.

Prices for nanoblading treatments aren’t always verging on the quadruple figure (Laura Kay charges roughly £395) but ensure that you’re visiting a licenced professional specialist, not only to achieve optimum results but also to avoid burning, scarring and pigmentation. This isn’t a ‘backroom’ job - like anything involving needles or knives, do your research, don’t be swayed by deals and ask lots of questions. The pain and potential for eyebrow upheaval (or worse) just isn’t worth dicing with.

How microblading works and how to tell if it’s for you