Pre Care & After Care Explained
Updated: Aug 17
If you’re going to invest in your brows, you want the best healed results! The healing of your new brows will depend on how you care for them. Even the best brows in the world will not heal well or look good longterm if the client does not care for them properly.
Remember: Optimal healing conditions for the skin produce optimal results. Since Microshading is a form of tattoo, your brows will undergo a natural healing process that requires your diligent care for them afterwards.
Care is not limited to only after the procedure. How you prep your skin ahead of time matters and can play a big role in your results.
Your Artist should be providing detailed information on both Pre Care and After Care. While it may seem like a long list of instructions and restrictions, there is a good reason for every single item listed. For anyone who has ever wondered about the “why” behind some of these, here is an explanation of common items listed for Microshading care.
No retinol use for 2-4 weeks:
Retinol is fabulous for anti-aging benefits but it does change the skin significantly by thinning the skin and increasing sensitivity. Retinol use before tattooing will immediately produce a bad reaction with skin becoming enflamed. If this occurs, the procedure must be terminated immediately. Therefore it’s essential to discontinue retinol use above the eyes for a minimum of 2 weeks but preferably 4 weeks ahead of Microshading the brow area.
No waxing or removing brow hair for 1-2 weeks:
It is important for your Artist to be able to see the natural growth of your brow hair when they are creating your shape. In addition, hair removal can be abrasive and irritate skin, which is not ideal before tattooing. Your Artist will groom and remove brow hairs as necessary during shaping.
No caffeine, alcohol, or pain relievers 24 hours ahead:
These items are all blood thinners, which cause increased bleeding and therefore poor pigment retention. In cases of excessive bleeding, the procedure must be terminated immediately. In addition, fish oil consumption should be discontinued beforehand since it is also a blood thinner.
Direct sunlight exposure fades tattoos significantly. This is because UV rays will break down pigment in the skin. In first few weeks after any form of tattoo, avoiding sunlight or tanning beds during healing is critical. In addition, a sunburn or even a suntan are technically injuries to the skin, which is the last thing you want when your skin is already recovering from a new tattoo.
After the healing process, sunscreen is a must to preserve tattoos and prevent fading. I personally try to wear a hat anytime I'm in direct sunlight to protect my brows.
As with any new tattoo, wetting the brows should be avoided. It WILL compromise your results. The only time the brows should be wet is when:
Cleansing/washing as directed
Gently splashing during face washing.
In both cases, skin should be immediately dried in a gentle patting motion.
Freshly tattooed skin should be cared for like an open wound. Wetting it can lead to irritation and possible infection. This is especially true for water in pools, hot tubs and oceans. Wetting can also lead to skin drying out afterwards. The brows must absolutely not be submerged, soaked, drenched, or kept wet.
In addition, wetting in the first few days leads to poor retention from pigment loss. Wet skin becomes loose, which is bad news when the pigment has not settled into the skin yet. Wetness during scabbing will lift out pigment completely. The water can also mix with the pigment and dilute it.
Although it is hard to comply with this rule, the effort to avoid wetting brows is necessary and worth it, as it is one of the worst possible things for any new tattoo.
Sweat contains salt, which is actually the ingredient used to lift pigment and remove it from skin. We want pigment to heal and settle into skin, rather than to lift out. So sweating is a huge culprit in poor retention. Heavy exercise or profuse sweating should be avoided for a minimum of 3 days but preferably 1 week.
I do have a few clients who are body builders, personal trainers or military service members that exercise regularly and cannot avoid it. In these situations I still ask for 3 days without heavy sweating activities like HIIT or cardio if possible. I advise them to wear a sweat-band on the forehead and to constantly blot sweat with a clean rag so that it does not sit on the brows or drip onto them. After a workout, wash/cleanse immediately.
After they heal, brows will be sweat proof! So it’s definitely worth the sacrifice for a few days.
No picking scabs
Picking scabs will lift off pigment with the scab and ruin your results. It will also damage and scar the skin. It may be tempting but please resist the urge to pick any scabbing. Allow it to fall off naturally or while you’re applying ointment with q-tip. Although scabs are frustrating and unflattering, they are great for healing. In general, the longer the scabs stay on, the better the pigment stays in the skin. It is simply the body’s natural healing process.
No over-saturating with ointment
Very light ointment is key! The skin needs to breathe during healing while also receiving the right amount of moisture from the ointment that prevents it from drying out.
The ointment I provide (After Inked) is amazing because it’s light and absorbs right into the skin. Applying an extremely thin layer is essential. The size of a grain of rice is all that’s needed for both brows! Many people overdo it and end up with lighter retention.
Blotting on day 1
Another key is blotting the brows with a dry cotton round every hour on day 1 (immediately after service until bedtime) as directed. This will prevent the build up of fluids (pigment, blood and lymph fluid) before it begins the premature forming of a scab. A lot of people skip this but it’s essential if you want to avoid the ugly scab or excessive pigment loss.
I hope this post helps to explain some of the restrictions and instructions we Artists provide. We want you to achieve the best results possible so that is why we emphasize the importance of good care, before and after your service!
Thanks for reading and be sure to comment below if you have any questions or feedback! ♥︎