Ombre eyebrows, also called ombre powder eyebrows, are a semi-permanent brow style created by using a permanent makeup machine (PMU). Ombre brows are achieved using an ombre shading technique to create brows that have a soft, effortless brow pencil look.
After the ombre eyebrows healing process, your eyebrows look fuller and more defined.
Another benefit of getting ombre eyebrows is that these brows can be customized for any skin tone and type. It’s also the best eyebrow option for people with oily or sensitive skin.
Ombre brows can last up to three years with minimal upkeep and fewer touchups than microblading which requires you to go in every 4-8 months.
Ombre eyebrows allow you to save money and time and provide a template when you fill them in.
Read for everything you need to know about getting ombre eyebrows. From the process, including how to find the right artist, the cost, how the procedure works, and healing time.
(I even cover alternatives to ombre powder eyebrows if you’re not quite ready to take the plunge).
Choosing an artist to do your ombre eyebrows
Social media is your best friend when looking for an ombre eyebrow artist.
A good artist can make the difference between ombre eyebrows gone wrong and a fabulous set of enviable ombre tattoo eyebrows.
The best way to find a qualified and reputable ombre eyebrow artist or studio is by looking at social profiles. Many lash and brow techs showcase their work by posting before and after pictures online.
You’ll find more reputable studios located in larger cities, so looking at locations will help you find the perfect ombre eyebrow artist.
For each artist, be sure you can access their information to see if they are licensed and certified. You don’t want an unlicensed artist giving you bad ombre eyebrows.
As you narrow the studio search, read online reviews of people who have been to that studio. Many reviews reference the specific artist that did the procedure, so you’ll gain more insight into the artist’s skill set.
Ombre brow consult
After you find the perfect studio and artist to do your eyebrows, it’s time to schedule a consultation.
Your brow artist will look at your eyebrows and skin to determine if you’re a good candidate for ombre eyebrows.
He or she will analyze the condition of your skin. They want to see your sensitivity and the amount of oil surrounding the brow area.
The artist will measure the natural shape of your eyebrows to determine the best look for you.
It’s important to discuss your eyebrow goals with your artist and make sure you’re satisfied with the design before moving forward.
Avoid wearing makeup or foundation to your consult because the artist needs to see the natural color of your eyebrow hair.
Also, the brow mapping and measuring of your eyebrows correlate to your bone structure. An artist uses your bone structure to create the best design.
Your eyebrow artist will then find the perfect pigment that matches your skin tone, hair color, and eye color.
The ombre eyebrows process
Before starting, your eyebrow artist will do everything possible to help you feel comfortable. The artist will be near your face with a needle, so they want to make you feel at ease.
Your artist will prepare your skin by numbing the area with a topical anesthetic.
Many people have various pain tolerances, so the anesthetic cream ensures a pain-free experience and allows you to remain comfortable.
After applying the topical anesthetic, the artist will let that sit on your skin for 20-40 minutes before beginning the procedure.
The procedure takes around 2 hours to complete, so be ready to be at the studio for about 3 hours.
I recommend bringing earbuds and your phone so you can listen to your favorite playlist.
Brow mapping & predraw
Before applying pigment, the artist will create a template for how the finished product will look. You’ll be able to see the shape and color of your brows before shading in the area.
Your artist will apply the pigment by using a small tattoo machine. The machine rapidly injects small dots containing pigment across the skin. Artists use a shading technique to add depth to certain sections.
Ombre powder eyebrows offer less pain and bleeding than normal tattoos because the technique gives less trauma to the skin.
You should expect some discomfort because of the needle, but since the artist numbs the area, it shouldn’t be too painful.
Ombre eyebrows aftercare
The aftercare routine for the first few days is more intense than the first few weeks.
Treat like a tattoo
Treat your ombre brows like you would an actual tattoo. Don’t touch or peel off the scabs. Like tattoos, the scabs will shed and you don’t want to rub your eyebrows away!
Don’t itch or pick at your brows
Keep your face dry for the first ten days, especially in the shower. Don’t take long or hot showers. You can use this aftercare as a break from the gym because you need to avoid excessive sweating.
You’ll want to avoid wearing makeup around your eyebrows for 12-14 days because you don’t want to irritate your brows or cause an infection while they are healing.
Avoid sun exposure
Avoiding sun exposure will help promote healing and protect your skin from burning and thus degrading the newly deposited pigment in your brows. Avoid using various cream products like SPF for at least a week.
Here’s how to maintain gorgeous ombre eyebrows long-term.
Use sun protection like SPF or a sun hat to maintain your ombre eyebrows. UV rays cause fading and may cause the brow pigment to discolor or lighten prematurely.
Brown and black pigments can turn orange and yellow or fade to grey so limit sun exposure if possible.
Skip the chemical peels
Avoiding using products like glycolic acid to help prevent your ombre brows from fading.
Get a touch-up
Check your brows out with your artist about three weeks later after your initial appointment. This will give you a chance to make any adjustments to your brows and get an initial touch-up.
Then, you can wait up to 12 months until you need another touch-up.
While ombre eyebrows are long-lasting, with fewer touch-ups than microblading, taking good care of your eyebrows ensures they last as long as possible.
Risks and considerations
There have been no documented side effects when using permanent makeup machines for brow shading.
That doesn’t mean ombre brows are risk-free.
Depending on your skin type, there might be a risk of infection and/or allergic reactions.
The best risk comparison is to a traditional tattoo because ombre brows use a needle that doesn’t penetrate as deep into the skin.
You might get unusual irritation and swelling if you are allergic to PMU pigments.
If this happens, contact your artist right away.
If your skin gets broken during the procedure, there’s a risk of infection. Especially if the PMU machine or environment is not properly sterilized.
This is just another reason to hire a licensed professional, they will always use sterile equipment and you can avoid bad ombre eyebrows.
Because the procedure uses a needle, there’s a chance that you may bleed. Avoid blood thinners for at least 48 hours before your appointment.
Avoid these blood thinners:
- Pain relievers like ibuprofen
If you bleed heavier than normal, the pigment won’t stay on your skin as well. Meaning the color will fade faster.
You can minimize these risks through proper aftercare.
Ombre eyebrows cost
The typical cost of ombre eyebrows ranges between $500 to $1,000.
Here are some factors that might affect the cost:
- Artist’s experience
- Location (city, studio, etc.)
- Size of the studio
Considering the initial cost, you should know that the lasting effect may outweigh the cost. For example, your ombre powder eyebrows can last 2-3 years if you have a high-quality artist.
You’ll need to pay for touch-ups every 12 to 18 months to ensure the fading doesn’t ruin the overall look.
Ombre powder eyebrows vs. microblading
Ombre powder eyebrows are totally different than microblading.
Even though both techniques are semi-permanent, there’s a difference in how the pigment gets applied to the skin.
Ombre powder brows are done using a permanent makeup machine which disperses very small dots of ink into the skin to create a soft uniform look.
Microblading is done by hand using a tool that creates straight fine cuts into the skin to deliver the pigment.
Basically, it’s tiny dots vs long lines.
Microblading uses hair-like strokes across the eyebrow. You can also accomplish microblading by using a hand-powered tool. The tool and hair-like strokes cut into the skin to create mimic the look of your natural brows and fill in any gaps.
Ombre eyebrows poke several fine tiny dots throughout the eyebrow region. The depth and concentration of the dots shift depending on the area of your eyebrow.
Ombre powder brows are done using a machine while microblading is done by hand.
Alternatives to ombre eyebrows
Some people don’t know what eyebrow procedure they want. Here are a few alternatives to ombre powder eyebrows:
Microblading is a cosmetic tattoo that involves using semi-permanent ink to fill in your eyebrows.
It’s a natural brow enhancement technique that’s designed to create the look of thicker and fuller eyebrows.
Microblading is performed by hand and using a line of fine needles to deposit pigment into the superficial layers of skin on the brow in hair-like lines. It’s best for brows with sparse hair or brows that lack definition and shape.
Microblading lasts up to two years.
Powder brows look the most natural after they’ve healed. It looks like you’ve applied it with a pencil or powder.
Powder brows are best suited for oily skin and those who want to fill in their brows in a natural subtle way.
Powder brows can last from one to three years.
Combination brows are perfect for people who want to use microblading and microshading styles. The name comes from combining a manual tool and a machine.
The finished effect gives you defined-looking brows, with the illusion of filling your eyebrows with makeup.
Combination brows can be an alternative to ombre powder eyebrows because adding an ombre effect is an option.
Brow lamination is a completely noninvasive procedure that gives you fuller, glossy-looking brows.
Brow lamination works by straightening the hairs of your brow with a perming solution (much like during a lash lift) so that they all lay flat in the right direction. Straightening your brows makes your eyebrows appear fuller.
Brow lamination lasts up to two weeks depending on your aftercare routine.
Eyebrow tinting is an easy DIY solution. It involves dying your eyebrows and is safe to do at home. The dying process creates fuller-looking eyebrows.
Eyebrow tinting lasts from two to three weeks.
Henna brow tint
Henna brow tinting is another easy and super affordable DIY brow solution.
It’s completely natural and safe as it uses henna paste to dye your eyebrows. The dying process tints your brows and skin to create fuller-looking eyebrows overall.
Henna brows can last up to two weeks.
Takeaways on ombre eyebrows
As you can see, semi-permanent ombre eyebrows take away the stress of filling in your eyebrows daily. However, it’s important to remember that this procedure is an investment. As a result, this investment allows you to have full eyebrows that look natural without having to touch up every day.
If you want ombre eyebrows, you should take the steps we mentioned and find a qualified and reputable artist.
Finally, following the proper aftercare instructions is of the utmost importance to ensure you maintain the quality of the pigmentation.
Kim is an expert, with over 7 years in the nail art and makeup industry. She is an avid DIY nail artist and now contributing writer at BeautyStack.