I Had My Brows Done With Someone Else. Can You Top Them Up?
So you have had microblading done with someone else either a year or more ago or recently, and you want me to top them up or go over them again.
I get a LOT of requests for this and when I tell those clients that it will cost them full price, they run a mile!
Going over work that was NOT done my me presents me with many problems and I want to explain to why this is, why it's not always possible and why I (and all other artists) always charge full price!
This can be a touchy subject and I totally understand why.
You had your brows done elsewhere but for whatever reason you don't want to go back to them and have your top up, or a yearly colour booster/refresh.
You only need a few bits put in here and there which will only take 5 minutes, so why should you pay full price when you already have brows?
It's a fair question and why should you pay full price again, when you have already paid for a full set?!
Each artist will offer a yearly/bi-yearly booster price at usually around half their initial procedure price - which is about industry standard. This is true for me.
This price is for existing clients only as the previous work will have been done by me. I will know that the shape of the brows is going to be on point and the pigment is going to still be sitting in the skin as perfect as it was the day it was done, but perhaps a little faded - hence the booster.
I'm going to be familiar with the clients skin and products used and the process will be straight forward. Therefore I know exactly how to get that brow back to its original condition, simply and easily.
When clients come to me with previous work of any kind and want a top up or yearly colour booster for example, this would actually be classed as a cover up, which in fact, if you ask anyone in the industry, is a lot bloody harder to do than creating a brow from scratch!
If you already have pigment in your skin, the stroke pattern will for sure be different from mine, you may have major fading in some areas and not so much on others, your strokes may have blurred into one solid colour, your shape may need adjusting, or they may have just faded too much.
With top ups or colour boosters, they would typically take me around 20 mins to complete from start to finish as Im not working on much. I'm just popping in a hair stroke here and there or some shading where needed.
I don't have to spend time choosing a pigment to match your hair and current pigment used by someone else, as I simply use the pigment I used initially.
I don't have to draw in the brows as the shape will be perfect and I won't have to try and work around someone else's hair stroke pattern.
Because I did the original work, everything will blend seamlessly together and once healed, they will be looking fresh new again.
Now, when clients come to me with previous work regardless of when it was done, it never takes me 20 minutes as I can guarantee the shape will be off (one is usually higher than the other, or goes in further than the other). This means I need to spend time drawing in the bbrows again and making sure the symmetry is as accurate as it can be.
I then need to try and find a pigment that will cover up the previous work you have and blend in, then on top of that, I have to actually put a lot more strokes and pigment into the bbrow to cover it up!
Because I will be using a different technique and different pigment, just popping in a stroke here and there like I would do with a previous client of mine, just won't blend in as I couldn't possibly match someone else's work, technique or pigment.
As a side note, a lot of artists tend to choose the wrong pigment for their clients as they have little to no knowledge of colour theory when it comes to pigments and clients skin tones!
So already, we have gone well past the 20 minute mark of my usual top ups or yearly colour boosters and you can see we are now into 'correction' territory. This is where the costs start to go up and justifiably so.
The work is still not guaranteed and it will never be when going over work that someone else has done.
This can be a frustrating topic for the artist to explain to the client as clients think that brows are brows and that we can simply work over them or just add a hair or two to them for £50 - but in reality, we can't - for the above reasons!
If I'm being perfectly honest (and blowing my own trumpet here), there is always a good reason why a client has contacted me to go over their brows and not gone back to the artist who has done the original work.
9 times out of 10, it is because they are unhappy with their brows for whatever reason and want me to work my magic on them.
So again, this is not going to be a quick and easy 20 minute 'touch up' or colour booster as its going to be far more in depth than that! Assessments need to be made and so the thought process begins for me to decide whether or not I actually 'want' to work on the brows or if I even can work on them.
The client below had microblading done by another artist about a year prior to me seeing her. You can just about see the old microblading through her brow hair here.
Let me ask you a question - how long do you think it would take me to do this clients brows?
20 minutes? 45 minutes or 2 hours?
If you guessed 2 hours, you would be right!
Why? Because I had to do a complete brow on her from start to finish. The previous brow shape was
Now, I have to mention the brows that I wouldn’t touch.
If your brows are solid and/or quite saturated in colour there may be nothing I can do to cover them up. You may need removal sessions to lighten your existing pigment before I can do my magic.
Microblading should NEVER be used to cover up previous or old work. This is due to the very art of microblading; which is thin hair-like strokes. This process is insufficient in covering and correcting previous work. It is like painting a blue wall with red stripes; you will be leaving gaps between those red stripes leaving the blue to show through. So the microbladed stokes themselves, will not be enough to successfully cover or correct. The result will look a mess with blurred lines and a multitude of colours coming through the skin, not to mention that more pigment has now been added to the mix.
Only microblading with shading can be used to cover old work - BUT...that work has to be about 80%+ faded for it to be effective.
You can't colour correct microblading like you can with a powder/ombre brow as hair strokes are not enough to cover the work underneath it.
Below is what it will look like. You don't have to be a professional to see this doesn't look good freshly done let alone healed:
Colour correcting brows are possible if the work that will be under it can be colour corrected and then successfully covered.
Brows that are totally saturated with piment that has gone completely dark blue/grey in colour absolutely can NOT be colour corrected or covered. This is because the pigment used was probably ink and not pigment, and it has been implanted very deep into the skin and is now in the dermis.
The only available option is for saline removal which I offer here.
Putting more pigment over these types of brows will end up in an absolute disaster which will result in the pigment being incredibly difficult to remove and very cost prohibitive.
Brows that are red/salmon in colour are a little easier to correct, but it depends on how much pigment is in the skin and how old that pigment is. If it's quite faint, then going over with an olive (green) pigment to neutralise the red first, then the target colour, will work, but again, you can not do this with microblading - only a powder/ombre brow for the best results.
The picture below would be an example of red/salmon brows that I often get asked to work over.
For me, removal of these brows is the only option as I can guarantee that whatever you put over the top of these will not hold and the red will always come through.
Im very results driven and putting anything over the top of these will not look nice over time. They may look good initially and immediately after, but give it 3 months and the red will come through.
This is because the red is very strong and saturated - meaning there is a lot of pigment in the skin. The skin is like a sponge and when that sponge is full, it wont take anymore pigment in.
I wouldn't and couldn't take someone's money and 'pretend' to cover these as I know full well the client will be back 3-4 months later complaining the red is back.
I would then have to add yet more pigment to the skin to cover it once again (costing the client more money) and in doing so, making removal even harder than it would have been in the first place.
I would always be wary of artists who claim they can cover your work - especially with microblading because unless the work to be covered is 80%+ faded, microblading should never be used to cover.
Covering previous work is an art itself and will be covered in a separate blog, so if an artist is quick to say 'yes' to your cover up, do your research and ask them questions and to see photos of previously covered work!