A few months ago, Pra received an invitation to visit the newly opened Browz salon to try an HD Brows session. Of course, since we all know that maintaining your brows is crucial for a put-together look, Pra jumped at the opportunity.
Michele Barclay, owner of the newly opened Browz salon, has years of experience and became one of the most highly sought-after brow specialists in the UK and UAE with a long list of celebrity clients who trusted her to work her magic on their brows. Fluffy Browz is the salon’s signature style and is a technique that Michele developed and customised.
When I arrived at the salon (located in the spangly new The Mall in Jumeirah, just opposite Jumeirah Beach Hotel), I learned that all of the staff are trained in the UK—they are serious brow machines who know exactly what’s right for you—and the salon only stocks HD Brow products (which is a fab brand, by the way). The brow bar is just awesome, with a design that matches the coolness of the music they have playing throughout. It’s sleek and chill and just gives you the reassured feeling that you’re in good hands (important if you’re a bit nervous about your first microblading appointment!).
There are two brow treatments available:
This treatment is all about shaping and defining your brows. I loved this! Chloe, my therapist, was the Queen of Brows and deftly shaped mine without overdoing it and gave them a subtle tint. If you’ve had a bad experience with over-threading, over-plucking, or over-waxing, have no fear, this is exactly the opposite and you’ll have fab brows for the next 4 weeks.
This is the salon’s signature service, which is a semi-permanent technique more commonly known as the rather intimidating-sounding “microblading”. Yes, it’s a little bit like getting a tattoo but only in that you’re getting pigment deposited into your skin. Microblading isn’t as scary as it sounds and although teeny tiny blades are involved (to make teeny tiny cuts in your skin), they use a numbing agent and it’s no worse than getting your eyebrows threaded. (Pra doesn’t have a particularly high pain threshold so if I was OK with this, then you definitely will be!)
The result is hyper-realistic and you’ll be hard-pressed to see the difference between your own hairs and the newly added ones! This will also set you back a pretty penny but it also lasts up to 18 months so it could be totally worth it depending on your usual beauty rituals.
If you want to work on your lashes, try out their Eye Define or LVL Lashes treatments. The Lip Blush treatment is for you ladies who want that perfect pout without having to constantly reapply lip colour or work around an uneven lip shape.
We also managed to score a Q&A with Fiona Connolly, a top microblading and brow specialist at Browz who helped develop the Fluffy Browz concept and has had an enviable career that includes international work and plenty of accolades.
Ed. note: some answers have been edited for clarity
Tell us a little about your background and experience
I have been passionate about eyebrows from the moment I started my career in beauty. I loved the idea of something that could transform an individual’s whole look. I realised that a good brow shape could give the effects of a mini face lift! Results are instant and totally transforming. I have been hooked on brows ever since.
Having spent the earlier part of my career in the UK, based in London, I was lucky enough to work with international brow brands, boasting a long list of celebrity clientele.
I soon progressed to become manager and head trainer for another brow brand in the UK, which allowed me to travel the world teaching my passion. In 2016, I moved to Dubai to help set up Browz, the first bespoke brow bar in the UAE.
Many people assume that microblading is just about beauty but what other benefits are there? (For example scarring, accidents, uneven brows?)
Microblading is a very versatile technique and is used to treat any client, whether it’s a subtle enhancement or a complete brow reconstruction. Clients who have suffered life changing facial injuries benefit greatly from microblading, as well as clients who are undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy, resulting in full or partial hair loss.
How do you match the colour of the brows? For example some of us ladies have coloured hair so do you work with the natural brow colour or colour of hair?
Good question. We take into account two different factors when deciding on colour.
1) The client’s skin undertone—whether the client has a warm or cool undertone
2) The client’s hair colour. The client will normally express if they want to go lighter or darker than their current colour.
What are the overall benefits and downfalls of microblading, in your opinion?
The benefits of microblading are that it saves a lot of time in the morning getting ready and it’s hugely beneficial for those who suffer from asymmetry in their brows.
It’s also great for a simple and natural enhancement rather than anything heavy.
Downfalls: some skin types such as oily with large visible pores are not suitable for microblading and the results aren’t permanent.
Many of us (including me) would freak out knowing that in effect we will have our new brows for a min of 2 years. What’s the art in making sure we have the right shape of brow? (Again some of us may have the wrong brow shape for our face already before visiting you and in my case I had wonky brows!!)
The results last anywhere between 6 – 18 months. The results will only last up to and past 2 years if you have a colour boost, like a top-up to refresh the brows. The time frame does seem broad and it’s because there are many factors that contribute to the longevity of the brows. Environmental factors such as high sun exposure, sweating it out in the gym during the healing process, the use of harsh abrasive facials, such as microdermabrasion, acid peels, laser hair removal on the hairline and near the brows. The other factors are intrinsic, for example client skin type, an oily skin type will not hold onto pigment as well. The older the client is, the longer the results will last, as the skin regeneration process slows down, thus holding onto the pigment for longer.
The idea of a blade cutting into my skin was also another thing which freaked me out and could others. Exactly how deep into the dermis do you go (how many layers)? I remember seeing photos like this which are permanent – what’s the difference in terms of permanent v microblade tattoos
The skin is divided in to 3 main layers: surface layer (epidermis), middle layer (dermis), and bottom layer (subcutaneous layer). The old way of tattooing would cut deep into the dermis, where the cells are more like jelly so the strokes spread. In the epidermis, the cells are harder and closely compacted so the strokes remain sharp looking. However, if we worked only in the epidermis the pigment would fade away very quickly as the skin sheds every 27 days…We implant the pigment in the basement membrane which is the layer that anchors the epidermis to the dermis, ensuring strokes don’t work out of the system too quickly, and the strokes stay crisp.
How long (in your eyes) will our new microbladed brows last and how do we maintain them?
I think you get a good 6 months out of them. Everyone is different of course, but most clients get around 1 year, with a colour boost.
So the microblading process wasn’t bad at all and so far, I’m loving my new brows! The initial service that I tested out, HD Brows, was also fab and is great for those looking for a less permanent brow treatment.
Trust the ladies at Browz UAE to do an impeccable job at making your brows look naturally fabulous!
Jumeirah Road, Umm Suqeim 3, (Opposite Jumeirah Beach Hotel)