At Alopecia UK we often hear from people that the loss of eyebrows is one of the hardest things to come to terms with. Eyebrows frame our face, help us to show our expression and define our eyes, it’s understandable that this is a concern for men and women.

One of the most common questions we get from men is about how to disguise the loss of eyebrows. It’s worth noting that whether you decide to disguise brow hair loss, or not, is a personal choice. Many people decide not to. Some men opt for thicker frames on glasses, which some men have told us can make the loss of brows feel less obvious. Whatever you choose is down to how you feel – alopecia your way. Our aim is to provide more information on all the options to help you make your choices.

We have spoken with practitioners who specialise in male brows, and have also asked men who have had brow micropigmentation treatments, to put together this information sheet. Please note that this information should not take the place of a full consultation. It is important you have an in-person consultation, where your practitioner will be able to answer your queries in more detail.

How does it work? 

Micropigmentation is a specialised procedure where colour is inserted into the skin's outermost layers using a fine needle. The aim of eyebrow micropigmentation is to either fully replicate missing eyebrows or add density through the eyebrow area to give balance and symmetry.

Immediately following the treatment, the colour will often look darker than you might expect and will most certainly be darker than the preferred final result, This is normal and part of the process. This is due to colour remaining in the outermost epidermal layers of the skin at the start of the process. However, during the healing process, as the upper layers of epidermis are replaced by new epidermal cells, the colour will soften within a few days. It is always better to under-do than over-do, specialists will always explain that ‘we can easily add but not so easily take away’.

This is one of the reasons that the treatment is a two-step process, your technician will invite you for a second appointment after approximately one month of healing to have a 'top-up' treatment. At this stage you will have had four weeks to get used to the look of the brows so you will be able to know how much darker/thicker you wish to go to achieve your desired result. Some technicians charge per session and some charge a higher price initially to include the ‘top-up’ session. It is always wise to check how your chosen specialist operates.

Is micropigmentation for men?

The simple answer is yes, micropigmentation is suitable for men and women. The technical aspects of the pigment being implanted into the skin and healing works the same way, but there are differences in the way brows are created for men and women. The differences can be purely aesthetics; men tend to opt for more of a straight brow whereas women go for a brow with a more defined arch, but the differences can also be in technique as men tend to prefer a less ‘defined’ look whereas women’s brows are more precise and defined. One of the benefits of eyebrow micropigmentation is that it is bespoke to you, everyone is different. With all this in mind we would suggest you speak to a practitioner who has experience of doing male brows and always have a full consultation. 

Below we have some info from two men who have had eyebrow micropigmentation:

Mathew said “I’ve had my eyebrows done. It was a game changer in a very good way. It framed my face and took away the blankness and made me feel much better looking. I’d recommend for anyone, male or female to get eyebrows done. I have had them done for over five years and I have top-ups every year”

Dan said “I lost my brows gradually and was colouring the patches in until the loss became too great that I needed to act. It was that or paint my brows on every single day, which I did for quite a while using an eyebrow pencil but I kept smudging them so it wasn’t a good solution. Micropigmentation was a good option for me because, before I lost mine, I’d always had prominent eyebrows. When I had them done there were some issues with the shape and size of them – they were too big and slightly ‘flared’ so on a second and third application they were resized smaller. It wasn’t plain sailing. The artist did a good job but I should have asked her to redraw them rather than settling on the shape and size. It did work out well for me in the end but I would say make sure you are happy with the size and shape before the process begins. The process can be a little uncomfortable and, of course, it’s performed near the eyes which worried me but still worth doing”

How long does it last?  

This is a tricky one to answer because everyone’s skin and lifestyle is different but there are guidelines. Some people have micropigmentation once and can still see the brow shape many years later without any top-ups. Others find that it fades much quicker and is no longer visible after a year or two, or if you have skin that doesn’t take to the pigment the effects can disappear much more quickly.  

The general guidelines recommend an annual top-up, also referred to as ‘colour boost treatments’. This is due to the colour fading and the individual hair strokes becoming less defined. How long the colour takes to fade depends on your skin type, age, health, facial products used, environmental and individual factors (such as exposure to the sun). Chat with the practitioner to see what they suggest for you.

Whilst micropigmentation is often referred to as ‘semi-permanent’, you need to consider that the brows could be visible (but faded) for many years after the initial treatment. It all depends on your skin type and you will not know until you have the treatment how the pigment will interact with your skin.

Can micropigmentation results be removed? 

As with tattoos, micropigmentation can be removed, it is not a straightforward procedure. Common techniques used are laser resurfacing and dermabrasion (physical or chemical exfoliation). None of these procedures are simply undertaken and are expensive, which is why it is important to be certain before having any micropigmentation procedure. 

What are the benefits of micropigmentation brows?

  1. Individual eyebrow hairs can be mimicked with fine needles using hair strokes
  2. It is smudge-free and waterproof, the treatment stays put.
  3. It can create a natural look without the need to use other products such as brow pencils and saves the time of drawing brows in every day.

Things to be mindful of:

- Imperfection

The results may be too dark, the wrong colour, uneven or too thick, which is another reason why you must choose your technician wisely and agree to the colour and shape prior to the treatment.  A trained and experienced technician will be able to adjust the colour and evenness of micropigmentation results in most cases during the top-up appointment.

- The industry is unregulated

The micropigmentation industry is not regulated. Therefore, ensure you carry out in-depth research about technicians and clinics to check they are skilled and follow health and safety protocols. Ideally you want one that specialises in working with clients experiencing partial or total hair loss. Always ask to see pictures of their previous work to make sure you are happy. Many micropigmentation technicians will have their qualifications listed on their website or social media and up in the room.

- Safety Measures

  • Ensure you are given an allergy test at least 24 hours before treatment
  • Strict hygiene should be a priority whereby all equipment is sterilised for each client and/or single use
  • You should be given guidance to follow pre and post treatment, such as not drinking alcohol in the 24 hours before your appointment and details of after-care instructions to ensure you get the best overall result

- Possible Side Effects

As with most treatments, there is the possibility of side effects such as allergic reactions, therefore ensure you are given an allergy test before micropigmentation.

The area will show signs of redness and sometimes mild swelling immediately after the procedure, this usually subsides within a few hours. As the area heals some people report it feeling a little bit itchy.

If you have any signs of infection you need to contact your practitioner for advice.

Top Tips 

  1. Check out the previous results of any technician you are thinking of using. A good technician should be able to offer you a portfolio of previous work to view. Styles can vary considerably between technicians; you need to be sure you are happy with whoever you select. Be sure to specifically ask to see examples of their work on clients with alopecia and with men.

  2. Agree to the shape and colour before having it done. Most technicians will give you an idea of what new brows will look like by doing a pencilled version first. Any concerns? Speak up! But remember that the technician is unlikely to come up with exactly the same brows that you had prior to alopecia. Listen to their advice but be sure to let them know if you're not happy. 

  3. Remember that if you have been without eyebrows for quite a while, having them reapplied to your face can be quite a shock to the system. Just as it took a while to adjust to having no brows, it can take a while to get used to having some again!

  4. Do not feel pressured by anyone else to have micropigmentation. The decision to have the treatment should be yours. 

  5. We know that micropigmentation can really help to boost confidence and self-esteem in those with alopecia. But it's also worth remembering that many people with alopecia don't have it and still look great! 

Information supplied by from Trendco, with additional contributions from Alopecia UK.