Time For A Refill? When To Top-Up Your Brow Microblading

Cosmetic Treatments

Around 5 years ago microblading became the beauty treatment everyone wanted to get done – it was the ultimate I-woke-up-like-this solution to having fresh, full brows 24 hours a day. As the process became more popular, new techniques developed to suit different looks, like powder brows, which offered a fuller coverage look that also lasts longer on those who have oily skin.

Naturally, like so many others, we had to give it a go (you can see our full first-time experience with powder brows here), but the question we’ve been asking since, is when do you top-up your semi-permanent brows? And, seeing as brow trends change, what if you want to change the shape of your previous brow style?! We had a ton of questions, so we reached out to Chloe Hick, our go-to brow girl and Co-Founder of Browns & Co, AKA the most amazing beauty salon that specializes in semi-permanent makeup (based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi).

Today, we’re answering all your questions when it comes to what comes next post microblading or powder brows, and we’re showing you what the top-up process looks like. Let’s dive in…

When should you get a touch-up after microblading or powder brows?

“So, if you have virgin brows (no previous Microblading or powder brows) then usually it’s a two-treatment process – the first treatment and then the retouch, which would be approximately 6 weeks post initial session. Once you have completed the new brows, we recommend getting a yearly refresh around 12/18 months,” Chloe tells us.

Our Powder Brows/Microblading Top-Up Experience

After having powder brows (with a little microblading at the front of our brows) with Chloe back in 2020, we thought it was about time for a top-up. The look from our first session was still a great base on no-makeup days, but the definition and fullness at the front of our brows had faded from the originally bolder look we had after our two sessions in 2020.

Post powder brows with a touch-up in 2020

Before and after our microblading top-up in 2022

As the trend has changed to be a little less full and more natural, we decided that microblading would help add back the definition but without making the brows look too heavy. The result was really natural, and while we don’t have that super crisp microblading look you get from your first-ever appointment (because there is already pigment in the skin) the new hair strokes are still defined and added back definition.

Our first top-up session:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Browns & Co (@brownsandco_)

The top-up process was also speedier than our first appointment in 2020, seeing as the shape of the brow had already been marked out, it was a simple case of adding fresh hair strokes into the shape we already loved. However, if your brows have faded significantly and you’d like to explore a new shape, then this initial step would be added.

After the initial session, there were still a few sparse patches at the front of the brow from where the pigment hadn’t stuck during the healing process, so after 8 weeks, we had another quick touch-up to add a few extra hair strokes where needed.

Our second top-up session:

When is the best time to get a top-up?

Chloe: I always recommend leaving the pigment to fade out in the skin before adding more. In the UK, the pigment tends to last longer as we don’t have the same humidity there. But here in the UAE, the color tends to fade quicker due to more intense sun exposure. I recommend 12/18 months for an annual refresh and ensure you wear a good SPF for the skin and brows, always.

Why do some people’s semi-permanent brows last longer than others?

Chloe: This is mainly down to your skin type. Oilier skin doesn’t tend to hold onto the pigment as well as normal skin types. We also have to take into consideration that we are working on skin, and some technicians (maybe ones with less experience) may go deeper into the epidermis layer of the skin, which would make the pigment last longer.

Is there a point when you can no longer do microblading if you’ve already done it a few times before?

Chloe: If done correctly and not gone too deep into the epidermis, microblading can be done yearly to keep the color fresh. If the microblading has been implanted too deep and it’s all blurred, we would recommend removing it and starting again.

Can brow pigment change color as it fades?

Chloe: Nowadays, pigments are so much more advanced and developed from what they were a few years ago. The pigments we use are of high quality and will just fade lighter and lighter with the skin’s natural shedding process. On average we shed the top layer of our skin every six weeks, so this coupled with the high-grade pigments that we use, which are free of iron oxides and other heavy metals, as well as the experience of working to the correct depth, ensure there is no changing of colors or unsightly residue left within the skin.

Brow trends come and go quickly, is it possible to alter the shape of old microblading if it’s no longer to your style?

Chloe: Yes, to a certain degree. As long as the microblading has faded and it’s in the natural brow shape, so we can change it alongside the faded previous work.

Is it possible to lift the brow of a previously microbladed brow?

Chloe: Yes, this is quite popular now to remove some of the layers of the previous pigments, to make way to add new pigment. Think of it as a deep exfoliation of fake tan, to make way for a new fresh layer!

Can you do microblading over old powder brows?

Chloe: Yes, if the powder brows have faded enough. If the powder brows aren’t done lightly and the pigment is saturated in the brows, it would be hard to do hair strokes over the powder brows as the hair strokes will just blend into the pigment once healed. For microblading hair strokes to stay like ‘hair strokes’ there has to be fresh skin there so you can see the gaps of the strokes.

How do pigment removal and color correction work? How much pigment can actually be removed?

Chloe: Saline solution is a removal technique that uses a mixture of salt and water and is implanted where the ink is, and it’s used to draw the ink out. This is a great medium for removing unwanted color.

Color correction is when a contrasting color is used to correct an existing color. For example, we would use orange to correct a grey color pigment the orange naturally changes the darker cooler grey tones to a warmer brown.

However, Chloe also tells us that the removal of pigment is quite a long process, and may take as many as 10 sessions to fully remove all pigment from the skin.

Have you guys tried microblading or powder brows before? Let us know your experience in the comments below.