It’s no surprise that the beauty mecca of the world, Seoul, also boasts cheaper microblading prices than most Western countries like the United States. As a result, microblading has also become one of the most sought-after beauty treatments in Seoul, South Korea among the local expat community.
Want to know where to get your eyebrows microbladed? Keep scrolling to find out where to go to get your eyebrows in tip-top shape and how much microblading costs in Korea. I’ve compiled a few popular expat-friendly, English-speaking microblading artists that you can compare below before you book your next appointment.
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The Back Story
My brows, pre-microblading, were not great. I lived through Christina Aguilera’s pencil-thin brows in the 2000s, so my eyebrows were practically lawn-mowered. I also have very naturally Korean eyebrows — thanks, mama — so I used to joke that it was basically like having a few very long strands of hair as a complete eyebrow.
Since the 2000s, my eyebrows grew back but were also very uneven which drove me crazy. I know that your brows aren’t supposed to be twins but sisters, but they were more like second cousins.
They also aren’t really dense, so they almost always needed to be filled in. I usually used Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade (Sephora, 31.000 KRW), but they take a lot of time. Whenever my brows fade, I do go back to my arsenal of brow pencils, brow gels, and pomade, but I literally save so much time — and probably, money in the long run — by microblading.
An Overview of Microblading for Beginners
What Is Microblading?
Before we get to the clinics, let’s get to the basics. What even is microblading? There are three main types of brow techniques that you’ll typically find at beauty salons in South Korea: microblading, microshading, and combo brows. That’s not to say that there aren’t more, but this is what you’ll typically find.
For those who are unfamiliar, microblading is essentially a semipermanent eyebrow tattoo in which the pigment is scratched onto the skin in fine, short strokes to resemble eyebrow hair. This often looks the most natural.
Microshading, its counterpart, creates a shadow or gradient powder effect on your eyebrows with tiny dots, filling in any sparse areas. This is sometimes also called “powder brows”, and it looks like you’ve filled your brows with brow powder as it is denser.
★ Combination Brows
Combination brows, or combo brows, is what it sounds like. It’s a combination of microshading and microblading techiniques that give your brows a fuller, made-up look. You’ll have the natural brow strokes of microblading and the filled-in look of microshading.
How Much Does Microblading Cost in South Korea?
The average cost of microblading in my experience ranges typically from about 140,000 KRW ($109.63 USD) to 320,000 KRW ($250.58 USD) in Seoul, South Korea. According to the internet, the average cost of microblading in the United States is $400 to $2000. That’s a pretty steep difference.
Do Koreans Get Microblading?
Yes, many do! Many men and women get eyebrow microblading in South Korea as it’s a pretty popular procedure. Most men opt for very natural microblading, filling in sparse eyebrows. You can hardly notice at all these days who has or hasn’t done them as it’s come a long way since your auntie’s eyebrow tattoos which looked like they were stamped and would fade into a scary grey color.
Besides eyebrow microblading, you also frequently see advertisements for hairline microblading which is for filling in receding hairlines for both men and women. Widow’s peak hairlines are pretty common (genetically) among South Koreans, so it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.
The Difference in Eyebrow Arches Between Koreans and Westerners
One of the strongest reasons besides the language barrier that I prefer English-speaking microblading artists in South Korea or those that are popular among expats is that they are also familiar with the Western, arched brow. For reference, think Megan Fox’s curved eyebrows versus Audrey Hepburn’s straigher arches.
You may also find that your face is more suitable with straighter brows after years of forced arches. I find that I’m a bit in the middle ground, and I prefer my eyebrows with a slight, natural arch. Some expats that I have encountered have said that they actually started to do straighter brows after moving to Korea and loved it as it suited their face shape better.
You’ll find that a lot of Korean microblading artists tend to do the popular Korean-style eyebrow shape which is much straighter. This is just one thing to note when looking at different brow artists in South Korea and whether or not they’re capable of different styles.
Is Microblading Worth It?
In my opinion, yes! I have absolutely no regrets about getting microblading done in South Korea. Here’s why!
To elaborate on the above, microblading my brows significantly cut down on the amount of time that I need to get ready every morning. My brows are also more even, and I feel better on makeup-free days when my brows are still on fleek. Do people still say that? My millennial is showing. Yeah, but they are.
Here’s another reason why I chose to get it done in South Korea. If you’ve ever spent the summer in South Korea, you’ll also know that the summer here is so very humid. I have mastered the waterproof makeup routine which includes this Skindinavia Setting Spray — yes, they ship to South Korea — and switch my beauty products every summer to basically glue makeup on so that it doesn’t melt off as soon as I step outside.
With microbladed brows, I don’t have to worry that my eyebrows are going to melt off midday, leaving me with sad-looking brows.
Remember, brows are basically the frames of the face. Good brows can elevate your beauty whereas bad brows can, well, ruin them. Again, I was very hesitant about getting them done if by chance I had a terrible brow artist that ruined them and I’d be stuck with them for who knows how long? But, seriously, after doing a bit of research which included looking at each brow artist’s Instagram “portfolio”, I was confident that the brow artist knew what they were doing.
Remember, brows are basically the frames of the face. Good brows can elevate your beauty whereas bad brows can, well, ruin them.
Take the Horror Stories with a Grain of Salt
I had never done microblading before in the U.S. and had always imagined that I would have scary-looking brows as a result. Let me tell you! Microblading has come a long way from the days of our eyebrow-tatted aunties. It’s very natural and popular in South Korea, and even men do it here.
You may have seen a lot of horror stories going viral from time to time about people getting their eyebrows horrifically destroyed by microblading. This is definitely an exception, and I think that you should always research the microblading technician’s previous work via an Instagram portfolio or whatnot. If the price is also too cheap, be suspicious.
Day-by-day of the Microblading Process
In case you’ve never done it before, this is what to expect. Yes, it may hurt a little. You’ll probably fall asleep. It takes a bit of patience, and you’ll need to follow instructions. A few weeks in you may feel a little worry while they’re healing, but in the end, everything should be alright! And then you won’t have to worry about them for a long time.
How Long Does Microblading Take?
The actual microblading session in my experience takes between two to three hours, and the touch-up session takes maybe one hour since the technician is just going over previous work that may not have healed well.
If you’re wondering what the timeline for microblading looks like from start (first microblading appointment) to finish (fully healed brows), the entire microblading process including the touch-up and the healing, can take maybe 1-2 months altogether. It takes about 5-6 weeks from your first microblading session for the brows to fully heal and the color to resurface. If you opt for a touch-up (not everyone does), you can expect to add another month. It’s a long time, but these brows last for about 1-2 years.
Most people should expect a third touch-up session after one year or so, but if you’re like me, you kind of just forget to do it and so you have to pay full price again in year two.
The First Day (the Microblading Appointment)
The process itself is low pain since the technician will apply numbing cream on your brow area. You can still *hear* the sound of scraping though which is a bit chilling, so I recommend bringing headphones if you’re particularly sensitive. If you do feel pain, let the technician know immediately, so they can potentially re-apply the numbing cream.
You will also most likely fall asleep during the not-so-short process, and the technician will expect this. I’m pretty sure that I ended up snoring with my mouth agape. It’s a long process, and so I just sort of doze off. When I went to get my brows done again, I totally fell asleep again and woke up a little groggy.
The First Week After Microblading
The first time I had microblading done, I remember going into the office, and my colleague asked, “What did you do to your brows? You look Mexican.” I know that he meant to say that I had chula brows which are characterized by the drawn-on, sharpie look, but because of his English, it came out a little sideways.
There will be a point in the healing process where you may have scary sharpie brows only for a hot week or two before the color fades significantly. I was scared that it wouldn’t fade, but trust. It will fade. I was so scared that I would Google people’s week-by-week and day-by-day microblading experience just to make sure that the scary dark brows weren’t forever. They’re not. You will lose up to 40% of the color during the healing process.
However! This year, I haven’t experienced the crazy dark eyebrows that I had the first time, and have been able to go to the office without anyone commenting. I believe it’s because I had a different technician who used a lighter brow color and my hair color has been a tad bit darker recently.
When to Schedule a Touch-up Session
After about the one-month mark or between 4-6 weeks is when you usually get a free touch-up session if needed and included with the price of the service. If you wait longer than that, you may have to pay for the touch-up session.
You should not do a touch-up session before 4 weeks as the pigment has not fully settled and the healing has not been completed.
The microblading artist will assess how well the brows have healed, if there are any gaps or fading that need to be fixed, depending on how well you took care of them during their healing or how your skin takes to the pigment.
If your eyebrows have healed nicely depending on how well you cared for them and how well your skin responds, you may not need a touch-up at all. After the touch-up which will take much less time, you can expect to go through the healing process once more.
How to Care for Your Brows While Healing from Microblading
The technician will give you instructions on how to care for your brows, but to sum it up: don’t get them wet, use the provided lotion to prevent scabbing, be gentle, try not to sweat too much, and avoid contact with cosmetics. Generally, do not touch. It’s basically like getting a tattoo if you’re familiar.
For a more detailed guide on how to take care of your brows, you’ll probably receive something like this:
When Can I Wash My Brows After Microblading?
The timeline can vary between five (5) days to ten (10) days with some microblading artists even suggesting that it’s actually fine to gently clean your brows with soap and water immediately after. The impression that I get is that the no-water rule is mainly to keep your eyebrows from anything potentially dangerous like saunas, swimming, and intense sweating where bacteria can infect the open wound or irritate the skin. To err on the side of caution, I would try to be diligent in keeping the area dry and clean for at least five (5) days.
How Do I Wash My Face or Shower After Microblading?
There are a few hacks that I’ve encountered when it comes to washing your face or showering right after microblading. Here is what I’ve heard.
I don’t really think too hard about it anymore. What I usually opt for is just tilting my head in the shower when washing my hair which I save for last.
If I need to clean my face, I wash normally up to the eye area and then use cleansing wipes to gently clean the forehead and eye area, making sure not to touch the eyebrows, and then following up with a gentle BHA-free, AHA-free (non-exfoliating) toner on a cotton pad to remove any remaining makeup residue.
You could also use this as an excuse to go makeup-free entirely, but considering that I still have to go into the office and the pollution is so high in South Korea, I prefer to make sure that I keep my face as clean as possible.
Important Things to Consider Before Microblading
There are certain reasons to avoid microblading besides having sensitive or oily skin. Try to space out any other beauty treatments to avoid possible overlap and skin irritation as a result.
Also, make sure that you also have enough time to take care of your brows during the healing process. I usually opt to schedule my microblading appointments when I know that I don’t have any big events coming up. Though my eyebrows will look fine — perhaps a bit dark — the first week after microblading, the patchy, flaking-off healing period may not look fantastic in photos.
Popular English-Speaking Microblading and Microshading Artists
The following are some popular microblading clinics among English-speaking expats with prices where available. Most places will accept appointments by messaging the technician or business via Instagram or via KakaoTalk and require a small deposit to secure your place. Also, keep in mind that some of the clinics will ask that you pay in cash or via bank transfer. This is pretty normal for some small businesses.
Important things to note when searching for a microblading artist in South Korea: (1) brow shape; (2) microblading, microshading, or a combination of the two; (3) previous work or recommendations; (4) hygiene and safety; and (5) cost.
Of course, you will also want to choose someone that matches your “eyebrow style”. One of the key differences between your average microblading artists in Korea and ones popular among expats is not just English-speaking ability, but familiarity with the Western-style eyebrow arch.
If you have any English-speaking favorites that I missed, please drop a comment below! I tried to consolidate all the well-known places, but it takes quite a bit of time, and I’m sure I missed some.
Abil Semi-Permanent Makeup
This is where I went to do microblading the first time around in Seoul, South Korea. The owner is super responsive, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about her. I checked out her Instagram initially, and I was debating between her and Bad Girl Brows, but ultimately went to Abil due to how responsive she was and her availability. She speaks English, Russian, and Korean. Her small clinic is located near Jamsil Station.
- 3D Microblading: 250,000 won
- Shading: 250,000 won
- 4D Combination: 300,000 won
I’ve attached a YouTube review below from the a local beauty blogger, @msblackkoreanlady. You can choose between a normal designer and a master designer, and the price and their experience (5+ years vs 15+ years) will reflect the difference. Clinic Gyul is located near Sinnonhyeon Station (Gangnam).
- Master Designer for Microblading: 385,000
- Normal Designer for Microblading: 297,000
Lienjang Dermatology and Skin Care Clinic is another large clinic located near Sinnonhyeon Station in Gangnam, Seoul. The prices below are promotional prices available via Creatrip which may differ from the prices offered if booked directly with the clinic.
- Premium Embo Eyebrow – 160,000
- General Embo Eyebrow – 80,000
- Premium Graduation Eyebrow – 170,000
- General Graduation Eyebrow – 90,000
- Premium Combo (Graduation + Embo) – 200,000
- General Combo (Graduation + Embo) – 120,000
- Premium 4D – 250,000
- General 4D – 170,000
- Retouch (Premium) – 69,000
- Retouch (General) – 49,000
Bad Girl Brows
This is very much an expat favorite, and her portfolio reflects that. My only (minor) gripe is that she’s always booked, but that definitely reflects how popular she is! You really have to act fast as reservations fill up quickly. Bad Girl Brows is located by Nonhyeon Station (Gangnam).
- Microblading: 300,000
- Ombre Brows: 300,000
- Combo Brows (Microblading + Ombre): 320,000
- Men’s Brows (Microfeathering/Combo): 330,000
- Laser Tattoo Removal (Eyebrow, 1 Session): 80,000 to 150,000
- Laser Tattoo Removal (Eyebrow, 3 Session): 220,000 to 450,000
- Laser Tattoo Removal (Body, 1 Session): 50,000 (XS), 80,000 (S), 150,000 (M), 240,000 (L)
- Lash Lift/Straightening/Repair: 70,000
- Lash Lift + Lash Tint: 100,000
Don’t let the mostly Korean-language Instagram account scare you! She does speak English. Located near Suyu Station (Gangbuk).
The Beauty Lounge by Ella
The Beauty Lounge is a popular expat-friendly salon in Itaewon, Seoul which offers a variety of services. You can message Ella directly on Instagram to get a pricing quote.
- Nu Skin (Skincare Products): Starts at 10,000
- Semi-permanent Makeup and Microblading: Starts at 100,000
- Lash Extensions and Lash Lifting: Starts at 30,000
- Face and Body Waxing: Starts at 20,000
I believe the microblading artist will be on maternity leave from around May to August 2022, but you may want to bookmark this one for later! The prices below are subject to change. She is located by Sindorim Station.
- Microblading: 170,000
- Ombre Brows: 170,000
- Combo Brows: 150,000
- Eyeliner: 190,000
- Lips: 190,000
- Lash Lift (Perm): 60,000
- Last Tint: 40,000
- Lash Lift + Last Lift: 50,000
This microblading technician had been on my radar as I had been looking for more affordable options around Seoul, South Korea that would fit my schedule. I messaged her on Instagram and booked an appointment. After the first microblading appointment, I must say that she did a fabulous job! The room was clean, the technician was professional and friendly, and she really took her time to get my eyebrows perfect. She speaks English, Russian, and Korean. She’s very responsive to DMs on Instagram, and I had no trouble making an appointment. Indieface is located by Sillim Station until August 1st, 2022, and then she will relocate to Haebangchon (HBC) in Yongsan-gu.
- Microblading: 160,000
- Combo Brows: 180,000
- Hairline: 180,000
- Lash Perm: 50,000
- Beauty Mark: 30,000
The owner of Honeyskin speaks Korean, English, and Japanese. Located in Itaewon.
Nat Studio specializes in microblading, lash lift and tint, and other permanent makeup. The studio is located by Gongdeok Station, Seoul, South Korea.
So, not microblading per se, but I threw this in here just in case someone was looking for an expat-owned business that does brow tints, brow lifts, or eyebrow threading. Located by Mapo-gu Office Station (Hongdae).
- Lashlift: 40,000
- Browlift: 30,000
- Lashlift + Browlift: 60,000
- Brow Threading: 20,000
- Brow Tint: 15,000
- Browlift + Tint: 40,000