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Review: Karen Betts Microblading, London

Thinking about tapping in to the latest beauty trend for brows? Olivia Palamountain reviews Karen Betts’ Harley Street treatment.

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Microblading, the semi-permanent tattoo technique for fuller brows, is the beauty industry’s latest answer for fuller brows. But does it work? Olivia Palamountain puts Karen Betts’ Harley Street microblading treatment to the test. Read her review…

Microblading at Karen Betts

Karen Betts Microblading, London: Review


Karen works from 1 Harley Street, W1 in London, and also has studios in Cheshire and Yorkshire.

What is Microblading?

It might sound like a miniature sword fight, but microblading is actually the next generation answer to semi-permanent tattoos.

One of the beauty industry’s greatest developments of late, artists use a fine scalpel to carve each delicate hair onto your brow, uniquely designed to match your colouring and the shape of your face.

Karen Betts is the undisputed queen of semi-permanent make up and used her own range of trademarked inks and tools.

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Eyebrows are key to communication and expression, and a well-groomed brow has the power to change the overall appearance of a face, giving lift, balance, and symmetry. They make you look rested and groomed – even if you haven’t been to bed, and an enhanced brow will give you a subtle, contemporary look without resorting to buying loads of new make up. Some people think they’re even better for turning back the clock than botox…

The treatment

I have extremely fair to non-existent dark blonde brows and want to make an impact without looking like an amateur drag act (not as easy as it sounds – we’ve all seen the slug-like horror stories). The first part of the process is a consultation with Karen. Warm and breezy, she makes me feel at home immediately and makes it very clear that my opinion matters.

Karen specialises in the natural look, and has been known to turn away clients looking for something more…unorthodox, which is fair enough as each brow is like a little work of art that bears her signature. It’s also by far the best outcome for clients: eyebrow tattoos are a commitment, and anything other than the natural look is not advised. Just scrolling through the last 10 years of Facebook photos’ is a reminder of how much make-up trends change – imagine living with the equivalent of 2013’s ‘Sousebrow’ forever.

Karen gets to work drawing on my forehead immediately, and within about 10 minutes is satisfied with her handiwork. She nails it perfectly first time round, and after swallowing the initial shock of seeing such intense eyebrows on my face (the pencil is darker than the colour she will use) I can start to appreciate the artistry of her design.

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She then selects a blend of two pigments matched to my colouring and skintone and I go with my gut and trust her judgement instead of fussing over the decision. Using a state of the art microblading tool, tiny precision hair strokes are created by hand, mimicking the natural direction and lengths of my own brows while I do my best to relax on the couch and chit chat with Karen.

Pigments are then implanted into the channels created by the microblades in the dermal layer of the skin. The sensation is similar to being scratched; it’s uncomfortable but hey, pain is beauty right? What I can’t see, thankfully, is the blood. After just 45 minutes in total Karen is done.

The effect is immediately apparent and I am thrilled: I have the eyebrows of my dreams. Permanent make-up always looks 40-50% darker at the beginning so don’t panic if it’s not the colour you expected from the consultation – this will fade within 3-4 days to reveal your perfect shade.

There’s minimum down time (just keep applying the supplied healing ointment and keep brows dry for the first couple of days) and sure enough, within the week I am transformed into an eyebrow goddess. They are the perfect shade and shape, and I think I love them more than anything I’ve ever possessed: trust me, this treatment will change your life.

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