Category Archives: Beauty Tips

My Experience with Portland Microblading

What’s the deal with eyebrows?

Ladies. Can we take a minute to talk about about eyebrows? I’ve lived most of my life without them. For a while it didn’t bother me because I was just used to that being my normal face. But at some point I realized that faces are supposed to have eyebrows and I started feeling a little self conscious about mine. It took me a while to decide to go for it, but I finally took the plunge to get myself some eyebrows. I’d love to share with you my experience with Portland microblading.

I’m a really late bloomer when it comes to my own makeup and far from being an expert. That’s exactly why I hire a highly skilled professional makeup artist for photo shoots in my photography studio. She makes my clients look fantastic. If you are like me, though, and you are not super “in the know” when it comes to makeup and things of that sort, I hope sharing about my experience with microblading in Portland is helpful to you.

Are eyebrows really important? I’ll just put this funny Anne Hathaway meme right here and let you decide for yourself. This meme made me laugh because I could relate so well to the non-eyebrow image.

An Anne Hathaway meme on a blog about my experience with Portland microblading.
source: unknown

Blonde eyebrows

I’m a red head with strawberry blonde hair (under the darker red dye). My natural eyebrows are virtually non-existent. I technically do have eyebrow hair. They are just such a light blonde that they are basically invisible. Below is a cell phone photo of myself and my natural eyebrows, before having microblading done.

The before picture on my blog about my experience with Portland microblading. I'm a red head with blonde eyebrows.

My previous attempts at giving myself eyebrows

For a while I just tried to use my bangs to cover up most of my forehead so my eyebrows were hidden. But that only worked when my bangs would lay just right and my hair was cooperating perfectly. We all know that lasts about 5 minutes.

So I started coloring my eyebrows with an eyebrow pencil. Trying to draw on the right eyebrow shape was something that caused me stress every morning. I just never knew if I was drawing the line too narrow or too thick. Or with the right arch and angle. And don’t even think about getting my two eyebrows to match.

Once I had my eyebrows drawn on (imperfectly), it usually worked okay for a few hours. But then the pencil would start to rub off and I’d be left with half an eyebrow. Or striped eyebrows. Not the look I was going for!

So, this is what lead me to microblading.

What is microblading?

Microblading is a cosmetic tattooing procedure. It differs from a traditional tattoo in that the artist uses different tools and a smaller amount of pigment. An esthetician uses a microblade tool to apply color pigments that look like real hairs. If you choose the right esthetician, it looks pretty natural. Microblading tattoos usually need to be touched up after a year, or so. They aren’t permanent like a traditional tattoo.

My experience with microblading in Portland, OR

It took me about 7 years to finally go ahead and do microblading because I was afraid that whoever did my eyebrows wouldn’t do a good job and it would look terrible and unnatural. However, I’m so glad I found Erik Berntsen of Permanent Cosmetics NW. He had great reviews and my experience was top notch. I trust him and highly recommend him for anyone in the Portland area.

Does microblading hurt?

I won’t lie. It did hurt. An anesthetic cream was used and it did help. But I felt quite a bit of pain in the beginning, before the anesthetic had fully kicked in, and then again at the end, as the anesthetic cream started to wear off. I’ll also note, though, that a common feature that many red heads share is that anesthesia doesn’t work quite as well (this was confirmed once by an anesthesia technician who knew I would require extra anesthesia for a surgery I was having). So it’s possible that non-red heads may not feel it as much as I did.

How does microblading look with blonde eyebrows?

Microblading for someone with blonde eyebrows is tricky. The procedure doesn’t color your real hair. Just the skin underneath. If your eyebrow hair is thin but dark, the new ink blends in beautifully and gives you a fuller look. However, if you add darker ink under blonde eyebrows, it kind of just gives your blonde hair a dark backdrop and makes the blonde stand out in a weird way. For this reason, Erik made sure not to go too dark for the ink color, even though I color my head hair a darker color. The photo below show what my eyebrows look like with my blonde eyebrows and the tattoo.

The "after" picture on my blog about my experience with Portland microblading. I'm a red head with blonde eyebrows.

Did you throw away your eyebrow pencil?

This completed look (microblading with blonde eyebrows) wouldn’t bother some people. Erik, the expert, feels that my eyebrows look great, as is. A couple of my friends said the same. Even so, I choose to use an eyebrow pencil over my tattoo, in order to color my real hair. The one I use is from Mary Kay.

I know, I know… you are probably asking, “What is the point of getting a tattoo, if you are just going to use a pencil over it?” And that’s a valid question. But I absolutely love having the tattoo, in spite of preferring to still use a pencil.

For one thing, the shape is already there for me. It’s so fast and easy to color my eyebrows in the exact shape that Erik created, in his expertise. No stressing or wondering if I got the shape right. Having that shape tattooed on also helps me when I’m removing the extra hairs outside of the shape I want (although I honestly hardly ever do that because you can’t even really see the natural hair, anyway).

Secondly, when the pencil starts to rub off in spots, as it inevitably does, it’s not super noticeable. I no longer peek in to the mirror and end up feeling totally embarrassed that I’ve been walking around in public with half an eyebrow.

Thirdly, on days when I don’t feel like putting on makeup, I just leave my eyebrows alone, and it’s fine. I’m happy to have the tattoo so my face doesn’t look totally colorless and washed out.

The "after" picture on my blog about my experience with Portland microblading. I'm a red head with blonde eyebrows.
An eyebrow pencil was used over my microblading tattoo.

My experience with Portland microblading

If you are looking in to microblading in Portland, I hope this article is helpful to you. Especially those of you who have red hair or just light blonde eyebrows. I’m really happy with my decision to have microblading done and my only regret is not doing it sooner!

The "before" and "after" pictures on my blog about my experience with Portland microblading. I'm a red head with blonde eyebrows.
Before Microblading After Microblading

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Do You Feel Inferior?

Do you feel inferior? Quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. Rayleigh is a beauty photographer in Portland, OR. For more info, visit

Do you feel inferior?

I just love this quote! It’s easy to get swept up in the emotions of how we think others are making us feel, but sometimes I have to remind myself that how I feel is my own choice!

This one time…

I have a comical conversation with another local photographer etched in to my memory. It’s only comical because I didn’t let his insults get me down. He asked me a bunch of questions about how I learned photography and about my studio and was completely unimpressed with my answers. Then he went on about how his father was a photographer before him and so was his grandfather. His great grandfather was a painter. So he has generations of artistic ability that he could claim. When I told him that my father was a city bus driver, I could almost see the disdain coming out of his ears like a green colored visible stench in a cartoon.  

I’m proud of my accomplishments

I could have allowed this conversation to affect how I saw myself as a professional photographer. But instead I took a good look at my gorgeous studio and felt proud of the business I’ve built and the strides I’ve made in my art, all on my own. I absolutely love what I do and I’m pretty darn good at it, too, if I do say so myself. No matter what that meanie thinks.

So do you feel inferior? Today I challenge you to tell yourself the opposite of any negative thought or emotion you may have. I want to hear about how it goes! I think you may be surprised at the outcome.

False Eyelashes | Beauty & Boudoir Photography Portland Oregon

Wear False Eyelashes. boudoir photography in Portland, OR. Photography by Rayleigh.

Beauty and boudoir Photo shoot tip – Wear False Eyelashes

False eyelashes make look a bit fake in real life and when you first put them on they feel so heavy and just, well weird! However, in your photos they will make a HUGE difference. You actually don’t really notice them in the pictures, but you will notice their effect. They accentuate your eyes and give them a gorgeous almond shape. These are a must-have!

At the Photography by Rayleigh studio, my hair and makeup artist will provide false lashes for your shoot, so you don’t have to worry about bringing your own. But aside from your shoot, if you want to wear them for an event or just to feel a little extra pretty, check out this site for some great tips on everything false lashes. There are also some tips on making your own lashes appear longer.