A new Blaine business is at the cutting edge of eyebrow styling. Blaine resident Jessi Van Dyke opened Raising the Brow, a microblading studio, this month in the Loomis Hall building at 288 Martin Street.
Microblading is a semi-permanent eyebrow treatment which uses a super-fine pen to create hair strokes in the skin. It’s similar to tattooing, but not as deep and with pigment that’s only semi-permanent; it lasts up to three years.
Most microblading clients do it to get fuller or more symmetrical eyebrows, Van Dyke said. About 75 percent of Van Dyke’s clients fall into that category. Helping the other 25 percent – people with medical hair loss – inspired Van Dyke to get into the business.
As a kid, her sister suffered from trichotillomania, an impulse control disorder that involves pulling out hair.
“I watched her struggle with it my entire childhood,” Van Dyke said. “She was a teenage girl trying to exist without eyebrows and eyelashes and it affected her nonstop.”
Microblading was almost unheard of in the U.S. until a few years ago. When Van Dyke heard of it, she waited a few years to see its long-term effects before
Satisfied with what she saw, Van Dyke trained at the America Microblading Academy in Los Angeles this January. She is certified by the American Micropigmentation Academy, which is not a requirement in Washington state.
Because of her certification and because microblading is still new, Van Dyke has drawn clients from Vancouver, B.C., to Mt. Vernon, she said.
Recently, she treated a 23-year-old Canadian man who lost all his hair at 22 because of alopecia, an autoimmune skin disease that can cause hair loss all over the body. Van Dyke said losing eyebrows could be especially hard for men.
“He constantly felt held back because he was so self-conscious about his eyebrows,” she said.
“I found that I’m really enjoying this. I can bring people out of darkness, basically. They don’t have to suffer the way I watched my sister suffer.”
Van Dyke has treated most clients with medical hair loss pro bono, and has worked out deals with the others.
Raising the Brow studio, on the top floor of the Loomis Hall Building, is a stark contrast to the rest of the establishment. Clients walk in to see circular leather chairs, white faux fur rugs and a wall entirely covered in silver glitter.
“I wanted people to feel like they’re somewhere else when they step in the room,” Van Dyke said. “If they feel like I put this much effort into creating a space, they’re automatically going to be at ease with the process.”
She also has an office in Bellingham that she wants to turn into a studio eventually, but Van Dyke plans to continue working in Blaine, where she lives.