Exclusive: Meet Barbi Chan, Pinoy Makeup And Microblading Extraordinaire

Exclusive: Meet Barbi Chan, Pinoy Makeup And Microblading Extraordinaire

In an exclusive tete-e-tete with HerStyleAsia Barbi Chan discusses how she made it big in the Pinoy beauty industry and her latest stint in microblading

When you first meet the soft-spoken and petite Barbi Chan Friebel, you can easily mistake her for a model. Her skin is flawless, her smile inviting, and her demeanour, demure. But she isn't just about what's on the outside.

A self-made beauty entrepreneur, Friebel is one of the foremost voices in the Pinoy makeup industry and now a Phibrows Royal Artist; who believes that looking good is a direct manifestation of #selflove

In an exclusive tete-e-tete with HerStyleAsia Barbi Chan discusses how she made it big in the ever-so-competitive Pinoy beauty industry and her latest form of #selflove, microblading.   

How Barbi Chan Became The Foremost Expert Of Pinoy Beauty Industry 

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Freibel who is currently based both in Paris and the Philippines says that for her education was priority. And so, she first finished her undergraduate degree at the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. 

Driven by her interest in the beauty industry she then decided to pursue a course in makeup. She did an elaborate course at the Makeup Designory in Burbank, California, US. 

With education backing her up, she decided to join her family business to be able to save enough to pursue her own passion. 

"After my university, I worked for the family business and once i’ve saved enough, I decided to pursue my passion that time which was makeup. I quit my job and became a full time makeup artist. I did magazine shoots , advertising, television commercials and weddings and later on became the chief makeup artist of Maybelline Philippines for a period of four years until I settled down and moved to another country with my husband," shares Barbi Chan. 

Thanks to her talent, Freibel quickly catapulted to the ranks of foremost experts in the beauty industry. However, to keep herself abreast with all that was happening in the international circuits, she continued to study new trends. And it was during this one time two years ago that she stumbled upon microblading. 

Freibel decided to study the subject throughly and enrolled herself at Phibrows Academy in Belgrade Serbia.

"Two years ago, I saw microblading as a growing trend in Europe ( Asia already started way back with brows embroidery), and I realized that as an artist, I needed to evolve and keep up with the newest treatments,beauty looks and trends. And also personally, as a mother, I saw the need for a “ beauty on the go” as our lives unfortunately becomes more hectic with each passing days. And I know for sure that our number one problem is always the eyebrows. We spend the longest time with it and if we can cut our makeup time in half, that would be a great help for all of us. That’s when I decided to pursue this “hunch” and flew to Serbia," she shares. 

Today, Freibel is a Phibrows Royal Artist, one of the highest honours and designation of mastery in the subject.

Pinoy clients flock to her to get their brows done. So much so that today, Barbi Chan is no longer just the best makeup artist, but also the best microblader in the Philippines. 

How Does Microblading Work: Everything You Wanted To Know 

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In this freewheeling interview, Freibel shared the nitty gritty of microblading. And, how this form of #selflove actually works. 

HSA: What is microblading? How is it done? 

Freibel: Microblading is a manual, semi permanent technique of drawing hyper realistic eyebrow 'hair' on the surface level of the dermis. It is done using a handheld pen with a disposable blade. The pigment is determined according to the natural colour of the eyebrows and hair. We usually draw the strokes in the natural direction of the hair in order to achieve the realistic eyebrow look.

HSA: Is it a popular procedure in the Philippines? 

Freibel: I believe Filipinos are naturally beauty conscious and we are willing to try everything and anything new. So I can safely assume that it is very popular nowadays especially with the younger generation (as they have more guts to try it knowing it can be a little bit uncomfortable).

HSA: Why is this for of semi-permanent makeup beneficial? 

Freibel:As I previously mentioned, women all over the world want something fast and beautiful. The less time they spend doing makeup, the more time they have for other stuff. It also benefits women that do not know how to apply makeup and find it a struggle and a challenge everyday drawing that perfect arch.

HSA: What type of microblading do you do on your clients?

Freibel: I do two types of microblading. One is the 'strokes' effect meaning I draw and mimic the natural hair and the other one is the 'microshading' which is more intense and has the makeup effect.

A normal procedure normally takes two hours as it involves a couple of steps. First I asses the brows and do what they call the mapping. I trace the outline and try to imagine the shape that would suit the client. I base this on her daily routine, does she wear makeup, is she introvert or extrovert, and adventurous or shy.

It is imperative to see through the personality of a client in order to have a successful procedure as I always tell them, this is something they will see everyday when They look in the mirror. After the mapping, then we agree on the colour and then I start.

I normally do not apply anaesthetic as I need to see and feel the natural texture of the skin while working. Since the 'cut' is very superficial, the pain is tolerable.

Once I've mapped and cut the skin, I then apply a numbing solution so that on the second pass. When I insert the pigment, they will not feel a thing. I use different brands as it is also dependent on the skin of the client. One thing is for sure though, I only use high quality products as I am very much conscious of the fact that this will be inserted on the skin.

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HSA: What's the cost of this procedure? 

Freibel: The cost ranges from 5k to 30k pesos. Every artist has different price point. There is normally minimal downtime. The peeling of the scab is what I call the 'zombie period' as it is the same with any type of tattoo.

Normally scabbing starts on the fourth day and lasts for two days. We do the obligatory touch up after four-six weeks in order to fill in again the parts that faded. After the touch up, the next retouch should be after either months as we need time to heal the skin to avoid scar tissues from forming.

HSA: How can one lengthen the shelf-life of this procedure? 

Freibel: In order to lengthen the 'life' of microblading, anything that produces excessive sweat should be avoided as water and salt (components of sweat) can fade the pigment fast.

Use of strong acids for facial peeling should be minimised, exposure to strong sunlight and lasers. How successful the treatment depends on the skin quality and the post treatment care that the client does.

HSA: What should one keep in mind if they wish to try microblading? 

Freibel: If you are interested to do it, always keep in mind that this is something you have to maintain yearly if u want to have that gorgeous brows. It is like hair colouring. Once you stop, then it goes back to the way it was.

Before you take the plunge, research research research. Not only the procedure itself but also the artist that would do it. Please do not be cheap.

Always remember this is your face. The first thing that people will see. And even if it is semi permanent, can you bear looking in the mirror with horrible brows for the next six months? I have been doing a lot of tattoo removal because of this. Make sure that your artist is highly trained and qualified. Invest in ur beauty.

HSA: Would you recommend this personally? 

Freibel: I have done it to myself and I can honestly say that it made my everyday makeup routine better and faster. It really boosted my self confidence as I know that even if I just got out of bed, my face is 'well groomed' because of my eyebrows. “I woke up like this” is truly the perfect description to what I feel every day.

HSA: Do you idolise anybody in this particular field? 

Freibel: When it comes to microblading or Semi permanent makeup, my idols are normally the 'masters' of the academy. My number one of course is my master, Andrea Calubini, as he is truly talented and has a golden heart. He pushed and help me immensely and I will not be where I am now if not for him.

Microblading: The Latest Form Of #SelfLove 

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HSA: What do you think of the concept of 'loving yourself?' How important is it in this day and age?

Freibel: I always advocate the love oneself concept because how can we given our to our loved one if we are unhappy with ourselves? Even if it is superficial, I believe it is imperative to feel and look good everyday and to always put put best face forward. We have all the resources now to improve and better ourselves so there is no more excuse to feel miserable. There are no ugly people, only lazy ones. 

HSA: So would you say such a procedure comes under the broad spectrum of 'loving oneself' and giving oneself that care and attention one deserves?

Freibel: Yes, I strongly believe it encompasses the 'loving oneself' concept. Microblading is no different than makeup. It is to improve what we think is lacking or missing in our face, albeit on a semi permanent basis.

Same concept as when one goes through plastic surgery to improve what they feel is not 'good.' We do it because life is busy and instead of neglecting or wasting time making our eyebrows, we are wise enough to be proactive and do something about it.

And with that we wrapped up! 

Also read: 15 Places That Can Microblade Your Eyebrows For Less Than $200!

Written by

Deepshikha Punj