A question I get asked ALOT!
Many people I consult with don’t actually realise that there are more than one option available to them or the fact that these two treatments are somewhat similar in the end result but are very different procedure wise, it’s the tools used and techniques that stand these two treatments apart.
Both are essentially a form of tattooing, however they differ somewhat to regular tattoos (eg tattoos done by a tattoo artist, generally placed on the body). How? The machinery used for semi permanent make up generally has a lower frequency to enable the pigment to be placed much more superficially in the upper layers of the skin. Semi permanent make up artists will (or should!) use pigment, not inks as a pigment has the ability to fade over time.
Lets start with semi permanent machine applied makeup, also known as micro-pigmentation, cosmetic tattooing and permanent makeup.
The choice is yours when it comes to machined brows, allowing you to choose from a wide range of techniques. From a dramatic powdered look, to statement ombre or a natural enhancing hair stroke finish. This requires the use of a machine/digital device to employ a pigment into the dermal layer of the skin. The needle perforates the skin upto 180x per second, which implants plenty of pigment resulting in fantastic longevity. Results can last 18 months-5 years depending on your skin and lifestyle. Depth is controlled with the machine so there is a very low risk of scarring. There are a number of different needle configurations which can be used, the most popular being the new ‘nano’ needle which is the finest of needles and produces the most natural result.
Microblading requires the use of a manual tool consisting of a group of fine needles that’s used to etch pigments into the dermal layer of the skin, slightly shallower than semi permanent makeup. The skin is sliced where the tattoo will lye and pigment is placed on top of the open skin allowing it to seep in. A slightly more uncomfortable sensation than the machine method although, topical anesthetic is used in both procedures. Due to the handheld tool, good technique and a technician with excellent knowledge is paramount for microblading as depth is much harder to control, so, a higher risk of scarring and a little more ‘downtime’. Because microblading is slightly more superficial than the machine method and less pigment is implanted, this means that results don’t last as long. You could be back within 3-12 months for a top up treatment. Microblading will always be a cheaper option then the machine method as the hand held tool that’s used costs the technician £5-£50 compared to a machine that costs upto £10,000. It’s a good option if you require extremely subtle brows or have any doubt as to whether or not semi permenant brows are for you – however, in my opinion, if there’s any doubt whatsoever, this treatment shouldn’t be considered until you’re 100% certain.
To summerise, both create fabulous results in the right hands, it is down to personal preference and the type of result desired. This should always be discussed upon your initial consultation. Although I am fully qualified in both techniques, in my own personal experience and my personal preference for my own brows and my clients brows is definately the machine method, purely down longevity and the pain factor.. it hurts less (i’m a wimp!)
Unfortunately, I am required to remove pigmented brows with Laser Tattoo Removal from time to time. Clients will want a better job done which means in most cases, we need a blank canvas to work on. This is always the last option but more often than not, removal is imperative to get the best possible, finished result.
Please make sure you do your research on the technician you consider, ask them where they trained and how long it took them to complete their course, these two day courses that are knocking around are just not sufficient, you couldn’t even cover the health and safety invovled in these procedures in two days, it took me over 12 months to complete my course with Nouveau Contour. Ask them whats involved in the treatment, they should explain there will be patch tests done, forms to fill in, anesthetic applied, colour choice will be discussed thoroughly and most importantly the brows will be drawn on prior to lying you down to complete the treatment. You wouldn’t believe how many clients I know that have had this treatment done elsewhere and the technician hasn’t drawn on the brows beforehand! Yikes! One good tip I can give you if you’re with another technician and she’s/he’s drawing your brows on, keep your eyes open!! Muscles can move when you open and close your eyes, it’s more important your brows are symmetrical when your eyes are open, or whilst you’re awake than asleep! It’s important to see pictures of their work too. And please, do a no deal search on this treatment, both methods are invasive procedures which require a huge amount of skill to produce great results and it’s always more about the skill of the artist rather than the method of implantation.