what's the difference between powder brows and microblading?
september 20th, 2022
When looking into permanent makeup (PMU) and “getting your brows done,” people are most familiar with one buzzword: microblading. But not all PMU is created equal! It’s important for those researching artists and methods to be aware of what actually happens when their brows are tattooed. Being able to have all the facts on the different types of procedures will help you make the best decision for you!
If you’ve read any of our previous blog posts on the topic (or seen any of our various informative posts), you’ll know that we at Inkvictus Studios have left the technique of microblading behind and focus solely on powder brows. These two methods are two different styles of PMU that are done in two very different ways!
Manual Hand Tool vs Tattoo Machine Microblading is almost exactly what it sounds like: a very small “micro blade” that is made up of many (think: 18-20 in most cases) tiny needles attached to a disposable hand tool. The hair strokes that are made with this tool are small cuts that pigment gets pushed into. With microblading, artists must be very, very careful not to go too deep in the skin because it is far too easy to create scar tissue when repeatedly cutting the skin open. We’ll talk more about that later on.
Powder brows are created with a traditional tattoo machine. The vibrations of the machine combined with the rapid movement of the needle(s) implants the pigment into your skin, giving a “dusty” or “powdery” effect. Given the method of pigment implantation, this technique results in much less (if any) bleeding and less trauma to the skin than microblading.
Longevity With microblading and powder brows being two different procedures, there are many factors that contribute to their “lifespan,” or how long they each will last over time. Skin type (normal/oily/dry, youthful/mature), lifestyle (active/in water/in sun), and aftercare (quality of skincare/medical-grade skin procedures) all play a role in the way the pigment will break down in your skin over time.
Traditionally speaking, microblading tends to “fall out” of the skin much faster than powder brows, and therefore requires more frequent touch-ups (which, remember, each come with more trauma to the skin with repeated incisions). For the health of your skin, microblading can only be touched up so many times before you would have to switch to a powder brow.
While powder brows are the longer lasting of the two techniques, touch-ups are still required (just less frequently). If you are curious about how to tell if you are ready for a refresher, click here.
Skin Type One of the biggest differences between microblading and powder brows is who is best suited for each technique. Microblading is traditionally only a viable option for those with younger, dry-to-normal skin, and smaller pore size, while powder brows are suitable for all skin types, including mature skin, oily skin, and those with larger pores. To double check that you are a candidate for powder brows, click here.
Trauma to Skin Like we said above: due to the nature in which microblading is done, with a small blade that makes tiny cuts, it is very easy to go too deep. When cuts are made too deep in the skin, scar tissue is formed. Even if the pigment has faded considerably years down the line, scar tissue can still be present, making it very difficult to continue working with the skin or attempt to cover up later. The individual hair strokes (cuts) can also “blow out” underneath the skin when made too deep, resulting in blurry, blotchy, patchy, puffy (say that 5 times fast) and unconvincing hair strokes that are a far cry from the crisp strokes they were when fresh.
Powder brows – when done correctly – cause little to no trauma to the skin and are the only option when trying to cover potential older scarring. They heal much softer and can be more reliable in the healing stages than microblading. With this in mind, we at Inkvictus Studios believe that starting with a powder brow is the safer, smarter, and more beautiful way to go to ensure that your brows never become something you’re unhappy with.