Microblading vs Permanent Makeup

Microblading vs Permanent Makeup

Microblading vs Permanent Makeup

What is microblading vs permanent makeup? With so many trending names and techniques, how do you know which one is right for you? This is a breakdown of the differences between Microblading and Permanent Makeup (PMU), to help you make an informed decision.


Microblading is a method of eyebrow enhancement using a manual hand tool with tiny pin-like needles (not a blade) to implant pigment just beneath the epidermis into the upper layer of the dermis. The desired result is crisp, fine lines that resemble natural eyebrow hairs. Microblading is NOT used for eyeliner or lip procedures.

The “blades” come in various sizes and formations for different skin types, curves and patterns. After selecting the appropriate blade(s), a skilled technician will select a colour to blend seamlessly with any existing brow hair.

Although Microblading pigment is implanted to the same depth as a traditional tattoo, it does not last as long. One reason is that a large percentage of the pigment that enters the skin will remain within the epidermis (top layer) and be lost during normal cell turnover. This is why Microblading is completed over 2 appointments at least 6 weeks apart. By this time healing is complete and cells in the epidermis have finished a full cycle so the technician can assess the amount of pigment that remains and add more where needed.

Healed results vary depending on pigment type, tools selected, skin thickness, skin type (oily vs dry), skin age, sun exposure, medical conditions, and the skin’s vascularity. Results are also affected by depth of penetration and the angle of the blade during the procedure. In “perfect skin” Microblading will look its best for 1-2 years at which time a touch up is recommended to retain the shape and colour saturation.

Almost all microblading photos on social media are taken immediately after the procedure and do not reflect how the brow will appear once healed and pigment settles under the skin cells. Results may look different than anticipated.

Permanent Makeup / Micropigmentation

Permanent makeup (micropigmentation) includes a variety of methods of eyebrow, eyeliner or lip enhancement techniques that utilize traditional tattoo machines or PMU machines.

The array of available needles and creative techniques allow finishes from thin, fine hairstrokes to a soft shaded look, washes of natural lip colour to heavily saturated traditional eyeliner and everything in between. PMU can look both very natural and soft or bright and bold when the correct pigments and method(s) are used.

PMU techniques implant much less pigment than a traditional tattoo, so they are unlikely to last forever, but there is much greater saturation and longevity than with Microblading. Depending on depth of colour, technique used, and individual skin type, PMU can last for many years before a touch up is required.

The current popularity of PMU has encouraged many artists to label their methods with interesting names, mainly for marketing purposes. Brow names include Nano Brows, Ombre Brows, Shaded Brows or Combination Brows, to name a few. A skilled artist or technician should, after a thorough consultation that includes a skin assessment, be able to offer you the technique that will give you the results you are after.

As with Microblading, pigment colour will heal under the skin cells, so pigments used in permanent makeup are chosen after taking into account your natural skin tones, thickness and vascularity to ensure the right colour is visible through the skin once healed.

Learn more about microblading at Halcyon Cosmetic.


Armed with the understanding of Microblading vs PMU, you should be able to ask your chosen professional enough questions to assess their skill level.

Discuss what look you are hoping to achieve and listen to their advice regarding the best technique for your skin and desired look.

With both Microblading and PMU, you will have about 7-10 days of visible healing time. Permanent makeup can often look darker and more noticeable during healing but will often heal softer than Microblading.

Procedures for both microblading and permanent makeup generally include 1 touch up, as it is very difficult to predict how well living skin will heal and retain pigment. The touch up allows the technician to build on shape, colour and pattern as required, and is done after 6 weeks to allow the skin time for thorough healing as well as to allow a full cell cycle to complete.

* Permanent or Semi-Permanent: No discussion of Microblading or PMU is complete without addressing the ongoing terminology debate of whether these procedures are Permanent or Semi-Permanent. Put very simply, the argument for Semi-Permanent is that the colour doesn’t last forever. The argument for Permanent is that once pigment is in the skin, whether it fades or not, the skin is unlikely to return to its original state. Call it whatever you like, just ensure your artist/technician understands it well and explains it clearly.

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