Microblading vs. Ombré. Huh?

There are a million different terms floating around out there describing all of the different techniques an artist can choose to tattoo your brows. Microblading, nano blading, feathering, ombré, powder brows, stardust… you name it. Often clients will ask for microblading not even realizing the options out there! So — if you have questions about what the heck all those words mean, READ ON!!

First things first, all of the above are considered a tattoo. No matter what technique is used, the pigment will almost always stay in your skin in some capacity. It’s called a semi-permanent tattoo, but only because unlike body art, your brow tattoo needs to get touched up once a year or so. They will almost NEVER fade away entirely, and you’ll always have some pigment left behind.

Now that that’s out of the way, there are two different categories for brow tattoos — Manual and machine techniques. Here’s a breakdown of what these categories include:

Manual techniques: include Microblading Hairstrokes are drawn onto the skin using a tool called a microblade (shock!). The microblade is dipped into a tiny amount of pigment, and a hairstroke pattern is drawn onto the skin to create the illusion of hairs. this is the most natural looking brow tattoo, but is really only idea for clients with normal to dry skin. Oily skin types don’t fare well with microblading and will almost always do better with a machine technique, or powder brows. You can also have some shading done manually by stippling pigment into the skin. I really only use this technique personally when i’m looking for a small amount of shading to add density in areas of the brow that need a little oomph.

Machine techniques: This one is confusing to explain because it has so many different names! Powder, Ombre, Stardust, Infnity, bla bla bla. The tattoo needle moves in an up-and-down motion at high speed. By running the tattoo needle over the skin (with pigment in the cartridge, of course), pixels of pigment are deposited in the skin. How this pigment looks depends on the motion of the tattoo machine. Some people like a more crisp and defined edge, some want it to look soft and powdery and less obvious. Discuss what you want with your artist (me, ideally — hah) and see which looks best for your face. You can also have hairstrokes done by machine, but i personally haven’t perfected it yet so it’s not something i offer just yet.

Consultations are not a bad idea if you’re unsure about what you want, because often times clients say they want their brows microbladed but they mean ombre. Or they’re super oily, but they’re afraid of machined brows. If you’re picking the right artist, anything they do on your face will look beautiful and as if it belongs on your face.

What do you think? What technique do you think you’d prefer, and why?