But the step in the process that seems to be the most difficult one for beginner artists to master is eyebrow mapping. The shape of brow arches is the most prominent aspect of each pair and there’s nothing that can ruin the results like a wonky outline that doesn’t work with the client’s facial features.
So in order to help you create beautiful bespoke brows for your clients, PMUHub has put together a list of tips and tricks that can help you perfect your mapping.
Try Various Tools and Find What Works for You
There are so many tools and supplies that are supposed to help you with mapping out there it’s sometimes difficult to decide what eyebrow mapping tool to use.
Experienced artists usually stick to the basics like a caliper and pre-inked brow mapping string, but if you’re just starting out, you can try using brow stencils that can help you draw an outline. You will still need to do some basic measuring so you know how to position the stencil, but it can make the job much easier.
Don’t be afraid to combine tools and even freehand the outline here and there if your intuition tells you to. The final result is what matters, not your means to achieve it.
Numb First, Map Second
No matter what pen you use for mapping brows, the numbing cream will mess it up if you apply it on top and you’ll have to redo the outline. This will cause frustration in both you and your client and make the treatment much longer than planned, which can disrupt your schedule.
That’s why numbing cream is the first step for most artists. Apply the numbing cream to the area and wait for it to kick in. After 15-20 minutes, wipe it off and make sure the area is clean and dry. Then do the outline.
The effects of the numbing cream should last long enough and you should have enough time to finish the outline and start the procedure. It’s a good idea to do the outline first once you start needling or blading, and apply a second dose of the anesthetic to get the client through the rest of the procedure (if secondary numbing is allowed in your judicial area).
It may be worth asking your client if they can handle you doing the outline without numbing so you don’t have to rush with mapping in fear the effects will wear off; people with tattoos will probably be willing to since they know what to expect.
More and more artists are skipping pre-numbing altogether, especially for microblading. They do a light first pass without anesthesia, and jump straight to secondary numbing. They claim this keeps the skin crisp and easier to work on, as many pre-numbing formulas tend to soften the skin and make it rubbery, so to say.
Or, Try Mapping with Waterproof Eyeliner
If you’re not allowed to use secondary numbing and you have to finish microblading eyebrow mapping before you apply the anesthetic gel, you can try mapping with waterproof eyeliner.
A quality liquid eyeliner should be resilient to the gel and won’t get smudged when you wipe the gel off. It might take some testing to find the right one though, but you can try them out on your own skin.
Image source: Instagram @microblading.browsandbeyond
Use a White Marker
If you use a dark marker or pencil to outline, there’s a chance the ink could get into the incisions once you start the procedure. This can affect the color of the microblading strokes.
That’s why many artists use a white brow mapping pencil or marker. It’s also a lot easier to wipe off once you’re done – black or the popular purple can sometimes be persistent and smudge, which can prevent you from getting the best possible before and after images and frustrate your client – no one wants to go about the rest of their day with marker on their face.
Extra Tip: Whichever color or type of marker you use for mapping, it’s useful to lightly dab the marks with a dry tissue right after application, to absorb the excess liquid. This makes the marks easier to remove afterwards, and prevents the color from getting into the strokes during treatment.
Try Mapping Apps
There are a number of apps that can help you with your PMU business, and brow mapping apps can definitely be a useful mapping tool. The way they work is you take a photo of your client and the program pre-draws the shape.
However, the program lacks a human touch, so its mathematically precise outline may not look the most natural in reality. That’s why experienced artists use stencils, calipers, compasses, or freehand the outline, and just have it checked through an app. AI is great because it can do golden ratio brow mapping, but you should always rely on your professional eye more.
Image source: Instagram @freya_vera
Have Your Clients Sit Up
One thing you always have to be aware of is gravity!
Mapping while your client is lying down may be more convenient, but it’s important to take into account that we spend most of our lives in an upward position and that skin is inevitably pulled downwards. So you should map accordingly. This is especially important for more mature clients whose skin sags more.
And Have Them Close Their Eyes
You should always map with the client’s eyes closed. This is the only way to get their forehead muscles to relax, plus they won’t be tempted to pick up a mirror and stare at your mapping. Letting them observe the mapping process will stop them from relaxing and trying to control their facial expression.
Just make sure you check the outline with their eyes open before you start the procedure.
Keep the Body Longer than the Tail
The body of the brow – the part between the inner corner and the peak, or the highest point of the arch – should always be visibly longer than the tail – the rest of the brow from the highest point outwards. Otherwise, the brow won’t look proportional but rather too short and stubby.
Image source: Instagram @sara.baseri.pmu
Observe the Outline in Motion
The tiny muscles underneath the skin play a huge role in brow shape. Everybody has a dominant side, where the muscles are stronger and pull the brow more.
It’s not always possible to determine which side is stronger during the treatment because some clients find it difficult to relax. And even if they don’t, in reality, most people subconsciously modify their expression in general, for example, they may frown more on one side, on hold one eyebrow raised.
You should bear all this in mind while mapping, and it may be a good idea to give your clients a few minutes with the outline before you start the application. Use this time to talk to them, make them smile and relax and observe the movement of their features when they’re not thinking about their brows. That way, you have the chance to modify the shape of the outline so it fits their face better.
If you notice your client generally holds one brow raised higher up, make the outline of the other one a bit thicker on top.
Practice with Makeup
The key to success is practice, and the most effective way to practice brow mapping is on people, not props. Ask your friends and family to let you map their brows as you would if they were getting PMU. Draw an outline and fill it in with regular makeup. This way, you can see how you did and if you made any mistakes.
Don’t Strive for Perfect Symmetry
Yes, when you’re doing permanent brows mapping is important and you should do everything in your power to do it as well as possible. But nobody’s face is perfectly symmetrical and proportional, so if you can’t get both sides of the brow pair to look completely identical, it’s not the end of the world.
In fact, mathematical precision could make them end up looking not symmetrical at all once the client gets up and starts moving.
Remember the mantra – eyebrows are sisters, not twins.
Explain this to your client beforehand and warn them that it may take some time for them to get used to their new arches.
Take a Mapping Course
If you’ve tried everything and you still seem to be struggling with mapping, you can take a mapping course. Many trainers have recognized the need to elaborate on certain steps of the brow PMU process and offer mapping as a separate course.
They’re usually relatively affordable and could definitely be a great investment that will help you perfect the skill.
Cover image source: Pexels