As a microblading artist, you need to be familiar with different skin tones and skin types in order to adjust your technique to the particularities of each client – how to pick the best pigment shade, how far to space the strokes out, what to expect as the color starts fading.
Once you start working, you will encounter each of the Fitzpatrick categories. If you don’t have a grasp on how to handle each category, you might find yourself having to turn down clients.
The theory behind microblading is just as important as the actual blading! So let’s look into the particularities of microblading on melanin rich skin.
Which Fitzpatrick Skin Types Are Considered Melanin Rich?
The Fitzpatrick scale is a classification system of skin tones/types (phototype, to be precise) used to categorize skin into categories based on the amount of melanin – the skin’s natural pigment.
The more melanin a skin has, the darker it will be, and the higher it’s placed on the Fitzpatrick scale.
Microblading artists use this scale to help them choose the best pigment mix for each client.
Fitzpatrick categories that are considered melanin rich are:
- V – brown
- VI – dark brown to black.
Many clients you will encounter don’t fall neatly into one category, but rather somewhere in the middle. It’s important to take the time to observe their skin undertone and not follow the scale blindly when choosing and mixing the pigment.
Properties of Melanin Rich Skin
Melanin rich skin is usually, but not necessarily, on the oilier side. Darker skin tones tend to produce more sebum, and while this keeps the skin looking radiant, it can be problematic for microblading.
Also, melanin rich skin is usually on the thicker side.
Image source: Instagram @fussybrowstudio
How Do These Affect Microblading?
Oily skin is notoriously problematic for microblading, regardless of tone. The sebum overproduction causes 2 problems:
- The sebum overproduction pushes out the pigments, which can affect retention. Microblading is known to fade faster from oily skin, so if your client’s skin is oilier, warn them their results might not last out past month 12 without touching up.
- Oily skin often comes with large pores, and that texture, combined with sebum overproduction, can cause the microblading strokes to blur and spread. The strokes can spread so much they merge together and give the look of shading.
Clients with oily skin should be pointed in the direction of machine brows, either nano brows or combo/powder brows. Machine implementation ensures better longevity, and minimizes the chance of pigment spreading and migration.
When it comes to skin thickness, it’s important to note that any client can have thick skin, regardless of skin tone, but it’s more likely with dark skin.
You need to assess each client’s skin individually, and if the skin is thicker, you will need to apply more pressure.
You really need to be careful not to go overboard, though. The blade should only reach the dermis layer, and there should be pinpoint bleeding – at most. If you’re going too deep, the pigments will fan out under the skin and heal ashy.
How to Pick the Right Pigment for Microblading on Melanin Rich Skin
Getting the color of the pigment right is very important when microblading on melanin rich skin, and it takes a firm grasp on PMU color theory.
Darker skin doesn’t mean you should go for a black pigment. In fact, you should never use pitch black pigments, because they’ll heal bluish.
Instead, go for deeper brows shades, and remember to always add some warmth into the mix, to prevent cool healing.
If your client has a lot of natural hairs, try to match the pigments to that. But if they have very little to no hair, you have more freedom.
It’s a misconception that dark skin requires significantly darker pigments.
Swatch different pigment shades on the client’s skin and find the best match – a few shades darker than the skin should be enough to make the strokes sufficiently visible.
To give you a head-start, look into our recommendations for the best microblading pigment for dark skin:
Best Microblading Pigment for Dark Skin
If you don’t have a set of go-to pigments for microblading on melanin rich skin, here’s a good starting point:
Tones of Perma Blend Fitz 5-6
Within their wide pigment range, Perma Blend included a collection of brow pigments for each Fitzpatrick type. The Fitz 5-6 collection is formulated specifically for melanin rich skin.
There are several shades to choose from, based on your client’s undertone, plus there’s a warm modifier to add as needed.
Brow Daddy Schokolade & Tokyo Black
Brow Daddy Gold Collection pigments are super popular and many artist swear by them. The 10-shade collection covers all Fitz types, but if you’re looking for microblading pigments for dark skin, Schokolade and Tokyo Black are perfect.
Schokolade is a deep brown with a cool mass tone and warm undertones, while Tokyo Black is an even darker, almost-black brown pigment with a cool mass tone and slightly warm orange undertones.
Tina Davies Ebony
Tina Davies x Perma Blend pigments are a staple, and for artists who use this collection exclusively, Ebony is the fail-proof choice for microblading on melanin rich skin.
It’s a cool, dark pigment with a yellow base.
Perma Blend Blackish Brown & Espresso
Both Blackish Brown and Espresso are very versatile dark brown microblading pigments, common choices for dark-haired clients across Fitzpatrick types.
For microblading on melanin rich skin, artists often mix them together in different ratios for custom shades.
Before and After Microblading on Dark Skin
Good to Know – The Ghosting Stage Can Be Quite Intense
The most significant difference when microblading on melanin rich skin as opposed to lighter tones is the healing process. Or to be more precise, the ghosting stage, when pigments look very light.
The recovery of brows after microblading is the same for everyone, regardless of skin tone, but it can look much more intense on melanin rich skin.
Artists who don’t have much experience working on darker skin may be baffled or worried when their clients send pics of their brows looking like their skin turned extremely light around day 7 of the healing process.
Microbladed brows are a fresh wound that needs time to heal. The strokes made are incisions and they heal just like any other wound – a scab covers the area, and new skin patches up the wound.
When the scabs fall off, the skin underneath looks very light, almost milky. The strokes are covered with this new skin and they look very light, too, like the pigment didn’t take.
Image source: Instagram @microblading_bytammy
The darker the skin, the more prominent the new skin will look. It can be whitish, then grayish.
Your client might get worried that the treatment didn’t work or that it damaged the skin. Or, the artist may go straight into thinking the client picked the scabs off. This is usually not the case.
The new skin just needs some time for melanin to build back up – this can take up to a month or more, it’s all very individual.
Mention this to your client before the treatment and make sure they’re prepared for this. They will probably go into panic mode if they’re not expecting it.
However, you need to warn your client to be extra careful not to pick at the scabs.
Besides the universal reasons why microblading scabs should never be ripped off, melanin rich skin is at a greater risk of developing permanent hypopigmentation if scabs are removed prematurely.
Final Tip – Adjust the Aftercare
Since darker skin tones are known to be oily more often than not, make sure to adjust the aftercare. Oily skin doesn’t need too much additional moisturization, since the skin itself will keep the wound moisturized.
If your client applies the aftercare ointment too generously or too often, the combination of that and the sebum will prevent the wound from breathing.
Cover image source: Freepik