Microblading artists have to know skin through and through. They need to be familiar with different skin tones and skin types in order to adjust their 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 and working on different clients, 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 refuse clients – you definitely don’t want to provide a bad service!
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 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.
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
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.
Image source: Instagram @fussybrowstudio
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, and 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 – it can look quite worrisome to an inexperienced eye.
Microbladed brows are fresh wound, and it needs some 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.
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.
Image source: Instagram @microblading_bytammy
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