Microblading artists are always coming up with tricks on how to get the best possible microblading results. They keep trying out different numbing techniques, pigment ranges, blades, experimenting with strokes, etc.
One of the staple tricks has become the pigment mask, a step that maximizes pigment absorption and ensures better color retention. This is something most artists do, but do they do it right?
We’re looking into the pigment mask and revealing tricks on how to make the most of it.
What’s the Microblading Pigment Mask?
Microblading is done by implementing pigments into the cuts made on the skin with a manual tool. But there are several ways of getting the pigment into the strokes. The basic technique is dipping the blade in pigment before each cut, but the pigment mask, or pigment bath, how some artists call it, is a very useful add-on.
After the strokes of each pass are made, the whole brow arches are covered with a coat of pigment. It’s left on to sit for some time, allowing the skin to soak it up, and wiped off.
Image source: Instagram @glowup_by_lana
Why Is the Pigment Mask So Popular?
The pigments settle into the skin through the movement of their molecules and mixing with the lymph that fills the cuts. A pigment mask that sits on for some time allows the pigments to drop deep into the incisions, where they settle nicely.
This way, the skin retains more of the pigment and the final color looks more vivid. It allows all the strokes to turn out even and the same color.
It’s also possible to do the strokes dry, without dipping the blade in pigment, and only do a pigment mask after each pass. The biggest benefit of this approach is the fact that the pigments don’t impair your vision – there’s no pigment residues on the brows while you’re working, so you can see where you place your strokes more clearly.
How Long Should the Pigment Mask Be Left On?
Most artists leave the mask on for 5-8 minutes, but the mask needs longer to ensure best results. So it should be left on for 10 minutes.
To understand why the pigment mask needs to sit this long, we have to understand the process through which the pigments settle into the skin.
The pigment mask relies on the lymph to distribute the color evenly. Lymph is a runny fluid that the skin oozes when a cut is made. When pigments are placed over a cut, the lymph dilutes them to a point and allows them to travel into every part of the stroke made. So the pigment works with the body to ensure an even spread of color.
It takes 10 minutes for the pigment to be diluted in the lymph and to travel and settle at the bottom of the incision.
Image source: Instagram @thebeautyanddesign
Tips on Making the Most of the Pigment Mask
Tip #1 – Dilute the Pigment a Bit So It Doesn’t Dry Up
Different pigments have different consistencies. Some are liquid, and those stay wet even if they sit on the brows for the full 10 minutes.
Other formulas are thicker and drier, so they’ll dry up on the brows and turn hard. If this happens, you might have trouble wiping off the mask, but if you rub it, you risk irritating the client’s skin.
So if your pigment formula is dry, you can add a tiny amount of shading solution into it.
Tip #2 – Add a Bit of Numbing into the Pigment Mask
Some artists like to add a bit of secondary numbing into the pigment mask. This “oils it up” and prevents it from hardening, but it also numbs the area. This is useful after both the 1st and the 2nd pass:
- After the 1st pass, it’ll numb the client for the 2nd pass, so you don’t have to waste time applying the numbing separately and waiting for it to start working.
- After the 2nd pass, the numbing ensures there’s less redness. The topical anesthetic causes the blood vessels to contract, so the area won’t look red after the treatment, which ensures more attractive photos – you know how important before and after photos are and you should use all available tricks to ensure they look their best!
Tip #3 – Cover the Pigment Mask with Plastic Wrap
After applying the pigment mask, cover the brows with a piece of plastic wrap. This aids pigment absorption and maximizes the effects of the numbing, but also ensures the thicker, drier pigment doesn’t harden.
Tip #4 – Massage the Pigments In After a Few Minutes
If the pigment is still wet, after about 5 minutes, you can rub the pigment mask with your fingers in circular motions in order to improve pigment absorption. As the pigment mask sits on the incisions, the blood drawn can coagulate and close up the incisions, blocking the travel of the pigment.
By doing a quick massage, you remove the blood blockade and allow the pigments to settle into the incisions further.
Image source: Instagram @perth_eyebrow_art
Applying the pigment mask has another benefit – it gives your client a break from the microblading. Although the procedure isn’t supposed to be painful, it isn’t the most comfortable experience in the world either, so your clients will surely appreciate the 10 minutes they can relax and not stay completely still!
For the description of the whole microblading process, read this article.
Cover image source: Freepik