Microblading Without Numbing Cream: Should Client Comfort Always Come First?

By PMUHub Editorial Team| Last updated on September 27, 2023
microblading without numbing cream
⏱️ 5 min read

Microblading uses a handheld tool with thin blades to make thin incisions on the skin, which does entail some discomfort, but nothing too bad.

While numbing creams are commonly used during the microblading procedure to minimize this discomfort, there are artists who don’t use them at all, or only use them halfway through the treatment.

This article will explore the reasons behind their choice and the benefits and potential drawbacks of microblading without numbing cream.

Why Some Artists Choose to Microblade Without Numbing

While numbing creams are most commonly used in machine PMU procedures like nano brows, powder brows or lip blushing, there are artists who prefer not to use them for microblading in particular.

Below, we’ll explore these factors and other key reasons why artists choose to microblade without numbing cream:

The Skin Stays Crisp for the First Pass

Some artists claim that when numbing cream is applied before the treatment, it can make the skin rubbery, so to say, to soften it slightly.

As a result, they get the sense that the skin is dragged through the skin instead of slicing it with precision, like it’s the case with taut, crisp skin.

More Control Over Depth

As a result, they believe that numbing creams can interfere with their precision. If the skin is softened, it can be quite challenging to gauge the amount of pressure applied and the depth of the strokes.

By working without numbing cream at the beginning of their procedures, artists can have better control over the process and achieve more natural-looking results.

Less Chance of an Allergic Reaction

While numbing creams are generally safe, there is a small risk of developing an allergic reaction, especially when clients have sensitive or reactive skin.

By skipping numbing creams altogether, artists can eliminate that risk and provide a safer, albeit slightly uncomfortable experience for their clients.

Less Hassle with State Laws & Regulations

The use of numbing cream for permanent makeup in the US is regulated by each state’s Health Department and other authorities.

The basic rule that applies to most US states is that your numbing cream cannot have more than one numbing agent in it and the percentage of that agent cannot exceed 5 percent.

And since most primary numbing creams on the market contain a 5 percent lidocaine formula, this may not be strong enough to numb up every client, so some of them can probably do just as well without it.

Faster Procedures

Numbing creams can take anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour or more in some cases to start working, which can add to the overall duration of the microblading procedure.

Some artists prefer to work without numbing cream to save time and provide a quicker experience for their clients.

Better Communication with Your Client

Effective communication between the artist and the client is another crucial part of the microblading process.

Artists believe that the slight discomfort experienced during microblading without numbing cream allows for better communication, as clients can provide feedback on the pressure and sensation.

How Numbing Cream Affects Microblading Results

Many artists believe that microblading without numbing cream has significant advantages for their clients’ skin as well as their healed results.

Numbing creams, and especially primary anesthetics, change the canvas and texture of the skin, affecting pigment retention and the look of your clients’ brows.

Primary anesthetics contain many moisturizing ingredients that can make the skin feel soggy and rubbery due to excess moisture that is trapped underneath. For microblading, the best thing is for the skin to remain as crisp and tight as possible, but not too dry.

But What If My Client Can’t Take the Pain?

If your clients can’t take the slight discomfort of the procedure, you can use a secondary numbing product to relieve any painful sensation.

In fact, this is what most artists who skip pre-numbing do. They do the first pass without numbing, with a light hand, and then use a secondary numbing suitable for use on broken skin before they go over the incisions again.

Secondary numbing usually comes in the form of gel or liquid, so it’s not moisturizing and sinks into the now open skin much faster.

Here are some of our top picks:

Once you’ve chosen your secondary numbing product, start by making tiny incisions without pigment to slightly open up the skin and create channels through which the product can be applied and more quickly absorbed.

Take a Q-tip or a microbrush, dip it in the secondary numbing product, and dab it over the channels. Take a tissue or a cotton round and dab off the excess.

The work area is ready in less than 5 minutes in contrast to pre-numbing creams which take up to 30 minutes to start working. After you dab the excess off, do the first pass, then reapply if needed.


Not all jurisdictions allow for the use of secondary anesthetic. Always make sure you comply with all the local regulations.

Downsides of Microblading Without Numbing Cream

While there are advantages to microblading without numbing cream, it’s essential to acknowledge the potential drawbacks as well. Let’s take a look at the possible risks and downsides of microblading without numbing cream:

Pain & Discomfort

The most significant drawback of microblading without numbing cream is the possible discomfort experienced by the client. Some individuals have a low pain threshold and may find the procedure unbearable without numbing, while others don’t need any pre or secondary numbing products.

Here’s how some clients describe the sensation.


If a client feels uncomfortable during the microblading treatment, there’s a chance they leave a review saying they were in pain on your Instagram or your Google Business. This can turn back new potential clients.

You definitely don’t want this.

So make sure you check up on how your client is feeling often and adjust the treatment accordingly.

Risk of Uneven Application

Without numbing cream to dull down the sensation of microblading, clients may involuntarily move or twitch during the procedure, potentially leading to uneven application or undesirable results.

Longer Adjustment Period

Clients who get microblading without numbing cream may experience more pronounced redness and swelling immediately after the procedure. This can prolong the side effects compared to those who use numbing cream during their procedures.

pros and cons of microblading without numbing creamImage source: Freepik

So, Should You Try Microblading Without Numbing Cream?

Microblading without numbing cream is a choice made by some artists who prioritize control and efficiency. While there are benefits to this approach, it’s essential to consider the potential drawbacks, primarily client discomfort which may lead to poor reviews.

Ultimately, the decision to do microblading without numbing cream should be a collaborative one between the artist and their client.

Clients should be fully informed about both options, including the advantages and disadvantages of each, and choose what’s best for them having their specific pain tolerance in mind.

Cover image source: Freepik



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