Eyebrow Tattoo vs Microblading: Key Differences
The differences between a traditional eyebrow tattoo vs microblading deal with the application processes and pigments used. We bring you the pros and cons of the treatments compared.
Last updated in March 2022.
Many people believe that microblading and eyebrow tattooing are one and the same regarding both the technique used and the final outcome. The reality, however, is different. Although microblading is a form of tattooing, it’s not the traditional, body art tattoo you probably have in mind.
There are many differences between a traditional eyebrow tattoo vs microblading.
Although the goals and the processes of these treatments are similar, the type of ink used and the longevity of the two versions of permanent eyebrows differ significantly.
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So, What Is Microblading?
If you “suffer” from overplucked eyebrows, or you simply have thin and sparse arches, then microblading might be the right treatment for you. It enables you to reshape your eyebrows and give them a trendy, fuller look.
The key to this look lies in the skillful hands of the microblading artists who use a manual blade that creates tiny cuts in the papillary dermis layer of the skin, and implement pigment into it.
This technique, if done correctly, mimics the look of real hairs and provides natural-looking brows.
The incisions are thin and relatively shallow, so they cause minimal to no bleeding and the pain is also negligible thanks to the numbing cream which is applied before the treatment. A very small amount of pigment is deposited into the cuts, which prevents the pigment from “bleeding out”.
It’s important to understand that microblading is a form of tattooing, but it’s a cosmetic tattoo, meaning it’s not meant to last forever.
Image source: Instagram @freya_vera
What Is Eyebrow Tattoo?
To start off, it’s important to note that, since hardly anyone does traditional tattooing on the brows anymore, permanent makeup for eyebrows is sometimes called an eyebrow tattoo.
And technically, microblading is a type of tattoo, but not the traditional kind.
Traditional eyebrow tattooing is similar to any other type of tattooing. Here, tattoo artists use a machine that inserts tattoo ink into your skin in a tapping motion. The formula of the ink is highly concentrated, and the body doesn’t break it down significantly.
This way, the ink stays permanently, there’s no significant fading, and there is no going back (unless you get tattoo removal).
The traditional tattooing technique only allows for a shading effect, not hair-like strokes, so the end results will be more obvious. If the ink saturation is high, the arches often end up looking like a block of color rather than natural volume.
One of the potential side effects of this technique is that the ink can change color and become green or blue after a while under the influence of sunlight and body chemistry.
Another issue that might occur is that the ink can also “bleed out” and change the shape of the eyebrows.
Image source: Instagram @luciamoncayo_micropigmentacion
The Lifespan of the Treatments
There is a significant difference in the lifespans of eyebrow tattoo vs microblading.
Microblading is a permanent makeup technique that uses pigments that fade after 1-2 years, depending on your skin type and your lifestyle.
This fading process happens gradually, with microblading touch ups needed every once in a while, depending on your personal preferences.
Another benefit of this procedure is that you can just let them fade if you grow tired of this look. The pigments will gradually become lighter and less visible until they finally fade. It’s also possible to accelerate the fading.
Should something go wrong with your microblading, there are several removal options.
Traditional Eyebrow Tattoo Lifespan
The traditional eyebrow tattoo, on the other hand, is there to stay.
Once the ink is inserted, it stays for a lifetime. It will fade somewhat, but it will never become so light it’s invisible. The possible side-effects of eyebrow tattoo vs microblading include the change in the hue of the ink, which can sometimes go from black to greenish or bluish. The color becomes duller and less vivid in time.
The Difference in Application Process
Although it might seem that both of the treatments are done in the same way, there is a significant difference between microblading vs tattoo implementation.
Artists who do microblading use a manual tool that creates micro-cuts using a tiny blade. Tattoo artists, on the other hand, use a machine that will insert the permanent ink in dots, or pixels.
The depth of application, however, is the same for both techniques. They both deposit the color into the dermis, the 2nd layer of the skin.
The Difference Between Microblading and Tattoo Pigments
Apart from the difference in the application process, another key difference is in the pigment which the artists use.
While tattoo artists use permanent ink that can last a lifetime, microblading technicians use a permanent makeup pigment, that is formulated differently, meaning it has smaller particles that the body can absorb more easily.
Therefore, the difference in longevity of tattoo eyebrows vs microblading stems from the different formulations of PMU pigments and ink. The pigment fades and usually lasts from 1 to 2 years, depending on skin type and other factors. After this period, the clients need to do a microblading touch up if they wish to keep their microbladed brows.
Eyebrow Tattoo vs Microblading, Which One Is More Painful?
With both microblading vs tattoo, the thin skin on the face is broken over and over again, so there is bound to be some discomfort.
Some clients compare the sensation of microblading to slight pinching, some describe it as pressure, but hardly anyone reports they felt pain per se.
Since the skin in the brow area is thin and more sensitive than skin in other parts of the body, both tattoo and microblading artists use numbing creams to numb the area before the procedure. This is standard practice in permanent makeup salons and a fairly common one in tattoo parlors.
If you’re particularly concerned about possible pain during eyebrow tattooing, make sure you share your worries with the artist and check if they use anesthetics.
Image source: Instagram @draclaudiamejia
Eyebrow Tattoo vs Microblading – Main Takeaways
When discussing eyebrow tattoo vs microblading, most would agree that microblading is a clear winner.
Traditional tattooing is outdated and has been almost completely replaced with updated forms of brow tattooing – permanent makeup.
Microblading, ombre powder brows, or nano brows are also called cosmetic tattoos and have many advantages over the traditional one.