Nano Brows vs Powder Brows – Comparison Between Brow Treatments

By Emily M.| Last updated on May 9, 2022
Nano Brows vs Powder Brows - Brow Treatments Compared
⏱️ 5 min read

Permanent makeup for the brows can be split into 2 categories: brows done with a manual blade – microblading – and machine brows. If you’ve been told you’re not a good candidate for microblading for whatever reason, you can decide which style of machine brows you want to get – nano brows vs powder brows.

Now we know that the PMU terminology can get confusing and that it’s sometimes hard for clients to distinguish between treatments, but to help you make the right decision, let’s compare nano brows and powder brows.

Keep reading to find out what the differences and similarities between the 2 brow treatments are.

Nano Brows vs Powder Brows: Similarities

Although they are essentially 2 different treatments, nano brows and powder brows share certain similarities and advantages over microblading. Let’s discuss the key points:

They’re Both Done with a PMU Machine

Both nano brows and powder brows fall under the category of machine brows, a range of permanent makeup treatments which enhance your brows by implementing pigments into the skin with a PMU machine.

A PMU machine is somewhat similar to a tattoo gun, but it uses different needles and works at a lower intensity. The needles used for PMU are thinner than those used for body art, so it’s possible to create marks as thin as actual brow hairs.

The needles implement pigments into the skin in a different way from microblading blades. While the blade makes elongated incisions by being dragged through the skin, the PMU machine inserts the needle in and out of the skin at a high velocity, making punctures rather than scratches. Filled with pigment, these perforations are sometimes called pixels.

The pigment inserted with this motion stays put, so to say, as the opening is so tiny there’s no chance of pigment bleeding out of it.

This technique of pigment insertion allows for different styles.

Nano Brows vs Powder Brows - They’re Both Done with a PMU MachineImage source: Freepik

Clients Who Aren’t Candidates for Microblading Can Get Them

As we said, both looks are created by implementing pigments into tiny punctures. Due to this form of application, both nano brows and powder brows are suitable for clients who were directed away from microblading.

The reasons why a person is not a candidate for microblading specifically, but is eligible for machine brows, are:

  • Their skin is oily and microblading strokes would blur and disappear quickly.
  • Their skin is sensitive and microblading would cause too much trauma.
  • Their skin is mature and either too thin or too tough for microblading to look good.

All these skin-specific reasons mean that the microblading treatment likely wouldn’t be a success, but machine application could give great results.

In the case of oily skin, a machine tucks in the pigment safely in little punctures where sebum won’t push it out as easily. When it comes to sensitive, thin or thick skin, machine application is better because it’s gentler, there’s no dragging a blade through the skin and essentially slicing it, and the chance of going too deep or not deep enough is much lower.

They Last Longer Than Microblading

Pigments inserted into punctures tend to stay visible longer than those inserted into strokes made with a blade. All PMU fades due to sebum secretion and skin exfoliation, but these factors affect pixels less than they do microblading strokes.

The difference in longevity is not huge, but you can expect machine brows to look crisp for at least a couple of months longer than microblading.

Nano Brows vs Powder Brows: Differences

Although the implementation method is the same, nano brows vs powder brows give different results. Which treatment you choose is a matter of personal preference.

Main Difference – Style

The versatility of the machine technique of doing brow PMU allows for the creation of different results. Let’s review the look of nano brows vs powder brows.

Nano Brows

The nano brows treatment gives a look very similar to microblading. In fact, it’s sometimes called digital microblading, or digital hair stroke brows, as the enhancement is done by adding marks that look like natural brow hairs into the brow arch, called hair strokes. The strokes are created by placing pixels very close together into a line formation.

As a result, the look is very natural and the strokes look just like actual hairs. The results look like you naturally have fuller brows and like you’re not wearing any makeup on your brows. That makes it more appealing to a wider clientele, and why male clients go for it more often.

It’s suitable even for clients who don’t wear makeup on the rest of their face, but want their brows thickened. No makeup product can really give this look.

You can learn more about this treatment in our nano brows guide, and see more examples in our nano brows before and after gallery.

Nano Brows Treatment StyleImage source: Instagram

Powder Brows

Powder brows are essentially shading your brows with a PMU machine. The pixels are placed close together in a way that creates a shade, a powdery look you get when filling in your brows with makeup products like brow powder or pomade.

Usually, the shade is done in an ombre gradient (that’s why the treatment is often called ombre powder brows, or just ombre brows). The head of the brows, the portion of the arches in the center of the forehead, is left lighter, and the shade darkens towards the tail, the outermost part. This creates an attractive, glammed-up look.

The color saturation and opaqueness can be manipulated, so you can choose how solid you want your brow enhancement to turn out. When done by an experienced artist, powder brows can look subtle and nicely blended, but you can go as dramatic and as prominent as you want.

You can learn more about this treatment in our powder brows guide, and see more examples in our powder brows before and after gallery.

Powder Brows Treatment StyleImage Source: Instagram @marybeautyink

How Do I Decide Between Nano Brows vs Powder Brows?

It’s easy – if you want your brows to look naturally fuller, like you haven’t done anything to them, nano brows are the treatment for you; if you like a glamorous, makeup look and you wear makeup on the rest of your face more often than not, look into powder brows.

What you should know, though, is that the 2 treatments can be combined into a combo brow – between the strokes of nano brows shading can be added, to get the best of both treatments. Find out more about combo brows in our guide!

Cover image source: Freepik



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