Nano Brows: All About Machine Hair Strokes

By PMUHub Editorial Team| Last updated on May 23, 2024

Hair stroke brows are a brow PMU treatment that gives you natural-looking volume. Read on for the basic info, risks, costs, effects, and how it’s different from microblading.

Eyebrow tattoo treatments can recreate the look of full, perfectly shaped brows that don’t wash off or smudge like makeup does.

There are different techniques to choose from, depending on the look you want. Although microblading is still number 1, nano brows AKA hair strokes done with a PMU machine, have emerged as a close second. Here’s all you need to know.

Nano Brows Treatment - Everything You Need to KnowImage source: Instagram @nanobrows_madina

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What Are Nano Brows AKA Machine Hair Strokes?

Nano brows are a cosmetic eyebrow tattoo that gives the brows volume and definition by adding fine hair strokes between the natural hairs.

This treatment is done with a PMU machine that implements PMU pigments into the dermis layer of the skin, deep enough to ensure it lasts a couple of years.

The pigments are inserted in thin strokes that resemble the brow hairs, so the final look is very natural – the strokes are indistinguishable from the hairs.

The technique can recreate brow arches from scratch for clients who have very little to no brows due to certain conditions.

The results stay visible for 1.5 to 2.5 years, gradually fading away unless they’re refreshed.

All About Nano BrowsImage source: Instagram

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Who Is a Candidate for Nano Brows?

Anyone who wants a natural-looking enhancement for their brows! They work on all skin types and tones.

Unlike microblading, which isn’t recommended for clients with oily skin and large pores due to strokes blurring, strokes created with a machine are more resilient to pigment migrations.

So you can get nano brows regardless of skin type, but be aware that pigments tend to fade faster from oilier skin.

Apart from that, there are certain contraindications, just like with any eyebrow tattoo.

Who Should Not Get Nano Brows?

The treatment is not safe for:

  • People with diabetes (consult your doctor)
  • People with any bleeding disorders
  • People who take blood-thinning medications (consult your doctor and discontinue use if possible)
  • People who’ve recently had Botox injections or fillers in the area (wait at least 2-4 weeks)
  • Anyone pregnant or nursing
  • People with a history of keloids or hypertrophic scarring
  • People with viral infections or diseases
  • People who are going through chemotherapy
  • People with skin irritations, Rosacea, Eczema or Psoriasis near the treated area
  • People whose skin was tanned recently

Nano Brows Treatment

Let’s discuss the most important aspects of the nano brows treatment.

How Are Machine Hair Strokes Done?

By opening up the skin with a PMU machine and depositing pigments into it to create hair-like tattoo strokes. A PMU machine has a super-thin vibrating needle that pokes the skin.

The treatment is done with a needle so thin it mimics the diameter of a brow hair. So the strokes created are very delicate and look indistinguishable from natural hairs.

Permanent makeup only reaches the top of the second layer of the skin, the dermis. This allows the pigments to gradually fade due to the skin’s natural cell turnover cycle.

How Are Nano Brows Done?Image source: Instagram @clinicamultibeauty

Do Nano Brows Hurt?

You may experience some discomfort during the treatment, but no significant pain. Artists use a numbing cream to eliminate the pain, but you may feel pressure and a pinching sensation.

Once the anesthetic wears off after the treatment, you might feel some tenderness. You can also expect some redness and swelling, but it will subside in a day or 2.

Do Nano Brows Hurt?

You may experience some discomfort during the treatment, but no significant pain. Artists use a numbing cream to eliminate the pain, but you may feel pressure and a pinching sensation.

Once the anesthetic wears off after the treatment, you might feel some tenderness. You can also expect some redness and swelling, but it will subside in a day or 2.

How Long Does the Treatment Take?

Nano brows are created over 2 sessions: the initial implementation and the 6-8 week touch up.

The initial treatment takes about 2-2.5 hours. If the brows are created from scratch, the treatment will probably take even longer.

The touch up session is shorter. This is an opportunity to assess how the brows have healed and add more pigments where necessary – some of it may fade during healing.

Depending on the amount of work that needs to be done, it shouldn’t take more than an hour.

What Does a Nano Brows Treatment Look Like?

Here are the main steps of the nano brows procedure.

1. Consultation

A consultation appointment can be done beforehand, or on the day of the procedure. You will get informed about the treatment, pre-care and aftercare and learn what to expect during and after the procedure.

The artist will assess your skin and check your medical record to make sure there are no contraindications. You will discuss the shape and color you want, and do a patch test to make sure you are not allergic to the pigments.

2. Outlining

The artist will draw on the shape of your future brows and ask you whether you agree with it.

3. Numbing

A topical anesthetic is applied to the brow area. It takes 15-20 minutes to start working, and once it does, the tattooing starts.

4. Tattooing

The artist creates the hair strokes with an electric device. They’ll probably make 2 passes (or more) to make sure enough pigment was implanted.

5. Touch Up

Once your brows heal from this, 6 to 8 weeks later, you need to have a follow-up session, during which the artist adds pigment in the spots that may have healed lighter and makes any necessary corrections.

After this, you’re all done and you can finally enjoy your perfect arches.

Nano Brows Touch UpImage source: Instagram @atelierdegulsum

When Should I Get a Nano Brows Touch Up?

Once your eyebrows heal completely, at least 6 weeks after the initial session.

The first touch up is mandatory. It will fix any spots that healed lighter or similar imperfections for maximum longevity and best results.

Further touch ups are not mandatory. You can get them whenever you want to boost the color. Most clients like to get a yearly touch up.

Is the Treatment Safe?

Generally considered non-invasive, machine hair strokes are quite safe if done properly.

Allergic reactions to pigments are very rare. A patch test done before the procedure eliminates this possibility.

Whenever the skin is opened, there’s a certain risk of infection. Plus, any type of tattooing carries a small risk of permanent scarring if the needle goes too deep or if the skin is overworked.

That’s why you should only trust certified, licensed and experienced artists who work in sterile conditions. Never go to an uncertified, self-taught artist!

are nano brows safeImage source: Instagram @permanentbeautybylili

Preparation for Machine Hair Strokes

Proper prep ensures the treatment goes without complications.

How Do I Prepare?

  • Stop using retinol or Vitamin A products 1 month prior to the treatment. These thin out your skin and it’ll be over sensitive and bleed.
  • If you take blood-thinning medications, consult your doctor and see if you can discontinue use for a couple of weeks before the treatment.
  • If you’ve had Botox or fillers in the area, wait at least 2 weeks.
  • Don’t do any facials at least 2 weeks before the treatment.
  • Don’t go sunbathing or tanning for at least 10 days prior to the treatment. If your skin gets sunburned, you’ll have to postpone it.
  • Don’t pluck or wax your eyebrows at least 1 week prior to the treatment.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, ibuprofen, aspirin, and fish oil supplements for at least 24 hours prior to the treatment. These thin out the blood and you’ll bleed more.
  • Don’t work out on the day of the treatment.

Nano Brows Aftercare

The actual treatment is only half the job – caring for your brows properly afterward is just as important for getting good healed results.

Once you’re finished with your treatment, your skin will need some time to heal, during which you need to pay some special attention to it.

The basic rules of aftercare include:

  • cleaning your eyebrows regularly, but not getting them soaking wet,
  • avoiding applying any skincare products except those recommended by your artists,
  • and not picking the scabs.

To learn all about proper post-care, read our Aftercare Guide.

Can I Wear Makeup After Nano Brows Treatment?

Not until the brows are healed – until peeling ends, so around 2 weeks after the procedure.

You can wear makeup on the lower half of your face, but be careful not to contaminate the brow area when removing it.

Nano Brows Healing Process

It takes 4-6 weeks for your brows to completely heal. This is how long it takes for the tissue underneath the skin surface to recover, and that’s why you can’t get a touch up sooner than that.

The surface symptoms of healing don’t last that long.

Your nano brows will go through several phases during the healing cycle and not all of them will be very attractive. Scabbing is the least pleasant, but once the brows have peeled off, the surface healing is over.

Learn about Nano Brows Healing Stages in this guide.

Avoid the following activities so your brows heal properly and avoid infections:

  • Swimming
  • Sports or anything that will cause excessive sweating
  • Saunas, steam baths, hot baths, long showers or jacuzzis
  • Too much sun exposure
  • Any skincare product not prescribed by your artist
  • Any kind of beauty treatments, especially chemical peels
  • Picking, peeling, or scratching the pigmented area
  • Sleeping on your face

Nano Brows Effects

You can expect your nano brows to last from 1.5 to 2.5 years. Some clients’ brows fade away faster than this, while others’ last out even longer – it’s all up to your skin type, body chemistry, and lifestyle.

Most clients get a touch-up after a year to boost the color or redefine the shape, but it’s down to personal preference.

You can expect your nano brows to last from 1.5 to 2.5 years.Image source: Instagram @moorebeautylove

Nano Brows Side Effects

Since the treatment opens up the skin, some aftereffects are inevitable. In the first 48 hours after the procedure, you can expect some redness, swelling, and tenderness.

If these symptoms continue past day 3 or 4, contact your artist. You may be dealing with an infection or an allergic reaction.

Then, as the wounds start closing up, scabs will form all over the surface of your brows, and they’ll eventually start flaking. They will probably be itchy and won’t look that great. Do not touch the scabs at any stage of the process.

Can Nano Brows Be Removed?

Yes. If your nano brows don’t work out and you don’t like the results, or you decide you’re tired of your nano brows, you can get them removed.

Your options are laser, saline, or glycolic acid removal.

But all these are done gradually and you’ll have to get up to 10 sessions, with 6-8 weeks apart. All 3 methods require periods of healing after each session, and it can get pricey.

Nano Brows removal or correctionImage source: Instagram @empressbrowpdx

How Much Do Nano Brows Cost?

The average price of nano brows treatment is around $660, but it can vary between $200 and $1700, depending on location, the experience and the exclusivity of the artist, among other factors.

For more information, visit our nano brow cost guide.

Nano Brows VS Microblading

Microblading is a manual technique done with a hand-held blade that’s dragged through the skin. Machine hair strokes are done with a PMU machine, and the needle pierces the skin in tiny dots that add up to a hair stroke.

A machine can give more solid or more ombre strokes, and the patterns can be more elaborate.

Unlike microblading, which is not suitable for oily skin, nano brows are good for all skin types.

Nano brows tend to last a bit longer than microblading, up to 2.5 years.

For more information, visit our guide Nano Brows vs Microblading.


This guide is a result of 5+ years of studying and researching the permanent makeup industry. The information comes from reliable sources: a number of nano brows technicians, and a wide variety of medical references.



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