All you need to know about nano brows – a brow PMU treatment that gives you natural-looking volume. Read on for the basic info, risks, cost, effects, and more.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2019. Updated in October 2021.
Permanent makeup treatments have been proper life-savers. They can recreate the look of wearing makeup, but in semi-permanent versions that don’t wash off or smudge. The new era of the brow tattoo offers us a number of different techniques to choose from – although microblading is still number 1, nano brows have emerged as a close second.
The nano brows treatment gives a look similar to microblading, but it’s done differently. The technique has 2 names used equally often – nano brows and nanoblading.
Let’s go through each aspect of the nano brows treatment.
Nano brows are a semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo that gives the brows volume and definition by adding fine hair strokes between the natural hairs. It’s done with a machine that implements PMU pigments into the surface layer of the skin, so not as deep as traditional tattooing.
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. Of course, the technique can recreate brow arches from scratch for clients who don’t have any hairs due to certain conditions.
The results stay visible for 1.5 to 2.5 years, at which point they’ll fade away if left untouched. The colors used are formulated in such a way that the body breaks them down and they’re dissolved, which allows you to modify the look every once in a while instead of being stuck with it forever.
Want to find out more about nano brows? Follow the links:
Image source: Instagram @lebrows.beauty
Anyone who wants a natural-looking enhancement for their brows! That said, there are some restrictions.
Nano brows work best on dry to normal skin, but they can work on oily skin, too. 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. The treatment is not safe for:
Nano brows are created over 2 sessions – the initial implementation, and the 6-8 week touch up.
The 1st treatment takes about 2-2.5 hours, depending on how much work is done. Some clients need more strokes, some need fewer. If the brows are created from scratch, the treatment will probably take even longer.
The 2nd session is shorter. This is an opportunity to assess how the brows have healed and add more pigments where necessary – some of it will probably have faded during healing. Depending on the amount of work that needs to be done, it shouldn’t take more than an hour.
Here are the main steps of the nanoblading procedure.
The first step is a consultation appointment, which 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.
The artist will draw on the shape of your future brows and ask you whether you agree with it. Speak your mind before it is too late – tell the artist whether you are happy with them, or you want them darker or lighter.
A topical anesthetic is applied onto the skin to numb the pain. It takes 15-20 minutes to start working, and once it does, the tattooing starts. Some artists do the outline before the numbing so the cream doesn’t smudge it – it’s a matter of the artist’s preference.
The artist draws the hair strokes with an electric device. They’ll probably make 2 passes to make sure enough pigments were implanted.
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.
Image source: Instagram @atelierdegulsum
Having a needle tattoo your face doesn’t sound very pleasant, but nano blading doesn’t really hurt. A numbing cream eliminates the pain, but some discomfort is inevitable. You will probably 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.
Generally considered non-invasive, the nano eyebrow procedure is quite safe if done properly.
Allergic reactions to pigments are very rare, but they do happen. 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 to perform the treatment. Never go to an uncertified, self-taught artist!
Image source: Instagram @permanentbeautybylili
Choosing an artist is the most important step. Find one that has a certificate, experience, and positive reviews. Never go to an untrained, uncertified artist. Study before and after pictures to get an idea of what you want, and be vocal about the look you have in mind.
That said, listen to your artist and consider their advice – they know color theory and what will work for your skin tone.
There are certain things you should avoid before the treatment to make sure everything goes smoothly and you get the best possible 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.
Here’s everything you need to know about nanoblading aftercare:
Once the peeling phase ends, you may proceed with your regular activities, but it’s best to keep avoiding certain skincare ingredients, and keep wearing sunblock.
Not until the brows are healed!
Avoid getting any kind of makeup near the brow area 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.
It takes 6-8 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.
Your brows will look too dark for a few days after the treatment.
A scabby film will cover your brows around day 5. Do not touch it.
The scabs will start peeling off on day 7 or so. It may go through 2 cycles of peeling. Do not pick at the peeling skin.
If the peeling has finished, the surface of your skin has healed. If it’s still peeling, keep following the aftercare rules until it has stopped.
The pigments will look too light right after peeling. Don’t worry, they’ll gradually darken within a few weeks.
Make sure you avoid the following activities so your brows heal properly and avoid infections:
6-8 weeks after the initial session, once your brows heal completely, you need to get a touch up. The first touch up is mandatory, and it’s usually included in the price. It’s an opportunity to fix any spots that healed lighter or similar imperfections to assure maximum longevity and the best possible results.
Further touch ups are not mandatory. You can get them whenever you feel your brows are too light and want to boost the color. Most clients like to get a yearly touch up.
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.
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 and falling off. They will probably be itchy and won’t look that great. Do not touch the scabs at any stage of the process.
You can be allergic to pigments used in the procedure, but allergies are quite rare, especially with high-quality pigments. Nevertheless, insist on doing a patch test that will show any allergies before the procedure.
After healing, your brows may be a bit lighter than you want them, but wait until the touch up – that’s when the final results are revealed.
Everyone’s brows heal differently and the skin may not take enough pigment after the first implementation. Or, you may want to go darker, or modify the shape a bit more. All these are corrected at the touch up.
Once your brows start fading away, you may notice the color changing a bit. Your skin tone or body chemistry may cause the pigments to turn slightly cooler or warmer in tone than you want them. You can book a color-correcting touch up and refresh it.
If you regret the treatment immediately, you can get emergency saline removal, but only in the first 48 hours, before the wounds start closing up.
If your nanoblading doesn’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 the price per session is at least $200 – it can get pricey and drag on for months.
So before you decide on removal, ask yourself if it’s possible to just wait out until the results fade, covering them up with makeup in the meantime.
PMUHub Tip: Starting the removal process is a big decision, and you should think it through carefully, especially if you just got your brows done and you don’t like the result. You might just need time to get used to your new look. You can always get them corrected.
The price of the nanoblading treatment varies depending on your location, and the experience and the exclusivity of the artist, among other factors. The average price of the treatment is around $660, but it can vary between $200 and $1700.
For more information, visit our nano brow cost guide.
Generally, microblading and nanoblading are two very similar procedures because the final looks are very similar – they give the look of denser brows by drawing on extra hair strokes.
The difference is in the technique. Microbalding is a manual technique done with a hand-held blade that’s dragged through the skin. Nanoblading is done with a machine, and the needle pierces the skin in tiny dots that add up to a hair stroke.
The needle used for nano brows is thinner than the blade used for microblading, so the strokes are more delicate and look more crisp.
Microblading is suitable for dry to normal skin. Nano brows are more suitable for oily skin than microblading, since the chance of pigment migration is somewhat lower.
Nano brows tend to last a bit longer than microblading, up to 2.5 years.
For more information on microblading, visit our comprehensive microblading guide.
Nano brows are a great PMU treatment for anyone who wants a natural-looking enhancement, but got tired of drawing on their brows every morning. They’re done with a machine, so they can work on any skin type. The effects last up to 2.5 years, with annual touch ups being enough to keep the brows looking fresh.