Nano Brows: The Ultimate Guide
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.
Last updated in October 2022.
Permanent makeup treatments have been true life-savers. They can recreate the look of wearing makeup, but in long-lasting 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.
Let’s go through each aspect of the nano brows treatment.
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What Are Nano Brows?
Nano brows are a cosmetic eyebrow tattoo that gives the brows volume and definition by adding fine hair strokes between the natural hairs.
It’s 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.
Of course, 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, at which point they’ll fade away if left untouched.
Image source: Instagram @lebrows.beauty
Who Is a Candidate for Nano Brows?
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.
Who Should Not Get Nano Brows?
The nano brows 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 (wait at least 4 weeks)
- Pregnant or nursing women
- 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 Nano Brows Done?
Nano brow is done by opening up the skin with a PMU machine and depositing pigments into it, to create hair-like tattoo strokes. A PMU machine is very similar to a tattoo machine – it has a super-thin vibrating needle that pokes the skin.
As the name suggests, the treatment is done with a nano needle, 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 second layer of the skin, the dermis. This allows the pigments to gradually fade due to the skin’s natural cell turnover cycle.
Image source: Instagram @clinicamultibeauty
How Long Does a Nano Brows 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, depending on how much work is done and how experienced the artist is. Some clients need more strokes, some need fewer.
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 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.
What Does a Nano Brows Treatment Look Like?
Here are the main steps of the nano brows 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.
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 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.
Image source: Instagram @atelierdegulsum
Do Nano Brows Hurt?
You may experience some discomfort during the treatment, but nano brows don’t really hurt. 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.
Are Nano Brows Safe?
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
Preparation for Nano Brows
It may not sound like it, but proper prep is very important for the success of the treatment. It ensures the treatment goes without complications.
How Do I Prepare for the Treatment?
There are certain things you should avoid before the nano brows treatment to make sure everything goes smoothly and you get the best possible results:
- 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 afterwards is just as important for getting good healed results.
What Does Nano Brows Aftercare Involve?
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 nano brows post care, read our Aftercare Guide.
Image source: Instagram @ishnaebrows
Can I Wear Makeup After Nano Brows Treatment?
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.
Nano Brows Healing Process
As the skin of your brows heals, your nano brows will go through different stages.
How Long Does It Take for Nano Brows to Heal?
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.
What Should I Avoid During Nano Brows Healing Process?
Make sure you avoid the following activities so your brows heal properly and avoid infections:
- 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 Touch Up
As we said, nano brows are a 2-session treatment. Let’s discuss what happens at the touch up.
When Should I Get a Nano Brows Touch Up?
Once your eyebrows heal completely, 4-6 (or 6-8) weeks after the initial session, you need to get a touch up.
The first touch up is mandatory. 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.
Nano Brows Effects
Once you get through the healing, the nano brows effects will definitely be worth it.
How Long Will My Nano Brows Last?
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.
Image source: Instagram @moorebeautylove
Nano Brows Side Effects
You should know your brows might act weird after the treatment, but it’s usually nothing serious. Certain symptoms, though, may point to complications.
Are There Any 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 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.
Can You Be Allergic to Nano Brows?
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.
Can Nano Brows Be Removed?
Yes. 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 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 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.
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.
Image source: Instagram @empressbrowpdx
Nano Brows Cost
How Much Do Nano Brows Cost?
The average price of nano brows treatment is around $660, but it can vary between $200 and $1700. The price of the nano brows treatment varies 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
Let’s compare the 2 treatments that give similar results, but use different techniques to achieve them.
What’s the Difference Between Microblading and Nano Brows?
Microblading is a manual technique done with a hand-held blade that’s dragged through the skin. Nano brows are 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 crisper. 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.
Nano Brows – Main Takeaways
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.