Last updated in August 2023.
Among so many brow PMU treatments available nowadays, finding the right one for you can be a challenge.
First, you must decide whether you want a makeup look or a natural-looking enhancement. If the answer is natural and you want so-called hair stroke brows, you can choose between nano brows vs microblading.
So if you’ve been wondering what the difference between nano brows vs microblading is, PMUHub brings you a detailed comparison below!
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What Is Nano Brows vs Microblading?
Both nano brows and microblading are a form of cosmetic eyebrow tattooing. The principle in which they are done is characterized as hair stroke brows – a way to enhance the brows and give them volume by drawing on brow hair-like strokes.
In both cases, the hair strokes are created by implementing permanent makeup pigments into the skin. The main difference between these two treatments is that microblading uses a manual tool, and nano brows are done with a PMU machine.
Sometimes, people get confused with the terms nano brows and nanoblading. Nanoblading isn’t done with a PMU machine. It’s also done with a manual tool consisting of nano needles, so it’s almost the same as microblading.
Image source: Instagram @royalstrokes_browlashstudio
What Are the Main Differences Between Nano Brows vs Microblading?
The main difference between nano brows and microblading boils down to technique, which then entails certain differences in the final results. Let’s take a deeper look at nano brows vs microblading:
Nano brows are done with a PMU machine – some artists call this treatment digital hair stroke brows or machine brows.
The PMU machine features an extremely fine needle, which vibrates and pierces the skin, depositing pigments in tiny dots that add up to strokes. The needle is very thin and enters the skin at a 90 degree angle, so it causes very little trauma to the skin.
Microblading is a manual technique.
A hand-held tool that features a thin blade made up of 12-16 needles is dragged through the skin. The blade is dipped in pigment, and it’s deposited into the tiny cuts. The microblading blade can be as thin as 0.18 mm or less. However, there’s less control over pressure and motion.
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Skin Trauma and Scabbing
There is less scabbing with nano brows than microblading, and the possibility of scarring is lower since the machine offers maximum speed and precision.
A skilled microblading artist knows how to avoid excessive trauma too, but since the blade is dragged through the skin, there’s usually more scabbing.
What Are the Similarities?
The results of both treatments are natural-looking, but enhanced brows with visible hair strokes, that last a relatively long time (find more about that below).
The 2 techniques can give results almost indistinguishable from one another, so if you want the look of hair stroke brows, both are good choices.
Nano Brow vs Microblading Pain Level
A common question among clients is – which hurts more?
The answer is – neither treatment should hurt. A topical anesthetic is applied before the procedure to eliminate the pain, and more can be added during the pigmentation process.
That said, there is some discomfort. With microblading, you will probably feel pressure and a pinching sensation, while machine nano brows feel more like tingling or stinging, along with the vibrations.
After either treatment, you might feel some tenderness in the area. This is normal and it’ll pass within a day.
Pain level is individual, so some clients feel nothing at all, while others claim it’s quite uncomfortable. In either case, the sessions are relatively short and they give you years of perfect brows!
Nano Brows vs Microblading Longevity
Both treatments are a form of permanent makeup, meaning their results last a long time, but do fade out eventually. How fast they’ll fade is individual and depends on many factors, primarily skin type, body chemistry, and lifestyle.
Still, here are the general timelines.
How Long Does Microblading Last?
Generally, the results of microblading last up to 18 months and can be prolonged with touch ups and proper aftercare, which implies avoiding sunlight, exfoliation, and skincare products which contain particularly aggressive ingredients like retinol and acids.
Microblading also fades significantly faster on oily skin.
How Long Do Nano Brows Last?
Nano brows last from 1.5 to 2.5 years on average, so a bit longer than microblading. The reason for this is that machine application makes the strokes more resilient.
Oily skin will probably fade nano brows a bit faster than dry to normal skin, but not as quickly as with microblading. Nano brows are also more suitable for skin with large pores, as the precision of the application prevents pigment blurring.
Image source: Instagram @pjbeautyandbrow
Microblading vs Nano Brows Price
Price should not be the determining factor in deciding between nano vs microblading, but here’s an overview of the average cost:
How Much Does Microblading Cost?
According to PMUHub’s research, the average price of microblading is just under $600. It can vary from $250 to as much as $2000, depending on location and the exclusivity of the salon.
For more detailed information on microblading prices, visit our Microblading Cost Guide.
How Much Do Nano Brows Cost?
We’ve also conducted research into the price of nano brows. The average price is $660, so somewhat higher than the microblading. The price range is from $200 to $1700.
For more detailed information on nano brows prices, visit our Nano Brows Cost Guide.
Image source: Instagram @laurentaylortattoo
Healing & Aftercare for Nano Brows vs Microblading
All brow PMU treatments have similar healing and aftercare. The healing process for both nano brows vs microblading is considered complete after about 6 weeks. At that point, a touch-up is booked.
Yet, the initial side-effects like redness, scabbing, faking, and itching last slightly longer with microblading and they’re a bit more intense, as there is more trauma to the skin. Generally, they should subside within 10 days for both treatments.
The aftercare routine is the same for both. It involves cleaning your brows regularly and applying an aftercare ointment, avoiding makeup in the area, staying away from the sun. You need to follow this routine for about 14 days after the treatment.
Oh, and you mustn’t touch your brows at any stage of healing.
Are Nano Brows Better Than Microblading?
We can’t give you a yes or no answer. It all depends on the look you want and your skin type.
Nano brows give more precision but they give a fluffier, more natural look. The strokes are thinner and they are tapered, so they look more like natural hairs. That’s why nano brows are a better option for clients with little to no brow hairs.
Nano brows are also a better option for oilier skin and large pores as the strokes are more resilient, and for mature skin since the needle is gentler on the skin than the microblading blade.
Microblading can also give realistic results, but it’s not really suitable for oily skin and large pores. Pigments migrate more easily from microblading incisions, and sebum overproduction affects them more, so the results fade faster.
You should base your decision between the treatments primarily on your skin type, since the looks are very similar. It’s a good idea to let an artist assess your skin and recommend which one to opt for.
Image source: Instagram @pmuhub
Nano Brows vs Microblading – Main Takeaways
Both microblading and nano brows give the brows a natural-looking enhancement by adding extra hair strokes into the arch.
The difference lies in the method of applying those strokes – nano brows are done with a machine, while microblading is a manual technique. The looks are very similar, with nano brows being a bit more crisp and subtle.
The choice between the two should be based on skin type – nano brows are more suitable for oily skin than microblading. Whichever you choose, make sure you find a reputable artist with proper certification and years of experience.
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