Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2020. Updated in October 2021.
Among so many brow PMU treatments available nowadays, it can be a challenge deciding which one is right for you. First you have to decide whether you want a makeup look, or a natural-looking enhancement. If the answer is natural all the way, you need to choose between nano brows vs microblading.
So if you’ve been wondering what the difference is between nanoblading vs microblading, PMUHub gives you a detailed comparison!
Both nano brows and microblading are so-called hairstroke brows, a way to enhance the brow and give them volume by drawing on extra hairs. In both cases, the hair strokes are created by implementing permanent makeup pigments into the skin.
But no, nanoblading vs microblading are not the same thing, although their names are similar and they volumize the brows in a similar way.
Nano brows are a semi-permanent makeup treatment for the eyebrows that creates the look of extra natural volume, fills in sparse patches, and modifies the shape of the arches into your dream brows. It’s a form of cosmetic tattooing – it’s done by opening up the skin and depositing color into it, but it’s not permanent.
The results of nano brows fade gradually and will become invisible after about 2 years if you don’t refresh them.
The treatment is performed with an electric device similar to a tattooing machine, which is used to draw strokes that imitate the natural brow hairs between them. The needle that opens the skin is as thin as a strand of brow hair, so the strokes end up extremely realistic and indistinguishable from the natural hairs.
Want to find out more about nano brows? Follow the links:
Image source: Instagram @royalstrokes_browlashstudio
The main difference between nanoblading vs microblading is in the technique, which then entails differences in the results
Although it’s called nanoblading, there are no blades involved. Nano brows are done with a machine – some artists call this treatment digital hair stroke brows. The 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 flexible and thin, 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 is thin too, and some artists even use the same thickness as the nano-needle – 0.18. However, it’s not flexible, so there’s less control over pressure and the motion.
There is less scabbing with nanoblading than microblading scabbing, 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 thicker than the needle, there’s more scabbing.
Image source: Instagram @nanoblading
The results of both treatments are natural-looking, but enhanced brows, which last a relatively long time.
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.
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.
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.
Both treatments are semi-permanent, meaning their results last a long time, but do fade away 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 windows.
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.
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. Nanoblading is also more suitable for skin with large pores, as the precision of the application prevents pigment blurring.
Image source: Instagram @pjbeautyandbrow
Price should not be the determining factor in deciding between nano vs microblading, but here’s an overview of the prices.
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.
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 nanoblading prices, visit our Nano Brows Cost Guide.
All brow PMU treatments have similar healing and aftercare. The healing process for both nanoblading 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.
We can’t give you a yes or no answer. It all depends on the look you want and your skin type.
Nanoblading gives more precision and a crisp, extremely defined look.The strokes are thinner and they look more like natural hairs. That’s why nanoblading is a better option for clients with little to no brow hairs. Nano is also a better option for oilier skin and large pores as the strokes are more resilient, and for older clients since the flexible needle is gentler on the skin than the microblading tool.
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 pushes them out more easily, 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.
Both microbalding and nanoblading 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 – nanoblading is 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 – nanoblading is more suitable for oily skin than microblading. Whichever you choose, make sure you find a reputable aesthetician with proper certification and lots of experience.