Nano Combo Brows – Machine Strokes + Machine Shading

By Emily M.| Last updated on February 1, 2023
Nano brows with machine shading
⏱️ 4 min read

Permanent makeup artists love combining PMU techniques to come up with different brow tattoo styles. While microblading still remains the no. 1 most popular technique, machine strokes are slowly but surely carving their way in the industry.

Machine work allows artists maximum benefits in terms of precision, so it’s no wonder nano brows quickly got their shaded version – nano combo brows!

Let’s take a closer look at this relatively new fusion technique which is picking up speed.

What Are Nano Combo Brows?

Nano combo brows are a brow tattoo style that combines machine-created hair strokes with machine shading. So, there’s no manual pigment implementation like there is with microblading or manual shading – everything is done with a PMU machine.

The look created are brows that look like they’re naturally full, but enhanced a bit with some makeup, like a brow powder. The strokes give an illusion of denser brow hair, while the shading darkens the spaces between the strokes and the natural brows, for further enhancement and fluffiness.

The results are expected to last about 2 years, fading gradually unless they’re touched up.

A Bit About Machine Hair Strokes

The technique of creating hair strokes with a PMU machine is officially called nano brows.

A needle cartridge operated by a PMU machine implements pigments into the skin in tiny dots. To get a hair-like stroke, the dots are drawn close together in an elongated formation. Once healed, the whole thing looks like a solid line that mimics the look of a natural brow hair.

Depending on the diameter of the needle(s) used, the strokes of nano brows can look extremely thin, delicate, and hyper-realistic.

Machine hair stroke browsImage source: Instagram @bespokebrows_sd

A Bit About Machine Shading

Machine shading has become a standard in the world of brow tattoos – very few artists do manual shading anymore.

Artists use different needle configurations to create a powdery effect that looks like a shade between the hairs, adding density to the brows and modifying the thickness and shape of the brow arches.

When done on its own, machine shading creates the powder brows look. But when combined with hair strokes, you get the best of both worlds.

Are Nano Combo Brows Better Than Regular Combo Brows?

We could say that.

Let’s put it this way – more and more artists agree that the nano brows technique is gentler on the skin and offers more precision than microblading. Machine shading has been considered superior to manual shading for quite some time.

If we combine those 2 facts, it’s safe to assume that yes, nano combo brows are emerging as a more advanced alternative to traditional combo brows, which combine manual strokes of microblading with either machine or manual shading.

In general, nano brows:

  • Are more suitable for oily skin than microblading
  • Are safer for mature and sensitive skin than microblading
  • Are better for clients with very little to no natural brows
  • Blur less over time
  • Minimize the risk of pigments going too deep into the skin
  • Minimize the risk of scarring
  • Implement pigments with more precisions
  • Last slightly longer than microblading

However, nano brows, and subsequently, nano combo brows, are not as widely available as microblading and traditional combo brows are. Artists who are certified for both techniques report that machine strokes are harder to master, and there aren’t that many experienced nano brows practitioners out there.

But if you have the option to choose nano combo brows over manually done strokes and shading, you can get truly great, resilient and long-lasting results.

Nano combo browsImage source: Instagram @junoesque_beaute

Can Nano Combo Brows Be Done with the Ombre Effect?

Definitely! In fact, every time any sort of brow shading is done it’s usually done in a more or less prominent ombre effect. Otherwise, clients would end up with square, artificial-looking blocks of color instead of fluffy, enhanced arches.

When doing combo brows, regardless of whether it’s nano combo brows or a microblading+shading combo, the heads of the brows get very little shading in order to allow the strokes to stay visible and for the whole thing to look more natural.

If you want a particularly dramatic ombre effect, ask your artist to make the shade at the tails – the outer part of the brows – more saturated in pigment. This will make them look more defined and add to the prominence of the color gradient.

Ombre nano combo browsImage source: Instagram @nanobrows_johannesburg

How Much Do Nano Combo Brows Cost?

About the same as any other brow tattoo – between $500 and $600 on average, but it’s hard to pinpoint an exact average price, since not that many artists offer this treatment at the moment.

Plus, the price can vary significantly from one salon to the next, based on location, exclusivity, competition in the area, etc.

Results of nano combo browsImage source: Instagram @microbladinglasvegas

Are Nano Combo Brows Worth It?

If you’re dealing with brow insecurities or you’re just sick and tired of filling in your arches every day, any brow tattoo will probably be a live-savior. Among all the options, nano combo brows are the best option for people whose skin isn’t ideal for microblading (oily, mature, sensitive) and those who like a subtle makeup look shading can provide.

Cover image source: Freepik



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