Pixel Brows: Pixel Blading & Pixel Shading Explained

By Emily M.| Last updated on May 18, 2022
pixel brows
⏱️ 5 min read

Getting your brows tattooed has been popular for some time, and even though microblading is the first thing that comes to mind, this is not the only treatment you can get for your brows.

In fact, not everybody is a good candidate for microblading. It gives the best results on normal to dry skin, but people with oily skin and large pores may not be satisfied with the results. It tends to fade faster and the hair strokes don’t look as crisp as they do on dry skin.

So, people turn to other treatments and techniques, such as shading. Besides already popular powder brows, there are nano brows (machine hair strokes), as well as some terms that have emerged, such as pixels brows.

Let’s see what pixel brows are.

What Are Pixel Brows?

Pixel brows are cosmetic tattoo eyebrows that appear powdery and pixels are visible (hence the name). But, there are different styles and techniques.

First of all, they can be done manually, with a specially designed blade, or with a PMU machine. Secondly, depending on the technique, pixel brows can be achieved with pixel shading, but also with pixel blading. Let’s explain these two techniques.

What Is Pixel Shading?

Pixel shading, when done with a machine, gives Powder Brows or Microshading. It can also be done manually. The eyebrows look as if some makeup is applied, but the color is soft, powdery, and pixelated. Small dots reveal some skin underneath, and the brows don’t look artificial, like a block of color.

The advantage pixel brows have over microblading is that there is less trauma to the skin, they heal faster, they last longer, and there are no strokes that will blur. They are perfect for everyone who uses brow pencil or brow powder to fill in their brows daily. Once you get them tattooed, they will not come off, smudge, or look uneven.

pixel shadingImage source: Instagram @magdagrochulska.pmu

What Is Pixel Blading?

Pixel blading is a technique that uses a manual tool, i.e. blade, that is a bit different from the regular microblading blade. When microblading is done, the blade is dragged through the skin – the skin is sliced, so to say, so that the pigment could be inserted.

With pixel blading, the skin is not sliced. Pixel blading involves tapping in the pigment. The blade is not dragged but pressed against the skin, the skin is pierced and the pigment is inserted. It creates punctures, not cuts.

The results are similar to microblading – hair strokes are created, but they are formed with small dots – pixel lines. Airy pixel dots are spaced which is said to give better healing results.

The advantage of this technique is that it is gentler on the skin and more suitable for people with oily skin who still want hair strokes. However, not everybody is a fan of broken-up strokes, and therefore, many still choose microblading or nano brows which are even better for oily skin.

eyebrow pixel bladingImage source: Instagram @mandydormaierbrows

So, What Makes a Good Option for Oily Skin?

Microblading is still the most popular and most often requested treatment for most clients, but if the PMU artist tells you that you are not a perfect candidate for microblading and recommends something else, you should listen to them.

Alternatives that are great for oily or mature skin are:

  • Nano Brows – the hair strokes are created with a machine instead of a manual blade. The retention is better, but it still doesn’t guarantee your hair strokes won’t blur.
  • Powder brows – or pixel shading – are the best option for those who have oily skin. Yes, there are no hair strokes but they also look great (if done properly) and save you the time you spend on doing your brows every morning, trying to get them even.
  • Combo brows are great for people who have slightly oily skin. It includes both hair strokes and a powdery effect. The combination of microblading and powder brows or microshading gives outstanding results and is becoming more and more popular.

pixel browsImage source: Instagram @modernbeautyink

What Else Should I Know About Pixel Brows?

If you decide to go for pixel brows, whether it’s pixel shading or pixel blading, here are the things you should know before you book a treatment:

  • It’s important to find a reputable and experienced, as well as certified and licensed, brow tattoo artist. Check their portfolio and reviews carefully.
  • The treatment is not really painful since numbing cream is used to reduce the discomfort.
  • Your eyebrows may look too dark immediately after the treatment, but they will fade in a couple of weeks and will shrink.
  • There’s a healing period after the treatment, during which eyebrows go through different stages. A bit dark at first, they become lighter after the scabbing stage is over. This is the most uncomfortable phase of the healing process but it lasts only for a couple of days. After all the scabs peel off, the brows are already taking their final form.
  • Aftercare is really important. You will be given some instructions to follow after the procedure and the success of the treatment relies on the aftercare to a great extent. Learn more about Powder Brows Aftercare here.
  • All brow tattoos are 2-session treatments, which means that another session is required after the brows are healed, i.e. 6-8 weeks after the initial treatment. The purpose of the second session is to correct all the imperfections that occurred during the healing process – to fill in the patches and add more color if needed.
  • Pixel brows are not permanent – they’re done with special PMU pigments that tend to fade after some time, so a touch up is required to prolong the effects. The frequency of touch ups depends on your skin type and lifestyle, as well as the skincare products you use.

pixel eyebrowsImage source: Instagram @pmubykrystle


Pixel brows are very popular, especially the pixel shading option, which gives a soft makeup look. Pixel blading is still not one of the favorite treatments, but it also has its fans who recognize the benefits of this technique. Listen to your artist’s recommendation after they assess your skin type, and check out some examples of their work.

Cover image source: Freepik



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