PMUHub has prepared a detailed guide through the powder brows treatment. Find out what are powder brows, how they can enhance your look, and who they’re for.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2019. Updated in June 2021.
Eyebrows play a huge role in the beauty world of today. There are so many different ways in which you can style your eyebrows, the most popular method still being microblading.
However, what if the microblading effect is simply not the way you want your eyebrows done? What if you prefer the look of wearing brow powder to pencil strokes? Or, your skin type is not suitable for microblading?
Luckily for you, there are different PMU methods for eyebrow tattooing, such as powder brows.
Powder brows (also known as powder brow tattoo or shaded brows) is a semi-permanent make-up procedure for eyebrow enhancement in which the artist inserts PMU pigments into the top layers of the skin with a tattoo machine designed using the dotting technique, or pixelization.
As a result, a powdery eyebrow effect is achieved, and misty, powdered brows are created. The technique is similar to microshading, but the results are more dramatic.
The whole powderbrows procedure resembles the procedure of microblading, but the technique used is different, and so is the final outcome. Keep reading to find out what’s the difference between powder brows and microblading.
The whole procedure is a two-step process, and it consists of the initial insertion of the pigment and the touch-up that takes place 6 – 8 weeks after the initial procedure.
Powder brows create the desired fullness of your eyebrows in a bespoke arch shape that best suits your facial features and brings out your natural beauty.
Image source: Instagram @ewelina_stec_lipinska
A popular way of doing powder brows is by creating the powder ombre effect.
This version is done in a similar way to the original powder brows, but the artist follows a particular saturation pattern. The ombre effect means that the inner part of the brow is lighter and gradually gets darker further out towards the tail. This results in a three-dimensional look.
To find out more about powder ombre brows, visit our Powder Ombre page.
Want to find out more about powder brows? Follow the links:
Image source: Instagram @dolly_brow_studio
Just like it’s the case with any semi-permanent makeup treatment, most people qualify as good candidates for the powderbrows procedure, although there are some restrictions concerning medical conditions.
Also, what’s even better is that this is a great option for people with oily skin as well. Some PMU treatments cannot deliver satisfactory, long-lasting results on people with such skin, but this procedure is different.
However, there are certain things that the clients need to bear in mind before opting for this procedure.
What is very important to know is that there are people who can undergo the powderbrows procedure despite having certain medical conditions, but only with a doctor’s approval. This includes people with:
Even though the two procedures are somewhat similar, that is, both involve the artist inserting the pigment into the surface layers of your skin, the technique used is different, as well as the result, which is the biggest difference between powder brows and microblading.
Microblading creates individual strokes that resemble the eyebrow hairs, while powder brows create tiny dots to achieve a misty, powder-filled brow. By doing so, the result resembles the look of makeup application that includes a shade underneath the hairs.
What is powder brows’ advantage over microblading is the fact that powder brows last a bit longer than microblading, which is typically around 18 years on average, without touch ups.
The choice between microblading vs powder brows comes down to which style you prefer. Unlike microblading, powderbrows don’t look perfectly natural, but rather like an on-point brow makeup look.
Discover all about the similarities and the difference between microblading and powder brows on our Powder Brows vs. Microblading page.
Image source: Instagram @jessvuongartistry
There are many advantages to choosing powder brows.
It uses a more traditional tattooing method, which means that the results last longer.
Moreover, this procedure works with all skin types, including oily skin which can be problematic for microblading. Most clients come back for color boosts after 12 – 18 months.
Finally, the eyebrow looks much more defined and dramatic than with the classic, microblading method. The results resemble the look of wearing eyebrow powder.
Check out our powder brows before and after gallery to see the results from various artists and get inspired.
It’s good to know that the powder brow technique can be combined with microblading.
The effect that this combination creates is powder microblading, or combo brows – very fine hair strokes filled in with a smooth shading for enhanced brows.
Image source: Instagram @chynathi.browart
The whole powder brows treatment usually lasts around 2 hours. The length of the treatment mostly depends on how experienced the artist is.
The creation of powder brows process has several steps that usually look like this:
You will have a chat with your artist about the look you want. It’s a good idea to come in for your treatment wearing your usual brow makeup, so they can get a sense of your preferences. Then, the artist prepares the area around the brows by cleaning it thoroughly.
The eyebrows area is covered with topical anesthetic, which is left on for approximately 20 minutes until it kicks in.
Together, you and your artist decide on the color of your eyebrows according to your hair and skin color.
The area of the eyebrows is measured, taking into account face shape, symmetry, facial features, etc. The outline of the arch shape is drawn on and once you’re happy with it, the actual application starts.
The process of creating fine dots with a specialized machine and covering them with pigment. If there is any discomfort at this stage another quick layer of numbing cream can be added to the area (if your artist has access and permission to use secondary numbing).
A final layer of pigment is added, after which the eyebrow area is cleaned.
Once your powder brows have healed, the touch-up is booked for filling in the gaps where the pigment hasn’t taken or healed properly.
The quality of the results largely depends on the skill and experience of the artist who performs the treatment.
Remember that this is not something you should try to save money on. The prices of the procedure vary from artist to artist and from salon to salon, with higher prices often justifiable. Arguably, the best strategy is to google something like powder brows near me, compare prices in multiple salons, and go for someone who charges an average price.
A good artist can either make or break your final look, so make sure that you do your homework beforehand.
Try to see as many powder brows before and after healing photographs of the artist as you can, and read the reviews. It’s important to look for pictures of healed powder brows, as the results right after the treatment do not give a realistic idea of what the final look will be.
Word of mouth and recommendations are always the best option.
As soon as you heard about a needle machine being involved, your mind probably went straight to the question do powder brows hurt? This is a difficult question to answer, mainly because the definition of pain varies from person to person.
People who wax or pluck their eyebrows regularly will not find the procedure very painful, whereas someone who has never had their brows plucked might feel some level of discomfort.
The good thing is that the artist will use a safe topical anesthetic cream that they will apply to your eyebrows in order to ease the procedure as much as they can.
That said, during healing your powder brows might feel sensitive and itchy, which might be more uncomfortable than the procedure itself.
Powder Brows is generally considered a safe, non-invasive treatment, but since it involves incisions, it still carries certain risks.
First of all, there is a list of conditions that makes you unsuitable for PMU powdered eyebrows. Some of them include pregnancy, diabetes, heart conditions, allergies, and other conditions your artist should ask you about and establish whether you are allowed to have the treatment or not.
Besides that, there is always the risk of infections. This is because the treatment is very popular and there is a huge number of powderbrows artists, some of who use unsterile equipment. Even though they can happen, infections are not that common.
If you choose a certified artist who works with sterile equipment and follow their aftercare instructions, there should be nothing to worry about.
Image source: Instagram @advance_microblading_academy
For most people, eyebrow PMU and especially powder brows sound like the block-of-color cartoonish brow tattoos of the 90s, so they are reluctant to get the treatment.
However, it’s very important to understand that the technique has changed, and so has the equipment that’s used to create it. The results do not look so unnatural anymore, as the pigments used are specially formulated to recreate the look of makeup.
What’s more, powder fill brows nowadays can be created to look subtle and natural, and this is achieved by not saturating the desired brow shape too much, which allows for a defined, yet soft look.
The preparation for the powder brow procedure doesn’t start when you enter the salon, but sometime before that.
These are the things that you should bear in mind before the treatment:
Once you’re finished with your treatment, you will experience some swelling and soreness, which is completely normal. This will subside within a few days, so there’s nothing to worry about.
However, if you want to make the most out of this procedure, you need to know some things about the powder brow aftercare process:
The treated area is very sensitive and prone to infections right after the treatment.
So, it is forbidden to wear makeup on the treated area. You are allowed to apply it to other parts of your face. However, since makeup can get to the treated area easily, and during the healing process powder brows should be protected from contamination, it is best not to risk it.
Therefore, it is advisable to avoid wearing makeup at all for about two weeks.
For detailed aftercare tips and best practices, head out to our extensive Powder brows aftercare guide.
It’s very important to know that the result of the treatment is determined by many different factors, such as medications, skin characteristics (if it’s oily, sun-damaged, particularly thick or thin), your skin’s unique pH balance, alcohol intake, smoking, and the post-procedure aftercare.
Due to all that, the powder brows healing process might be different for everyone.
You will most likely experience swelling and redness after the procedure. This should subside within 4 days after the procedure, but this is individual.
It’s also important to note that the result will look approximately 50% darker than the desired effect, and it will take 4-10 days for it to lighten. The true colors will be visible only 1 month after the procedure.
In the healing of powder brows scabbing is the most annoying stage for most clients. We cannot stress enough how important it is for you to avoid picking at the scabs at all costs, as this can cause unattractive patchiness. You need to see each of the powder brows healing stages through and let the skin recover. Once you see your brows healed, you’ll forget all about the agony of aftercare.
To get a real picture of the powder brow healing process, visit our Powder brows healing day-by-day guide.
Image source: Instagram @laceymichael_microblading_pmu
Although this treatment is sometimes called eyebrow powder tattoo, the results are created using PMU pigments, not tattoo ink, so they eventually fade.
How long does powder brows last depends to a great extent on your actions. There are some important factors that can cause your powdered brows to fade faster and thus shorten their lifespan.
The most important factor is the sun; tanning beds, sunbathing and sun exposure can cause your powder brows to fade a bit faster.
Exfoliating can also cause some of the color to come off or fade out.
Other factors include oily skin and different medical conditions.
You should also avoid certain skincare products that accelerate fading for as long as you want to have your powder brows. If you notice your brows are fading, you can book a “color boost” touch-up appointment that will help you maintain the color.
The powder brow touch up appointment cannot take place earlier than 30 days after your initial procedure.
Once there, you will be able to add more shade and make it more intense (as it might somewhat fade during the healing phase), choose some darker or warmer colors, and correct the shape. For example, if your skin didn’t take the pigment in some spots, there is the touch up to fix it.
Other touch-ups are not as obligatory as the first one. However, if you want your powder brows to last longer, you should get one at least every 6 months.
Powderbrows can last for 1 to 3 years, but everything depends on your skin type and aftercare.
A touch up is always required after 6 – 8 weeks after the initial appointment when your artist will assess progress and see if you need to change your aftercare routine.
Bear in mind that clients who choose a softer look and a lighter color, or don’t follow the aftercare instructions carefully may require more touch up appointments.
If you’re not happy with the results and don’t want to wait until they fade naturally, there are ways to remove powder eyebrows; although, it can take some time and effort.
The most obvious way is to do all the things that accelerate fading: sunbathe, wash your face often, visit saunas, etc. The alternatives are saline removal and laser removal, which can get expensive and take time.
The best solution seems to be scheduling a correction appointment and trying and fix them. Also, you can try a different artist, if you don’t trust your initial choice anymore.
Image source: Instagram @thebeautecanopy
Your powder brow will look swollen and too dark at first, which is normal.
The pigment will gradually fade away and they will look like what you asked for after a couple of weeks. Also, they can be a little bit itchy at first, but you mustn’t scratch them.
Besides that, prepare for the powder brows scabbing process after the treatment, which might be a little bit annoying, especially since you mustn’t touch the scabs. Scabs don’t appear immediately after the treatment. You can expect them after 3-5 days, and they can last up to two weeks.
Also, there is a risk of incorrectly done eyebrows. If your eyebrows are not even or they might look unnatural, or you just don’t like them, you might need to find someone more qualified and skilled to fix them. Luckily, this is a semi-permanent procedure, so they will not stay like that forever.
Here are some potential side effects you might encounter:
The risk of infection always exists, but the right choice of the artist who will perform your powderbrows procedure is crucial. You always need to find a professional artist that uses sterilized equipment, because otherwise, clients might end up with an infection or botched powderbrows.
Up until your brows have healed completely, you are at risk of getting an infection, so you should be careful not to contaminate the area throughout your powder brows healing process.
Image source: Instagram @gabrielaaddie
Unfortunately, yes, some people claim to have had allergic reactions to this treatment, or more precisely, to the pigments.
If you are allergic to tattoo ink, you will probably be allergic to powder brows pigment, too. Also, the numbing cream or the pigment itself gets into the client’s bloodstream thus leading to allergic reactions.
Some pigments contain paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which is used in hair dye and some people are allergic to it. Luckily, there is a wide range of pigments, so you need to warn your artist about the allergies and make sure they don’t use pigments with PPD.
If you are not sure whether you are allergic to certain pigments or not, the best thing to do is to test the area you want to cover. There are patch tests that are recommended for people who are not sure if they are allergic to a pigment or not. Besides doing the patch test, you can also pay a visit to an allergist, in order to make sure that the powder brows treatment is safe for you.
It is also vital not to apply any cosmetic products or make-up right after the treatment, i.e. before the healing period is finished, because that can cause an allergic reaction as well.
The average powder brows price is around $600. How much are powder brows varies from artist to artist or city to city.
Make sure to check the average price of the procedure in your area, and see what is included in the price. The first touch-up appointment is generally included in the price, but this has to be double-checked.
When it comes to price, there is no significant difference between powder brow vs microblading.
Visit our Powder Brows Cost page for more information on the price of the powder brow treatment across the US.
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Powder Brows are a popular form of permanent makeup for a reason. The treatment has many advantages, such as saving you the time you spend on doing your eyebrows every morning.
Trendy and no-maintenance brows are what you get as a result. Also, the confidence boost you’ll get from beautiful bespoke brows is priceless.
Make sure to get well informed before making the decision which salon to choose and don’t look for bargains, cause it can cost you more in the end – you don’t want to end up with bad powderbrows!