Powder Brows vs Microblading: Key Differences
If you’re considering getting a permanent makeup treatment for eyebrows, you might be wondering which is better: powder brows vs microblading? PMUHub will help you decide.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2020. Updated in December 2021.
One of the most popular permanent eyebrow treatments is powder brows. However, the popularity of microblading eyebrows doesn’t seem to fade, either.
PMU artists have developed many variations and upgraded versions of permanent makeup for eyebrows. Therefore, you can choose the treatment that suits your skin type and your style best.
Let’s take a look at the differences between powder brows vs microblading to understand the treatments better – who they are for, the techniques used, the effects achieved, and more.
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Powder Brows vs Microblading – Are There Any Differences?
The short answer is yes.
There are many differences between these two PMU procedures, and they deal with the way they are performed and the final look.
What Are Powder Brows?
Powder eyebrows are a semi-permanent makeup technique that gives the eyebrows a misty, powdered effect, similar to wearing makeup.
It is done by inserting PMU pigments into the surface layers of the skin using a machine designed for cosmetic tattooing and the ‘dotting’ technique, or pixelization. The 2-step procedure consists of the initial insertion of the pigment, and a touch up about 6 weeks after the initial procedure.
Want to find out more about powder brows? Follow the links:
Powder Brows – The Ultimate Guide
Powder Brows Before and After Gallery
Image source: Instagram @katarzynateresiak.pmu
What is Microblading?
Microblading eyebrows is another semi-permanent makeup treatment that enhances the eyebrows but in a very subtle, natural-looking way.
It also implies PMU pigments being inserted into the surface layers of the skin, but it’s done with a manual tool that looks like a blade consisting of several tiny needles. The blade is used to draw hair-like strokes on the skin, imitating brow hairs. The results are natural and fuller brows.
As with powder brows, after the initial appointment, there is a touch-up about 6 weeks later.
Want to find out more about microblading? Follow the links:
Microblading Eyebrows – The Ultimate Guide
Microblading Before and After Gallery
Image source: Instagram @phibrows_by_ana
Similarities between Powder Brows vs Microblading
1. Both Enhance Your Brows
The purpose of all cosmetic eyebrow tattoos is the same – to enhance your natural brows, or recreate them from scratch in case you suffer from alopecia or similar conditions.
Both will give you more volume and bespoke arches, so you won’t go wrong with either powder brow vs microblading.
2. Both Eventually Fade
Another thing these treatments have in common is that they are both semi-permanent.
This means that they fade away after some time and the treatment needs to be repeated if you want to maintain the look. Both treatments usually last from 1 to 3 years depending on your skin type, lifestyle, cosmetic products you use, etc.
3. Both Take Time to Heal
After any permanent makeup procedure, the skin needs some time to recover and the pigments to settle. This takes about 6 weeks for both powder brows and microblading.
Since the surface of the skin is broken, the microwounds go through a healing process that implies periods of intense darkness, intense lightness, scabbing, and flaking.
Find out more on microblading vs powder brows healing by following the links:
4. Both Need a Touch Up
Both powder brows and microblading include inserting pigment into the surface layer of the skin, and some of it will inevitably be extracted with the scabs during healing.
That’s why the touch up appointment is an integral part of both microblading and powder brows treatments. At the touch up, the PMU artist adds more pigment either in strokes or in pixels where it didn’t settle properly.
The touch up for both treatments is performed 6-8 weeks after the initial pigmentation.
Differences between Powder Brows vs Microblading
1. Styles of Microblading vs Powder Brows Are Different
Microblading is done in strokes that imitate the look of natural hair, and the idea is to make them look so realistic it’s impossible to distinguish them from the hairs.
Powder brows give a more dramatic look, with a shade being created underneath the natural hairs. The powdery effect resembles the look of wearing makeup, and it can be as subtle or as obvious as you like.
In the case of ombre powder brows, the saturation pattern creates an ombre effect, with the heads of the brows lighter, and the tails gradually darker.
2. The Techniques of Microblading vs Powder Brows Are Different
The main difference between these procedures is the way they are done.
With microblading, micro incisions are made manually. A hand tool is dipped into pigment and applied into the upper dermis as individual hair strokes. These hair strokes resemble eyebrow hairs.
Powder brows are done with a PMU machine. It involves the application of thousands of tiny dots of pigment, inserted into the skin.
Image source: Instagram @ricbrows
Which Procedure Is Less Painful?
Both procedures are a bit uncomfortable, but not painful, as most clients report. A numbing cream is applied onto the area that is about to be treated and you probably won’t feel any pain.
Microblading can be a little more unpleasant than powder brows because the incisions are made slowly and the blade is dragged through the skin. There might be some more blood than with machine work.
So, when it comes to powder brows vs microblading pain levels, they are similar, but microblading might be more uncomfortable.
Which Procedure Takes More Time to Heal?
Healing time and process is also quite similar for both powder brows and microblading. They both take 4-6 weeks to completely heal.
The process of recovery has several stages. Your brows will be dark and swollen after the procedure and you need to follow strict aftercare rules for two weeks. Your brows will change color and scabbing is usually involved after both treatments.
So, powder brows vs microblading healing processes are similar, since they both last about 6 weeks.
Which Lasts Longer?
The life expectancy of the microblading treatment is about 2 years, but it may vary.
For most people, powder brows last a little bit longer than microblading. They can last 3, and even up to 4 years.
The longevity of both microblading and powder brows depends on your skin type, lifestyle, skincare routine, etc. If you do some sport, sweat a lot and are exposed to the sun often, your microblading/powder brow will fade faster. You can prolong both brow’s effects by booking regular touch ups.
So, the longevity of powder brows vs microblading is not the same, with powder brows lasting a bit longer. However, there are no rules here and it’s all very individual.
Image source: Instagram @artistryaliss
Which Treatment is Cheaper?
As PMUHub’s research has shown, there is no significant difference in the price of powder brows vs microblading.
In the USA, the average price of both treatments is just under $600, but it may vary significantly from artist to artist. It depends on different factors such as location, the popularity of a salon or an artist, material used etc.
So, the price shouldn’t be a factor when deciding between powder brows vs microblading, since both are priced at an average of $600.
For a comprehensive treatments’ cost overview visit Powder brows cost guide and Microblading cost guide.
How Often Do I Need to Have Touch Ups?
Since microblading fades faster, touch ups should be done every 6-12 months. With powder brows, you can have touch ups every 8-16 months.
The frequency of touch up varies and depends on how fast your brows fade. Fading depends on your lifestyle and skin type. For example, people with dry skin, or people who don’t sweat a lot, might need a touch up once a year.
So, there is no universal answer on how often you need touch ups for either powder brows vs microblading. It comes down to how fast your eyebrows fade.
You should book a color boost appointment when you notice your eyebrow tattoo needs refreshment.
How Do I Choose Between Microblading vs Powder Brows?
If you’re deciding between powder brows vs microblading, consider the following:
- Your skin type – people with dry skin are perfect candidates for microblading – it will look more defined and neat. Powder brows are recommended for people with oily skin. It will last longer and look better.
- Your natural eyebrows – if your eyebrows are thin and patchy, you should go for microblading to add subtle volume. If you already have brow hair but want them even fuller, go for powder brows.
- Your style preferences – do you like natural look or you are a fan of makeup look? If you want your brows to look as natural as possible, microblading should be your choice. If you want dense and thick eyebrows to complete your makeup look, choose powder brows.
- Your lifestyle – if you wear makeup every day, powder brows will perfectly match the look. Also, if you sweat a lot and are exposed to the sun often, your brows might fade faster. Therefore, you might want to choose powder brows since they last longer.
If you are still not sure which treatment is right for you, consult your artist for a recommendation.
Image source: Instagram @jessiedillon_
Which Is Better – Powder Brows vs Microblading?
The answer comes down to your personal preferences.
Microblading is a bit more popular than powder brows because it gives more natural results.
However, the powder brows treatment has its fans, too. The makeup look will ensure you’re glammed up at any moment.
Image source: Instagram @gabrielaaddie
Can Microblading and Powder Brows Be Combined?
Yes, microblading and powder brows can be combined into combo brows, so you don’t have to decide between powder brows vs microblading.
Combo brows are perfect for people who want denser, more defined brows, but a more subtle look. It is done using both the manual tool and the machine, so it works for all skin types.
Powder Brows vs Microblading – Main Takeaways
Both microblading and powder brows are great solutions for having perfect low-maintenance brows every day.
However, there might be a slight advantage of powder brows vs microblading, since powder brows work on all skin types, and last a bit longer. If you are still not sure which one to choose, carefully study your options and consult an expert.