Secondary Numbing Gel for Microblading: How to Use + Best Ones

By Emily M.| Last updated on February 13, 2024

Learn all about secondary numbing gel for microblading and how it’s used, plus which products to try & where to buy them.

secondary numbing gel for microblading

Image source: Freepik

DISCLAIMER: Check local rules and regulations regarding topical anesthetics before you use any numbing product on any client.

The microblading process involves slight discomfort due to the blading used to create hair-like strokes on the skin. To alleviate this discomfort, artists reach for different numbing products.

And while pre-numbing is a common practice, some artists use secondary numbing gels to prolong and intensify the numbing sensation halfway through the treatment.

More and more skip pre-numbing altogether and go straight for the secondary numbing.

In this comprehensive guide, we dive into the reasons behind the choice of secondary numbing gel for microblading and provide you with all the essential information on proper use and safety.

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Understanding Microblading and Numbing

Microblading is a manual brow enhancement technique that involves implanting pigments into the skin to mimic natural eyebrow hairs. It requires using a specialized hand tool with ultra-fine needles called a microblade to create tiny incisions in the skin.

And while the process of making small incisions in the skin through which the pigment is implemented isn’t unbearable, the sensation can get quite uncomfortable for some. That’s where numbing creams and gels come into play.

A topical anesthetic (numbing cream or numbing gel) contains a numbing agent, usually lidocaine, that sinks into the skin and prevents the nerves from sending any signals to the brain that trigger the pain sensation.

In this way, microblading artists ensure that their procedures remain comfortable for their clients, but also that their clients receive the end results they were looking for.

Image source: Instagram

What’s the Difference Between Primary & Secondary Numbing?

Numbing products are used to minimize discomfort during the microblading procedure. In order to use them properly, we first must discuss the difference between pre-numbing and secondary numbing creams and gels.

Primary AKA Pre-Numbing Cream for Microblading

A pre-numbing cream for microblading is applied, as the name suggests, before the microblading procedure begins, on unbroken skin in order to prep it.

Pre-numbing creams are formulated with ingredients like lidocaine, tetracaine, and benzocaine. They can be applied to the brows before mapping and pre-drawing, or after.

We won’t go into too much detail because we wrote all about primary numbing creams here.

Secondary Numbing Cream for Microblading

Secondary numbing creams, or more precisely, secondary numbing gels, are applied after the initial strokes are made during the microblading process.

These gels are intended to numb the area further and provide ongoing relief as the procedure continues. They can also be used on their own, without pre-numbing before the procedure.

Besides lidocaine, a secondary numbing gel for microblading usually contains epinephrine, which acts as a vasoconstrictor to help minimize bleeding and allow for cleaner strokes.

Best Secondary Numbing Gel for Microblading

Here’s a list of best secondary numbing for microblading:

1. Tag #45 Numbing Gel

The Tag #45 is one of the most popular secondary numbing products on the market and a staple in so many artists’ microblading kits. Its formula contains 4% lidocaine and .04% epinephrine and is only meant to be used on open skin.

The gel-based formula of this product provides quick pain relief and reduced swelling within a few minutes. But most importantly, even though it is gel-based, it doesn’t slide or run off the treated area when applied.

The Tag #45 numbing gel is meant to be used after doing the first pass, on either pre-numbed brows or without any previous numbing. It should be applied directly onto the incisions with a microbrush.

2. Ultra Duration Numbing Liquid

UltraDuration is a long-lasting local anesthetic meant to be used only on open skin.

The formula contains 4% lidocaine, 2% tetracaine, and .04% epinephrine.

This is a professional-strength secondary numbing gel that provides fast and effective pain relief. It is most commonly used for microblading and lip PMU.

For best use, apply a small amount on broken skin with a suitable applicator, wait 2-5 minutes until the numbing effect is achieved, then wipe it off and continue your procedure.

3. Numpot Gold Numbing Cream

If you’re looking for a versatile pre-numbing product, the Numpot Gold is the best option. Its 5% lidocaine formula provides a strong numbing sensation that makes it suitable for microblading, but also for lips and eyeliner.

However, this product is not only meant to provide a numbing effect before and during the microblading procedure – it also provides moisturization and helps PMU artists seal in the color after the procedure.

For best use, apply a small amount of product on the treated area with a suitable applicator, wait up to 15 minutes until the numbing effect is achieved, then wipe off.

You can reapply it during the procedure to extend the numbing sensation when needed.


Before using a numbing cream or gel, do a patch test on every client to reduce the chance of a reaction.

Keep in mind that epinephrine-based numbing agents aren’t recommended for use on clients with high blood pressure or similar conditions.

Epinephrine can increase the heart rate and force of contraction, thus increasing the output of blood and raising blood pressure.

Secondary Numbing Gel Application Process

To correctly apply your secondary numbing gel for microblading, follow these steps:

Discuss the Use of Numbing at Consultations

As with any numbing product, it’s important to consult with the client beforehand to identify any allergies, sensitivities, or underlying medical issues. If needed, perform a patch test.

If your client didn’t have a reaction to the patch test, proceed with the treatment.

Pre-Numbing (Optional)

If you want to save time, you can see if the client is willing to muscle through the first strokes without numbing, so that you can go straight for the numbing gel, which will work faster and give a stronger numbing sensation.

If not, you can pre-numb the skin with whichever primary numbing you’re using. Here’s a list of good options.

Initial Strokes

Time to start blading. If you didn’t pre-numb, you can do the first pass with shallow strokes so your client isn’t too uncomfortable. You’ll go over the strokes again anyway and you can reach the proper depth then.

Alternatively, you can poke the skin with your blade instead of doing actual strokes, apply the numbing gel, and only start blading after that.

Secondary Numbing Gel Application

Once you’ve made the initial strokes, apply a small amount of secondary numbing gel to the treated area using a disposable applicator or a clean microbrush.

Waiting Time

The gel needs some time to take effect, usually around 5 minutes. During this time, it’s important to assess the client’s comfort level.

Proceed with Hair Strokes

Continue with your microblading procedure and reapply numbing gel based on your client’s feedback.

Can You Mix Secondary Numbing Gels?

If you are legally allowed to do so, you can.

Depending on the consistency of your secondary numbing product of choice, you can mix it to achieve a more suitable formula and a prolonged anesthetic effect.

For example, you can mix the Ultra Duration secondary numbing gel which is of a more runny consistency, with a thicker numbing gel like the Tag #45.

Mixing them gives you the right consistency, especially for microblading, plus these two products work really well together when it comes to providing your clients with pain-free procedures.

Considerations and Safety

Before you begin using numbing products, and especially secondary numbing products, there are a couple of things to keep in mind to provide your clients with the safest, best possible outcome of their microblading procedure.

Here’s a look at the most important factors to consider before using a secondary numbing gel for microblading:

Are You Allowed to Use Secondary Numbing?

Most PMU artists are not medical professionals, and in many jurisdictions, they are not allowed to use secondary numbing due to it being essentially a drug applied to open skin.

In some jurisdictions, PMU artists aren’t allowed to use any numbing on clients – at all.

So it’s very important you keep up with local regulations and stay informed to avoid doing anything illegal.

Can You Use Secondary Numbing Gel in the US?

To put it simply – it depends.

The US health department inspection states that secondary numbing products should be used only by medical professionals, and aren’t allowed for use on broken skin otherwise. It is also forbidden to use formulas containing over 5% lidocaine.

In most US countries, only 5% lidocaine formulas are allowed, while formulas containing epinephrine aren’t. However, these rules and regulations are constantly changing and are not applicable to every US state.

Make sure you stay on top of local regulations regarding topical anesthetics before you use any numbing product on any client.

How to Safely Use Secondary Numbing Products

Before applying any microblading numbing cream, it’s important to do a patch test on every client to reduce the possibility of an allergic reaction.

Take the time to ask your client about any potential sensitivities, as well as their medical history, as epinephrine-based numbing products aren’t safe to use on clients with high blood pressure or similar conditions.

Regularly communicate with your client to ensure they are comfortable throughout the procedure. Adjust the application of your secondary numbing gel based on their feedback.

Benefits of Secondary Numbing Products

If you’ve never used it before, here’s how secondary numbing can benefit your service:

Precision & Accuracy

Some artists feel that pre-numbing creams can interfere with their ability to sense skin resistance and make precise strokes.

They claim that primary anesthetics are usually moisturizing, which makes the skin more rubbery and saggy, making it move with the blade instead of staying tight and crisp.

By using secondary numbing gels, they can maintain better control over their movements, resulting in more accuracy.

Reduced Blurring

Pre-numbing creams can cause the skin to swell slightly, which might lead to blurring of the initial strokes. Using only secondary numbing gel can help mitigate this issue, as it is applied after the initial strokes.

Customized Numbing

Every client’s pain threshold is different. Some clients might experience discomfort more acutely, while others might have a higher tolerance.

Artists can tailor the application of secondary numbing gels based on the client’s real-time feedback, ensuring optimal comfort throughout the procedure.

Quicker Procedures

Some artists find that using secondary numbing gels allows them to work more efficiently. As pre-numbing creams require waiting time before they take effect, opting for secondary numbing gels can lead to a smoother, quicker microblading procedure.

@zensaskin This is your reminder to apply a thick layer of Numbing Cream and *do not rub in*. What questions do you have about the application process? #Zensa #NumbingCream #Microblading #Microneedling #BrowsAesthetic ♬ original sound - Zensa Skin Care

Secondary Numbing Gel for Microblading – Main Takeaways

A secondary numbing gel for microblading plays a significant role in enhancing client comfort during their procedure.

It offers artists more control, reduces blurring, and can be tailored to individual pain thresholds. While pre-numbing creams are still commonly used, the choice between pre-numbing and secondary numbing largely depends on your preference and the client’s specific needs.

By understanding the nuances of both approaches, you can make informed decisions that lead to successful and comfortable microblading experiences for your clients.



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