Powder brows are a permanent brow enhancement technique, meaning they’re actually a form of tattoo. Pigments of natural origins are deposited into the skin in order to give the brows the look of wearing brow powder, without having to actually apply any makeup.
But when they hear the words tattoo, clients start worrying that the treatment will be painful, plus they don’t like the idea of sharp objects getting super close to their eyes. So the first question that pops into mind is, do powder brows hurt?
How Are Powder Brows Done? Powder brows are created with a PMU machine that uses a super-thin needle to pierce the skin and deposit the pigments into it. The needle vibrates and opens up the skin in tiny dots that add up to a shade. The more opaque you want the effect, the more dot-like incisions are made. We know, it doesn’t sound too pleasant at first. But it’s really not that bad! Here’s why.
Do Powder Brows Hurt?
Not really. Most artists advertise the treatment as relatively pain-free.
Relatively, because everyone’s pain threshold is different, but most clients report that they wouldn’t say that powder brows hurt.
This is because the treatment is done with a topical anesthetic that numbs the area. The numbing cream is applied onto the brows before any needling starts, and the artist will wait for it to kick in, which is about 15-20 minutes. Depending on the formula, a single coat of numbing cream can last out the entire treatment, or more numbing can be added at some point if the effects wear off.
Besides the numbing, the fact that the needle only reaches the upper dermis layer of the skin makes powder brows very non-invasive and not too unpleasant. The incisions are very shallow, so shallow they don’t even draw blood for most clients.
Does Numbing Completely Eliminate the Pain? It should. Some numbing creams work better than others, but generally, the topical anesthetic should numb out the pain.
Artists use different tricks to maximize the numbing effect. They might wrap your forehead in plastic once the numbing is applied, or they may exfoliate the area very gently with a spoolie before applying it, so the skin absorbs it better. That said, you will feel some other sensations, like the vibrations of the machine. You will also most likely feel something every time the needle pierces the skin, but it shouldn’t be painful per se. Some clients describe it as pressure, tingling, or quick stings.
Do Powder Brows Hurt Without Numbing? Everyone’s skin is different and everyone’s pain threshold is different. So some clients can go through the treatment without numbing easily, but others cannot. It all depends on how sensitive and thin your skin is.
Do Powder Brows Hurt More than Microblading? No!
When clients think of a brow tattoo, their mind goes straight to microblading and manual hair strokes. But the powder brow technique is actually much different. Clients who’ve had both treatments mostly agree that powder brows are less uncomfortable than microblading. This is due to the difference in technique – microblading is done by dragging a thin blade through the skin, so the incisions are larger.
Powder brows are done by shading the skin in airbrush-like motions. There’s no dragging of the needle and the pierces are microscopic. This is also why powder brows are considered less invasive and gentler on the skin than microblading, with a lower chance of scarring.
Do Powder Brows Hurt More than a Body Tattoo? Again, no!
Body tattoos are implemented a bit deeper into the skin, so they generally hurt more. Another factor is that body art is often done without numbing.
If Powder Brows Don’t Hurt, What Does the Treatment Feel Like? There’s no actual pain, or at least there shouldn’t be, but you’ll still feel certain sensations when the needle pierces the skin. According to various clients, powder brows feel like:
Tweezing your brows very quickly
Like an electric toothbrush pressed against the skin
A mosquito biting you over and over again.
If you tweeze or wax your brows regularly, you will handle the treatment without a problem.
Do Powder Brows Hurt More During My Menstrual Cycle? The application of powder effect brows may hurt more during your period. That time of the month brings about a shift in hormone levels which can make your skin more sensitive and lower your pain threshold.
That’s why it’s better to schedule your appointment before or after your period, if possible.
What Do I Do If Powder Brows Hurt? Your artist won’t start working until the numbing kicks in, but the effect could wear off halfway through the procedure. If that happens, let your artist know – don’t sit there and take it. They will probably be able to apply a second layer of numbing, but they have to use a different cream, because your skin has already been broken.
Final Note Another question that needs to be answered is do powder brows hurt after the treatment? We should warn you that, once you leave the salon and the numbing wears off, your brows could feel tender. However, this should only last a couple of hours. In the days after the procedure, you can expect some tightness in the area. Some clients compare the sensation to a sunburn.