Updated: Dec 2, 2021
The PMU industry has evolved so much that there are now many styles of semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo available. With so many options, it’s hard to decide which to get!
Microblading is still the queen of permanent makeup, with the natural look being the most versatile one. But microshading is emerging as a close second. Both treatments can give you dream brows, but there are many aspects you should consider when deciding between microblading or microshading.
What Is Microblading?
Microblading is a manual technique for cosmetic eyebrow tattooing. It’s the oldest and most famous treatment, and it’s still the best representative of the PMU industry.
The enhancement is achieved through drawing extra eyebrow hairs that blend with natural hairs. It gives the eyebrows the look of natural density, without looking like you’re wearing makeup.
How Is It Done?
Microblading is a manual technique, meaning it’s done with a manual tool – no machine. The artist uses a super-thin blade to create cuts on the surface of the skin that imitate the shape, length and thickness of your natural brow hairs. The cuts are filled with pigments, and the strokes are indistinguishable from natural hairs.
Who Is It For?
The most important thing to note is the fact that microblading is not suitable for oily skin with large pores because the delicate strokes drawn don’t look as defined and blur together quickly. The oil production increases pigment migration.
It looks best and lasts the longest on clients with dry to normal skin – 18 months.
Microblading is a great treatment for people with sparse eyebrows, bald patches, or no eyebrows at all due to certain conditions or cancer treatment. It can fill in existing brows, or recreate the arches from scratch.
What Is Microshading?
Microshading is a technique that adds shading either to your natural, untouched brows, or to microblading hair strokes already drawn (this fusion of both treatments is often called combo brows).
It adds depth, definition, and volume through a shade in between the hairs or the hair strokes.
How Is It Done?
Unlike microblading, which is a totally manual technique, microshading can be done either with a manual shading tool made up of several needles, or with an electric PMU device similar to a tattoo machine.
In either case, the shade is created by saturating the area with many tiny dots of pigment that are injected into the surface layer of the skin. Depending on the number and the density of those dots, you can get a lighter or a darker shade, and thus subtler or more dramatic results.
It is most often done as a subtle ombre gradient, with the tails (outer parts of the brows, towards the ears) made darker than the fronts.
Who Is It For?
Microshading is suitable for all skin types.
Since there is a shade, oily skin won’t cause visible blurring. If you decide to get hair strokes as an addition to the shade, the shadow will camouflage if the strokes do get a bit blurry and start merging.
How Do I Know Which Style Is Better for Me?
Primarily, consider your skin type. If your skin is oily, microblading is not the best option because it will be more high-maintenance – you’ll need more frequent touch ups. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible. There are artists who have experience microblading oily skin and can make it work, but shading is generally a safer option. There’s also the option of nano brows – strokes done with a machine.
When deciding between the styles of microblading or microshading, think about how you normally do your makeup and how you enhance your brows.
Microblading is more subtle and more appropriate for everyday life and clients who don’t wear makeup every day. Since it gives a completely natural-looking enhancement, it’s appealing to a larger group of people who want a versatile look. It’s also the no. 1 most popular PMU treatment men opt for.
Microshading is a flexible procedure, so it can give you super-dramatic effects that look like a powder brow, or a more subtle effect that looks like you’re wearing just a tiny bit of eyebrow makeup.
What Is More Expensive – Microblading or Microshading? The prices of both microblading or microshading are very similar – around $600 on average, with the price range from $300 to $2000. In case of microshading without hair strokes, the price is somewhat lower, around $450.
Which One Is More Painful – Microblading or Microshading? First off, neither of the treatments are exactly painful. Both are done with a topical anesthetic that numbs the area. That said, there will be some discomfort. Clients who’ve had both treatments claim that the level of discomfort is a bit higher with microblading, but it’s mostly similar.
Anything Else I Need to Know?
No matter if you get microblading or microshading, you will go through a very similar healing process which entails some swelling, irritation, tenderness, scabbing, and finally peeling.
One thing that seems to be clear now, after a few years of microblading being so common and popular, is that the treatment can only be repeated 2-3 times before you need to add shading. As the strokes fade, there is always a tiny bit of pigment that remains, and eventually, new strokes won’t have as much definition.
So the most common path is initially going for microblading, and switching to microshading after 5-6 years.