Microblading vs Nanoblading – What is the difference?

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Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of interest in nanoblading on social media and in the press. A lot of people are a bit confused as to what it actually is, and if the results are better than microblading. I’ve been creating brows for a long time now (over 20 years believe it or not), and nanoblading is definitely one of my favourite techniques – in the industry we haven’t really called it nanoblading, (I think the term has been coined by some social savvy technicians) but it’s always fab to see people taking an interest in permanent makeup and the artistry and skill it entails.

Getting back to basics; to understand what ‘nanobalding’ I think it’s important to understand the professional definition of ‘microblading’: Microblading is a brow treatment that uses a handheld tool with ultra-fine pins that create a channel in the upper dermis of the skin, in which pigment can be implanted. There are different sizes, arrangements and flexibilities of pins. Despite the name, neither microblading or nanoblading utilises a blade.

The traditional digital method of permanent makeup also uses needles of different sizes and configurations, but these are implanted into the skin performing micro perforations in the shape of a fine hair stroke. A lot of client’s that come to see me and my team immediately ask for microblading and don’t realise that there are actually other techniques and tools that can be used. In the industry we have used both the digital machines and the handheld tool for years. ­­­­­It was actually meeting of PMU (Permanent Makeup) specialists in Hawaii (I could think of worse places to have a meeting) that coined the term ‘microblading’ for that specific PMU technique – fast forward several years and thanks to social media it’s one of, if not the most requested permanent makeup treatment on the market to date.

That brings us to nanoblading. This unique technique is performed using specialist needles in a digital machine. The needles used are some of the finest singular needles on the market and really allow you to be creative. I love it because you can create defined yet fluffy hairstrokes that (with enough practice) can look as refined as microbladed hairs.

For me personally I find that the technique I use differs from client to client – we all have different skin types and hair density and your brows should be as individual as you. I call the brows I create ‘Realism Brows’ and every treatment I perform is tailored to the individual client. When I am applying advanced work on a client with alopecia, I usually combine the 2 techniques; I start with a hand-held tool (microblade) to add the initial strokes, then I’ll pick up my Nouveau Contour digital machine and use several needles to add different thickness’ of strokes – especially in the body of the brow. Using a digital machine allows you to create fullness, which results in a more realistic looking brow. What’s more, the digital machine allows you to use more advanced techniques such as cross-stroking, which contrasts perfectly with the fluffy texture you can create with a microblade and again, creates a truly realistic looking brow for my clients.

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