Microblading vs Digital Machine: What’s the Difference?

We are often asked about microblading services, as this game-changing procedure transformed semi-permanent makeup from around 2013. Gone were the days of thick, black tattooed-on lines – microblading meant a more natural-looking solution that faded over time – meaning you could adjust your look to suit changing trends, hair colour differences and even aging faces.
Clients are sometimes unaware, though that there is another method to produce a slightly different (yet still gorgeous!) effect: something commonly called the ‘digital machine’, or ‘powder brows’ method. The world of semi-permanent makeup can be confusing at times!
To make things a little clearer, we will explain the differences between both the digital machine as well as microblading methods in a little more detail.

The similarities

  • Both microblading and the machine method are technically forms of tattooing where pigment is deposited into the upper dermal layer of the skin, to give a natural look that fades over 12-18 months.
  • Both methods are referred to as ‘semi-permanent’ due to the fact that although some pigment may always remain in the skin, over time the effect will fade and become hard to see. Without touch-ups the results will fade dramatically after two or three years, but a tiny bit of pigment will always remain, even if that pigment isn’t visible to the naked eye.
  • Microblading and digital machine methods of brow tattooing are carried out by specially trained, skilled beauty professionals.
  • Both methods require a particular set of skills to produce beautiful results. It is always more about the skill of the brow artist rather than the method of implantation, as to how stunning your end result will be (so choose your brow artist wisely!).
  • Both procedures are classified as cosmetic tattooing.
  • Due to both microblading and digital machine methods having these multiple similarities, many people often don't realise there is a difference between them – nor do they know how to distinguish which method may be the right one for them.

The differences

  • Microblading is what it sounds like: the small, handheld tool used features a diagonal row of tiny needles, which unless you’re close up, look like a small blade. This tool is used to implant pigment into the skin in fine, hair-like strokes. The digital machine method has an equally small, single needle which is attached to a long tool that looks like a pen, driven by a machine to implant pigment into the skin, also in smaller hair-like strokes.
  • Generally speaking, microblading will require retouching more often, simply because a smaller amount of pigment is implanted into the skin as compared with the machine method. This is why the digital machine method could be a better choice for particular skin types, or those with very active lifestyles.
  • Until recently, microblading tended to produce finer, more detailed strokes than the machine method, but with advances in technology (even new types of needles!) it is now possible to emulate these same superfine natural stokes with a digital machine as well, although the effect is slightly different.
  • There are many skilled artists who produce beautiful results with both methods, but a huge amount of skill and expertise is required to achieve the desired outcome. Due to the surge in popularity of semi-permanent makeup, there are now cheaper, more basic training courses – meaning some artists may not potentially have the level of skill or experience to perform these procedures to give ideal results. Do your research and choose your artist wisely!

So which method is right for me?

Ultimately, you should be picky about the brow artist you choose, more than the method itself. As you may benefit from having one method over the other, we would always suggest getting in touch with us if you’re not sure what would suit your skin, your lifestyle and your preferences.
Always do your research, look at plenty of past work such as before and after pics, and find someone that you trust. 
Still not sure? Follow Artisan Beauty on Facebook and Instagram, or reach out to us if you have any further questions.