Microblading vs Eyebrow Tattoos – Which Is Better For You?

What brow shape makes you the most beautiful? Some people rock thin, arched brows, while others look naturally stunning with thick, feathery brows.

There are only two ways to guarantee that your brows are ALWAYS looking good: microblading or eyebrow tattooing.

While some people mistakenly refer to microblading as “permanent eyebrow tattooing,” there are significant differences between the two. Here are the basics of what you need to know about microblading vs eyebrow tattoos:

  1. Microblading involves a handheld tool that creates tiny incisions into the first few surface layers of the skin. Eyebrow tattooing utilizes a traditional tattoo machine and penetrates deeper layers of the dermis.
  2. Microblading deposits pigments whereas tattoos deposit ink.
  3. Microblading lasts one or two years, but tattoos last a lifetime.

These three differences are just the beginning. There’s so much more you need to know before deciding between microblading and tattooing.

Below, you can learn the ins-and-outs of microblading vs eyebrow tattooing. Read up on the pros and cons of each option and compare them directly so you can determine which is the right choice for you.

What is Microblading?

A microblading artist uses single needles to create tiny incisions into the brow. The microblading device is simply a hand tool holder equipped with a single-use needle or blade. Your professional will have a variety of needles and blades to cater to different skin types and eyebrow aesthetics.

During the session, the artist will execute thin and natural-looking strokes. The incisions are filled with pigment that matches your brows (colors range from white to black, so the artist can create custom colors that suit your brows). The small microblading cuts are fashioned to look like natural hairs. Microblading fades over time due to the shallow depth of the incisions.

What is Eyebrow Tattooing?

In permanent brow tattooing, a tattoo artist uses a traditional tattoo needle and machine, which is supplied with ink and connected to a power source. As with any tattoo, the needle repeatedly penetrates the deep layers of the dermis with a quick tapping motion, depositing ink along the way.

Because tattoo ink is deposited deeply into the skin, eyebrow tattoos are permanent, although with any tattoos, the lines may blur or fade slightly over time.

Other Types of Brows

You may be wondering about other types of permanent and semi-permanent brows that you’ve seen on social media.

Powder brows: AKA “airbrushed brows,” “borderless brows,” or “stardust brows,” powder brows involve a digital machine to implant pigment into the skin. The final result looks soft and full, as if a powdery makeup has been applied. This semi-permanent eyebrow option lasts longer than microblading (about 2-5 years).

Ombre brows: Ombre brows use the same technology as powder brows, but the final look is different. The idea is to make the brows progressively darker towards the ends.

Nano brows: Nano brows, AKA nano needling, uses one single needle and a permanent makeup device which is similar to a conventional tattoo machine, but it is less intense. It can last longer than microblading (about 1-3 years). The final look can be customized to your preferences, just like microblading or tattooing.

Differences between Microblading and Eyebrow Tattoos

Here are just a few of the foundational differences between microblading and tattooing.

MicrobladingEyebrow Tattooing
Microblading artists use pigmentsTattoo artists use liquid ink
Pigments fade to a lighter version of the same color over timeInk fades into a blue-green color over time
Creates a series of individual hair-like strokesTattoo artists craft a complete brow instead of individual hairs
Designed to create definition and shapeDesigned for those who want to completely fill their brows
Penetrates only the upper layers of the skinPenetrates deeper layers of the skin

There are plenty more differences between the two brow techniques, as you’ll learn about below.

Similarities between Microblading and Eyebrow Tattoos

Before we talk more about the dissimilarities between microblading and tattooing, here are some of the things they share in common.

The Downsides of Microblading & Eyebrow Tattooing

  • Touchup Necessary: Both microblading and tattooing will require a touch-up once the brows are healed to add areas where the pigment or ink did not take.
  • Incision-Based: Both techniques involve cutting into the skin. As with any cut, there’s a small chance of infection if not sterilized properly.
  • Particular Aftercare: Both treatments require meticulous aftercare. Keep the areas protected and moisturized as instructed by your provider.
  • Results Vary: The provider you choose is critical to your final result. Choose an artist with lots of brow experience. Take a look at their before and after photos to see if you like their work.
  • Health is Essential: Individuals with conditions like HIV, hepatitis, or hemophilia are not good candidates for these processes.
  • Allergy is Possible: There is potential for an allergic reaction if your body rejects the pigments or inks. Ask your expert to do a test before the procedure.

The Amazing Upsides of Microblading & Eyebrow Tattooing

  • Time Savers: Either treatment will save you ample time in the morning – no more fighting and filling your eyebrows!
  • Constant Confidence: With great brows, you’ll look good the moment you wake up, and there’s no smudging while swimming or sweating.
  • Beauty Enhancing: The right brow shape will draw attention to your eyes and enhance your natural good looks.
  • Quick and Easy: The length of the microblading or tattooing process is around 1-2 hours, and in exchange you’ll get years of results!
  • Transformative: Most importantly, both microblading and eyebrow tattooing can give you the brows of your dreams. Achieve a clearly defined shape, lovely symmetry, and a perfect uniformity in density and color.

Pros and Cons: Microblading vs. Eyebrow Tattoos

Now you understand the elemental differences between microblading and eyebrow tattooing, but you may still not know which one is best for you.

While microblading is technically a type of tattooing, it is semi-permanent rather than permanent. Let’s directly compare the pros and cons of microblading vs. tattooing:

Pros of Microblading

  1. If there’s a microblading line you don’t like, it’s easy to fix it when you visit for a touch-up. Alternatively, the line will fade within months.
  2. It’s the most natural-looking way of correcting sparse or imperfect eyebrows.

Cons of Microblading

  1. Microblading is only semi-permanent, and you’ll need touchups every year or so to maintain your results.
  2. Because of the regular touchups, microblading usually costs more than tattooing in the long run.
  3. Without properly caring for and maintaining your microbladed brows, you’ll be right back to square one.

Pros of Eyebrow Tattooing

  1. Eyebrow tattooing is permanent, so you’ll get more for your money.
  2. Eyebrow tattooing has come a long way, and great artists can create all kinds of different looks and styles (like tiny hairlike strokes, boxy outlines, or feathery brows). They look more natural than ever before.
  3. Eyebrow tattooing is best if you want a lot of mid-brow fullness.

Cons of Eyebrow Tattooing

  1. If there’s a stroke or line (or an entire brow) that you don’t like, it’s permanent unless you undergo tattoo removal.
  2. Fine lines are difficult to achieve, so you’ll need an outstanding tattoo artist if you want a natural-looking result.
  3. Colors may change and fade into an artificial-looking blue-green.  
  4. The ink may bleed over time.
  5. Recovery time is longer due to deeper needle punctures.

Which lasts longer?

Microblading lasts from 1-3 years, whereas eyebrow tattoos last forever. Although tattoos may fade or discolor over time, the only way to erase them completely is through tattoo removal treatments.

In order to hold on to your microblading results for as long as possible, stay out of the sun and avoid harsh topicals like glycolic acid or retinol.

If there’s ONE brow style you love on your face, and you want it stamped on for the rest of your life (think of how much time and energy that could save!), tattooing may be the best choice.

But to be fair, there are some benefits of microblading not lasting forever. As time goes on and brow trends change, you can redo your microblading to keep up with the newest fashions.

How does the cost compare?

The cost of microblading and tattooing depend on where you live and the artist you choose. For microblading, you may pay anywhere from $500 to $2,000. On the other hand, brow tattoos usually only range from $250-$1000.

Again, these numbers can depend on the surrounding competition and your artist’s experience, but microblading usually costs more than traditional tattooing. Don’t hesitate to pay for your artist’s reputation… this is your face we’re talking about!

Which is more painful?

Microblading uses a handheld manual tool with a single needle, whereas tattooing comes with the traditional needle and machine. In theory, because the tattoo needle penetrates more deeply into the skin, it should hurt more. Also, microblading artists usually offers an aesthetic cream prior to treatment, which should dull the pain. As a general rule, tattoo artists do not apply topical anesthetics before tattooing because they may cause swelling or discoloration, which can affect the final result.

Keep in mind that everyone is different. If you browse the internet for people’s experience with microblading vs. tattooing, some report that microblading hurts worse than traditional tattooing. Others report that they didn’t feel any pain during microblading, just a little pressure.  

Let’s be real – both tattooing and microblading involve cutting the skin with a needle, so both are a little uncomfortable, but your artist will do what they can to make your experience comfortable. Is worth it if you want flawless brows every day!

Which should I choose?

Weigh the pros and cons before deciding which brow technique is right for you. For many people, microblading is the right choice, considering there’s no permanent commitment and no risk of fading to bluish tones.

However, that’s not to say a tattoo can’t be a great choice for someone who knows exactly what they want and can touch up the tattoo as it fades (you can get your first tattoo touch-up between 2 and 5 years after getting a tattoo). Even with a few touch-ups, eyebrow tattoos often cost less than keeping up with microblading.

While we talked about the pros and cons of tattoos vs. microblading, let’s not forget about the amazing upsides they BOTH share! When you get your eyebrows tattooed or microbladed, you’ll enjoy benefits like…

  • Having your ideal brow shape, density, and fullness… for a long time or forever
  • Having brows that highlight your eyes and complement your natural beauty every single day
  • Feeling more beautiful without makeup (first thing in the morning, in the pool, and in the gym)
  • Relief from patchy, light or uneven brows
  • Countless hours of saved time (filling brows with makeup can take a while)
  • No more frustration with unruly, sparse, or invisible brows

Whether you choose microblading or eyebrow tattooing, you’re going to love your new look.  

Leave a Comment