Pigment Retention in Microblading and SPMU

July 26, 2021

Pigment Retention in Microblading and SPMU

It goes without saying that when customers invest in microblading and SPMU, they are looking for quality workmanship with long lasting results. Permanent is the biggest word in SPMU, after all! Whether you call yourself a microblading artist, technician or aesthetician, we know you want your results to live up to your title and training. But how?

It all comes down to pigment retention; ensuring that the colour you choose is integrated seamlessly into the skin of the client. There are many factors contributing to pigment retention and we’re going to go through and break them down here.

Pigment and Blades

Quite simply, this is the equipment you use. High quality tools lead to high quality results and the best pigment retention. Using poor quality pigment can cause fading and off-colouring as the pigment is broken down, rejected or not true to the colour you wanted. We offer tried and tested pigment brands to suit your needs, including:

Blunt, crooked or misaligned blades can cause thick uneven lines, scarring or won’t cut deep enough for the ink to enter the skin in the first place.[1] All our needles at Microblading Emporium are brand new straight from the manufacturer, sealed in individual blister packs and quality checked by our team. We have plenty of sizes too.


Not only should you choose a reputable supplier to ensure quality tools, you should also invest in an eye loop to inspect the quality of every single blade you use yourself. An eye loop or jeweller’s loop is a tiny magnifying glass without a handle for seeing small things in more detail. You should use one to check the pins of your needles are straight, sharp and uniform every single time. Because even with the best suppliers in the world, anomalies can happen and you want one hundred per cent guarantee you’re not going to have your work ruined by a faulty needle.


There is no quick fix here. A microblading technician will need proper training and potentially years of practice before they are ready to cut a real client’s brows. No article can hope to cover all the subtle knowledge needed to call oneself an expert so we’re not even going to try. Instead, here is a reminder of the fundamentals which will ensure good pigment retention in 99% of cases.

Cut slowly. This is to give pigment adequate time to run down into the incision. Colour won’t hold if it can’t get inside the skin to begin with so this is vital in pigment retention. Taking your time over each stroke also ensures you are giving the appropriate care to the shape, length, depth and consistency of your lines.

Hold your blades at a 90 degree angle. This will ensure cleaner cuts that don’t blur when they heal and colour runs down into the skin where you want it and nowhere else.

It is normal and expected to have to go over the skin with multiple passes when microblading or microshading. This includes filling in gaps with finer and finer hairs for a natural look, repeating shading for a darker look or even carefully going back into a microbladed stroke to add more pigment if not enough entered the skin the first time. Just be sure to follow the stroke channel of the line you are repeating exactly to avoid creating double strokes. These will heal into a thicker, blurry and undesirable line.

You can practice your technique on all manner of different practice skins.

Adjust your technique depending on the needs of your client. Both their skin type and the look they want should factor into how you treat them. This leads nicely into our next section.

Skin Type

Checking the needs of your client is one reason why consultations are so important. It’s not just to find out what look they’re trying to achieve. It’s to inspect their skin type, enquire about allergies, health conditions and sensitivities.

Normal Skin

Normal skin is what you will most commonly encounter and it will heal, well, normally. Normal skin is neither particularly dry nor oily and retains colour for an average of 1.5 years.

Dry Skin

Dry skin will also heal normally, perhaps even better than the average skin, and will usually hold colour for longer than average too. This is because it is producing less oils which dilute the pigment inside. Dry skin can be identified by a lack of visible pores and occasional flaking.

Oily Skin

Oily skin is more hydrated and supple than other skin types. It also ages extremely well in the long term. However, the downside is easily clogged pores and a poorer healing process for SPMU than other skin types. Lines will heal to be softer and more blurry as opposed to crisp and sharp. One way to adapt to this is to draw lines slightly further apart to avoid lines blurring together.

Pigment will not hold for as long on oily skin because the natural oils produced in the face will dilute your pigment. However, unless it is an extreme case proper technique with a quality pigment inserted deep enough into the epidermis should ensure your work lasts for at least a year.

Combination Skin

Combination skin is explained by the name, a mix of dry and oily. Combination skin will usually be oily in the T-zone - across the brow area and down the middle of your face - and dry elsewhere.

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is usually easily identifiable by asking the client if they have it. In most cases it can be treated as normal skin and will heal very similarly. A harmless redness of the treated area can last up to several weeks and is normal. However, sensitive skin is also more likely to swell during the procedure and may require an anti-swelling agent to calm the area, prevent bleeding and aid in pigment retention.

Thickness and Bleeding

Thin skin tends to bleed more easily and requires you to be much more delicate. A lot of bleeding during the procedure is not only bad for the client but is a serious hindrance to pigment retention because bleeding will push out any pigment as you attempt to insert it.

Thick skin tends to be more oily and requires deeper strokes to insert your pigment into the client’s epidermis.

Other Health Considerations

Health conditions or medications which cause thin blood should always be something you check for in potential clients. Thinner blood means more bleeding and pigment being pushed out before it can take hold in the skin.

Checking clients for allergies and patch testing as needed is important to avoid any unpleasant surprises and nasty reactions. Itchy skin and puffing up can ruin results because of stretching and scratching.

Those with auto-immune disorders, people prone to keloid and those on chemotherapy are also at risk of complications during microblading.

Skin rejecting the pigment entirely is also possible. Nobody wants to cause sickness in their clients so be sure to check.

Serums and Aftercare

It’s never okay to skip on aftercare. Your clients deserve the best healing process possible and better healing also means better results. Basic aftercare soothes and revitalises the skin and there are plenty of good options to choose from.

However, sometimes you need to go a step further with additional serums. A pigment sealer or fixing agent will heal and lock serum into difficult skin types. This is a great helper but not a substitute for quality tools, proper technique and appropriate treatment for each skin type.

As previously mentioned, numbing agents will help with sensitivity and anti-swelling agents will prevent puffing and reduce bleeding.

    Finally, a bleaching corrector will help with your rare and unfortunate mistakes. Contrary to the rest of this article, the bleaching agent is for the opposite of colour retention: colour removal and fading.



    In conclusion, a large amount of pigment retention is held in getting the basics right. The rest is knowing how to get the best out of every skin type. Finally, a fixing agent will give you that extra helping hand.

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