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microblading vs ombre powder brow review combination brow

Microblading vs Ombre Powder Brows - which should you get? Caitlin Kenny of reviews her experience with getting microblading, powder brows, and ends up with a combination of both with Pretty In The City. Click on the picture to read! 


Pretty In The City is named one of the BEST places for MICROBLADING in Canada and Toronto by FASHION MAGAZINE & BlogTO


Permanent makeup has changed drastically over the last decade, and definitely for the better.  Gone are the days of sharpied looking brows and over-lined lip tattoos of the 80’s and 90’s.  Nowadays, well done permanent makeup work can make your eyes appear brighter and refreshed, your face pulled together by beautifully framed brows, and clearly defined lips with a hint of cherubic pink - all without appearing like you have any makeup on.  You can truly say “I woke up like this.”


As someone who’s been in the industry for 18 years, I’ve seen a lot of both good and bad permanent makeup. Having helped thousands of women feel better and more confident about themselves through permanent makeup procedures, here are the most common questions and concerns I’ve come across.  I’ll break it down by the most common permanent makeup questions and briefly discuss the most popular procedures.

What Is Permanent Makeup
How Does Permanent Makeup Work?
How Long Does Permanent Makeup Last
Does Permanent Makeup Fade Completely
What is semi-permanent makeup
Is Permanent Makeup Safe?



Permanent makeup, also known as cosmetic tattooing and micropigmentation, is a form of cosmetic tattooing. It is a tattoo, but with a difference in technique compared to traditional body tattoos. The skin on the face is generally thinner than the rest of the body, and the desired effect of permanent makeup is more subtle. As a result, the tools used for permanent makeup are often in smaller configurations, with finer and thinner needles. The amount of pigment implanted into the skin is also much less on the face compared to the body.




Cosmetic tattoos are created using one or more needles to implant pigment beneath the upper layers of the skin. Even in microblading, the blade is actually made up of needles lined up to form a blade. Similar to traditional body tattoos, the pigment is implanted at the junction of the top and middle layers of the skin. Usually, there is minimal bleeding as this area is just above the level of blood vessels and hair follicles. There are two main methods of cosmetic tattooing: using a machine or a manual tool.



The longevity of permanent makeup depends on several factors, such as the technique used, skin condition, lifestyle choices, and pigment saturation.

In general, the amount of pigment implanted into the skin affects how long the permanent makeup will last. For example, with brow makeup, penciled or pomade brows may appear more opaque and saturated and last the entire day, while eyebrow powder gives a soft, airy effect that may fade by mid-afternoon. However, please note that this is not related to the color of the pigment but rather the saturation or amount of pigment. 

Skin type also plays a role, with oily skin tending to fade quicker than dry skin, as dry skin holds on to pigment for longer periods of time.

Lifestyle choices, such as sun exposure, can impact the fading of permanent makeup. It's important to apply a good, non-tinted sunscreen on tattooed brows and lips when exposed to the sun daily, using a sunscreen that doesn't leave a white tint to prevent a dull or greyish appearance.

Following the aftercare instructions provided by your artist is crucial. Sun and salt water are a no-no, please do not tattoo your brows and go swimming in the ocean a week later. Also avoid engaging in high-intensity workouts that cause profuse sweating after getting permanent makeup. While it's possible to get permanent makeup in the summer, it's important to wear a hat, avoid dusty or dirty activities like hiking or mud races, and cleanse gently with a cleanser that doesn't contain any active ingredients when you return home.

The use of anti-aging products and treatments can also impact the longevity of permanent makeup. It's best to avoid applying anti-aging products too close to your cosmetic tattoo and inform your laser technician about your eyebrow tattoo before undergoing any anti-aging treatments on your face, so they can avoid coming too close with the laser. Remember to always communicate openly with your artist and follow their guidance for the best results!



This is a complicated subject but in general, the answer is no. There are many factors that contribute to the permanency of permanent makeup, this includes the technique, the pigment used, whether you touched up and how often, and lifestyle factors.



As mentioned in the above, the more saturated the implanted colour is, the longer it will take to fade.  I’ve seen microblading fade completely after 5 years, but the work was very subtle, and it was only ever done once - no touch up.  The skin was also very oily and was exposed to a lot of sunlight.  I’ve also seen eyebrows done 20 years ago, and still have about 40% saturation of pigment in the skin.  These brows will not fade completely over time as the pigments have already encased in the tissues of the skin.


On the flip side, I’ve seen a lot of nano blading artists claim that their procedures are 100% semi-permanent and will completely fade.  This is technically true.  But only because the pigment is implanted so superficially that you will not get more than 3-4 months (6 at best) of lasting power before it completely exfoliates with your natural skin cycles.  The healed colour is often so light that it may not be what the client was expecting. Getting frequent touch ups (every 6 months to a year) is something I advise my clients against, as cosmetic tattooing is still an invasive procedure and can cause unnecessary, visible scarring with too frequent touch ups. 



Certain types of pigments will fade quicker than others.  The lightest colour in tattoo pigments is yellow (not white!) and if the pigment colour that was used contains a high percentage of yellow, it will fade quickly from sun exposure.  This is not necessarily a good or bad thing, just remember to use sunscreen to protect your cosmetic tattoo work daily. On the topic of white pigment - this colour has the biggest molecule and lasts in the skin the longest out of all pigment colours.  



Lots of sun, frequent exposure to anti-aging ingredients and treatments, and oily skin will contribute to premature fading. 



When performed by a well-trained artist, absolutely! A well-trained permanent makeup artist will have undergone education that covers infection control, skin anatomy, contraindications (who should not get permanent makeup), and know what their local laws and regulations are for this industry.


In Ontario, permanent makeup artists are required to obtain a business license in order to work. As a requirement for this business license, proof of insurance is required, as well as an annual safety inspection by the public health department. Many insurance companies require proof of training/education and want to know what products and tools you are using before insuring the artist. Look for the green 'PASS' sign in your artist's studio as this must be visibly displayed to the public.

In addition, most, if not all, permanent makeup artists use disposable needles that are pre-sterilized. With the availability of disposables nowadays, even many body tattoo artists opt for this option to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination. Once used, needles must be disposed of in a yellow sharps container.

All devices and surfaces in use during the procedure must also be wrapped and disinfected in between every client with a Health Canada approved disinfectant.


It is important to disclose all medical conditions to your artist so that she may advise whether you are a good candidate for micropigmentation (permanent makeup).

The area of skin where you wish to have a cosmetic tattoo should be in good condition, free of any cuts, dry patches, and blemishes.

Your body must not be at risk of poor healing, as in the case of some medical conditions. If you have a condition where you are a poor/slow healer, you must speak with your doctor first and obtain approval.

Also disclose any type of allergies and sensitivities to ingredients you currently have or had in the past. Remember you are implanting pigment in the skin that will stay in the skin (and your body) for a very long time. Your artist should also know to avoid using ingredients (that you are allergic or sensitive to) in the prep and cleaning protocols when possible.


This really depends on your pain tolerance. An anesthetic is almost always applied, and most people don't feel much pain until the anesthetic wears off, typically around 45 minutes. Some women are very sensitive the week before and during their menstruation cycle, so it's something to keep in mind when scheduling your appointment.


No. The use of anesthetics is a no-no, and a reputable artist will not risk the health of their clients and their baby's health.



No. We recommend waiting 4 weeks after you've completely stopped nursing to have permanent makeup done.



First and foremost, make sure that the area to be tattooed is free and clear of any cuts, blemishes, and rashes.

If you develop a cold, allergy, or a general feeling of unwellness at the time of your procedure, please reschedule your appointment. Your body will be working hard to clear the virus, and skin healing will be your body's last priority.


If you have skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea and it is under control, you may proceed with your permanent makeup service; however, results may be subpar. Your artist will know when working on your skin what you can expect.


If you are on or have been on Accutane, please wait a full 2 years before proceeding with a permanent makeup procedure. If you do not wait, it is guaranteed that the results will not be satisfactory.


If you have an autoimmune disease, please consult with your physician first and obtain a note of medical clearance for your artist.


If you have cancer, it is possible to have a permanent makeup procedure done, but this depends on the timing of your treatments. Please seek advice from your oncologist and obtain a note for your permanent cosmetic tattoo artist.


If you are prone to keloids, first confirm that your scar is an actual keloid. A C-section will always result in a raised scar as the incision cuts through all the layers of the skin, muscle, then organ. A raised scar (hypertrophic scar) is not the same as a keloid. A keloid scar is raised and extends far beyond the initial wound area. For a cosmetic tattoo, the needle never extends beyond the second layer of the skin (dermis), and there is hardly any bleeding (in normal skin conditions when done properly), so the risk for a raised scar is nil. If you heal normally from a paper cut or a scrape, you will be fine.


If you are allergic to certain pigments in hair dyes and cosmetics or specific ingredients, it is crucial to advise your micropigmentation artist of ALL the ingredients you are allergic or sensitive to. Your artist should have thorough knowledge of what's in their products and will be able to advise whether to proceed with the service or not.


Most topical anesthetics contain lidocaine, tetracaine, and epinephrine. If you are allergic to any of these ingredients, you must let your artist know.


If you have glaucoma, do not proceed with Eyeliner Tattoo service.



It can be, but similar to laser tattoo removal, oftentimes not 100%. Your skin will not appear the same as before you had permanent makeup. There are two main types of permanent makeup removal (tattoo removal): saline lightening and laser tattoo removal. 


Absolutely not! Our most sophisticated client is 85 years young. It benefits tremendously as mature adults may have difficulty applying makeup, so this is a great solution. However, due to aging skin conditions, the results won't look the same as someone 20-30 years younger.

Does Permanent Makeup Hurt?
Can you get Permanent Makeup While Pregnant
Who should not get permanent makeup
Can Permanent Makeup be removed
Is 60 too old




Eyebrow tattooing is the most popular form of cosmetic tattooing. Well-defined and beautifully shaped eyebrows can greatly enhance a person's face by framing their features, making this the most impactful aspect of a person's appearance. 

There are currently four very popular techniques for Eyebrow Tattooing.


Microblading involves using a handheld tool to create small cuts in the skin while depositing pigment to mimic the appearance of natural eyebrow hairs. It is most suitable for those with drier, thicker skin and at least some natural hairs to blend. It can last up to two years, but most people find that they require a touch-up before then.

Nano Blading is the same as microblading but using a blade that is made of super fine needles.  The results may appear very natural when first done, but may fade very quickly, often in as little as 2 months.



Nano brows, also known as digital microblading, is a newer technique used for eyebrow enhancement. It is not the same as nanoblading.  It uses a digital pen with a tiny needle to create small strokes in the skin, depositing pigment to create the illusion of natural eyebrow hairs. Nano brows are suitable for more skin types than microblading, however, this is on a case by case basis. This technique is more gentle than traditional microblading and heals softer. The results can last up to two years, and touch-ups are required to maintain the desired appearance. 


Among all the current techniques for eyebrow tattoos, the powder brow is the most versatile and longest lasting. It is suitable for all skin types and is ideal for those with little to no hair. Using a permanent makeup device (similar to what is used for nano brows), pigment is implanted into the skin in sheer layers. The level of saturation can be easily controlled, allowing for more color in some areas and less in others where it isn't needed. This creates dimension and can result in a very natural appearance. The powder brow technique can create a subtle hint of color for definition or bolder, more prominent brows. It is also excellent for covering up previously tattooed brows. 


An ombre powder brow is a technique where the front of the brow is the lightest, mimicking the appearance of naturally full eyebrows found on children and youths, for the most natural-looking effect. 


A combination brow is one made up two or more techniques as outlined above. 



Yes, men tattoo their eyebrows too. This procedure is gaining popularity among men who want to achieve a more defined, fuller, or well-groomed eyebrow appearance. Men's eyebrow tattoos can be customized to suit individual preferences and features, taking into consideration factors such as face shape, hair color, and personal style. The goal is to create natural-looking results that enhance the overall appearance without looking overly groomed or feminine. Men's eyebrow tattooing can be done using any of the above techniques such as microblading, nano brows, or powder brows, depending on the desired look and skin type. 



Eyeliner tattoo, also known as permanent eyeliner or cosmetic eyeliner tattoo, involves tattooing pigment onto the eyelids to create the appearance of eyeliner. The pigment is carefully deposited along the lash line and above, enhancing the eyes and defining the shape of the eyes.


Eyeliner tattoo can be tailored to achieve various styles, from a subtle and natural-looking enhancement such as a lashline enhancement (pigment only within the lash line) to a bold and dramatic eyeliner. Some advanced artists can even tattoo eyeshadow. It can save time and effort in daily makeup application, making it a convenient option for those who want to wake up with perfectly defined eyes.



Lip blush tattoo, also known as lip tattoo or lip tinting, involves adding pigment to the lips to enhance their color and shape. The pigment is carefully applied to the lips using a fine needle, creating a soft, natural-looking tint that can mimic the appearance of lipstick or lip gloss. Lip blush tattoo can be customized to achieve various shades and styles, from a subtle, barely-there tint to a more noticeable and vibrant color. It can also help correct uneven lip tone, redefine lip borders, and add fullness and definition to the lips. 



Saline tattoo lightening is a technique used to lighten or remove permanent makeup or tattoo pigments from the skin. It involves using a saline solution to lift pigment particles to the surface of the skin and attach to a scab where it will come off together with the scab. Saline tattoo lightening is considered a safer and less invasive option compared to laser tattoo removal, as it doesn't use heat. It is a gradual process that typically requires multiple sessions to achieve desired results, and the number of sessions needed may vary depending on factors such as the type of pigment, depth of the tattoo, and individual skin characteristics. Saline tattoo lightening can be a useful option for those who wish to correct or lighten their permanent makeup without complete removal, or for those who want to prepare the skin for new colour.




Nano Brows (Digital Microblading, Machine Hair Strokes, Featherstrokes )

Ombre Powder Brows

Combination Brows



Eyelash Enhancement Tattoo




Consultations are not mandatory to book your permanent makeup appointment.  When you book your appointment online, you will be required to complete a medical questionnaire and be given instructions on what pictures to email.  This serves as your online consultation. It is required that you carefully read all the information provided on the FAQs page in order to fully determine whether this procedure is right for you, and schedule it at a time when you are able to follow pre and post care instructions diligently.  It is crucial for best results to follow the instructions given to you.

We offer complimentary 15 minute video consultations for Permanent Makeup which can be booked online.  For an in-person consultation, please send us an email with your requested location, day(s) and time. The fee for in-person consultations are $50+hst; please note this charge does not go towards the price of the service. 


See Picture Gallery

Nano Brows
Powder Brows
Mens Brows
eyeliner tattoo
lip blush
saline tattoo lightening
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