Eyebrow Shading how to

Shaded brow, powder brow, ombre brow 

 These are all just names for the same technique which is implanting color into the skin covering the entire surface of your brow stencil. This means that after you do your brow mapping, instead of doing hair strokes to fill in that brow stencil you just drew, you are going to color it fully with a target color.    This can be accomplished with a manual tool doing a tapping hand motion or this can be accomplished with a machine.  Both, if done correctly, will heed the same results.  Today we are going to talk about shading done with a machine.



Before you start your shading you need to give yourself a petit outline (otherwise known as a skeleton or a bloodline).  To accomplish this you are going to get your single needle loaded into your machine, suck up your target color ink, and begin lightly whipping your stencil.  Make sure that this is extremely light.  You do NOT want this to “heal” into the skin.  After your bloodline is in you can move around the brow freely shading and wiping the brow without the worry of wiping off your pencil line.  (See photo to the below)There are essentially three ways to get ink into the skin while using a machine.  You can stipple, you can do a circular motion or you can do a whipping motion.   My preferred way to shade is a whipping motion.  At this point, you will load up your 3 round (although this can be done with a single needle as well) and you will suck into the cartridge your target color that you just did the bloodline with.  You are going to start your shading at the tail and work your way up to the bulb.  When you are shading you are constantly wiping to make sure that you are not getting too much ink into one area.  You want to get your stretch, start your pendulum motion in the air and then move your machine closer to the client so your needles begin to enter the skin.  Make sure your machine is always moving and your needles only enter when you are whipping towards yourself.  For reference this means that my needles make contact with my client’s skin north going south… they do not stay in the skin going both directions and remain in contact south to north.  Even though my hand is moving back and forth…north to south back to north…my needles are only touching my client’s skin in one of those directions.  So every time I whip towards myself my needles are gliding along my client’s skin, then I lift out while moving them back to my starting position.  If needles remain in the skin in both directions you will run the risk of impacting too much color resulting in a very heavily saturated tattooed look or resulting in hot spots and a blotchy healed result.  We are going for a dusty pixilated look.  These pixels will heal out resulting in a very soft powder.  

Eyebrow Shading steps
Eyebrow Shading process

What ink should you shade with?

You can shade with any ink that you like.  I prefer to use Permablend or LI pigments.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret with these two lines.  When you are shading with LI pigments… when you see the color you like, do one more pass.  Your client will lose some ink in the healing process so they should leave slightly darker than how they are going to heal.  When using permablend (or any artist line connected to permablend) the second you see the color you like, you stop.  This line will heal very true to what you see.  Another little secret is when you get close to being done… let the brows oxidize for 5 minutes before deciding if you need another pass or not.  This gives the ink time to brighten up and allows you to see where the ink really is.

How do I numb for shading?

We numb the same way for shading that we do for microblading.  My past students know our custom way of numbing here at 3D Brows so that our clients feel no pain

Do we still sharpie dot for shading?

Yes, you do.  And then you basically connect those dots while making your bloodline

Does it matter what machine you use for shading?

No… although I have tried many and own about 10 different machines.  I have everything from a digital machine to a rotary to a coil machine and hands down my favorite machine to use is the smart plus digital pen.  It had the perfect amount of giving to get those perfect pixels. 

What happens if I get a darker spot in the middle of the brow?

This is definitely not ideal… but to fix this you can darken up the area around the dark spot but don’t hit the dark spot itself.  See layering ink upon ink only makes the ink darker.  So if that dark spot gets hit with more ink it will only make it darker.  Avoid it for the rest of the treatment.

To get an ombre look do I need to go deeper where I want my ink darker?

NO!!!!!  With shading you get your darker ink by layering… more passes in the area you want darker.  Less passes in the area you want lighter.  You never push your needles deeper into the skin to get the ink darker.

Why don’t you like circles for shading?

This is a more color packing technique and I just prefer the look of a less saturated brow.  This is a fine technique with a larger needle configuration if you are going for a solid full-color brow.  I personally just like the look of a more natural brow.

Can you cross hatch while shading?

Yes you can.  As long as the end result is blended you can go any direction you like shading


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