If we're to go off the learned barometer that is the Instagram tag-o-meter, 'nanoblading' has garnered a mere 27k posts, while the term microblading has racked up an impressive 7.3 million hits. But what's the difference you ask? Don't worry we're here to adjudicate.
Without a doubt, 2018 was mircoblading's year, with bookings for the semi-permanent cosmetic brow tattooing treatment by over 503 percent according to beauty bookings platform Treatwell, but the company predicts similarly sky-high take-up of nanoblading in 2019.
You're probably wondering if do they really differ in technique? Or if is this another clever marketing swizz?
There is actually a few small, all-be-they important differences.
First up, it's blades versus needles.
Although both treatments involve the same technique, nanoblading is done with super fine, flexible needles rather than a blade. The fact the needles are so thin and flexible allows for extreme accuracy, a more precise application of pigment and many practitioners and clients believe that it creates a more natural-looking final result than microblading, but actually, a combination of the two techniques might suit you best.
Next, less pain.
Although perceptions of pain are highly subjective, the fine, flexible needles used during a nanoblading treatment are reportedly less painful than the harder blades used in microblading. Either way, you’ll have an anaesthetic cream applied before the treatment which will make the needles or blading feel more scratchy than excruciating. Healing times tend to be quicker post-nanoblading than after microblading, but you’ll still experience swelling and redness after nanoblading and some scabbing a few days later - just don’t pick and you should be golden.
And lastly, it lasts longer.
As usual, how long shape and pigment last can depend on lifestyle factors and skin type, but many specialists agree that nanoblading tends to create a more long-lasting effect than microblading, as ‘needling’ in pigment creates greater colour intensity and adherence. While the treatment itself takes around two hours, with a slightly shorter follow-up session required a few months later, after that you can expect up to three years of brow definition but you’ll most likely want a top-up treatment after two. The fact that nanoblading can last longer will be especially welcome news if you have oily skin, as high sebum levels can lead to pigment breaking down sooner, and those with darker skin often prefer nanoblading as it can be used to create a more prominent shape and colour match, although as always the treatment you choose is up to you.
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Regardless of your side, it is always important to stick to the pre and post-care rules:
- Having a patch test at least 24 hours prior to treatment
- Avoid getting your new brows wet in the week after treatment
- Keep out of the sun in the months after to protect your post-treatment brows.
- Don’t book facials, peels, light or laser treatments to avoid potential reactions, scarring and discolouration.