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Maximizing Color Retention

by Teryn Darling January 23, 2019

As a microblading artist our goal in every procedure is to obtain great retention of pigment in our strokes! The very best color retention humanly possible...right? Well sometimes that can be a difficult task. Once in a blue moon we get that one client that just does not retain pigment well and that can be incredibly frustrating. Here are some tips you might find useful. 

Purchase high-quality blades

Always start with a high-quality disposable blade. This is not an area where you want to price shop, you want to quality shop. I don’t suggest purchasing your blades from places such as Amazon or Ebay. Not only is that scary but when we purchase microblading supplies those type of places we are not supporting our industry suppliers and that’s always been important to me. Always buy your blades through a reputable, well known permanent makeup company or distributor that carries top quality brand name, ultra-sharp blades that are lot and date coded. This will ensure you are purchasing a quality tool. Also, when you give your business to and buy from a reputable permanent makeup supplier you most likely will receive good customer support. Customer support can be just as important as using good quality tools and products. Being an artist for Girlz Ink I can honestly say that Girlz Ink treats all their customers with the upmost respect and delivers amazing customer support. Some of the top-quality microblading tools you can find on the Girlz Ink Store are Jenn Boyd’s, Shay Danielle's and Softap. My personal favorite lately has been Jenn Boyd’s.

Before using your blade, always inspect it with an eye loupe or jewelers’ loupe to make sure all needle pins are straight, aligned perfectly and not bent at the tip. If the curve or angle of the needle pins are not perfectly aligned or are bent, do not use them! Using a defective blade can be very traumatic on the skin causing excessive bleeding, tearing and scarring and your strokes will heal blurry and just plain awful. So, if you are not already eye loupe-ing your microblading needles, please start immediately.

Achieving fine, crisp, well saturated strokes

First make sure you have a good, taut stretch. A good stretch is critical to implantation and healed-in color retention. There are many ways to stretch properly and we all need to play around with our hands, fingers and faces to figure out what type of stretch works best for us. This can take some practice but once you have your stretch down…retention gets better. Once you have a good stretch…always be certain that you are holding your blade at a 90-degree angle to achieve super fine, crisp strokes. Never lean the blade to one side or the other as this will cause thick, blurred strokes or blowouts. Stroke slowly with even pressure from bottom to top of stroke for about 3 seconds per stroke. Working more slowly and consistently will ensure even and complete pigment saturation throughout each stroke. Some artists like to mask their pigment between passes and that is totally fine. I do this from time to time when a client has a lot of bleeding during the first pass. Bleeding can push the pigment right back out so a pigment mask between passes can be quite useful.

The second pass is primarily to add baby strokes or filler strokes and to add color to a previous stroke that may need it. Take a close look at your previous stroke channels, if your pressure was a little light in some areas and/or not saturated with pigment it's important you go over them again or they will heal without any color or spotty. Very carefully go over only the strokes that need more color added. When going over an existing stroke make sure to stay exactly in the stroke channel. It’s important that you do not go outside of the stroke channel as that will cause a double stroke. Double strokes will heal thick and undesirable. None of us want any part of that!

I always end with a final pigment mask, leaving pigment on for 10-15 minutes and until completely dry. If you like to mask it is important you use a microblading pigment line that does not dry out too fast! Once a pigment dries out on the brow it will no longer absorb into the stroke channels. The pigment must be wet in order to absorb down into the channels. This is one reason I like to use Li Pigments Aqua and Velvet. Both formulas by Li Pigments stay wet long enough for a good mask. No matter what pigment line you use make sure it's of good quality and does not dry out too fast.

Using a pigment sealer

I think if I had to name just one of things that have made a difference in my color retention, it would hands down be the Pigment Sealer by Skinful Beauty!! Pigment Sealer is a liquid skin sealer used during and right after the procedure to lock and seal pigment into the skin. I found that this method of use works great for me and really gave me an edge. That’s what we are all just looking for...products, tools and advice that give us an edge. This is a product that will definitely give you an edge. To use it pour a little bit into an ink cap and use to clean after each pass. Once you have completed all passes apply over the entire brow with a Q-tip, let it soak in for a couple minutes, then wipe off. I’ve experienced incredible pigment retention using pigment sealer even on those oily and resistant skin types.

  Pigment Seal single bottle

Skinful Beauty has come out with an incredible Pigment Sealer! It’s liquid gold in my opinion! I highly recommend this product to add to your bag of tricks…I think it will really help others with color retention as well. I know other artists are using Skinful Beauty Pigment Sealer for their ombre brows, eyeliners and lips and reporting the same thing…amazing color retention. Skinful Beauty Pigment Sealer can be purchased through the Girlz Ink Store.

Good stretch, good microblades, slow and steady strokes, masking with a good quality pigment that doesn't dry to fast and Pigment Seal...those are the things that helped me immensely with my color retention and I think they will help you too. As always please email us here at the studio if you have any questions or need help with anything.

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