How Deep Should I Stroke?
One question I get a lot from new and experienced artists and see on so many microblading forums and groups ALL the time is: "How deep should I stroke when microblading?"
This is a very difficult question to answer because the answer is: "It depends" and it boils down to how thin/thick is your client's epidermis?
In my experience, in working with thousands of clients, the skin comes in 4 different thickness varieties or profiles as I like to call them. In order to create beautiful clean strokes that don't blur over time, it is critical to understand the thickness and tolerance level of the skin.
It took me years to figure out and quickly identify the different skin types and then the match just the right stroke depth.
I like to classify my client's skin according to these foods:
EGG: THINNEST, HYPERSENSITIVE
- Pinkish skin tone
- Translucent with barely any upper skin layer
- Invisible pores on eyebrows
- Could have or be susceptible to Rosacea or dermatitis
- Fitzpatrick Scale 1
- Bleeds immediately on needle contact
GRAPE: THIN, BUT NOT SENSITIVE
- Thin, but not as thin as egg
- Tiny pores
- Ivory/fair skin tone
- Fitzpatrick Scale 1 - 2
- Can bleed easily
- Small pores
- Fitzpatrick Scale 2 - 6
- Doesn't bleed easily
- Can be sensitive
- Large pores
- Oily skin
- Fitzpatrick Scale 2 - 6
- Either be non-sensitive or sensitive
- Can bleed easily or not at all
The most difficult skin to work on is the EGG and the ORANGE.
The egg skin is difficult because the client is likely to bleed very easily which can dilute the pigment that you are placing into the skin and therefore, the strokes will not retain as well.
The orange skin, oily due to the large pores make it difficult to retain pigment as well.
These skin profile will have A LOT to do with how deep you will be making the strokes on your client once you have fully assessed their skin.
Note: Don't let the Fitzpatrick skin type fool you. You can have Latin or Asian skin that is sensitive as well. The Fitzpatrick skin type is just one piece of the puzzle when assessing your client's skin overall.
The client's assessment should be looked at as a whole picture and each individual piece does not necessarily deem them a good or bad candidate for microblading, it is all of the factors working together that will help you determine your client's skin type, profile, and tolerance.
The most important part is to understand for knowing how deep you should make your strokes, is how thick your client's skin is, and this has a lot to do with qualifying the other aspects of a client's overall health -which can have a lot to do with the way the client's body reacts to a microblading procedure. For a more detailed understanding of how to qualify your client's properly, check out our blog post: Am I A Good Candidate for Microblading?
Once you know your client's skin 'food' profile, you will know it's tolerance and will automatically adjust your pressure to the proper depth or what I call the "sweet spot". A tell tail sign that you’ve hit the “sweet spot”, is when you see a fine split in the skin and/or very slight pinpoint bleeding. If your technique is proper, you should get to the correct depth in 2 consecutive passes.
Depth is critical because if you go too shallow you will only land in the epidermis, and the color won’t stay. If you go too deep, you can cause scarring and the color will heal too ashy. So how do you figure out the perfect depth?
The truth is, it’s very tricky as every client has a different skin type and often the skin will be much thinner at the tail of the brows than the bulb of the brow. In order for the color to stay, you’ll need to microblade to the upper dermis, but not further.
Another good way to think about correct depth is to contrast slicing a piece of tissue paper, slicing paper towel or slicing cardboard. When you become familiar with working with different skin types, you start to understand if you need to treat your canvas like a tissue paper, a paper towel or a piece of cardboard. Knowing the skin and microblading to the tolerance level of that part of the skin will help you to blade to the proper level without overworking the skin.
Less trauma = better results.
Pay attention and start noting in your files which food profile your client most closely resembles and you will be able to predict their healing and retention patterns. This will help you be a better artist and you will be able to recognize which skin type to work on and which ones to turn away.
As a new artist, it can be challenging, but it is important to practice on models and get as much experience on skin as possible, this way you can make note of how you interacted with the skin and continuously learn more, and have better results with each client!
e, this way you can make note of how you interacted with the skin and continuously learn more, and have better results with each client!