What is 'Blade and Shade'?

For many artists, the concept of "shading" during a microblading procedure is very new, and brings up a lot of questions.

What are the benefits?  How is it done?  What colors are used?

Let's start with the basics. What IS shading exactly? Also known as '"ombré," shading is a technique done using a special tool that adds depth and definition to the brows for a more natural look.

When it comes to shading, your creation really depends on the look that your client is going for, as well as how much or how little existing hair the client has.  Do they wear a lot of makeup?  Are they missing a lot of their natural eyebrows?  If the answer is “yes” to either question, microblading AND shading may be the right solution for your client.

In some cases, your client will want a more bold and dense look to their brows, especially if they have coarse, dark eyebrow hairs.  Your approach should be based on her makeup style but mainly it will come from what you, as an artist, envision for her. Because frankly speaking, most women don’t know what they want/need and will be relying on our expert opinion.


The bold, striking look of the brows pictured in the examples above cannot be achieved with microblading alone.  As you know, microblading usually yields very soft results that are ultra natural, undetectable and more “air-y." Also, in some cases your client may only have a small patch of dark coarse hair on their existing brows that could end up looking unnatural if you do microblading only. So what options do you have? 


Shading the brow following microblading will add density and more of a defined look. You can be creative in the way you achieve your desired look, and really bring your artistic talent to light. You’re only limited by your imagination! 

A good approach to adding more definition to the brow is to add shading throughout the middle and inner sections of the brow. You can see an example of this particular technique in the photo below.  

The photo above is an example of a client who had no existing eyebrows.  The picture on the left shows her brows done with microblading only. This creates brows with a very textured and wispy look.  

The picture on the right shows her brows done with both microblading and shading. This creates brows with an extra layer of depth and definition.

The blading and shading technique is ideal when you come across clients that:

      • Prefer bolder brows and fill in their eyebrows very solid on a daily basis
      • Have no existing eyebrows
      • Have dark coarse hairs in their brow area
      • Have darker skin tones (Fitz 4, 5, 6) and need more definition
      • Prefer ombré brows

    Now, the question many artists have been asking is, "Can both ‘Blade and Shade’ be done in one session?" The answer is YES! It can be done in one session. Here’s my process for the proactive artist looking to put this amazing technique into action:

    1. Prepare your first ink cap with pigment color of your choice

    2. Prepare a second ink cap with SAME mixture diluted by 80%.  This will create a very watered down version of the target color, allow you to create a very soft and powdery deposit of color.  Tip:  I dilute with a shading solution that will “suspend” the color molecules instead of diluting with water. Diluting with water may cause the color to “separate”.  You can use any brand shading solution.

    3. Microblade eyebrows with any Harmony Microblade of your choice: the 9 Classic, 14 Curved or U Needle. Apply a pigment mask for five minutes once complete.

    4. Using your artistic eye and your Harmony 19 Shader, tattoo the shading mixture into select areas of the eyebrows using a "tap and lift" motion to create stippling effect. This part should take about 10-15 minutes for both eyebrows.  Note: there is no need to apply a pigment mask after shading. 

      Watch Shading Technique Below:

      5. Pro tip: work in sections and constantly check your shading work to ensure you don't over-deposit the shading. Shading should look translucent, not opaque. Also make sure that you stretch the skin firmly so there is no bounce. This will enable you to hit the "sweet spot" for achieving the best results, as well as keep your client comfortable.                                                                                  

      CHECK out these fully healed results:


      Click HERE to discover the 19 Shader and start creating your own bold and beautiful brows!

      - Tina 

      1 comment

      Sep 12, 2017 • Posted by Lori corkin

      Hi Tina ,

      Do you teach at all in Toronto by any chance? I took the course for Microblading already but don’t feel as though I was taught throughly .
      If you teach or can possible recommend a place that would be amazing . I have a exsisting business now which is tanning I’ve owned and operated for 11 yrs now and I really want to expand and go another direction now .
      Thank you Lori

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