Semi Permanent Makeup, Microblading and Embroidery: What Does It All Mean?

microblading embroidery

There are many different terms being used in today’s industry: eyebrow embroidery, micro-pigmentation, permanent cosmetics, microblading, semi permanent makeup. How are they different? Is one better than the other? Is it semi permanent or permanent?

Whenever you are opening the skin and implanting pigment, it is a cosmetic tattoo. It is permanent. The colour may fade over time but the pigment’s particles will stay forever. However, some people may want you to believe otherwise.

During any of these processes, pigment is implanted into the upper dermal layer of the skin. Some will advertise that they are only implanting into the epidermis, meaning that it is not permanent. A simple look at the histology of the skin would tell you that anything implanted only in the epidermis would actually shed out of the skin completely during the skin’s cell turnover (AKA healing process) 28 days later.

There are essentially two types of permanent makeup: a ‘manual method’ and a ‘machine method’:

The manual method

‘Microblading’, ‘Embroidery’, ‘Feather Touch’

Although this method has had a huge surge in popularity over the last 3 years, it has actually been around for thousands of years. It is one of the oldest forms of tattooing.

This method of permanent make up actually uses a small configuration of blades tightly packed together in a line attached to a handtool. This then slices the skin, and pigment is implanted and gently rubbed into the superficial cut.

The machine method

‘Semi Permanent Makeup’, ‘Permanent Cosmetics’

This method uses a microprocessor digital cosmetic tattoo machine. Often a single needle is used but the machine is actually pushing that needle in and out  approximately 80-150 times per second. It is this puncturing motion that implants pigment into the skin, with the single needle creating the hairstroke.


Which method is better?

Both methods can be done beautifully and there are many globally respected artists that I follow and admire in both machine work and microblading. Every technician will have their own views on which method is better.

I have trained in both but I personally prefer the machine method. I find I get better results. The depth of each hairstroke is even and has better pigment retention. Many of my clients only need one session with no top-up required.

Some believe that microblading can create the finest hairstrokes, but with the introduction of the use of digital machines, nano needles and acupuncture needles, the results can be difficult to tell apart.

Microblading should fade faster, not because it is lighter in the skin but because not as much pigment is implanted. HOWEVER, this is if microblading is performed at the right depth. Unfortunately, what is often seen applied is work that has been too heavy handed. You are completly reliant on the pressure of the technician’s hand. If pigment is implanted too deep, it spreads, loses the sharpness of the line and often turns bluey-grey in colour.

My concern with the way the industry has boomed is the introduction of 1 or 2 day training courses in learning how to tattoo someone’s eyebrows.

Do I think that everyone who takes these courses will be bad? No. There are some fabulously skilled technicians out there who have a natural flair. Do I think that everyone who pays money for this 2 day course is going to be good at eyebrows? No.

Do your research, make sure the technician you choose has trained well and has trained with many people. Request to see lots of photos of their work, including ones in which the skin has healed.

Often the photos taken immediately after can look sharp and precise and sometimes they will show you a picture of only one brow. What you need to see are both brows face on to check the symmetry.


Aniela Jorabinska

About Aniela Jorabinska

Aniela has been performing Semi Permanent Makeup for the last 12 years in Dublin. Originally from Scotland, she was swept of her feet by an Irish man and landed here in 2004 and has been doing eyebrows ever since. She has trained all over the world and continues to do so, to stay at the top of the brow game. Continuous training is key in this industry and she takes pride in training with some of the best artists around the world. Aniela (Eyebrow Recovery) is based in Harold’s Cross (Dublin) and in Carlow; Aniela also treats patients in-house at St James Hospital, Dublin.


  • Claire McNeela says:

    Hi ,Jennifer, I had semi permanent brows done around 2007 Initial results were great but eventually they faded and I’m left with a pinkish hue beneath my thinning brows! The beautician who did them admitted she’d not used the right pigment for my skin tone. She said she would correct them but unfortunately that never happened. I would really respect your opinion as to whether I should try them again and if they could look better!

    • Jennifer Rock Jennifer Rock says:

      Hi Claire, speak with a well-trained technician about this and as Aniela suggests, request plenty of photos of both brows! x

  • Siobhan says:

    Hi Aniela

    Is it safe to get semi permanent eye brows while express (pumping) breast milk.

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