2) History of Micropigmentation

As old as the pyramids

The art of painting and impregnating the skin with colours and patterns is a very old art form which the Egyptians, Greeks, Asians and Eskimos have used for many centuries. Egyptian mummies nearly 5,000 years old have been found decorated with tattoos. We can see over the centuries that the Indians and Orientals have used tattooing for the facial areas, eyeliner and lip colour. The methods back then were very primitive as the people either used sticks which scratched the skin, tapped the skin with little needles dipped in colour or used a sewing needle with thread soaked in coloured pigments/dyes/inks.


The Ice Maiden’s tattoo, the oldest preserved specimen of tattooed human skin, 5th century BC
The Ice Maiden’s tattoo, the oldest preserved specimen of tattooed human skin, 5th century BC

Tattooing today

Today tattooing is very popular, and tattoo artists now use semi-permanent (delible) colours (pigments/inks) to impregnate the skin. In later years, most technicians offer treatments with the manual technique but prior to that, machine use was widely used. The machine tools used are various, the most commonly used are the Coil machine, the Digital machine and Rotary machines – each pictured in order below. These devices are mounted with various configurations or sets of needles, ranging from 1 to 100, the amount of needles used depends on the size of the tattoo and whether the artist is making a line or filling in the area.


* Click on an image to enlarge

Benefits of semi-permanent makeup

Semi-permanent makeup benefits women with poor vision (unable to apply their makeup), arthritis, problems with dexterity, allergies to makeup, watery eyes, problems with contact lenses or oily skin that causes makeup to smear. Also, convenience attracts athletic women who want to look good during sports or exercise. Some women simply don’t like to be seen without makeup.

One of the most beneficial uses for permanent makeup is to recreate the illusion of lost lashes and brows due to hair loss induced by chemotherapy or a condition that causes total hair loss known as alopecia areata. More and more men and women are becoming aware of how the advantages of “natural looking” permanent cosmetic makeup can enhance and accent features of their appearance. It won’t wash off, smudge or smear and will always look professionally applied.

Pigments and colours

Organic and inorganic pigment colours are the most commonly used by semi permanent makeup professionals. These colours fade within a matter of years allowing for new or different colours to replace the original colour. However, it should be noted that the molecules of these pigments will always stay in the skin and clients should be made aware of this. These molecules will show up in a MRI scan and sometimes can be seen through the skin by the natural eye.

Old tattoo seen through skin
Old tattoo seen through skin

These minerals (inorganic) and artificially synthetic (organic) based pigments are found in liquid form and rich creamy forms. It depends on the technician/artist as to which he/she would like to use. These pigments are mixed with carrier agents such as water, glycerin, isopropyl alcohol or witch hazel – the carrier is the fluid that is used to transport the colorant to the application location.

The majority of pigments produced today are hypoallergenic and fade, some completely and others leave the base colour behind e.g. pink, red and blue, unlike pigments made in the past that had indelible based content to them and never faded. These indelible colours have been banned from most countries as they contain large traces of nickel and lead. Be warned however, they can still be found in non-regulated countries!

Manual Tool Technique

In recent years in Ireland, the manual tool technique has become very popular as generally it is thought to be a lighter form of tattooing. The techniques of “emBrowdery”,” Microblading” and “Soft Tap” all fall under the category of manual tattooing. The needle formation used for emBrowdery is exclusive to that treatment whereas microblading and soft tap can be done with many types of needles from U shape to sloped shaped.


Manual Tool
Manual Tool


SOFT TAP is the original manual tool method that was used for creating powder brows, lips and eyeliner. It typically is done on clients who are looking for a soft powdery brow result without using an electric pen.



Microblading is used to replicate brow hairs by lightly depositing pigment into hair thin cuts which the therapist achieves by lightly cutting down into the upper layers of the dermis. The pigment is entrapped in the skin when the micro cuts heal, thus the result is achieved after the first treatment. A top up is usually required to touch up areas where the colour might have faded but only approx 15% of the colour is expected to fade.

Microblading Needles
Microblading Needles

Microblading vs. emBrowdery™

emBrowdery™ also aims to replicate hair strokes but is different in that the main aim is to not press down into the skin at all. The technique used is similar to plucking and only utilizes the epidermis of the skin where there are no blood capillaries, thus minimising bleeding and making it possible to work without aesthetic.

The first treatment cannot last as we know up to 60% of the colour can fade in the first month. For those who are nervous about how the brow will suit them, this is the perfect choice as the 1st treatment will easily fade away (if the technique is carried out correctly by the therapist).

Changes to the shape / formation are easier to achieve then microblading. The end result of both treatments are very similar and the difference mainly lies in the technique used and the needle formation. The needles used for emBrowdery™ are very different to microblading needles


emBrowdery™ needle
emBrowdery™ needle

Microblading vs. emBrowdery™ Technique with MANUAL SHADING

This is a technique that is used to make brows look fuller. Hair strokes are initially created in the brow area with either the microblading or embrowdery technique. The brow is then shaded in between the hair strokes. Care needs to be taken not to go over the hair strokes but to only shade in between.


Various shading needles

History of Micropigmentation Conclusion

Micro-pigmentation done with the manual tool and semi-permanent makeup machines are both very popular and for all ages and all walks of life. Both practices are a required skill and need integrity, concentration and an eagerness to learn. Look, learn and investigate, go to seminars and shows – there is lots to learn!

You’re now ready to move on to our next section, which is all about The Skin. This section is divided into four units, and includes two quizzes you will need to pass before proceeding. Simply go back to your Microblading main Course Curriculum page to proceed.

Why train with Up To My Eyes?

  • Master a new skill – on your terms – from the comfort of your home*
  • Qualify with a V.TC.T. Globally Recognised Qualification
  • Earn up to €150 per hour treating your clients

* Full Training Kit included in price of each course. In-salon collection or home delivery both available.


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