How Deep Should I Stroke?
One question I get a lot from new and experienced artists is: HOW DEEP SHOULD I STROKE?
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, skin comes in 4 different thickness varieties. In order to create beautiful clean strokes 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 clients skin according to these foods:
EGG: THINNEST, HYPERSENSITIVE
-pinkish skin tone
-translucent with barely any upper skin layer
-invisible pores on eyebrows
-rosacea or dermatitis
-bleeds on needle contact
GRAPE: THIN, BUT NOT SENSITIVE
-thin, but not as thin as egg
-ivory/fair skin tone
-can bleed easily
-doesn't bleed easily
-can be sensitive
-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. Don't let the Fitzpatrick skin type fool you. You can have Latin or Asian skin that is sensitive. The most important part is to understand how thick your client's skin is.
Once you know your client's skin food, profile, you will know it's tolerance and 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 tissue paper and slicing paper towel or 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 paper. Knowing the skin and microblading to the tolerance level of that part of the skin will help you 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.