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
-super-thin
-hypersensitive
-pinkish skin tone
-translucent with barely any upper skin layer
-invisible pores on eyebrows
-rosacea or dermatitis
-F1
-bleeds on needle contact

GRAPE: THIN, BUT NOT SENSITIVE
-thin, but not as thin as egg
-tiny pores
-non-translucent
-ivory/fair skin tone
-F1-F2
-can bleed easily

APPLE: AVERAGE
-small pores
-non-translucent
-F2-F6
-doesn't bleed easily
-can be sensitive

ORANGE: THICK
-large pores
-oily skin
-F2-F6
-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.

14 comments

Sep 21, 2017 • Posted by reemara

Thanks for the invaluable information, buy I have a special question that is: to identify the exact meanings of your categorized symbols F1 through F6. Thanks again, I loved your blog.

Aug 17, 2017 • Posted by Vanessa

What should be done to correct microblading that has gone too deep. I have a lady coming to me for corrective work, but I’m clueless as to fixing brows that have been bladed too deep.

Jun 10, 2017 • Posted by Rebecca Attoh

Thank you for this education. I will definitely, take this to my work as agreed correct depth is the most hardest to master. xx

Apr 18, 2017 • Posted by Debbie Poida

What is the correct speed for eyeliner tattooing? I was trained to use 120 on the digital machine. What is the main reason why skin bruising happens on eyelids besides migration. The bruising on one clients eyelid is still present which I did 3 months ago. I used one prone needle * 2 passes on each side on her eyelids. If you would kindly tell me why. Thank you

Feb 13, 2017 • Posted by Florinda Gina Morales

Very well thought out. I am new to microblading and this is one of my biggest concerns what’s the right pressure and depth. I will definitely try this out on my clients before microblading see what fruit type they may be to better work the best person individual.

Feb 12, 2017 • Posted by Reesa

Your the best.

Jan 14, 2017 • Posted by sabrina gordon

Thank you for the pointers! Depth is the most difficult part to master. I am having a lot of fading.

Oct 06, 2016 • Posted by Dawn Conway

Love this article. It touches on what I think is the most important topic in microblading (in the early stages of my career) which is depth and technique. I now use Tina’s food group classification in my client files. Great stuff!
Please keep the info coming Tina, I can’t get enough!

Jun 23, 2016 • Posted by lene santos

Thank you very much. Help a lot especially to a newbie like me. God bless you and more power!

Jun 16, 2016 • Posted by Vivian Garakani

Thank you for creating this blog & sharing your your extensive knowledge!! Your ability to put such a difficult topic into perspective is admirable & incredibly helpful!! I am constantly searching for any type of educational material that pertains directly to your work, I feel as though there is an endless amount of information to learn when it comes to MicroBlading & I absolutely love educating myself as much as I possibly can..I’m sure I speak for many professional MicroBladers when I say thank you for being such an amazing source & such a major part of helping me to achieve my goal of being the best that I can be in this industry!!!

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