Shading & Dilution for Blade & Shade

 Picture this: it has been two hours and you just did your best set of microbladed brows and you and your client are both thrilled.  You can't wait for her return in a few weeks to see those gorgeous healed brows.  Finally, the day comes around, she walks into your office, and guess what? Only 50% of her color was retained and now you have to redo her brows all over again and hope for the best.  We've all been there, and it's disappointing, to say the least.  The truth is, microblading only yields very soft results and is usually not bold or defined enough for the average client.  

Before I developed my signature Blade and Shade method, the above scenario was very typical in most, if not all of my cases.  I always told my clients that Microblading was a two-step process because a lot of the original color would likely be lost and that I would need that second appointment to add more color and density to the design.  

Luckily that all changed for me with the help of my 19 Shader!

 By combining microblading AND shading at the first appointment, I am able to get up to 90% color retention at that first appointment, which leaves very little extra work for me to do at the follow-up appointment. Not to mention my clients are thrilled!

- Tina 


Check out Brianna's eyebrows after blade and shade below! 

As a follow up to last month's "Blade & Shade" blog post, we wanted to expand on the topic further to bring you even more insights as to when it may be a good time to pick up your favorite Harmony Microblade + 19 Shader to finally create the gorgeous brows your clients want, get you busier,  and to cut your procedure time in half.  

(Click HERE to read our Blade & Shade blog post) 

Lately, we have received a ton of questions regarding dilution, including why we use a specific shading solution to dilute pigment, how to properly dilute pigment, how much to dilute your pigment, as well as how to properly use the 19 Shader needle. Below we've gone through and answered your top questions:

Q. When Do I Shade? 


1.  When there is little to no real hair.   You'll want to create the look of density AND hair strokes to give the impact that is missing from the lack of hair.  Oftentimes, this goal cannot be achieved by microbladed hair strokes alone.

2.  When the brows are patchy with a lot of missing areas such as the front, tails, or general thinness.  By microblading hair strokes, then adding shading, the transitional area from hair to no hair will be less detectable and more seamless.

3. When your client wants a bolder brow.  Microblading alone yields a subtle, natural look, so often clients are frustrated that they are still using pencil or powder to fill in their brows.  Microblading + shading will provide that extra "pop" and definition that will keep your clients happy and sending lots of referrals your way!

4.  When you want to get the most out of your first appointment.  If you're tired of microblading being a 2-step process and want your clients to heal with 90-100% color retention, adding shading will do the trick.  If you're having problems with retention or need to do a powdered brow look for those candidates who just don't handle microblading well, shading is the answer you've been looking for. The key is to dilute pigment for that soft, ombre look clients love. 

Q. Do I have to use a shading solution to dilute pigment? 

A. We always get asked "Can't I just use distilled water to dilute the pigment?" The answer to this is yes, but it's not ideal. As a professional, you should always strive for the best results instead of taking shortcuts.  A shading solution will ensure that your mixture stays suspended and properly diluted, preventing the pigment from separating from the dilution liquid while you work. 

Q. Can I adjust my pressure to shade instead?

A. The answer to this is technically yes, but we do not recommend it unless you are a VERY experienced and skilled microblader.  Using the 19 Shader, you can adjust your pressure and stipple lightly to control the amount of pigment you deposit. But if don't go deep enough, you will not hit the "sweet spot," and therefore the pigment will not stay in the skin. It is much easier to make errors using this method, leaving you with too much or too little color in certain areas. Using diluted pigment to shade allows you to deposit the color consistently into that sweet spot for more even, seamless results.

Q. How do I properly dilute pigment?

A. The general rule of thumb for diluting pigment is to dilute the pigment by at least 50%-80% with a shading solution to start. This means the majority of your mixture will be shading solution, not pigment. Click below for some great shading solutions:

Cosmetic Tattoo Supply: HERE

Girlz Ink: HERE

This 50%-80% rule will vary depending on how much pigment you have used, the concentration of the pigment brand you use, and your cup size. Therefore, the amount of dilution cannot be quantified by a specific amount of drops. To be on the safe side, it is recommended to dilute the pigment at a higher percentage allowing you to build to your desired outcome. High dilution is especially necessary when working at the tails of the brows where the skin is at it's thinnest.  

Q. Why Dilute by 50 to 80 Percent?

A. Because the goal of shading is to create a sheer or shadowed effect behind the microbladed strokes. The brow will have soft edges created by microblading PLUS impact created by the shading. You want to avoid a fully solid brow which looks very flat and one-dimensional.

Q. How do I use the 19 Shader?

A. The 19 Shader is an angled needle, shaped in a round formation is to be used in a flicking or stippling movement, unlike the microblading motion of dragging along the skin.  However, the technique is the same as other microblades in the sense that it must still penetrate into the dermis in order for the skin to retain the pigment.

Q.  Is diluted pigment messy? 

A. Because you are adding more liquid to your pigment, it will be a little messier! Luckily our Pro Sterile Kits come with a pigment cup ring, and a holder to place these in so they don't spill over. The pigment ring also includes a custom sponge that will absorb the liquid and prevent spillage!


Click HERE to read our Blade & Shade blog post

Lucky for all you artists, we've got you covered with everything you need to master Blade & Shade!

The right tools:
Shop the 19 Shader 
Shop Microblades

Quick & Easy Set Up:
Shop the 16-Piece Sterile Kit 
(Includes pigment rings, a sterile tray, cotton swabs and more... everything you need to set up for each microblading appointment!)

Practice makes perfect:
Shop the Angie Practice Pads


Mar 13, 2018 • Posted by Liz Shelton

I just went in for my first Microblading/Shading appointment. The shape is great but it almost looks dotted. I couldn’t get numb so she couldn’t shade in as much. Is that normal? Will they be able to even out after the touch up visit in 6 weeks?

Dec 11, 2017 • Posted by Dara Feder

First and foremost I’m a big fan if your working I live yoyr products! I watched your live demo last week on blading and shading on a client. You mentioned that you now go ahead and do both in most sessions because you noticed that the Microblading just isn’t enough most times. When you get your client for their consult, do you tell them that you’ll do both or do you just do your work and not mention that your adding shading? Just curious how you go about that. Thank you!

Nov 21, 2017 • Posted by Jodi

I’m having trouble not thinking that the shading would cover or blur the hair strokes? It seems like you should almost do that first. But I’m new to all of this and still learning!

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