8 Steps to Become a Successful Beauty Entrepreneur in Semi-Permanent Makeup (5)

How to choose needles for permanent makeup

Ultimate Guide: How to Choose the Best Needle for Semi-Permanent Makeup

As a semi-permanent makeup artist, choosing the right needle for your clients can be difficult. However, after almost 20 years of experience, I have learned how to make better choices and achieve better results. Now, I am happy to share my knowledge with you by discussing some needle selections that have worked well to me, I am Juliana Peixoto the creator of Make Blink Academy and I am excited to be one of Kwadron Ambassadors and Master Trainner in Ireland, Spain and Brazil. Here are some of my tips to help you make better choices when choosing your Needle and techniques.

It is true that outcomes will viry according to the professional skills, professionais will adapt with different needles and technique just like painters woud work with different brushes for different results but dont worry I got your back, just contact me if you need more help.


How to Choose Needles for Permanent Makeup: Mastering Needle Selection for Optimal Results in Semi-Permanent Makeup


First and foremost, it is important to understand the different types of needles, including round, flat, and magnum needles. Each needle serves a specific purpose, so it’s crucial to know which one to use in each situation.

For PMU, we typically prefer medium or long taper needles because they offer better control of ink flow and are more suitable for fine details. Longer taper needles are ideal for soft powder and hair strokes. When it comes to liner styles, round liner needles are popular for hair strokes, eyeliner, and lip contouring. Flat needles, on the other hand, are good for defined lines, geometric shapes, eyeliner wings, lip lines, and brow outlines. Shader needles are primarily used for shading and filling larger areas, such as brows, eyeliner, and lip blush.

When selecting a needle, it’s crucial to consider your client’s skin type and desired results. Skin type plays a pivotal role in the selection process. Normal skin is more flexible with needle choices, but medium tapers with 0.30mm lighter pigments are recommended for optimal color retention. For oily skin, needles with a larger diameter of 0.30mm or 0.35mm and long taper needles for lighter colors are preferred, as they can deposit pigment deeper into the skin and resist fading. For sensitive skin, finer diameter needles like 0.18mm or 0.20mm are recommended, along with light pressure and low power (4.5V) to minimize irritation.

The taper of the needle is an essential feature in PMU. Long taper needles minimize trauma, making them preferable in many PMU applications. They provide better control of ink flow and are well-suited for fine details. Longer tapers excel in soft powder and hair strokes, while medium tapers with a larger diameter can be better suited for mature skin.

Liner styles are good for hair strokes, eyeliner, and lip contour. The popular options are round liner (RL) needles, including 1RL, 3RL, and 5RL.


Flat styles are great for defined lines, geometric shapes, eyeliner wings, lip lines, and brow outlines. The popular options are 1F, 3F, and 5F. Flats are good for straight lines, and I would use them for lash line enhancement to fill in quicker (70° angle) perpendicular opposite to the lash root to avoid pigment migration.


Shader styles are ideal for shading, filling larger areas, brows, eyeliner, and lip blush. Round shader (RS) needles are good for shading and filling larger areas, while magnum (M1, RM, M2) needles are great for bold color and solid fills. Slope needles provide a balance between definition and shading and are good for lip shading and natural brow strokes. The popular options for shader styles are 5RS, 7RS, 9RS, 5M1, 7M1, 9M1, RM, 1Slope, 3Slope, and 5Slope.


Skin type is an important factor to consider when choosing needles. Normal skin is more flexible with needle choices, but consider medium tapers, 0.30mm lighter pigments for optimal color retention, and long taper for darker pigment shades. For oily skin, use needles larger in diameter, 0.30mm or 0.35mm, with long taper for lighter colors, as tapers can help deposit pigment deeper into the skin and resist fading. For sensitive skin, opt for an even finer diameter of 0.18 or 0.20mm needles, lighter hand pressure pigment, and shorter stroke movements to minimize irritation. However, remember that smaller diameter needles can cause more trauma if not applied with the right technique, so use light pressure and low power 4.5V. Shorter taper needles reduce penetration depth and are described as RLT (Round Liner Taper). For mature skin, use medium taper (MT) and larger diameter 0.25 / 0.30 3RLMT (Round Liner/Medium Taper). 


Medium taper will deposit pigment softly, which is good for skin with less resistance and elasticity.

As I mentioned bebore the artist’s experience and preference are also important factors to consider. 

But is important to remember, each professional will develop skills to work with certain needles according to experience and hand/machine adaptation. What works for one may not work for everyone, so it’s important to play around and explore your options and see what works better for you.


Other factors to consider include the desired outcome. Whether you’re going for a natural or dramatic look, the type of needle you choose will depend on the effect you’re trying to achieve. Avoid common mistakes such as using the same size needle for every client,  or not changing the needle often enough like when you are using for a long time the sharpness may be affected causing more kin trauma, as these mistakes can result in a less-than-perfect result and discomfort for your client.


Lastly, practice makes perfect but dont forget to make it fun, grab a nice cup of tea or a glass of wine while your listen to a nice playlist.  PMU needle selection is a skill that takes time and practice to master. By following this five-step process, you will elevate your work to the next level and stand out from the crowd  


  1. Understand the different types of needles
  2. Evaluate your client’s skin type and desired result
  3. Determine the desired effect
  4. Avoid common mistakes by testing on fake skin first
  5. Practice, practice, practice. (make it Fun, share with other artists for evaluation) 


When it comes to techniques, I like to use shading needles in circular motions back-and-forth motions with gentle pressure and machine medium power 5-7V. For a powder effect, I can use 1RL/3RL Curved Magnum or Flat Slope for hair strokes or a light powder effect at the front, arch, and tail. Then, I can use a magnum (just the tip for hair strokes)  or bigger round shader to fill out the body (middle part).


Remember, the longer the taper, the less pigment will come out, which is ideal for hair strokes and soft powder. Medium taper and larger diameter are better for mature skin. Smaller diameters can damage the skin, so they are better for sensitive skin if using light hand pressure, light strokes, lower voltage 4.5V/5.0V. Beginners can cause less trauma using needles with larger diameter like 0.30mm 3RL, 5RL. So, stay alert and keep these points in mind to ensure the best results for your clients.taper needles are recommended as they reduce penetration depth and are described as RLT (Round Liner Taper). For mature skin, medium taper needles with a larger diameter of 0.25/0.30 are best as they deposit pigment softly and are good for skin with less resistance and elasticity.


It’s also important to consider the desired outcome when choosing a needle. Different needle configurations are better suited for natural-looking hair strokes, bold eyeliner, or subtle lip enhancement.


To avoid common mistakes such as using the wrong size or not changing the needle often enough, it’s important to practice and master the skill of PMU needle selection. By following this five-step process, you can become a PMU needle selection pro and avoid common mistakes:


When using shading needles, it’s recommended to use circular motions with gentle pressure and machine medium power (5-7V). For a powder effect, you can use 1RL/3RL for hair strokes or light powder effect at the front, arch, and tail. You can then use a magnum or bigger round shader needle to fill out the middle part.



  • No one-size-fits-all: The “best” needle depends on your client’s skin, desired outcome, and your experience. Experiment to find what works for you!
  • Safety first: Never attempt PMU without proper training and certification.

Quick Guide 

  1. Skin Type:
    • Normal: Flexible with needle choices. Consider medium taper (0.30mm) for lighter pigments, long taper for darker shades.
    • Oily: Larger diameter (0.30mm or 0.35mm) with long taper for lighter colors.
    • Sensitive: Finer diameter (0.18mm or 0.20mm) with light pressure, shorter strokes, and lower voltage (4.5V).
    • Mature: Medium taper (MT) and larger diameter (0.25mm/0.30mm).
  2. Desired Outcome:
    • Natural hair strokes: 1RL or 3RL with light back-and-forth movements, short strokes, and light pressure.
    • Bold eyeliner: Flat styles like 1F, 3F, 5F.
    • Subtle lip enhancement: 1RL for border, 1RL and 3RL for lipstick effect, light tapping motions.

Needle Types:

  • Liner Styles: Round Liners (RL) for hair strokes, eyeliner, lip contours (e.g., 1RL, 3RL, 5RL).
  • Flat Styles: Defined lines, shapes, eyeliner wings (e.g., 1F, 3F, 5F).
  • Shader Styles: Round Shaders (RS) for shading brows, eyeliner, lips (e.g., 5RS, 7RS, 9RS).
  • Magnum (M1, RM, M2): Bold color, solid fills (e.g., 5M1, 7M1, 9M1, RM).
  • Slope: Blends definition and shading (e.g., 1Slope, 3Slope, 5Slope).


  • Longer taper = less pigment, ideal for fine details and soft powder effects.
  • Medium taper = good for most skin types especially mature skin
  • Shorter taper = more pigment, good for bolder lines and color saturation more potential to damage the skin


  • Shading: Circular or back-and-forth motions with gentle pressure and medium power (5-7V).
  • Hair strokes: Single needle, tapping, feathering, combo strokes, layering. (Pen Rotary machines 5-7 ) medium hight , but it also has a relation to your hands , higher the voltage quicker the hand motion , slower motion , slower hand moves 
  • Lips: Wider hand movements, light tapping motions, vertical, horizontal, and diagonal motions.

By understanding these factors and experimenting with different techniques, you can confidently choose the right needles for stunning PMU results! Remember, safety and personalized treatment are always paramount.

Shading Techniques:

  • Whip shading: A flicking motion with the tattoo machine, creating a gradual transition between light and dark areas. Imagine flicking a paintbrush back and forth.
  • Pendulum shading: Swinging the machine back and forth like a pendulum, creating a soft, feathered edge around a darker center. Think of swinging a swing set.
  • Stippling: Short, tapping motions to deposit tiny dots of ink, building up density for shading. Picture tapping a pencil repeatedly in one spot.
  • Cross-hatching: Overlapping lines at different angles to create depth and texture. Imagine drawing X’s on top of each other.
  • Rotary shading: Using a circular motion with the machine to create smooth shading gradients. Think of swirling a pencil in a circle.

Factors Influencing Movement:

  • Needle configuration: Round shaders or magnums are common for shading. Different tapers affect pigment deposit depth.
  • Desired effect: Subtle fades, bold blocks, or realistic textures require different approaches.
  • Artist’s style and experience: Each artist has their own techniques and preferences.

Hair Stroke Techniques:

  • Single needle hair strokes: Using a single, fine needle to create individual hair-like lines. Requires precision and control.
  • Taping: Quickly tapping the needle to create short, wispy lines, mimicking natural hair texture.
  • Feathering: Gently pulling the needle away while depositing ink, creating a tapered hair effect.
  • Combo strokes: Combining different techniques like single strokes and tapping for varied textures and thicknesses.
  • Layering: Building up layers of thin strokes to achieve depth and realism.

Factors Influencing Technique:

  • Needle configuration: Round liners, tapered cartridges, or even calligraphy needles can be used.
  • Skin type and tone: Different techniques may be more suitable for different skin types or desired hair color.
  • Desired style: Realistic, minimalist, or stylized hair strokes require different approaches.
  • Artist’s skill and experience: Each artist has their own techniques and preferences for creating hair strokes.

Important Reminders:

  • Permanent makeup requires training and expertise. Never attempt them yourself whitouth professional training .
  • Remember, this information is for general understanding only and does not constitute medical advice.

Always seek an experienced Professional and trainer. Join my community at @makeblinkstudio and let me know your favorites needles and techniques and send me some of your work via Instagram DM @makeblinkstudio