As our graduates enter this exciting profession, they begin to research various artists and their techniques, which is commendable! However, one pitfall seems to be when they attempt some advanced techniques before mastering what they were initially taught.
One advanced technique is the use of the Single Needle. Why is it considered advanced? A single needle makes it more difficult and tedious to get color into the skin. A single needle also requires tremendous control of one’s machine, or the procedure can suffer excessive bleeding, scarring, yes scarring, uneven deposit of color, a complete lack of color retention, migration of color, and an extraordinary amount of time and discomfort for the client.
A single needle does not have the ability to carry much color since it stands alone, so it is limited to the amount of color that will adhere to it for deposit. It is also the most uncomfortable needle to use for your clients.
I understand that there are practitioners that were trained using pointillism with a single needle, and I was one of them, 30-years ago. It wasn’t until I trained with a tattoo artist, turned permanent makeup artist, I began to use and understand various needle configurations and the effects they were capable of creating.
As a makeup artist, I would show this tattoo artist an effect I wanted to achieve, and she would literally make the appropriate needle for me. However, with all the choices, I often find my way back to 3-Needle configurations and magnums.
Here is some information new practitioners may find helpful.
A 3RL, which translates to, 3-needles in Round and tight a configuration, designed for Lining. This needle carries much more color than a single needle and can create a sharp line for eyeliner wedges or sharp lip line and depending on the size of the needles themselves, a fabulous hair stroke.
A 3RS, which translates to, 3-needles in Round but loose configuration, designed for Shading. This needle is the most versatile, since it can create a gorgeous eyeliner, with faster and easier deposit of color, a gorgeous powder brow and beautiful blush lips. Today, I continue to use this needle with pointillism for my bottom eyeliner to produce a softer effect than a sharp line.
One more important piece of information regarding needles is to know and understand the size or mm of the needle. They range from .18mm, 20mm, 25mm, 30mm, from thicker to finer. The higher the number the finer (thinner) the needle.
So, your needle package may read, 3RS.20mm.
The mm is something of preference that develops from practice and experience. You may want to start in the mid-range and master that one size needle before experimenting with others.