Pigment – Issues

Pigment migration

Unfortunately, this is not something easy to resolve. Pigment migration happens when ink pigments move, or migrate, to other parts of the skin. They can make the tattoo appear blurry or blotchy. It is important to implant the pigment holding the blade on an upright 90 degree angle when performing a microblading and digital machine hair stroke technique, and a 45-degree angle when using the digital machine ombre technique to prevent migration, and to implant the pigment using the correct depth. 

Another factor that will cause migration when microblading or using the digital machine technique to create a hair stroke look, is if you cross over your strokes on top of each other. Always leave a small gap in between strokes, allowing the pigment implanted to shrink and condense during the skin healing cycle.

Why do cosmetic tattoo colours change?

Pigment characteristics

Dominant hue pigments are composed by either a single colourant additive or 2 or more colourants obtained from dry powders. It can be difficult to determine the dominant hue of dark colour pigments such as blacks, browns and grey as these are more concentrated colours. 

You need to be well aware of the dominant hue in each pigment. When the pigment colour fades it will tend to decline towards the direction of the dominant hue. 

Pigment Density

Needle type, the number of passes over the skin and depth will all affect the density of the pigment within the skin and the final healed result.  The pigment density affects the hue of the tattoo not only because of the relative concentration of the pigment colour as the density increases but also because increasing pigment density reduces the combined effect that the natural skin colour has on the final healed colour of the tattoo. 

Pigment Mixing

Most pigments are pre-mixed, therefore they have 2-3 colours already mixed. Mixing too many pigments can result in creating a “muddy” colour, which is dull and much closer to a grey. You can mix your pigments, but we recommend no more than 2 colours. Tina Davies pigments are pre-modified; she has created 7 light-to-dark shades and recommends to darken colours by using a drop of either bold brown or ebony. These colours are ultra-concentrated enabling you to place the target colour directly on top of an old pigment that has faded and left an undesired undertone. 

Lightfastness of colour

The lightfastness of a colourant refers to its resistance to fading when exposed to a UV light over time. When a pigment is made by blending 2 or more colourants they need to have the same or similar lightfast properties or else the client will be left with a significantly noticeable dominant colour. For example, a red, yellow and blue were mixed to make a brown pigment; if the red and yellow fade first your client will be left with a blue tone eyebrow. 

These are just some of the reasons why a tattoo can change in colour. Another reason can be the depth of the needle. This will be covered in more detail later on. 

Colour Correction

This is something that needs to be studied in depth because choosing the right pigment colour or correcting pigmentcolours is fundamental to achieving the best result. Let’s start with the colour chart produced below to help you understand. This is an advanced procedure and should not be attempted by a beginner. It is included so you can understand how colours work together and the way we can utilise them to correct older tattoos.

We all know that from mixing the primary colours together we get secondary colours and from mixing those we get intermediate colours. If you have studied makeup you will be aware that certain colours neutralise others. For example, red pimples can be neutralised and covered using a green-base concealer. If a client has a yellow pigment base, then violet is used as the correcting colour.  By looking at this chart you’ll see that the opposites counteract each other. 

Have you ever seen blue brows? This was quite common when using older pigments. They tend to leave blue, purple or even green undertones. New pigments normally fade true to colour. However, you will be getting clients with brows that have faded to blue undertones and by looking at the colour chart you will be able to pick the appropriate pigment to correct the undertone of their current tattoo. 

Again, using the Tina Davies colour chart guide 


Will allow you to choose the appropriate pigment to achieve the desired result when colour correcting. Perma Blend pigments now also have a colour chart guide if you choose to use these pigments which are also excellent, and a company that correlated with Tina Davies to create her Tina Davies pigment range. 

Another colour correction request can occur if the chosen pigment used is too dark. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to lighten the healed result of the pigment used in the first session of the brow procedure. The client may need laser or saline removal to lighten the pigment and will then need to start the brow cosmetic process all over again. This can be a very costly and time-consuming experience for the client.

* Refer to Chapter 9 for more information regarding choosing the correct pigment for your clients skin type and under/over tones. 

Let’s look at the difference between the pigment colour ingredients:

Iron Oxides (inorganics)
These colours are generally the duller more earthy tones. They are not as vivid and bold as some of the organic colours. They are safe, harmless, and inactive pigments, therefore, it is rare to result in allergic reactions. A common ingredient used in inorganic pigments are iron oxides that is the most stable and most common of all the elements. It’s non-toxic and has a variety of colours available to technicians. Iron oxides are regulated and have passed the RES AP 2008 regulations for the safety of semi-permanent makeup in Europe, which has the highest standards. 

Lakes (organics)
When we hear “organic” we seem to assume that it’s healthy and safe. Organic pigments are not superior, they may include some lakes (metal salts) and azo dyes (Azo dyes are organic compounds and are widely used to treat textiles, leather articles, and some foods) and other compounds. These colours are often used because they can provide very vivid and bold colours that may not be achievable from the Inorganic pigment range. However, allergic reactions are possible and more frequent compared to the inorganic pigments. 

You will receive The Tina Davies Colour Chart when you purchase the eyebrow pigment range at  www.browshop.com.au. This brand of pigment is fantastic as the colour chart takes out the guesswork when choosing the correct pigment for your client’s skin tone, and also for any correction work you may be working on.