Micropigmentation Needles - Size, Taper, Count & Configuration: The Ultimate Guide

Examples of micropigmentation & PMU Needle Cartridges

Article by Gemma Hutchings | Date Published 4th July 2024

Micropigmentation Needle Knowledge

This guide covers the topic of  micropigmentation/PMU needles and what to consider when choosing the right needle for optimal outcomes.

There are various needle configurations available for different treatment options. While specialised courses provide detailed information on the appropriate needle configurations for specific treatments, the following information offers a general overview of four essential factors: needle size, needle taper, needle count, and needle configuration.

It is imperative that whatever needle you use and whether you consider yourself a micropigmentation practitioner or tattooist artist, you are using safe needles. Safe means that the needle are steralised and have an internal membrane that stops pigment or bodily fluids from going back into your handpiece and causing cross-contamination.

The membrane is a small component housed inside the needle cartridge which creates a seal or barrier between the cartridge and the device. By using needles without this membrane you risking cross-contamination of bodily fluids penetrating the internals of your handpiece. When you change your needle for your next client, that fluid it transferred back into the new needle and to your new client.

Some brands choose to make their barrier with a metal spring instead, which does not work in the same way and will not prevent backflow.

The Importance of safety in micropigmentation

The diameter of a needle is the measurement of the width of the needle. If it is a group of needles, then it refers to the measurement of each individual needle.

Needles with larger diameters are usually better suited for shading work. That’s because they have a much freer pigment flow. Whereas needles with a smaller diameter are more effective for more intricate work and on less fragile skin.

Micropigmentation & PMU Needle Diameters

Finer needles (with diameter of 0.18 needle) allow you to build up more layers by putting less pigment into the skin with each pass. This leads to smoother blends. But, because they distribute less ink, you will need to slow down your hand speed.

Larger needles (with a diameter of 0.4) distribute more pigment, allowing you to pack pigment into the skin faster. However, because each needle in the configuration is larger, they will cause more trauma to the skin with each pass.

Now just to baffle you further there are 2 ways in which diameter is shown on a box of needles.  Either the measurement of the diameter, as shown in the image, so 0.18mm or 0.3mm for example, however this can also be represented another way, by a numbering system. 

0.18mm (#5)
0.20mm (#6)
0.22mm (#7)
0.25mm (#8)
0.30mm (#10)
0.35mm (#12)
0.40mm (#13)

Finishing Touches Needles are described by their measurement.

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The needle taper is the length of the needle tip. It can be measured by the reduction in diameter from the widest point of the needle diameter to the thinnest point - the tip. 

Short Taper

Short taper lengths have an abrupt narrowing from the body of the needle to the tip of the needle.
• Delivers good colour, more quickly
• Can cause more trauma to your clients’ skin
• Great for colour fill for lips, SMP, areola and eyeliner

Medium Taper

Medium taper has a more gradual narrowing from the body to the tip.
• Delivers a moderate amount of colour
• Causes a moderate trauma to your clients’ skin
• Great for shading -  areola, ombre and skin camouflage

Long Taper

Long taper lengths offer is the longest and most gradual narrowing from body to tip.
• Less colour (slow colour building)
• Less trauma to your clients’ skin
• Ideal for intricate work such as hair stroke brows 

Needle Taper Lengths - Short, Medium & Long

This one is simple - it is the amount of needles present. For example a 4 flat needle has 4 needles and a 3 micro has 3 needles

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Configuration or type refers to how the needles are arranged or grouped together. Different arrangements have dramatically different effects on your client’s skin. So, let’s take a look at each available configuration:

Single Needles

One single needle used to create a single line.

Round / Liner Needles

These come in various sizes – eg. groups of 3, 5 or 7 and are multi-purpose. Ideal for lining  and therefore great for lips and eyeliner.  They are also the prefect needle for SMP in a 3 configuration.  The tighter the configuration the better for leaving a "lasting impression"

Shader Needles

These  also come in various sizes – eg. groups of 3, 5 or 7 and pack in pigment.  Arealo tecnicians love this formation of needles are they achieve a soft-shaded effect.  Also great for lips too.

Magnum Needles

Also great for packing in colour.  This formation is normally in 2 rows of high count needles grouped together such as 5, 7 and 9. 

Curved Magnum Needles

As above but the rows of needles have a curve to them, great when working with a natural curve such as a lip treatment. 

Flat Needles

Most commonly used for lining and shading. Flat needles are grouped together in a flat, straight line. Since flat needles are so precise and straight, they’re perfect for hair stroke brows however you may also choose flat needles over round liners for lipliner and areola.

Sloped Needles

Sloped needles run at an angle and are ideal for implanting a fine line or shading. Very much the same way as the flat needles, the needles need to enter the skin at the same time so the handpiece needs to be at an angle of 45 degrees. Can also be used on its side to blush or shade.

Nano Needles

Flexible single needles that can be used for lining and shading. Perfect for scaring, pixelation and ultra-realistic hair strokes.

When you are faced with a box of needles labels for example 0603RL - ST it is easy to see why this would be confusing.  It's actually quite easy when you know how. 

The 1st number relates to the diameter

The 2nd number relates to the needle count

The 1st letters refer to the configuration. 

And the 2nd to the taper

So in this instance its a 0.2 diameter 3 round liner needle with a short taper! Simple right!

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Our Multi-Save discounts are here!

For the entire month of July, we're excited to introduce our exclusive multi-save option on all Finishing Touches needles.

The more you purchase, the more you save!

Discount Tiers:
Buy 4 boxes and get a 10% discount.
Buy 6 boxes and get a 15% discount.
Buy 8 boxes and get a 20% discount.


Discount is automatically applied at the checkout so jump on over to our online store and start saving. Offer ends 31st July 2024

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