Permanent Makeup Machine Mechanisms – Creating a Strong Foundation

Achieving a soft, powdery pixelation is probably the number one goal of any brow artist specializing in ombré brows. Oftentimes we have students asking “how come the brows look patchy? Why can’t I get the fronts to look soft and natural?”. Shading with a Permanent Makeup Machine may sound easy at first but there will be challenges if you don’t have a strong foundation on the PMU device.


Knowing how your Permanent Makeup Machine works is the most important thing to know as a PMU artist. Without this basic foundational knowledge, it will be very difficult to create the soft, powdery look you are trying to achieve.
When you turn on your machine, there are 3 mechanisms happening simultaneously:
  1. Rotation: The needle starts to rotate as power is supplied from the motor. The speed of rotation varies by the RPM level. 
  2. Torque: Needle oscillates vertically and moves up and down as force is applied from the rotation.
  3. Movement: Rotation and torque triggers the needle to move in uniform motion and lands on the surface of the skin at a parameter set by the manufacturer. Each landing is separated by a tiny distance and does not overlap. 


Unlike shading with a marker or a pencil, shading with a machine creates dotted lines. This is because the needle is oscillating at a simultaneous mechanism as you are hitting the surface of the skin with the needle. The Solid lines you see as an outline or as in nano hair strokes are actually made up of tiny dots that are placedvery close together


  • Faster machine speed indicates a higher RPM. 
  • RPM stands for Revolution Per Minute and it determines how fast the needle is oscillating
  • Work speed determines how fast you are moving the machine. In other words, it is your hand motion speed that is controlling the speed of your work.


  • You can create different styles of ombré brows by experimenting with different speed settings. When your work speed is fast, the dots land further apart and creates a finer pixelation.
  • When your work speed is slow, the dots land closer together and the pixelation is bigger.


  • We set the speed to level 3 on the Zenus MacPen II and work slower when doing the outline and work faster when shading.
  • Depending on your machine, you may have to troubleshoot until you find the desired speed. Practice on skin pad, paper, or masking tape until you see the desired pixelation. Normally the middle speed is always a good starting point.


  • If you prefer to work fast, you should set your machine speed to a faster level and practice moving faster until you find the desired pixelation
  • If you prefer to work at an average speed, you should set your machine speed to middle and test out your hand motion speed until you see the desired pixelation
  • We recommend all beginners start off with a middle speed setting on your device and practice various work speeds on the skin pad to find the desired pixelation.


  • We hope that you have found our blog on your Permanent Makeup Machine Mechanisms to be informative in building your basic PMU education. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment below or contact us on the form below.
    Want to learn more about ombré brow technique? Check out our Ombré Brows Online course where you can see the full details and a live model demo! Or check out our course’s main page for all our online class optionsavailable to you!
    Are you in the Greater Toronto area? Did you know that you can learn these techniques with our in-person classes? Check out our availability here.

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