Permanent Makeup Needle Cartridge Guide

Permanent Makeup Needle Cartridge Guide


There are tons of options to choose from when it comes to cartridges, which can be daunting for PMU artists. Read on to learn more about pmu cartridges.

Permanent Makeup Needle Cartridge Guide
pmu needle cartridges
pmu needle cartridges
When training to become a PMU artist, it is important to know what different permanent makeup boxes are available and what they are used for. All reputable, accredited training courses should cover this topic in detail. However, we have prepared this guide for all beginners considering taking a training course or experienced artists looking for a quick refresher.

Micropigmentation is a form of permanent makeup where artists use digital permanent makeup machines and syringes to implant pigments into the skin for cosmetic or medical purposes. Sometimes referred to as the digital or machine method, it is widely used for a range of treatments including brows, lips, eyeliner, scalp, and areola.

Although some types of cartridges are used for both PMU and traditional tattoos, in this article we will only focus on cartridges used for permanent makeup.

There are tons of options to choose from when it comes to cartridges, which can be daunting for PMU artists. It is important to remember that the cartridge you use depends on many factors such as the treatment being done, the desired effect, the client's skin type, and your own preferences.

PMU Cartridge Configuration

Round Lining

As the name suggests, the round liner configuration is used to create lines, such as the stroke of an eyebrow, the outline of a winged eyeliner, or the defined lip line. They can contain 1 single needle or multiple needles but are always used for extra fine line work.

This configuration is so popular in the industry that some artists even use multiple needles in this configuration for shading and pixel work, depending on their preference.

Round Shader

As with circle liners, the clue is in the name of the circle shader configuration. A circle shader consists of multiple needles grouped together, which can be used to wrap color and create light and shadow, creating pixelated effects in treatments such as eyebrows or lips.


Also widely used in traditional tattooing, the large bottle needle configuration is used to pack color - especially when the artist has difficulty implanting pigment using high needle count round liners or shaders. Magnum cartridges usually contain 2 rows of needles grouped together.

The curved magnum configuration means that the 2 rows of needles come together in a slight curve, which is useful when addressing the natural curves of treatment areas such as eyelids, brow arches, or lips.


Flat configurations are often used to create precise geometric designs in treatments such as brows, eyeliner, or lips. They're not as popular in PMUs compared to round pads, which many artists use to create lines, but it really comes down to preference, and there are still plenty of artists who use flat configurations in their processing.


Slope cartridges consist of needles grouped together at an angle, which can be used to create lines, shadows, or pixels in multiple treatments. This type of cartridge is mainly used in lip and brow treatments and is available from some of the biggest names in the industry. However, not all PMU brands include slope configurations in their line of PMU elements.

Once you understand the different configurations of PMU cartridges available, you can move on to learning how the stylus in each configuration differs depending on what the artist is trying to achieve.

Numbers & Diameters of Needles

The number of individual needles inside each cartridge may vary depending on its use. The greater the number of needles grouped together in the cartridge, the larger the area where the pigment will implant.

The number of needles in the barrel may vary from 1 to 12, depending on the configuration, but the most popular brands usually contain 1 to 7 needles. Single needles are usually only found in round liner barrels, how the needles are grouped as mentioned above, the combination in each cartridge depends on the configuration (round liner, round shader, flat, etc.). More needles are likely to be found in the magnum.

Needle diameter refers to the physical diameter of each individual needle tip within the cartridge. Similar to the number of needles, the smaller the diameter of the needles, the more delicate and precise the placement of the paint. This means that fewer needles and a smaller diameter will produce thinner lines than more needles and a larger diameter, which will deposit the pigment on a larger area of skin.

In PMUs, the needles used are usually thinner to provide extra precision, meaning most cartridges on the market will include needles between 0.20mm and 0.35mm. These thinner needles also help reduce trauma to the skin and promote healthy healing.

PMU Cartridges VS Traditional Tattoo Cartridges

There are many similarities between a permanent makeup case and a traditional tattoo case, but one of the main differences is that the needles inside the PMU case are much thinner. This allows for the extra precision and accuracy needed for cosmetic tattooing. The PMU procedure typically requires the artist to create finer detail in smaller areas of skin compared to larger traditional tattoos.

Using cartridges specifically designed for PMU also ensures that they meet all safety/hygienic requirements, fit the PMU machine and work with the pigment to ensure satisfactory implantation without complications. Most PMU cartridges also feature a clear plastic housing and an extended tip, allowing for a clear view of the pigment flow and showing exactly where it is implanted, reducing the risk of error.

Which Ink Cartridge Should I Choose?

With so many different options, it can be overwhelming to choose. Which cartridge you use during treatment depends on many factors such as your preference, your training, your client's skin, and more.

Knowing the difference between all available options makes it easier to choose the right cartridge for your treatment. If you want to know more or want to buy PMU cartridges, please contact us.

Charming Tattoo is a custom microblading tool and ink manufacturer with 20 years of production experience. Our products are permanent makeup inks and micro-leaf pigments for eyebrows, eyeliner, lips, scalp, areola and skin camouflage. We provide different series for you to choose the color.