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Permanent Makeup Glossary Terms You Need to Know

Permanent Makeup Glossary Terms You Need to Know

Permanent Makeup Glossary Terms You Need to Know

For both micropigmentation technicians and clients, we've collected terms that you should know in the rapidly evolving permanent makeup industry. There's always something new, isn't there?!

Some are general terms that have specific significance in the cosmetic tattooing industry, or you can expand your knowledge as a professional or customer.


1. Aftercare

2. Autoclavable

3. Cords: RCA vs Mini DC

4. Hard Shutoff, AKA "Travel Mode"

5. Microblading

6. Needle Configuration

6.1 Needle Type

6.2 Needle Diameter

6.3 Needle Taper

6.4 Needle Configuration Abbreviations

7. What Do the Numbers Mean in the Needle Configuration?

8. Semipermanent makeup vs permanent makeup

9. Soak

10. Wireless



Post-procedure care, usually done at home. This is a part that PMU technicians should cover with clients to reduce skin trauma, get the best possible results and for customers to have a better experience.

Talk through aftercare, check in and a nice rapport may develop between artists and client!



Refers to an object that is safe to clean in an autoclave. It’s a similar concept as saying “machine washable,” or “microwavable.”

An autoclave is a machine that creates high-pressure steam at high temperatures, usually for sterilization purposes.

Autoclave, that opens from the front, like a microwave, has a pressure handle to close and open it and three trays to place the objects for sterilization

For instance, the grips on all Microbeau PMU machines are "autoclavable," but note that the machine bodies are not! Attempting to sterilize the machine in an autoclave would most certainly damage the machinery as well as the digital components.

Cords: RCA vs Mini DC

Shown in the image below are input and output of typical cables used to power PMU machines. Each has its strengths and typical usage. Note that Microbeau's machines all include standard cables, but if you want to purchase a backup, you easily find them on the market. 

Air mini-DC cord, RCA cord, input and output

Hard Shutoff, AKA "Travel Mode"

Doing a hard power shutoff prevents the PMU machine from accidentally turning on and draining the battery. This is a precaution in case the machine is jostling about in a case or a bag and can be a life-saver when you're on your way to a convention, training or for a private client.

Travel mode: the Flux S shown ready to travel. A Hard Power Shut Off will ensure it doesn't drain the battery.

This unique feature on the new to Microbeau and FK Irons machines (available on the Flux S™ and Flux™) has been developed specifically for tattoo and PMU artists who travel, so we will sometimes refer to it as "travel mode," much like "airplane mode."

The only way to wake the machine up again is to insert a USB-C cord and attach it to a power supply. That's how the machine knows you're really ready to work!



A procedure with an instrument that looks like a thin pen that cuts the surface of the skin and deposits the ink. This is often riskier for the skin than permanent makeup/cosmetic tattooing, also known as micropigmentation.

With the latter, instead of perforating the epidermis, extremely thin needles penetrate and deposit the ink. If the PMU technician deposits it in the correct layer of skin, this creates less trauma, and the healing process is ameliorated.

Our Vertix needle cartridges use medical-grade, thin needles for even less trauma and a more detailed, natural look.


Needle Configuration

There are factors that influence your artistry and success. Needles are one of those absolute fundamentals.

Artists tend to use certain needle configurations for specific techniques, so you'll want to have a variety and vary it up between your machine, skin type, technique, etc.

Needle Type

- Liner (just one needle)
- Shader (various needles grouped in a circle)
- Magnum (various needles grouped in a curved line)


Needle Diameter

The width of the needle at its widest point. Vertix Nano needles are available in 3 diameter options. .20, .25 and .33 mm.

Needle Taper


The length of the needle point. A standard taper will have a more rounded appearance at the end in comparison to an acupuncture needle, which has a very thin point.

The Vertix Nano needles seemingly minuscule design details make a big difference, in reality.

For example, the see-through cartridge and tip allow the PMU technician to see clearly if they need more ink or if they've bent the needle.

The Nano needles are color-coordinated to make grabbing the right one easy.

Speaking of making it easy... our Needle Configurator Form is an amazingly user-friendly and visual way to buy your needles and know exactly what you're getting!


Needle Configuration Abbreviations

RL = Round Liners  

RLT = Round Liner Tight

MAG = Magnum

MAG CURVED = Magnum Curved

SHADER MT = Shader Medium Taper

MAG BP = Magnum Bugpin

MAG CURVED BP = Magnum Curved Bugpin (bugpin aka “tight”)

MAG LT = Magnum Long Taper


What Do the Numbers Mean in the Needle Configuration?

The needle codes will start with a number, which indicates how many needles are in the grouping or “configuration.”

For example: 2RLT means that it is a 2-needle Round Liner Tight.



Semipermanent makeup vs permanent makeup

Permanent makeup (PMU) was called such because you didn't have to apply it every day like you do with regular makeup. Today it is a widely used term, but professionals are starting to adjust their terminology because permanent tattooing uses stronger machines to implant the ink, it is deposited at a deeper level in the skin and is usually done on the body. This is truly permanent.

While “permanent makeup” is used interchangeably with "semipermanent makeup" when referring to cosmetic facial tattooing, the PMU pigments on the face are long-lasting, but fade with time. This isn't a bad thing, considering trends change and we all like to look in style. 



Immersing and leaving an object in a liquid.

While this term is part of common, everyday language, we’d like to point out that you should check the user manual before soaking any machine in any liquid.

Microbeau machines should never be soaked in any liquid, even for sanitation purposes, nor should you spray the machine directly.



Cordless. Note that some machines tout that they are wireless when, in fact, they use a cable and a power bank.

The new Flux S is truly wireless.

Permanent Makeup Glossary Terms You Need to Know 

And the Xion S™ can become wireless by purchasing the LightningBlot™ which is an FK Irons cordless power bank specifically designed to fit most tattoo machines with a rounded body.

Xion S, which normally is powered via a regular RCA cable, but with the LightningBolt power bank you can work WIRELESSLY!


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Artist Permanent Makeup Glossary Terms You Need to Know