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Buyer’s Guide: How Do I Choose the Best Needle for PMU?

Buyer’s Guide: How Do I Choose the Best Needle for PMU?

Buyer’s Guide: How Do I Choose the Best Needle for PMU?

Most micropigmentation artists keep stock of different needle configurations for different procedures, skin types and challenging cases. Sound advice is to test a variety of needles on practice skin and see which work best for you. That’s one reason why variety packs are so popular. 

But even if you’re a well-experienced artist and you’ve settled on a few needle configurations, as you grow, testing different needle configurations can radically improve the way you work. Below, you’ll hear that story straight from Victoria Wynn, an in-demand artist in New Zealand!

This needle buyer's guide will answer questions from PMU artists on

  1. Membranes and why you have to check if the needles have them

  2. Types of needles, configurations and how cosmetic tattoo technicians use them

  3. Advantages of our Vertix Nano needles for PMU artists and our great news that you’ll love to hear!

  4. Needle diameters

  5. Enlightening conversation between two top pros on what suprising needle configurations they sometimes use!

  6. Needle reviews from artists like you


 Diagram comparing needles with a membrane and those without

  1. Needle membranes; what are they and why do we have to ensure that our needles have them?

Generally-speaking, a membrane is usually a thin barrier that serves the purpose of regulating the exchange of fluids.

In needle cartridges, membranes have become an absolute necessity to avoid cross-contamination and keeping our clients safe and healthy.

In graphic terms: the membrane helps keep any bodily fluids and pigment from getting sucked up into the grip, body or motor of your machine, where it is nearly impossible to clean.

Most cartridge needles have this feature, but some manufacturers skimp by not including a membrane and sell very cheap needles.

Don't skimp on safety. With any brand you choose, ensure that the manufacturer states that your particular box of needles has a membrane.


Comparison diagram of liner, shader and magnum needle configurations. Copyrights Microbeau International

  1. What do “liner,” “shader” and “magnum” mean?

  • Magnum refers to the shape the actual needles form when grouped together. In Latin magnus means "large," so that gives you the hint that this cartridge is going to be larger than the other configurations. Magnums are usually three or more needles arranged in a line.

    Curved vs flat magnums: When you look at the magnums in a profile, the individual needles can either be arranged so they make a flat shape or curved. If the box doesn’t state outright that they are curved, you can assume that the default is flat. Currently, Vertix needles are offered in the default, flat configuration.

  • Liner and shader refer to what they’re usually used for (their function).

    Liners are usually either one, sole needle.

    Shaders are usually three - five needles very tightly put together in a circle. All of these definitions are true for both in the permanent makeup industry as well as the body tattoo industry.

Screenshot of the Needle Configurator, that helps you choose which PMU needles to buy!

Our Needle Configurator is another visual way to figure out what you’d like to purchase. Test it out here.

Tattoo industry needles vs micropigmentation needles: Because the face has very prominent features, fine lines and is in constant view, most artists prefer the thinnest needles possible to leave their clients with barely-there, delicate lines for brows and precise, light fills in lips. Therefore, liners in the PMU industry are usually the thinnest needles possible, such as the acupuncture-thin Vertix Nano needles.

Fun fact: not surprisingly, as inks get refined, design tweaks have made tattoo needle cartridges capable of fine details and amazingly talented artists have entered the tattoo world, the Vertix Nanos are now becoming a hot item in this sector, as well!


Benefits of using thinnest needles

  • Precision
  • Less pain, especially pertinent when working on lips because they are one of the most delicate and sensitive parts of the body
  • Usually leads to faster healing

  1. Advantages of Vertix Nano needle features

  • Elongated, see-through tip so you can see where you are implanting better
  • Detachable tip case so you can make adjustments to the needle
  • Membrane is perfectly calibrated: not too stiff that it inserts hard, but not too soft that the needle feels unstable. Perfect for the facial skin!

  1. Needle diameter

This refers to the width of the needle, the body of the needle before it starts to taper to the point. Thinner needles are great for more delicate layers and fewer layers of the skin, such as the face. Our Vertix are available in three diameter options and we will be offering other sizes soon!

  • .20 mm (smallest)
  • .25 mm (medium)
  • .33 mm (wider)
  • .38 mm (widest)


More helpful resources:

Glossary of Need-to-Know Terms in the PMU industry



  1. What surprising needle configurations two top artists occasionally use

Here we’re quoting Instagram Live conversation between respected and well-known artist and trainer, Anna Ocko-Pezina and former trainee, current PMU master in New Zealand, Victoria Wynn.

…the longer you are tattooing the more adventurous you're going to get. You're going to try other needles. Now I'm using bigger groupings.

I bought a sample box of Vertix and I used all of the shaders first and then the curved mags. Now I'm loving the Vertix 3 curved mag. I'm doing the bottom part of the brows and the tail and using the single up above to keep it ‘dusted,’” Says Victoria.

Anna Ocko Pezina: “I only use it for eyes and for brows. If the lips are really difficult then I can use big, big, big magnums. It’s effective. Like a color packing. And the shading. So magnums will pack the color.

I work in pendulum or in circles with a 5 mag. I would use circular movements, in little ovals, but it will give a lipstick effect. In a circular movement and a little against the skin. Logical movement. I would probably use it on the contour. I would still create that V. But we won’t give a lip blush effect, or ‘kissable’ it’ll be really a ‘lipstick’ effect.

  1. Reviews of Vertix Nano Needles from PMU Artists

“Vertix nano needles have been my go-to needle cartridge for about 5 years now. Once you use a Vertix nano, you get spoiled... nothing else compares. It is the créme.” - Chantel Mulder

“Vertix nano are the best ever! Very stable, no vibration and the long and thin tip makes them so precise! The best thin lines I’ve ever did are with Vertix nano! I use them always , expecially the 1rl 0,25... the best for every type of skin” - Ylenia Cammareri

 “The best needles in the world. Only cartridges I use.” – Jane

“I really love those needles [Vertix Nano’s] because their head is so long and thin and I find I can really really see where I’m working. You don’t realize until you start using them, they are so precise and because the cartridge becomes so slim at the end, I can see when when I’m looking down over the brow. You don’t realize how crucial that is until you’re working.” Crista Nicole

“Vertix Nano needles are thinner than other needles, making them perfect for precise permanent make-up procedures. Their tips are elongated, transparent and detachable, to give you a perfect view of the ink flow and to allow you to perform slight needle adjustments.”

“Vertix Nano are the most precise and clean working cartridges from all I've tried. They hold the pigment well and economically release it within the work, making tattooing easier and faster. Vertix offers the most convenient configurations, tapers and diameters, so I am happy to stick to them and be sure that I'll have the best result for my clients!” - Anna Pezina


Elevate the caliber of your PMU technique. 
Order the coveted Vertix Nano needles today.

Artist Buyer’s Guide: How Do I Choose the Best Needle for PMU?