Softap/Manual PMU VS Machine PMU... What's the difference?

Some of my followers on Instagram have noticed that I am not only posting machine-made permanent makeup but also Softap permanent eyeliner and brows... What is the difference and who should each technique be used for?

What is Softap?

Softap is a hand-tool method of implanting pigment into the skin. It can be used for eyeliner, eyebrows and lips. Softap is a Bay Area, CA company that developed over 20 different hand tools that are all pre-packaged, sterilized and disposable for the artist to use on one client. The needle configurations are round, straight or curved, some with multiple rows of needles. There are tools that range from 3-needles to 114 needles on the tool, all of which are used for different areas: lips, liner and brows. They all produce a different effect. I like to use Softap hand tools for my brows to shade and deepen the skin slightly, especially when the client has little to no hair. I use it in conjunction with my Microblading, but you can use Softap tools alone to produce a completely shaded brow, and they also sell their own line of microblades. Softap tools can be used for eyeliner and lips, and they are especially nice when a soft, natural or smokey look is desired in eyeliner. Softap can be used for any and all clients who qualify for PMU services! It is perfect for everyone.

What are machines used for?

All of the machines we will talk about in this blog can be used for any of the procedures we do here: Lips, Liner and Brows... We are not going to get into discussing regular tattooing, just permanent makeup.

Permanent Makeup Machines:

The photo below is a typical permanent makeup machine handpiece. It is a skinny pen-type of instrument that works just like a tattoo machine. The tool makes the needle cartridges go in and out of the machine very fast, which implants tiny dots of pigment into the skin, resulting in a soft look. It is what most PMU artists will be trained on if they choose a certain company to train with. Most companies sell their own machine and pigments and have their students learn on them and buy them.

Rotary OR Coil machines:

There are a lot of PMU artists (including me) using actual tattoo machines in permanent makeup. It is the exact same thing as using a permanent makeup machine. They are just, ohhh, thousands of dollars cheaper to purchase and use.

Coil machines and rotary machines are built differently, but produce the same result, overall. Of course, there are many differences and artists have their preferences, but in an effort to keep it VERY simple, all of these machines push pigment out of a needle cartridge and into the skin, creating a tattoo.

Rotary machines:

Coil Machine:

As I said, different artists will swear by one machine, or method over the next. I think it is important to be trained in both the manual AND the machine method of permanent makeup so that I can offer my clients a variety of services based on their skin type and desired results!

Rotary tattoo machine "Combo brow" with hairstrokes in front, shading in back

Rotary Machine Full Lip Tattoo

Microblading plus Manual Shading with Softap handtools

Rotary Machine Eyeliner and Lower lash enhancement

Softap hand Tool Eyeliner and Lower lash enhancement

Microblading Plus Manual Shading, Softap handtool

I hope this helps to explain what all of this means when I post on Instagram! Thank you and feel free to email with any questions: