How to Choose the Best Needle for PMU | Painful Pleasures Community

How to Choose the Best Needle for PMU

PMU needles are some of the most important tools for your success! But how do you choose the right ones? We'll break it down.
by Danny Tress Last Updated: March 12, 2024

Needle cartridges can make or break your results as a PMU artist. Highly skilled artists with top-quality machines can still struggle to achieve the results they want if they aren’t using the right PMU needles for the job. So, how do you know if your needle cartridges are up to the task? We’re covering what you should know to choose the best needles for microblading and all things PMU.

What To Look For When Choosing PMU Cartridge Needles

Close-up of PMU needle cartridges

Between brand names, taper lengths, configurations, and more, sorting through PMU needle options can feel overwhelming for newcomers and even veteran PMU artists. To help you feel confident in your choice, make sure your cartridges meet these five simple criteria: 

Safety Membrane

Safety membranes prevent blood and other fluids from backflowing into your machines, so they are essential for safe, hygienic PMU procedures. Most cartridges from trustworthy brands come with safety membranes, but be sure to double-check.

Sterile Blister Packaging

Another safeguard is that sterile blister packaging ensures that your individual cartridges not only underwent proper sterilization before being shipped but also that they have remained sterile until the moment you open them. This is the gold standard for ensuring every client has a safe, sterile experience. Virtually every reputable brand uses sterile blister packaging. Any needle cartridges that don’t are not only a safety issue – they are likely to be poor-quality needles as well.

Stainless Steel Needles

Stainless steel is the best choice for PMU needles because it’s a hard, durable metal that is capable of being tapered and sharpened at extremely small diameters without becoming brittle. Sharp, strong needles mean more precise work and less damage to your client’s skin. High-quality PMU needles are usually proud of their materials and openly disclose that they are made of stainless steel. Some will even specify the type of stainless steel. In the tattooing and PMU worlds, the most common types are 316L, 304L, and 304 (also called 18/8 steel). While there are subtle differences between the different types of steel, know that all are high-quality choices.

Universal Compatability

The previous three criteria are a matter of safety and quality. Universal compatibility is more a matter of convenience, but it’s still an important factor to take into consideration. Some cartridges are only compatible with PMU machines of the same brand. If you want the convenience of using multiple machines, make sure to opt for universally compatible cartridges. (P.S. All the cartridges we sell at Ultimate Beauty are universally compatible, giving you the freedom to use the machines and cartridges you want).

The Right Configuration and Size

Close-up of PMU needle cartridge

Size and needle configuration tend to be the trickiest factors for new PMU artists to figure out when selecting their needle cartridges. And we get it – trying to read those cartridge needle codes feels like trying to decipher a foreign language at first. But in reality, it’s a pretty simple system once you get used to it. In our Guide to Permanent Makeup Cartridges, we take a deep dive into what those numbers and letters mean and what sizes and configurations are best for different types of PMU work. When in doubt, it’s a great resource to ensure that your cartridges are right for the task at hand. 

For a quick cheat sheet version, here are the most common configurations and what they’re typically used for:

  • Magnums – Ideal for packing in rich color Think a bold, red lip blushing.
  • Flat – Ideal for sharp, straight lines. Think the framework strokes for bold geometric brows
  • Round liner – Ideal for delicate lines. Think winged eyeliner or thin hair-like strokes for microblading
  • Round shader – Ideal for lighter shading. Think delicate shading work on brows and lip blushing
  • Slope – Versatile and popular for their ability to tackle several types of PMU work 

Final Thoughts on PMU Cartridge Needles

Close-up of PMU needle cartridge

When you feel overwhelmed by your choices for PMU needles, start by making sure your needle cartridges meet industry standards for safety and quality, such as having safety membranes, sterile blister packaging, and stainless steel construction. These three simple standards alone will eliminate most lower-quality options right off the bat. From there, make sure your cartridges offer universal compatibility so that you aren’t stuck using a single type of machine. 

Finally, you want to choose the right needle size and configuration. While that may seem confusing at first, with time, you’ll be reading cartridge needle codes like a pro and feeling confident each time you reach for a round liner or a slope cartridge. 

When you’re ready to stock up on PMU needle cartridges, you’ll find nothing but the best here at Ultimate Beauty. We only carry brands that are trusted and respected by artists everywhere and meet or exceed industry standards for safety and quality. Plus, we carry every size and configuration imaginable, so whether you’re working on a bold, cat-eye liner or the most subtle of lip blushings, we’ve got you covered with the best cartridge needles on the market.

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