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Five Curved Magnum vs Five Stacked Magnum

curved magnum needles Feb 27, 2021

 Just by the name "5 Magnum" these two needle cartridges seem like they would be similar, however, the words curved and stacked are what make these needles quite unique. 

Imagine the pattern difference between these to 5 magnums.  The curved magnum will leave a loose ink pattern in the skin verses the 5 stacked magnum, which will leave a denser ink pattern. 

The  hand movements with these needles in my experience are different. With a curved magnum I can move with loose ovals, forward brushing, back brushing and  pendulum movements..  Where as the stacked mag, will require more forward type movements and less side to side movements or the sharp corners can tear or create nicks in the skin. 

I personally prefer the looser curved magnum because of the freedom of movements I can do,  but I know artists do nice work with the stacked magnum.  

Each needle requires unique hand movements.

Any questions?  Feel free to just email...

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Curved Magnums-YES!


Why am I a  fan of curved magnums? The curved magnum changed my artistry.  Back when I started in the PMU world, I was using a machine that only proprietary cartridge needles would fit into. What that meant was that I was limited to certain needle groupings. Learning permanent makeup was hard enough, but these needles just didn't make sense to me....they were suppose to be my paint brushes so to speak and they didn't speak to me.

I ventured out and bought a tattoo machine that accepted several  cartridge needle configurations in all shapes and sizes.  I remember trying a 23 curved magnum on a practice pad. I thought how much quicker my procedures would be and the ease of creating a smooth  pattern seemed effortless.  As I continued to try different configurations such a larger round shaders 9,11 etc. I was continually impressed with the magnums.  A 13 curved magnum for cosmetic procedures and larger such as a 17 curved magnum for areola tattooing...

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What's the difference between a liner and magnum tattoo needle?


Aside from the actual configuration difference and how the needles line up, a round liner and a magnum also give different effects when tattooing. The above photo are seperate examples of a round liner and a magnum used for eyebrows and also used on a practice pad. I've used the same pendulum motion technique and the same machine speed on the practice pad to demonstrate the different effects of these needle configurations.

Liner needles are typically grouped in a circle and the needles are soldered tight together.  When used for a pixel technique they can give a textured effect especially a 3 round liner for example.  A single needle can give texture as well, however depending on the technique used, you can also get an airbrushed effect similar to a magnum from a single needle, it just takes time to build up the color. Liners give you the opportunity to leave untouched skin space where there's no to minimal color deposited in the skin and also are great when you...

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Liner Shader Guide

This chart helps you pay attention to your hand speed, machine speed, and hand movements when using liners for a liner effect and shaders for a shaded effect.

It also shows how you can use:

  • Liners for a shaded effect 
  • Shaders for a liner effect

A great go-to chart is just the beginning!