A Guide To Permanent Makeup

How much time do you spend each day putting on makeup? Five minutes? Fifteen? An hour? Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could get your morning makeup routine down to no time at all? Enter permanent makeup to the rescue!

What Is Permanent Makeup?

Permanent makeup is exactly what it sounds like. Imagine never having to do your eyeliner or your lipstick again. Each morning you wake up, look in the mirror, and everything is perfect. At the end of a long day, you don’t have to retouch.

How’s it done? Permanent makeup is actually a form of cosmetic tattooing. The process works exactly the same way: the makeup is applied using a vibrating needle. The procedure stings a little since the tattoo artist has to penetrate the top layer of your skin.

The initial color will look dark and slick, just like it would with any ordinary tattoo. You can expect a little redness and swelling, which will heal quickly. Over the next three weeks, your cosmetic tattoo will fade to its permanent color.

How Long Does Permanent Makeup Last?

Just what will you be committing to with cosmetic tattooing? Permanent cosmetics really are permanent. They are designed to last a lifetime.

Some people do need touch-ups later down the line (tattoos tend slightly to fade over time). But you should embark with the expectation that your tattoo is going to be 100% permanent. Decades from now, you will still have the same eyeliner, lipstick, or permanent eyebrow micropigmentation you opted for now.

Semi-Permanent Makeup

Like the idea of permanent makeup, but wish you didn’t have to make such a big commitment?

There is a newer procedure available now called semi-permanent makeup. The pigments are injected into your skin with a hollow needle, just like permanent makeup, but they are formulated to lighten gradually until they are completely gone.

Semi-permanent makeup will usually last around one to three years. This is the perfect choice if you know you are likely to want to change your look in the future. It may also be a great way to test drive a particular look. If you still love it after three years, you can go permanent the next time around.

Permanent makeup being applied

Is Permanent Makeup Safe?

Assuming you are working with a licensed aesthetician who is using sterile equipment and gloves, yes, permanent makeup is safe!

Make sure the aesthetician does a patch test on your skin first to ensure that you are not going to have an allergic reaction to the pigment. Also be wary of practitioners who offer you “FDA-approved colors,” which do not exist for skin injections.

What about permanent makeup complications? Sometimes you may need a touchup within the first several months, but most applications are complication-free. Again, assuming you have no allergic reaction, so long as clean needles have been used, you should have no problems.

If you have to get an MRI at some point in the future, the pigment may interact with the magnetic field, causing some temporary swelling or burning. This is a minor side-effect, and will not compromise image quality if you inform the technician.

Finally, make sure that you don’t go to a practitioner who uses India ink. The small particles can penetrate your skin and may run over time.

How Much Does Permanent Makeup Cost?

Here are typical prices for permanent makeup. Keep in mind that costs can vary depending on where you live and the options you select. The price may also depend on the experience level of the practitioner, but you should never sacrifice safety to save a few bucks.

* Eyebrow Tattoo Cost: Micropigmentation for eyebrows will generally cost you around $400.

* Eyeliner Tattoo Cost: The average cost for permanent eyeliner is also close to $400.

* Lip Tattoo Cost: Permanent lip color costs around $800.

Permanent Makeup Removal

One of the drawbacks of permanent makeup is that like any other tattoo, it is hard to remove. Your best bet is typically YAG (yttrium aluminum garnet) laser treatments.

Usually you will have to go in for several appointments to remove the pigmentation. If you still have pigment left over after these treatments, an ablative laser may be necessary, or reconstructive surgery (this is rare).

If you do need to get permanent makeup removed, make sure you are seeing a board-certified medical practitioner.


What’s the bottom line here? Permanent makeup is safe, but the industry is unregulated.

The key to making sure you get the complication-free results you’re looking for is to go with an experienced licensed aesthetician who can give you excellent references.

Once you have your permanent makeup done, you can say goodbye to hour-long cosmetic routines in the morning and endless touch-ups throughout the day. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, your makeup will look fabulous all the time!




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