Permanent Makeup: Everything You Want To Know

Last week I wrote about whether the pain of permanent makeup was worth it (spoiler alert: I love it) and it seems it’s a topic that people are kind of rabid to know more about, because the questions flooding my inbox about the process and its pros and cons were kind of overwhelming. Thus, we’re back ahead of schedule for post two of my Permanent Makeup series (I’m slowly working my way up to entire face—and I don’t even look freaky or overdone or anything).

  • Permanent Makeup Is Semi-Permanent 1 of 13

    The name can be misleading, and some salons have begun adjusting their advertising to say "Semi-Permanent Makeup." The truth? It lasts 3-5 years on most faces, depending on a variety of genetic, application-related, and environmental factors.


    (Had it been truly permanent, I may not have been quite so keen. While I know how I like to wear my eye makeup now, I'm not so sure how I'll feel in my retirement.)

  • My Original Eyebrows 2 of 13

    I don't know why I had to go back three years to find a normal picture of my un-tinted eyebrows (yes, I do— I have a serious hair color addiction) but those are the original eyebrows. Solid shape, well filled with hair, just blonde and disappearing in most light. (That's my hubby and baby daughter with me. She's 3 1/2 now.)

  • Pre-Application 3 of 13

    The day of my first foray into micropigmentation (that's permanent makeup's fancy name) I arrived at my salon to read some disclosures and fill out a release. Meanwhile Tess— my aesthetician— applied numbing cream to my eyebrows (at the time tinted red to match my hair color).


    (I'm making that face because I think I'm a thug for getting a facial tattoo.)

  • Color Testing 4 of 13

    Here, just before application you can see where Tess showed me a color example of both what I should expect during the one-week of healing time (right), vs. what the pigment would look like once my skin had fully healed (left above my arch).  I opted for a lighter pigment because my brows were tinted red at the time of application and I'm not used to wearing brow pencil, so I didn't want to overdo it. Tess assured me it would always be easier to go darker than to take away. (Although, fun fact: there is an antidote for the pigment if your aesthetician slips up. Luckily, I did not have to use it.)

  • Fin! 5 of 13

    I'd liken the pain of application to having your brows tweezed out one hair at a time. Tear-jerking, but totally bearable. Don't be afraid to ask your aesthetician to add more numbing agent if you're starting to feel more than you'd like.

    Immediately after the application of my permanent brows, I snapped this shot in the car and prompted a flood of concerned calls and text from friends in real life after they saw it on Instagram. Folks were really concerned that I had shaved my eyebrows and tattooed new ones in their place. (There was no shaving involved.)

  • Hours Later 6 of 13

    Hours after the application, I snapped this shot to share with a friend who was convinced I was going to look like Jennifer Lopez circa 1993. As you can see my eyebrow remains intact -- there is no hair removal involved in this process (although Tess did do a quick brow shaping beforehand to give herself a clean shape to follow).

  • Morning After 7 of 13

    No makeup except my permanent makeup, just one day post-application. (And also eyelash extensions. Because I can go on about those for days, too.)

  • Day Three 8 of 13

    Three days post-application my eyebrows were starting to settle in.

  • Day Four 9 of 13

    On the fourth day they were still darker than I was hoping.

  • Day Five 10 of 13

    On the fifth day, I awoke to the eyebrows of my dreams. And no more crusty stuff.

  • One Week 11 of 13

    Healing complete.

  • Celebrity Skin 12 of 13
  • Emboldened by Facial Tattoos 13 of 13

    With my new eyebrows keeping me from feeling washed out, I finally went for it and colored my hair lilac on healing day eight.

As you can see from the slideshow, it took about a week for my eyebrows to fully heal, the redness subsided the day after application, and the light scab that forms under your brow hair is gone after about five days. During that time the worst thing I had to suffer was a little bit of brow itch. In the end, I couldn’t be happier with my new and improved brows. Waxing is a total thing of the past — I tweeze strays along the ink line and if I mess up, no one is any the wiser because I’ve already got color underneath.

Some other questions I’ve been asked about my permanent face?

Q: Is it really a facial tattoo?

A: Yes and no. It doesn’t go as deep as a traditional tattoo, and the organic pigments used fade out over time.

Q: Did it hurt?

A: Yes. I mean, I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but y’know— it didn’t feel like bunny kisses. On a scale of one to a regular tattoo, I’d say it hurt a little more than a regular tattoo, but took a lot less time.

Q: So, do they use a tattoo gun on your face?

A: While internet research yielded a few reviews from people whose specialists had used traditional tattoo guns or something similar, my permanent makeup was applied with a tapping technique similar to the Tebori method often used in Japan.

Q: How long does it take?

A: From start to finish my brows took under an hour. Probably about 30-40 minutes. When I had my liner done more recently it was even shorter—about 15-20 minutes.

Q: Do you need touch ups?

A: It’s normal after the first application for some spots not to take the pigment quite as well as others. Most cosmetologists recommend a follow-up visit to touch up after a month.

Q: What happens when it starts to fade?

A: Nothing. After 3-5 years it will start to lighten evenly. Either you put makeup over it, or you don’t, but it doesn’t look offensive.

Q: What if you don’t want to wear makeup?

A: Then you probably shouldn’t get micropigmentation done. ; )


Any other questions you’d like answered about Permanent Makeup? Leave them in the comments!


Article Posted 5 years Ago

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