Your guide to permanent make-up: what it is, how long it lasts and why people love it so much
- Permanent make-up is a procedure that is taking over the beauty industry one tiny needle at a time – but despite its sudden popularity it is not new
- There are four common types of permanent make-up – experts break down what they are, how they are done and how long they actually last before fading
Waking up with a perfectly made up face is no longer an unattainable dream thanks to permanent make-up, a beauty procedure that is taking over the industry one tiny needle at a time.
Melissa Pruett, founder of Melt By Melissa studio in the US state of Arizona, says the procedure has advanced significantly since when it was first used.
“Nowadays, the technique and artistry have truly evolved to provide people with the most natural enhancements,” she says.
What is permanent make-up, and how does it work?
Permanent make-up – also known as micropigmentation, intradermal pigmentation or cosmetic tattoos – refers to a range of techniques used to “tattoo” semi-permanent make-up onto your face.
A dermatologist or cosmetic tattoo artist inserts natural pigments into the top layer of the skin with tools that use tiny needles to perforate it hundreds of times per minute.
While it is known as permanent make-up, most results are only semi-permanent, lasting from 18 months to a couple of years. The pigment is at its brightest and most saturated right after the procedure. With time, the colour fades away.
There are four common types of permanent make-up.
While technically the procedure can be performed on any kind of skin, some dermatologists recommend those with oily skin types consult a professional before jumping to it.
“Microblading only looks great when you can achieve fine details,” says Kendra Bray, owner of New York-based salon Better Brows & Beauty. “People with oily skin won’t heal with the crisp strokes you need to achieve a natural look.”
If executed properly, microbladed brows can last anywhere from 18 months to three years, depending on the application method, skin type and the client’s lifestyle.
Cosmetic eyeliner tattoos highlight the eye’s natural shape and can enhance light lashes or the lack of them.
One of the most popular is the lash line enhancement, where a dark, thin stroke of pigment is tattooed along the lash line to make your eyes stand out. For those looking for a bolder option, permanent eyeliner is applied above the lash line to simulate eyeliner make-up, with styles ranging from a classic cat eye to soft wings.
Just like microblading, permanent eyeliner can last up to three years.
Lip blushing or tinting provides your lips with a light, even layer of colour to boost their natural pigment, defines edges and gives the appearance of fuller lips without having to undergo invasive procedures. A cosmetic tattoo gun and water-based inks are used to achieve the look.
It is essential to keep in mind that lip tattoos are more complex than other kinds of cosmetic tattoos, as the skin on your lips cannot hold on to pigment as firmly as the rest of your face, so touch-ups may be needed more frequently.
Some people may ask for a natural “dust” look, where light, irregular freckles are randomly placed over the cheeks and nose. Others go for a more intentional placement and bring in a design – or even get their astrological constellation tattooed on their face.
Permanent freckles can last a year or two, but skincare products and sun exposure may accelerate the fading process.