Thinking of getting your makeup permanently applied? Maybe you hate applying your eyeliner daily, or you aren’t able to use it as precisely as you’d like, or perhaps you hate the constant struggle of trying to achieve the perfect cat-eye. Whatever your reasons, you may find a solution in permanent eyeliner.
We spoke to experts in the field to find out all there is to know about the process, how long it takes ― and perhaps most importantly, how long it lasts.
For many, it’s the word “permanent” that gives pause. This can be the best — or potentially the worst — aspect of the procedure. Rach’s Cosmetic salon in Mornington is a tattoo and semi permanent make up salon.
How does permanent makeup work?
Permanent makeup, also called micropigmentation, involves the use of a pen containing iron oxide to tattoo the skin and to create the look of powder.
A Cosmetic tattoo can mimic eyeliner or lipstick, or it can darken and create the look of thicker eyebrows. It also can camouflage scars and help with the look of an uneven hairline.
What are the risks?
There are reasons to be cautious, especially if you’re on Accutane.
Aside from the difference in inks and techniques, the preparation for permanent or semi-permanent makeup application is “basically just like any other tattoo,” Falco told HuffPost.
As such, it carries the same risks and contraindications that would apply to a regular body tattoo, he said.
“As a precaution, we ask [clients] to stop taking any blood thinners for three days prior, even things like aspirin, Advil, fish oils, certain vitamins, to minimize any potential bleeding, which normally doesn’t happen,” he said.
Meyer also noted that if you’re looking to have any Botox or other injections in the eye area, you should get that done before having the eyeliner applied. You should also make sure you’re fully healed at least two weeks before you’re scheduled to have your liner applied.
And if you’re pregnant or nursing, or have diabetes or other serious illnesses that affect your immune system and ability to heal, you may not be an ideal candidate, Falco said.
If you’re already taking medication, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about it before you go ahead with your permanent or semi-permanent makeup application, Meyer said. For instance, if you’re using Accutane (or other retinoids), you need to be off the medication for six months before you can have permanent or semi-permanent makeup applied, Tai said. (Accutane, the brand name for isotretinoin, has been thought to interfere with wound healing, though it may not always be the case.)
There is always a risk of infection when needles are involved. This is especially true if non-sterile needles are used.
“The body can react to the different ink particles and form areas of inflamed tissue. If you are prone to them, the tattoo process also can leave keloid scars.”
People also can be allergic to a particular colour or type of tattoo ink. “Once you react, it can be challenging to treat. This can be avoided by doing a test area behind the ear to see if there is a reaction,” Dr. Khetarpal says.
Other possible complications include bleeding, crusting, swelling, loss of eyelashes, severe eyelid injury, and ectropion, which occurs when the eyelid is turned away from the eyeball.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, pigments also can interfere with cranial MRI scans by affecting the quality of the images. Rarely, MRI scans can cause swelling or burning in the area of a tattoo.
Tattooing your eyelids is FREAKING CLOSE to your eyeballs, and would be much harder to ignore than for Microblading eyebrow tattooing, where I just lay back and tried to zen out.
What about the pain? Does it hurt?
Everyone we spoke to said that a numbing cream is applied to the area before the actual procedure. Once the effects of the cream kick in, the whole process should theoretically be pretty painless, Meyer said.
However, everyone has a different pain tolerance, which means some people might find the procedure to be only minimally uncomfortable. In contrast, others may find it to be excruciating (even with a numbing cream), Ant Falco said.
For comparison’s sake, Meyer said she’s spoken to some clients who’ve said their eyeliner procedure was more painful than microblading. However, she also noted they’ve never had any clients who needed to stop in the middle of an application because of the pain.
How long does it last? And if you hate it, will it ever entirely disappear?
The “tattooed” eyeliner typically lasts about a year, Meyer said, though Ant Falco noted it could last two or three years. However, the pigment will eventually fade. Meyer said many of her clients come back after about a year to get touch-ups.
If you eventually decide you don’t want the eyeliner, it’s possible for it to fade in one to three years completely. Everyone’s skin holds the pigment differently, so it’s tough to say how long it will take for the liner to become invisible.
What should young people consider?
While the promise of permanent makeup can be appealing, think carefully about this decision, especially if you’re a younger person because areas on the face, such as the eyes, eyebrows, and lips, change over time with age.
Rachael Bebe also performs Cosmetic lip tattoo services.
“Beauty trends also change with time. Full lips and thick eyebrows are flooding social media these days, but this may not be the case five or ten years from now,” Dr. Khetarpal says. “Always start with a minimalistic approach to look natural because less is more.”
It is also challenging to mimic the appearance of eyebrow hair with tattoo ink, she adds.
Eyeliner is probably the least traumatic/noticeable permanent makeup, so if I’m making my experience sound suspiciously easy, that’s because it was. If I’d gone in to get my eyebrows or lips done, there would have been significantly more scabbing and longer healing time.