Frequently Asked Questions
What is permanent makeup?
Permanent makeup, also known as cosmetic tattoo, is a cosmetic procedure that involves the application of pigment into the upper dermal layer of your skin to enhance facial features such as brows, eyeliner, lips, beauty marks, and freckles. In addition, cosmetic tattoo has also been used for paramedical purposes such as camouflaging scars and/or tissue damage with burn victims, clients who have undergone failed surgeries, and clients who’ve sustained accidents; skin correction secondary to lack of pigmentation or hypopigmentation (less production of melanin); and repigmenting the areola(s) for those who’ve undergone breast reconstruction following breast cancer treatments and mastectomies.
Why do others call it semi-permanent makeup? What is the difference?
The terms permanent and semi-permanent are being used interchangeably, but there is no such thing as semi-permanent. As the industry is growing at a rapid rate, misleading information is being delivered to the public, including this. So let’s keep it real. The pigment used is PERMANENT, but the molecules deposited into the upper dermal layer of your skin will fade. Fading does not constitute disappearing, however. Maintenance, referred to as color boosts or color refreshers, will required at some point to maintain the desired color and shape.
The degree and timing of fading varies from client to client. It is due to factors including age, skin type, incidental or excessive exposure to sun and/or ultraviolet (UV) rays, unique body chemistry, medical conditions, and facial care maintenance. Some skin types may completely metabolize pigment in a year or two while others hold onto it much longer. The overall bottom line is that when pigment is implanted deep enough, remnants from your procedure will maintain in that layer but the above-mentioned factors will play a role in how it will look after your initial procedure. This is why it important for those who are considering brow procedures, especially microblading, to have your natural hair growth followed as much as possible.
Is it painful?
Each client who is appropriate for permanent makeup will be numbed before and during the procedure with topical anesthetics. The degree of discomfort, of course, is client-specific to his/her threshold and body chemistry. But I will ensure to provide client comfort throughout the entire session. Amongst the procedures, permanent lip tint is the most sensitive due to the lips being highly vascularized.
How long does the procedure take?
Brow and lip procedures can take up 3 hours whereas an eyelash enhancement and eyeliner can take up to 2 hours.
How long does the permanent makeup last?
This is also client-specific, but every initial procedure will require a touch-up that occurs 4-8 weeks later. The reason for this is because I am getting to know the skin at your first visit and will not fully understand it until the complete healing phase takes place. During the touch-up, which we will call the focus visit, I will perform all the tweaking needed to perfect the color and/or shape. Color boosts will be needed every couple of years to re-enhance the color. As stated previously stated, time is dependent on client’s age, skin type, incidental or excessive exposure to sun and/or ultraviolet (UV) rays, unique body chemistry, medical conditions, and facial care maintenance.
How long does the healing process take?
Brow and lip procedures require 7-10 days of healing. Eyelash enhancements and eyeliner require 5-7 days. Healing does not mean the true pigment will be seen immediately. Biologically, it will take 4-6 weeks for the entire healing phase to take place. Your skin goes through desquamation, shedding off the top layers of the epidermis (1st layer of skin), and the entire progression from new skin cell birth to sloughing away takes approximately 28 days. Pigment is placed in the top layer of your dermis (2nd layer of skin). This is why the true pigment healed into your skin won’t be noticed until 4 weeks. It may take longer for others. In addition, factors including diet, stress, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, age, general health, and sleep/fatigue will delay the healing of your new procedure.
How do I care for it after the procedure?
Ideal pigment retention and healing of your new cosmetic tattoo occurs with the use of an appropriate aftercare product and written instructions. This is the most crucial step to achieve the desired results. Make sure to listen to your permanent makeup artist’s instructions. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
Should I avoid certain activities while I’m healing?
I encourage clients to plan ahead when getting a cosmetic tattoo, especially for my fitness gals who work out more than 3 days/week.
The healing duration for brows, eyeliner, lips varies. On average, it is about 7-10 days for brows and lips and 5-7 days for eyeliner and lash line enhancements. Below are the activities to avoid during the healing process, and I’m going to add a bonus on how to keep your cosmetic tattoo looking fresh:
avoid direct sunlight, tanning beds, hot tubs, excessive sweating (vigorous workouts), salt water, chlorinated pools, direct shower spray, hot water, skin creams, ointments, and lotions other than what you’ve been instructed to use after any of the procedures.
avoid spicy and hot (temperature) food, kissing, and teeth bleaching products after lip procedure. Avoid using an eyelash curler after eyeliner procedure or lash line enhancement.
avoid makeup such as foundation. Do not apply makeup on tattooed area until it is completely healed to avoid infection. Use new mascara after eyeliner procedure.
These precautions are instructed to avoid uneven healing of color, scarring, and/or infection.
How can I prolong my permanent makeup?
Long-term care of your fresh cosmetic tattoo to avoid color from fading quickly requires the following: use sunscreen daily; refrain from products with Retinol on treated areas and chemical peels; and limit amount of UV exposure. Keep in mind that health conditions, medications, and lifestyle (i.e. smoking) also affect the color.
Is everyone appropriate for permanent makeup?
No, I wish I could say yes but your safety and health are a few of my top priorities as a permanent makeup artist.
I’ve provided a list below for those who are contraindicated (strictly not allowed), who require medical clearance and pre-medication, who need medical clearance only, and who have a waiting period.
Contraindications for permanent makeup:
Active chemotherapy and radiation treatments
Active dermatologic disorders (i.e. rosacea, eczema, psoriasis)
Sick with flu/fever
Prone to keloid or hypertrophic scarring
Conditions that require medical clearance and pre-medication:
History of heart valve transplants, stents, pacemakers, rheumatic fever
History of organ transplants
History of joint replacements
History of fever blisters
History of shingles, even with immunization
History of lupus or any autoimmune disease
Insulin dependent diabetes
Conditions that require medical clearance only:
History of seizures
Eye diseases (i.e. glaucoma)
History of hypothyroidism
History of blepharitis
On blood thinners and/or steroids
Received half or prophylatic dose of Accutane
Waiting periods after receiving a cosmetic procedure or aesthetic service:
IPL (intensed pulse light)
Fillers (i.e. Juvaderm, Silk, Voluma, Sculptra)
Lip fat transfer
Retinol, glycolic acid (AHA), vitamin C peels
Laser that removed old permanent makeup
Status post Lasik or cataract surgery (or 1 month prior)
Full dose of Accutane