Permanent Makeup FAQ

Permanent Makeup – What is it?

Permanent makeup is cosmetic tattooing. The specialized techniques used for permanent cosmetics are often referred to as “micropigmentation”, “micropigment implantation” or “dermagraphics”. The cosmetic implantation technique deposits colored pigment into the upper reticular layer of the dermis.


How are Permanent Makeup Procedures Performed?

Permanent Makeup procedures are performed using various devices, including the traditional tattoo coil machines, the pen or rotary machine (includes the digital rotary machines) and hand device. The process includes a consultation, the application of pigment, and at least one or more follow up visits for evaluating the healed design work and color of the pigment.


Who Benefits from Permanent Makeup?

People who meet minimum age requirements and have the ability to heal properly from minor wounds can benefit from the liberating benefits of permanent cosmetics. Interest in this service spans the young to the more mature; those who desire a soft, natural enhancement to their appearance. It is especially valuable to people who can’t wear traditional cosmetics due to allergies and skin sensitivities; active people who want to look their best for sports activities such as swimming, hiking, biking, tennis, etc; and those who don’t want to worry about “sweating off” or reapplying cosmetics. Permanent Makeup also benefits the vision challenged who have difficulty applying their cosmetics; and others with dexterity related conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke survivors, and busy people who don’t have time to spend applying and refreshing makeup throughout the day and evening.


Is Permanent Makeup Really Permanent?

Permanent Makeup procedures are considered permanent because pigment is tattooed into the upper reticular part of the dermal layer of the skin and cannot be washed off. However, as with any tattoo or colorant (pigment) in general, fading can and often does occur, requiring periodic maintenance referred to as color re-enhancement or color refreshing. The scientific structure of pigments and the requirement for periodic refreshing is identical to that of tinted hair color; faded material on furniture that may be located near a window and subject to sun exposure; house paint that is exposed to the sun and other environmental elements; pigment implanted in the skin may fade with time. This colorant periodic maintenance requirement is a good opportunity to reevaluate one’s color and design preferences. While the concept of permanent, without any change, may seem like a perfectly good idea, think about how your tastes have changed over the years. From time to time likely you have made subtle or dramatic changes in your clothing preferences, your hair color and style, and if you wear topical makeup, those colors have changed as well. The fact that most people will require periodic color refreshing of their permanent cosmetics is the opportune time to work with your technician to reevaluate your overall appearance profile and determine if any changes are appropriate. Longevity varies from person to person depending on their life style (sun exposure), the color(s) used for the permanent cosmetic procedure, and are also thought to be affected by topical products applied to the skin.


Who should NOT get permanent Makeup?

Although most people are candidates for permanent Makeup, there are those who are not. You must be at least 18 years old in the state of Washington. Permanent makeup is contraindicated for pregnant or nursing women. There are other health issues that are contraindications for micropigmentation. Clients with high blood pressure, on strong blood thinners (such as coumadin), Facial implants, insulin dependent diabetes, hemophilia, on Accutane medication and auto-immune diseases should clear it with their doctors before considering permanent makeup. If you're on Latisse or similiar eyelash enhancing products, you should stop using it before eyeliner procedure. If there is a question as to whether you have a medical issue that would be a contraindication, than it is suggested you see your physician for approval.


How long will it last?

It varies. Permanent Makeup lasts a long time, but not forever. For best results, most procedures will need to be freshened up every few years. Permanent Makeup is not intended to replace cosmetics completely. The color is placed “in” your skin and not “on” your skin, resulting in more natural, softer looks.


Is it painful? 

This always seems to be one of the first questions asked. Topical anesthetics are applied before and during the procedure to assure you of the most comfortable experience possible. However, some discomfort may be felt, especially for lip color. On a scale of 1-10, most people will usually be somewhere between a 0-3.


What is involved in recovery?

Again, this varies with the individual. There will be some swelling and redness in the skin, which should subside quickly. The color will appear darker and more intense, this lasts for several days as the area begins to heal. Most recovery times last from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on age, health status, and aftercare compliance. You will experience light sensitivity with the eyeliner procedure, so be sure to bring some dark sunglasses for your ride home. After the procedure, it is advisable to go home and rest, applying cold packs to the area during the first few hours. Swelling will be worse the following day and then begin to gradually improve. The brows swell the least, the eyes and lips more. You may resume normal activities in 1-2 days. Complete healing takes 2-4 weeks while the pigmentation matures and reaches its final color. Please keep in mind that it is normal to lose approximately one-third of the pigment, and may need a couple of touch ups.


Is It Safe?

If proper sterilization and disinfection guidelines are met, permanent cosmetics should be completely safe. Professionals in the permanent cosmetic industry routinely attend Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) classes to become well versed on safety principals.


IMPORTANT Things To Look For:

  • All Needles should be new and sterile for each client. Unopened new and sterile needles should be opened in your presence.

  • Disposable sterilized one-time use machine parts should be purchased by the artist, and disposed of in a sharps container immediately after the procedure has been completed.

  • Personal protection equipment such as disposable one-time use aprons and gloves should be new for each client and changed during the procedure when needed.

  • The technician should be clean and neat.

  • Disposable one-time use chair/bed covering should be new for each client.

  • The room or treatment area should be in an area free from other contaminants.

  • In Washington state, it's required to obtain both Permanent Cosmetics Artist License and Tattoo Shop License in order to offer Permanent Makeup. These licenses should be clearly displayed.