From Our Editors
Permanent Makeup: Forever Fresh-Faced
Permanent makeup makes it easy to exchange your makeup bag for a few extra minutes in bed. Read up on this convenient cosmetic treatment before going under the needle.
Permanent makeup—usually used to define or fill in eyelids, eyebrows, and lips—is essentially a tattoo. But in this case, the lines applied to skin are typically designed not to stand out but to blend in. Using a standard tattoo gun—or as with the SofTap method, a special hand-guided tool—a cosmetic technician implants micropigments made from inert minerals just below the surface of the skin. The artist may create a solid wash of color to make lips rosier or lash lines darker, or may carefully draw in individual strands of hair along the brow.
Unlike summer-camp friendships, permanent makeup usually doesn’t last forever. That’s because the face receives more UV exposure than other body parts, so ink there fades more quickly. Touchup sessions may be scheduled as soon as six months or as long as 10 years after the initial session. As with any tattoo, clients likely will experience a bit of swelling for three to seven days, and the pigment will appear darker than the target shade for about six weeks. There is one post-treatment precaution to take: the minerals in permanent makeup can interfere with MRIs, so you should be sure to inform your technician of any micropigmentation you have as well as the number of magnets you’ve swallowed.
- Permanent makeup’s uses go beyond the obvious: in 2007, one artist told Elle that some clients have opted to tattoo already-full brows as a permanent guideline for waxing techs.
- Cosmetic tattooing isn’t a Western invention. Some of the Maori women of New Zealand are reported to have felt that their elaborate, traditional facial tattoos also kept wrinkles from developing around the mouth.