What are Permanent Cosmetics?

Erin Oxendine

Permanent cosmetics are micropigmentation procedures available for those interested in long-term makeup solutions. These procedures are permanent because the technique is performed through cosmetic tattooing. Many people find permanent cosmetics are more convenient for busy lifestyles and are an alternative to spending tons of money on cosmetics.

Permanent cosmetics may help cover facial scars.
Permanent cosmetics may help cover facial scars.

There are different reasons why someone would want to have permanent cosmetics including covering up facial scars or skin discolorations. Some people choose this form of cosmetic beautification after suffering from medical conditions that result in disfigured facial features. Permanent color can also enhance the appearance of a person’s eyes or lips and is an alternative to cosmetic surgery. Other people opt to have this procedure because they are allergic to the ingredients in regular makeup.

Permanent lipstick is a type of permanent cosmetic.
Permanent lipstick is a type of permanent cosmetic.

There are several ways that specialists apply permanent cosmetics. In some countries, this technique is performed using regular tattoo machines or by using a coil machine. In the United States, most technicians apply the permanent pigment by using an instrument similar to a pen with a small end on it where the dye comes out. The dyes are pre-mixed, come in a variety of colors, and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US. Each dye tube is marked with the color, lot number and expiration date to ensure the safest dyes are used on the client.

Most permanent cosmetics take about an hour or two from start to finish for the technician to perform. The client will need to come back for a follow-up visit in about four to six weeks and to correct any areas that may be too light or dark. Since the procedure does involve injecting the area with a pigment by using a small handheld needle, there may be some slight redness afterward.

Technicians are able to offer permanent cosmetics ranging from permanent eyeliner and eyebrows. Other long-lasting makeup options that are popular include full lipstick and lip liner. Customers can also request additional tattoo services such as beauty marks and scar camouflage. Most companies that specialize in this type of service also provide permanent cosmetics to minimize old tattoos and correct uneven skin tones.

One factor people should consider if they are thinking about getting any type of permanent cosmetics is that even though these applications are permanent, the tattoo colors will only stay sharp and bright for at least several years. After that, the cosmetic dye may start to fade and require another visit to the technician to have the color refreshed. It is also important to note that as skin ages and wrinkles, it could affect the appearance or condition of the cosmetic procedure.

An eyeliner tattoo is a type of permanent cosmetic.
An eyeliner tattoo is a type of permanent cosmetic.

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Discussion Comments


I have looked in to permanent make up because I am allergic to almost every kind of make up I have tried. I would love to wear make up more often, but it is usually not worth it. If I invested in some kind of permanent make up I think it would be well worth it. I would just want to really make sure that I would not have any allergic reactions to anything used in the procedure.

I do have a friend who had permanent eye liner put on and she really loves it. She is the only one that I personally know that has had it done, but it helps to know someone else has tried it and really is happy with the results.


I am very interested in permanent makeup, and think my first choice would be eyeliner. I think it would be great to not have to put it on and take it off everyday. If you got up late or didn't feel like putting makeup on that day, you would still have some makeup around your eyes so you wouldn't look so bad!

I have read a little bit of information on the procedure, but have never priced how much it would costs. I know that you read much more about it than you used to, so hopefully the cost is not that bad.

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