Permanent Makeup

All Things Permanent Makeup

Permanent makeup is a facet of the tattoo industry and has been around for many decades.  As with many beauty treatments the field has expanded dramatically in the past 15 years owing to outstanding innovations in techniques, equipment, and pigment formulating.  Because of this, the permanent makeup industry now generates billions of dollars annually worldwide and for incredibly good reason.  Today, permanent makeup is no longer a strand of the tattoo industry, it respectfully stands right next to body art in popularity.

At one time a permanent makeup treatment was seen as a premier luxury service sought out more by the upper middle class and wealthy.  Service fees were higher than for traditional body art, not because any less skill is required, but because demand exceeded supply.  Add to that, it is, of course, a beauty treatment, meaning esteem and price are intrinsically connected.   Permanent makeup allowed clients to wake up daily with their makeup intact.  This made daily life and especially vacationing much more palatable for many women who would not be seen outdoors without flawless makeup.

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There are thousands of brilliant artists who have been practicing permanent makeup since its inception.  Many of the brightest permanent makeup minds have come out of Eastern Europe and Asia.  As these dedicated professionals continued to experiment and try new methods and application techniques, the rest of the world became introduced to an art form much more refined, delicate, realistic, and exquisite than it was in the early days.  As these new skills got shared, the industry exploded.  Of course, once celebrities and high-profile individuals zoned in on these new practices, the industry entered a stratospheric level. 

And it continues to grow, thanks to the ongoing ingenuity of boundary pushing artists.

Permanent makeup is tattoo art.  It is quite literally the implantation of tattoo ink, more discretely known as pigment, into the skin to create perfectly shaped eyebrows and eyeliner.  It is also done on lips to restore contour and add colour.   While it is essential for clients to understand the practice at its core, the work has as many differences as it does similarities to conventional tattoo.

Permanent Makeup is Tattoo Art.

A Little More Info...

Firstly, permanent makeup artists work on the face.  The face is a vastly difference canvas for the purposes of tattooing than the body for several physiological reasons.  The skin is much more complex on the face and there is no other part of the body home to such varying tissue structures in close proximity.  For example, the eyebrows are clearly quite different from the eyelids, where the skin is thin and there is far less dermal activity.  In addition, lips have no glands or follicles at all and, therefore, no entryways for tattoo.  These variables alone mean that the permanent makeup artist must have a deep and thorough knowledge of how their art effectively marries skin with utmost priority placed on client comfort, reasonable session duration, and, most importantly, retention. 


In addition to the differences in the skin, there are a host of important considerations that must be made by a permanent makeup artist to protect a client’s safety and investment.  Skin that has been damaged by the sun will require a careful approach.  Clients who are taking certain medications or supplements or who are going through medical treatments may not be suitable candidates.  If they are, the artist may need to customise his or her treatment plan for optimal healing and results.  Permanent makeup artists tend to do more thorough consultations than their body art counterparts. 


Lastly, the colours used are different.  Most body artists do not use the colour brown while permanent makeup artists only use browns, in varying hues for eyebrows.  No other colour is suitable unless the client is seeking a very customised treatment.  In terms of the application of eyeliner, artists need to consider healed results and ensure that the eyeliner heals on target.  In consideration of lips, because of the thinness of the tissue, ensuring a correct healed result requires an intuitive understanding of both colour theory and skin tone.  To illustrate, older clients have thinner skin.  This means that the underlying structure is often more visible through the skin.  This impacts the healed colour of all permanent makeup treatments.  These considerations are less imperative on the body, as body artists tend to use more primary colours that remain stable, and the skin on the body tends to become thinner later in life.  We always notice the signs of aging on our face first. 


Permanent makeup artists are typically engaged in ongoing learning, always expanding their skills, learning new techniques, and remaining up to date on sanitation controls and client safety.  This robust industry is teeming with training opportunities and large conferences where artists gather, network, and remain connected.  In fact, given the size of the industry and the number of artists in it, it is also small in terms of collegiality and connections.  Artists work together to establish and uphold the highest possible standards, understanding the responsibility they bear to clients.  They know that poor workmanship reflects poorly on the entire industry and so the camaraderie is admirable and impressive.


Permanent makeup artists today strive not only to be the best they can be, but they also help clients find solutions.  No longer a luxury service, today’s permanent makeup clients are people who seek to enhance their natural features.  Perhaps brows started off as or became sparse over time.  The application of brow cosmetics can be tiresome.  Artists not only know how to tattoo beautiful soft and natural looking brows, but they are also able to meticulously shape them to suit each individual face, making them more symmetrical, adding some lift to the eyes and ensuring the finished result amplifies the client’s face and bone structure perfectly.


When creating an eyeliner, the artist may add a remarkably simple touch to add depth and dimension to the eyes, or they may create a look ranging from classic to exotic, even adding eyeshadow.  A treatment like this renders the daily routine of applying eyeliner completely unnecessary.  Best of all, it is long lasting.  A treatment like this helps clients with shaky hands, poor eyesight, or a busy schedule.  It is fabulous for outdoorsy types, athletes and, of course, anyone with skin sensitivities.  The latter group is growing due to many dubious ingredients in skin care products that can sometimes harm more than help. 


In executing a lip tattoo treatment, an artist can bring about better symmetry to the lips and restore contour that diminishes with age.  We tend not to care for our lips through life like we do with our skin.  This lack of attention, combined with day-to-day exposure, causes the once pink vermillion to turn whitish.  Smaller lips add to an aged appearance.  A treatment many clients seek lip tattoo for in recent years is one which addresses dark areas of pigmentation.  An advanced artist can restore even skin tone, leaving the lips looking natural and healthy.


From perfect eyebrows which give the illusion of a lifted face, to the enhancement of the eyes with expertly applied eyeliner, to the amplification of the lips with colour and contour, permanent makeup should be a client’s first consideration before injections and surgery.  The transformations that are achievable in permanent makeup are nothing short of breathtaking.  A 60-year-old client can leave a studio looking 45, simply with a set of dazzling eyebrows. 


In consideration of what permanent makeup can accomplish it is comparatively much more affordable than other interventions.  Today, artists use state-of-the-art equipment and carefully compounded pigments which are completely safe.  Permanent makeup today is applied to softly and gradually fade, leaving opportunity for colour boosts and shape adjustments as time passes.  This is perhaps the most significant development in this industry---ensuring even fading, avoiding locking clients in forever, thereby leaving opportunities for updates and changes.


It is an exciting time for the permanent makeup industry and for clients. 

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