Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Difference Between Tattooing, Permanent Makeup, and Semi-Permanent Makeup

"Aren't you guys kind of like tattooing?"

That's usually the first thing a client asks when they walk into our salon. You can tell from the slightly raised brow, quirked-up lips, and owlish eyes that she's skeptical of getting the service done. And for many, if not all permanent makeup technicians, they know that permanent makeup and tattooing are similar but not the same. 

The public does not.

For us specialists, we like to think of tattooing and permanent makeup as in-laws, or even remote cousins. Tattoo is the robust man, displaying vibrant body art that covers his arms. He has a look of knowing that he is the man for the job when it comes to a decorative spiral on your shoulder or a fierce tiger running down your back. However, match him with a woman's face as his canvas and you've got yourself a bumbling man unable to appease his girl's wants and needs. This is where his cousin Permanent Makeup comes in.

Permanent Makeup is the process of pigmentation of the eyebrows, eyeliner, and lips. Via needle, the color is applied to the skin, thus rendering the need for reapplying makeup null and void. The benefits of permanent makeup suit the older woman-- no need to spend time putting on makeup for work in the morning, it is a time and money saver. When analysts sort in how much people spend on makeup, it nets around the thousands for one year. Permanent makeup can also help clients with unsteady vision and hands, those who suffer from hair loss, and those who have patchy or discoloration in their lips. It may seem like the best deal for those who want to look great for years to come, but also be cautious! Many are unaware of the risks of permanent makeup as well. Depending on the machine, pigment, or technician, permanent makeup can be a blessing or a curse. 

One thing to note is that our skin has three essential layers. From outwards in, they are known as the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis (also called the subcutaneous tissue). The epidermis is the most superficial layer of skin, ranging from 0.1 mm to 1.5 mm thick. According to general guidelines and word of mouth, permanent makeup penetrates into the dermis and sometimes even to the subcutis. In an area where blood veins and nerves are located, the pain threshold considered is unwieldy. Technicians may tout their numbing creams and gels and lotions, but unless you are going for a nerve block injection, chances are clients will feel something, especially if they have skin conditions such as alopecia.

To continue, clients must know what kind of ingredients are in pigments. Unfortunately, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who regulates the sale of cosmetics and safeguards consumers from anything dangerous, do not regulate the manufacturing of pigments

"Many pigments used in tattoo inks are not approved for skin contact at all. Some are industrial grade colors that are suitable for printers' ink or automobile paint."
American FDA ( last updated 04/14/2011)

What does that mean?

It means that pigments may cause allergies, leave residues in the skin when they fade, and/or change color. The black eyeliner might leave a bluish tinge in your skin, the red-brown brows become orange. Some pigments are known to cause problems when people go in to take an MRI test. All in all, check to make sure that the technician isn't paying $15 for a pigment when you're paying $250 to get brows done. 

Additionally, what type of machine are they using? Are the technicians using machines where needles are re-used? What types of hygiene measures do they take? Is the facility clean? Do they use single-use medical examination gloves? Do they know what an ultrasonic bath or an autoclave is? If you ask these questions to your soon-to-be permanent makeup provider and he or she cannot answer it, please do yourself the favor and get the heck out of there! 

Furthermore, one of the main key points in permanent makeup is its longevity. Conversely, it can be its downfall as well. Fashion is ever changing and that is also true to makeup. Thin brows were all the range back in the day and now it's fashionable to have a full pair. Skin sags. Complexions dim. We may do botox and fillers and plastic surgery but that too is not everlasting. This is true with permanent makeup as well. Do clients really want to be stuck with a look they had ten years ago? Who knows how much the skin has changed since then? And with that, we now have a client with mismatched brows who are dissatisfied in the long run. They may have paid cheap but will be paying more when it comes to costly tattoo removal services. Quality does come at a price, and with our faces, there is no denying that we want quality.

So where does that exactly leave us? Is there nothing that can offer the perks of permanent makeup but without the risks attuned to it?

Fear not, as there is semi-permanent makeup. The major difference between semi-permanent and permanent makeup is the depth of the penetration of the skin. As mentioned before, human skin composes of three distinct layers, with the epidermis being the outermost layer. Semi-permanent makeup pigments in the epidermal area, barely touching the dermis. It may not last as long as permanent, however the results are very pleasing and most importantly, natural! But to note, make sure that technicians are using the best of the best for their clients.

Long-Time-Liner Conture Makeup® is the leader of this specialized field, helping clients achieve their natural potential beauty through subtly accentuating their eyebrows, eyeliners, and lips. First projected as medical pigmentation, Long-Time-Liner pigments are medical-grade, hypoallergenic, sterile, anti-bacterial, and contain no heavy metals (the main perpetrator of pigment color changing in the skin). They are safe to use on patients who suffer from burns and scars, who are going through chemotherapy, and who suffer from vitilago and alopecia. 

Clients who have come into our Beverly Hills salon have left feeling satisfied and happy with their look, which is tailored for them in our free consultations. Our staff are compassionate and honestly in tune with client's needs and concerns and are ready to help. If you're ever in the area or want more information, don't hesitate to drop by or send an email to Thanks for reading!


Ashley, Linergist®.

1 comment:

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