Is Permanent Makeup Actually Permanent? The Bare Truth.

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If you have been researching permanent makeup at all you will more than likely have noticed that some artists claim that what they do is permanent makeup and other artists claim it is semi-permanent makeup. This issue is one that must be understood very clearly by potential clients in order to appreciate the investment they may wish to make in themselves along with what their permanent makeup treatment will look like in the long term.

Firstly, semi-permanent makeup and permanent makeup are technically the same thing. However in saying this, please be mindful that, as in many things, the devil is in the details!

To start with, let’s just say that semi-permanent makeup, permanent makeup and microblading all fall under the umbrella term, cosmetic tattooing or micropigmentation. Tattooing is the art of implanting coloured ink into the skin using a manual tool or tattoo machine. The result is long term and, for the sake of simplicity, permanent. Cosmetic tattooing/micropigmentation is the same process, but is done for the sole purpose of implanting specially formulated permanent makeup pigment into the uppermost layer of the dermis of the skin, in order to replicate a natural look, and/or one which the client applies daily with cosmetics. Treatments are done for eyebrows, eyeliner, and lips. How natural or intense the final look appears is based on client preference, always with artist guidance and advice.

Now let’s distinguish the terms semi-permanent makeup and permanent makeup.  This is where the greatest confusion lies in the way of terminology. Basically, there really is no such thing as semi-permanent makeup. When ink (or in the case of the permanent makeup artist–pigment) is implanted into the skin, when done correctly, most of the ink/pigment particles remain permanently in the skin.  What makes some want to use the term semi-permanent makeup is that, depending on the pigment used and the treatment performed, cosmetic tattooing can and, likely will, fade.

In fact, permanent makeup tends to fade faster and more than body art. The reasons have to do with the colour of pigment we use and the constant exposure of the face to the elements over anywhere else on the body. Having said this, fading aside, pigment particles do remain in the skin, so the term semi-permanent is a misleading one and, actually an incorrect one, scientifically speaking. To be responsible to clients, artists must use the correct terminology and explain the process in a thorough consultation. This is all part of what I do in my studio. Client education is essential.

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Furthermore, not all permanent makeup treatments completely fade. In the case of eyeliner and lip cosmetic tattooing the treatment can last a very long time, provided long lasting pigments are used. Permanent makeup on the brows tends to be the one cosmetic tattoo treatment that lasts the least amount of time and the longevity depends on the technique, the pigment and the artist skill.  When properly done, a permanent makeup eyebrow ought to be on point for a period of 2 to 3 years, not months! Not having to apply eyebrow pencil every day makes this investment, even with the fade factor, very worth it!

It must be understood that all permanent cosmetic treatments “shrink” as they heal and this is because the liquid ingredients in the ink, that permit the artist to tattoo it into the skin, get safely washed out of the body and the residue is what remains–in the form of permanent makeup pigment particles in the skin, leaving behind the beautiful treatment you paid for–a lovely tattooed eyeliner, luscious permanent lip colour, or fabulously styled and coloured permanent eyebrows.

In the case of eyebrows, no matter the technique, permanent makeup artists must always use shades of brown. Since brown is a composition of other colours, each individual colour will fade in the skin at a different rate. For example, yellow is a very weak colour and is generally the first to fade. Body art tattooists use mainly primary colours in their work and it is one of the reasons you believe they stay in the skin forever. However, even a fresh and vibrant body art tattoo will dull and fade over time. They too need retouches. Incidentally, conventional tattoo artists, as compared to permanent makeup artists, rarely use brown in their work, let alone go to great effort to select the perfect shade of brown to complement skin tone and hair colour. Next time you are in a permanent makeup studio, if you do not see many different bottles containing shades of brown, I suggest you politely leave!!

Sun exposure, pollution, free radicals, skin care regimen, skin type and condition, supplements, medicines, health issues, lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol and cannabis use, and even the formulation of the ink all play a role in the “fade factor”.

In my studio I use the right pigment for the job. These are known to be very safe, innocuous and harmless.

My vow to my clients is that I will recommend a treatment that factors in all lifestyle choices in order to predict your healed result as well as how often you will require perfection sessions (permanent makeup touch ups). I also promise a beautiful treatment that will remain true and for long enough that you get what you came to me for…. a solution to your morning routine; a set of brows that you had once but lost over time; a confidence and beauty boost.

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If you love your permanent makeup, at least plan to keep it vibrant with regular annual retouches ( 2-3 years ). Often annual isn’t even required, but I like clients to check in.  My aim is always beautiful longevity in your permanent makeup treatment. You now know why fading occurs and what to do to keep your treatment looking fresh and natural and elegant. Considering the alternative, as in being burdened with heavily saturated brows that have changed color, the “fade factor” is actually a good thing. You also now know that anyone that says they do “semi-permanent makeup” isn’t being forthright. This includes microblading. I am JeongAe Davidson and I am the Toronto Permanent Makeup Artist you can always trust. Are you ready for your transformation?  Click here to book an appointment with Eye The Brows.

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©JeongAe Davidson.  All Rights Reserved.

Eye The Brows Permanent Makeup Studio Toronto

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