Permanent Make-up (Micropigmentation): My Not-So-Great Experience

Don’t you love the ads, “Wake up looking as though your make-up was freshly applied” or “never put make up on again”?  Whatever.  Obviously they weren’t referring to my face in the mornings.  I assure you, even with permanent makeup, I don’t look like Jane Diva when I crack my eyes open for the first time each day.

The one thing that really grabs your attention and convinces you to go for it is the fine collection or just-been-tattooed before and afters.  Especially on the clients with pale blue or gray eyes.  Put dark eyeliner on any light eye and you’re gonna look like a super model. The tattooed eyeliner looks especially dark and perfectly applied right afterwards, plus comparing it to an unmade up eye is simply night and day. 

Granted tattooed brows are often dark and clown-like right afterwards and I don’t care what they say, if you don’t have enough brow hair to camouflage, it won’t look natural.  I have had permanent eyebrows for 5 years, I know. 

And the lips? The lips always look super bright and are as shiny as a thirteen year old slathered in dollar store lip-gloss. Wait. I sometimes like inexpensive lipgloss. Scratch that. Hwo about a 5 year old that has gotten into her Mom’s Avon samples??  Whatever the case, I never decided to get my lips done, and I am so glad that I didn’t.

Okay, so why did I do it if I am so bitter?  Because I had sparse eyebrows and got tired of taking 30 minutes to apply symmetrical penciled-in-brows every day.  And while I was there, I figured I’d get lash enhancement—not exactly eyeliner but little dots of color around my lashes to make them stand out more.  I actually originally wanted permanent lip color before anything else to make my vermilion border more prominent. But, after seeing and hearing about the tons of faded, messed-up hack jobs I just wasn’t willing to take that chance.  Lip liner pencil isn’t all that difficult to apply.  And honestly I don’t even use lip liner anymore.

The one thing many permanent make-up artists don’t take into account is how the pigment will appear through the color of your skin.  If you have a yellow skin tone, well that bluish-black ink will look green.   If you are fair as Snow White, the color is more likely to stay true.  But your skin color does determine the end result.  Remember the pigment is implanted into your skin so as soon as it heals, you will have a layer of skin tone between it and someone’s eyesight.  Remember the color wheel, my friends.

Another issue I have with permanent make up is it’s permanent!  My tattoo artist gave me some hogwash about brows being like two sisters, not twins.  That’s just an excuse for people who can’t tattoo symmetrically.  I have reviewed a ton of photos, including my own, and it is my opinion that symmetrical brows look better than asymmetrical ones.  You cannot sway me with your sisters-logic!!!  I don’t want to look sexy on one side and frowning on the other.  It’s just not right.  Make SURE you use stencils or some form of system that you can get what you want and always go lighter than you think.  Simply drawing your own on and having them wipe a bit of your brow pencil off and tattooing it back in is not sufficient.  Which is exactly why I am not happy with my own.

Also, as the pigment fades, you look uneven.  As you may already know permanent make up is not all the way permanent.  It’s just sorta-kinda permanent.  Permanent enough to where doesn’t go away, but semi-permanent enough that it gets splotchy.  Joy.   The inner areas are what have faded the most and will continue to slowly do so.  Why can’t my regular tattoos do this?  Well, at least the ones I am trying to get rid of.

Now before I brace for a barrage of negative comments, if you get a good permanent make up tattoo artist and you keep up with the maintenance touch-ups, you will be happier than I am.  It is possible to look pretty good with permanent make up.  But it’s usually a one shot deal.  After the first mistake corrections are difficult.  I am just thankful mine have faded so much.  The outer area is what I don’t like the most because it is truly a faint tattoo line and thin.  I have had several people ask, “Are your eyebrows tattooed on?”  I say, “Yes.”  Then they ask, “Why did you do that?” Then I have to go through the anguish of explaining the whole story about why I did it, then how I regret it, blah blah blah.

The pain factor:  It really doesn’t hurt too badly if you use a topical anesthetic like LMX. The lashline tickles like crazy however.  You can’t feel the needle because of the anesthetic eyedrops but I tell you what, you can feel the vibrations.  The eyebrows don’t hurt at all if you use an anesthetic.  Just be careful with topical anesthetics on the mucosa of the lips, I have a friend who had a serious reaction.  One more thing, be sure the technician does not add the anesthetic to the ink itself.  This can be dangerous.

Cosmetic facial tattooing is an art, it truly is.  So please be sure to do your research.  Another tip I have is to bring a digital camera.  That way you can truly see how the brow shape or new lip shape will look like once it is tattooed in.  When you look in a mirror, your eyes can adjust and not see a true perspective.  Take a digital photo to truly see how it looks, use these free eyebrow stencils, anything.  Don’t be stuck with something you don’t want.

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