Permanent Makeup – Just a Fad or Here to Stay?

More and more people are getting permanent makeup applied to their eyes, lips, or eyebrows. Similar to a tattoo, permanent cosmetics is a non-surgical technique in which a tiny quantity of pigment is placed under the top layer of the skin. If done correctly, the end result should be similar to the professionally applied makeup- only it stays on for good. Here are my pros and cons of this relatively new beauty service and what you need to know.


  • Time Saving. People with busy schedules don’t have to worry about adding makeup application to their daily morning routine.
  • You never have to worry about your makeup smudging or fading - permanent makeup won't come off after exercising or bathing.
  • It’s ideal for those who have a visual impairment or unsteady hands due to a medical condition.
  • Permanent makeup benefits people with cosmetic allergies, scars, or pigmentation conditions like vitiligo, which causes the appearance of irregular white patches on the skin.


  • Allergic Reactions. They’re rare, but they're difficult to treat because it's hard to remove pigment from the skin once it's been injected.
  • A keloid formation could occur, in which scars grow beyond their natural boundaries, or granulomas, nodules that form around the pigment.
  • Make sure a licensed technician who uses sterile equipment treats you, as hepatitis and staph infections can be transmitted through unsanitary needle use.
  • You may regret the decision in the future. Although there are new advances in laser surgery, dermabrasion, and surgical removal, pigment removal is difficult and often leaves scars.

Different Methods

Cosmetic tattooing is performed in different ways using different types of equipment. The name of the device that holds the needle describes the application method. The categories of equipment and methods are as follows:

  1. Manual Hand Tool method (also called Hand Tap or Non-Machine method).  A technique where pigment is tapped into the skin using a small hand instrument that looks similar to an exacto knife handle with needles at the tip.
  2. Coil Machine method (a smaller version of the traditional tattoo machine).  This machine uses electromagnetic coils to move an armature bar up and down. Connected to the armature bar is a barred needle grouping that pushes ink into the skin.
  3. Analog Pen or Rotary Machine method (most commonly used).  Similar to the coil machine method, except this machine is powered by regulated motors rather than electromagnetic coils.
  4. Computerized Digital Machine method (most sophisticated technology).  The needles on this machine implant pigment very precisely, and the machines use internal computer chips (microprocessors) to control the needle speeds.