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Permanent Makeup Is Back — And It Looks Nothing Like It Did 20 Years Ago

What this type of procedure was 20, and even just 10, years ago is not what it is today. Still, make no mistake — this type of makeup is back, and it isn't going away any time soon.


When it comes to tattooing makeup on your face, the misconceptions that stem from what permanent and semi-permanent makeup was in the past are understandably hard to let go of. The tattoo guns and paper-thin eyebrow tattoos that existed in the past have now been (mostly) replaced with microblading — a semi-permanent procedure that involves a tiny, tiny, tiny blade digging into your skin so that ink can fill the tiny cut and tattoo you. The result is a completely natural-looking eyebrow when it's done correctly.




According to the New York Times, permanent and semi-permanent makeup has been around since the early 1980s, and was first used as a way for those with alopecia to have something that looked like eyebrows where there was no hair.


Since then, permanent makeup has evolved to include not just eyebrow shaping and lining, but lash line enhancement and eyeliner, and lip lining and pigment as well. While eyebrows are one of the most common permanent makeup procedures, this doesn't mean that you can simply walk into any salon and expect your eyebrows to come out perfectly.

Technically, in the U.S., all treatments are considered permanent from a health department standpoint, because the treatments cannot be washed off and require opening the skin, permanent or semi-permanent makeup is often lumped in with tattooing or piercing standards, rather than having its own set of rules or requirements.

While the permanent makeup craze may have started from people's desire to have makeup that lasted forever, this simply isn't ideal for any consumer — and that's why it's important for people to know that almost all "permanent" makeup applications done today aren't exactly permanent — at least not how they were in the past.


In the years past traditional carbon-based tattoo ink was used for permanent makeup. It lasted much longer and usually aged to a very unflattering color, not only have pigments advanced a great deal today, but there are specific pigments made for the permanent makeup industry — and specifically for the face as well. In the past, carbon-based ink was used on the face for permanent cosmetics which is what lead to the eventual green tint of some tattoos.


This paired with the fact that most popular permanent makeup today is formulated to allow the skin to change over time. What works on your 25-year-old skin is probably not what works on your 50-year-old skin. The use of new pigments that still last for months and years at a time but ultimately do fade, has led to a results that look much softer and natural than in the past. And, as Bray importantly notes, it's also something that can be tweaked as years go on.


This paired with the fact that most popular permanent makeup today is formulated to allow the skin to change over time. What works on your 25-year-old skin is probably not what works on your 50-year-old skin. The use of new pigments that still last for months and years at a time but ultimately do fade, has led to a results that look much softer and natural than in the past. It's also something that can be tweaked as years go on.


Your eyebrows are in the middle of your face — you should probably be a little scared, or at least cautious. But, if you do your research and find someone qualified, it doesn’t have to be scary. Just don’t try to cut corners on pricing or settle for someone unless they are qualified.

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502 E Chatham Street, Cary NC 27511 

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919-614-2107

Artist - Preeya

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