Permanent makeup, or cosmetic tattooing of the eyelids, eyebrows and lips has exploded in popularity in the nineties. More and more women, and some men, want to “Wake Up with Makeup”. The most common reasons women seek permanent makeup are for convenience, difficulty applying conventional makeup, allergies to makeup, visual impairment, arthritis, active outdoor lifestyles or demanding work schedules. Few want to look like Cleopatra… rather they want to look like themselves – only better. Camouflage helps many with unsightly scars and vitiligo and requires advanced training. Permanent makeup can give back what the years have taken away and save time and money for women who ordinarily spend 30-60 minutes every day applying makeup, only to have it smudge, smear and disappear with time.
The critical difference between traditional tattooing and cosmetic tattooing (micropigmentation) is the location of the tattoo. Special safety considerations need to be taken when working near the eye for eyeliner. Unlike traditional tattooing, control of pain, swelling and bleeding is vital for the successful practice of permanent makeup. Clients are not uncommonly baby-boomers and their mothers who may suffer from a variety of common and rare medical problems such as high blood pressure and multiple sclerosis. Others have a history of herpes simplex (lips) or other conditions which the practitioner must take into consideration prior to performing the procedure. Pregnancy and clients taking blood thinner medication are absolute contraindications for cosmetic tattooing.
The variation in skin thickness, elasticity and color on the face presents special challenges for the dermatechnician. Traditional black tattoo inks are not flattering when used on eyebrows due to the grey-blue hues that result as time passes. Streaking or migration of pigments and inks used around the eyes for eyeliner often needs laser or surgical removal. Lipcolors may “pull blue” even in the hands of experienced practitioners. A thorough understanding of color is needed to achieve the desired result in permanent makeup. Mixtures of pigments may look good in the bottle but result in bizarre brow and lipcolors when healed.