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What exactly is permanent makeup?

Updated: Feb 6

What exactly is permanent makeup?


Permanent MakeUp Brows, lips, eyeliner , powder brows

Permanent makeup, also referred to as micropigmentation, semi-permanent makeup, micropigmentation , microblading or cosmetic tattooing, is a procedure involving the implantation of ink into the skin to alter its colour permanently or for an extended duration.


Does this ring a bell? Let's examine how dictionaries define this process...


*: a design created on the skin using needles to create small punctures and fill them with coloured dye.

*: a lasting image, pattern, or word on the skin achieved by using needles to insert colours beneath the skin.


All of the above are definitions of the word "TATTOO."


Put simply, permanent makeup is a form of tattooing.


But what sets it apart?


When done correctly, permanent makeup will fade significantly or almost completely and will require correction, often referred to as a touch-up or colour boost. This is why the treatment is sometimes called SEMI-permanent makeup.


Permanent makeup is applied to the face to mimic makeup and enhance, define, or alter facial features.

Common areas include eyebrows, lips, eyeliner, as well as beauty marks, freckles, contouring imitation, and the concealment of dark circles or pigmentation caused by scars or autoimmune conditions (such as vitiligo).


Depth of implantation: 

Unlike body art tattoos, permanent makeup requires shallower ink application. This is not only because facial skin is generally thinner than skin elsewhere on the body but also due to the way colours appear when placed too deeply.


Deeper pigment placement can distort colours. Our skin acts as a filter, altering the appearance of colours placed beneath it. Deeper pigment tends to make colours appear colder. Think of how black body tattoos often appear blue once they've healed.


To achieve a sandy brown colour for brows or a peachy pink tone for lips, the pigment must be placed as close to the surface as possible to avoid colour distortion. This phenomenon, known as the Tyndall effect, is a topic in itself! 😊


Colorants (pigments):

While tattoo and SPMU (Semi-Permanent Makeup) pigments contain the SAME ingredients, the concentration of the dry colorant in the mix for SPMU is lower than for body and art tattoos.


Inks for permanent makeup come in smaller bottles. They are also conveniently pre-mixed to match specific skin tones, types on the Fitzpatrick scale, etc. This eliminates the need to create custom mixes from inks intended for artistic tattoos.


Some argue that inks for permanent makeup are somehow more "pure" and hypoallergenic...

My question to them is: "What is more likely to cause problems, a pair of brows or a full back tattoo?" If anything, body art pigments must be as pure as a child's tear simply because the amount introduced into the skin is usually significantly greater than the amount used for SPMU treatments...

But again, that is a topic for a separate discussion!

Some of my favourite pigment brands are:

AP Group Pigments:

Swiss Color Pigments:

Equipment used:

During a permanent makeup procedure, a trained technician uses a specialized tattooing machine or manual tool to deposit pigment into the dermal layer of the skin.

The equipment for SPMU can be less powerful than that used for body art tattoos. This is again due to differences in skin thickness and the size of the area covered during the treatment. Some SPMU techniques utilize manual blades and needles, such as soft tap and microblading techniques.


The equipment I love the most:

Shorts troke equipment:

Bellar Air Wireless!!!! What a Joy to use!!

Leox Hard -super light, snappy , packs the colour with ease and absolute love of mine !!!

Mid Stroke (Hybrid):

Spektra Xion S- all times favourite for any occasion or skin type! Spektra can be your EVERYTHING!!!!! It has Interchangeable Stroke Options and can go from 1.8 to 3.7 stroke and this is not the only it's benefits...

Long Stroke:

Cheyenne HAWK Pen -light and super powerfull!

Spektra Flux -Wireless, chunky but sits beautifully even in a small ladies hand. Powerful!!

To sum it up:


Tattoo, Permanent makeup, semi-permanent makeup, micropigmentation , cosmetic tattooing, medical tattooing, microblading, is a  procedure that involves depositing inks into the skin to change its colour permanently or for an extended period.

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