The Low Down on Makeup Tattoos — Risks, Benefits, And What To Know

Do you ever fantasize about your makeup staying put forever? Kind of like on The Jetsons when Judy Jetson placed her face in a machine and voilà – perfectly applied makeup with zero effort. 

Your fantasy can be a reality thanks to permanent makeup tattoos. You can roll out of bed and be ready to go with a flawless face.

Permanent makeup, for the “uninitiated,” is a tattoo procedure that can give you permanently thick brows, pigmented lips, and a precise cat eye that lasts for years without touch-ups.

What Exactly Is A Makeup Tattoo?

Permanent makeup, commonly known as cosmetic tattoos, allows you to reproduce your beloved makeup looks in a permanent fashion.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard about microblading. There has been a meteoric rise in the popularity of eyebrows over the past several years, and this has contributed to the widespread adoption of the tattooing technique for enhancing the appearance of the brows.

And dear reader, eyebrows are only the beginning. Blush-pink lips, lined eyes, and even fake freckles are all within your reach.

Permanent makeup in 2020 does not simply look like a line of tattooed ink along your eyes or mouth, in contrast to the tattooed makeup of the 1980s and 1990s. Oh no, we have come a long way, baby. 

So let’s get into what kinds of makeup tattoos are available, along with the pros and cons of tatting up your face!

Types Of Makeup Tattoos


Microblading is a type of semi-permanent tattooing where a blade is used to make very thin, hair-like strokes that make the brows look like they belong in a magazine. Sounds painful, right? Not according to the people I know who’ve had the procedure.

The needles just scrape the skin and transfer pigment into the tiny incisions. Just about all specialists use a numbing cream before the procedure, which takes the pain down to a minimal level. 

There is a finite lifespan for microblading. Due to the superficial nature of the cuts, your body will eventually metabolize it – i.e. the semi-permanent title.

In most cases, you should expect your microblading to last between one and two years. One caveat: water should be avoided for a week after application if you want your brows to look their best.

If you want to get microblading done, expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,000 – that’s the average cost. The investment may be worthwhile, however, if you already spend a fortune on brow treatments and products!

Lip Blushing

“Lip blushing” is a misleading term –  no actual blush is used while giving one’s lips a permanent tint.

This describes a type of tattooing that lasts for about a year and a half and gives your lips a defined and fuller appearance. Lip blushing has a similar effect to lip fillers, but it also takes your natural lip color up a notch.

The overall effect is much more organic. The specialist will use needles to implant the pigments of your desired tint onto your lips. If you overline your lips all the time, just do not like fillers, and spend too much time and money trying to find the perfect lip color, lip blushing might be a wise investment beauty option for you to look into.

“While waking up every day with a pigmented pout (sans lipstick) sounds like a dream, be careful when choosing your shade,” Sejal Shah, a cosmetic dermatologist and founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology, tells Allure.  “The final color depends on the underlying color of the lips, and you may not always get the color you expect.

“While lip blushing may not be permanent, it can last years and even still may not fully disappear. If you aren’t happy with the color, you may be stuck with it or have to do laser removal.” 

Prices for lip blushing range from $500 to $1500 – and an additional $350 or more will be charged if you decide to return for a touch-up appointment to refill any areas that the pigment missed during the initial procedure.

Permanent Eyeliner

The process of permanent eyeliner entails placing pigment along the lash line to mimic the effect of the liner you apply. People can choose from a wide range of eyeliner tattoo designs to suit their individual preferences and looks. 

In order to draw attention to your eyes, you can use lash line enhancement, which consists of a thin, black line placed along the inner edge of your lash line.

“The area is numbed first, and then thin liner is tattooed right in the lash line,” Piret Aava (aka The Eyebrow Doctor) told Marie Claire. “You fill in between the lashes to create the illusion of thicker, darker, and completely full lashes without looking lined or like obvious makeup.”

The tattoos can be put on either your upper or lower lashline (or both), and they make your eyes stand out right away.

Semi-permanent eyeliner is another option; it may be put above the lash line to create a variety of looks, from a dramatic cat eye to a subtle smokey wing.

Permanent eyeliner can provide you with the same effects as your morning practice of drawing eyeliner but without the trouble of doing it every day. The effects of the treatment can last anywhere from one to three years and often range in price from $600 to $1,000.

Pros And Cons Of Makeup Tattoos

According to Derma Health Laser & Skin Care Clinic, there are both benefits and risks associated with permanent makeup tattoos.

Pros include:

  • Convenience

  • Time saving

  • No smudging or smearing

  • Can be tailored to your aesthetic 

  • Confidence-boosting

The cons are listed as:

  • It’s permanent

  • Can cause allergic reactions or skin infections

  • It can be painful

  • It’s costly 

  • It can fade

Be sure to weigh all of these factors when considering getting any makeup tattoos, and they should always be done by an attentive professional who will make sure that the look you want is the look you get!


Would you ever consider getting any of these makeup tattoos done? Tell us in the comments!

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