What is permanent makeup?
Permanent makeup, semi-permanent makeup, cosmetic tattooing, micropigmentation are all names for the same thing- implementing pigment into the upper reticular layer of the dermis (skin). The confusion comes into play when artists use different names for essentially the same treatments. This happens due to cultural differences, artistic expression, and marketing. Regulations in the US vary from state to state, and of course regulations vary from country to country.

Technically in the US all treatments are considered permanent from a health department stand point. The treatments can not be washed off. Because these treatments require opening the skin, all proper sterilization and sanitation needs to be practiced. This is very confusing for the consumer. Some may think they want something semi permanent for a fear of commitment. Some may think they want something to last forever so they never need to worry about it again.

Since the skin is a living breathing organism it is desirable to have pigments that fade over time. Our skin and appearance change over time. Trends change over time. The fading process allows us to make tweaks as the years go on to adopt to a look that is constantly current and flattering. In years past traditional carbon based tattoo ink was used for permanent makeup. It lasted much longer and usually aged to a very unflattering color. Pigments have advanced a great deal in recent years. Now pigments are made specially for the permanent makeup industry and specifically for the face. The skin on the face is very different than the rest of the body.

The combination of advancements in pigments and the fading process allows for a beautiful cosmetic solution that won’t simply be washed off, but can be tweaked as years go on.

What’s semi-permanent makeup?
Semi-permanent makeup is the same thing as permanent makeup, cosmetic tattooing, and micropigmentation. (See above for complete answer)
What’s the difference between permanent and semi-permanent makeup?
There is no difference. They mean the same thing. (See above for complete answer)
What are the most popular permanent and semi-permanent makeup procedures?
In recent years microblading has grown in popularity rather quickly. Perfectly timed with the trend of fuller brows and “no makeup makeup”, many have sought out the treatment. Other popular procedures are eyeliners, lash enhancement (placing pigment between the lash line as opposed to a line above the lash line, like a traditional liner), and lip colors.
What are signs to look out for to tell whether a procedure is permanent or semi-permanent?
The pigments that are being used affects the longevity of the work. If the pigment is carbon based, it will last much longer (but still fade in color). If the pigment is iron oxide based, it will fade over time.
What are some best practices to take care of permanent and semi-permanent makeup?
The biggest things to be mindful of are your sun exposure and products used on the skin. The sun will fade the work much faster. Any skin care products that are exfoliating, contain acids like glycolic and salicylic, or alpha hydroxy will fade the work faster. Lastly all retinoids need to stay away from the work as they will fade very quickly. Any treatments done to the skin like lasers, chemical peels, and waxing need to stay away from the area.
Is there a way to get rid of permanent makeup if someone decides they don’t want it anymore?
Yes. Laser removals and saline removals both work to remove undesired work.
When deciding on procedures, what are some signs to tell if it’s legitimate and will be safe to do?
Thoroughly research the place of business. Check to make sure they are certified, licensed, and insured. If you are still questioning, book a consultation.
What are some common/good reasons to get permanent/semi permanent makeup?
Many clients turn to permanent makeup so they can decrease their morning routine. Others turn to it as a solution if they are uncomfortable doing their own makeup. Some like the idea of perfecting their base look with permanent makeup, and then building with topical makeup for more glamorous looks. Lastly, clients with allergies to many topical makeup ingredients turn to permanent makeup as a solution from reactions.
Why is there so much skepticism surrounding permanent and semi permanent makeup?
This could be answered in many ways according to personal opinions. I believe that one of the main reasons is that everyone has seen bad work. We have all seen the ladies with brows that look like they were drawn with a sharpie, or have faded to an ugly green color. Unfortunately the good work goes unseen. If performed properly and in a flattering natural way, it should give the illusion of born with it beauty. Similar to the hair industry, talent levels can vary greatly. There is also something to be said for aesthetic preferences. What I think looks like a beautiful brow could look plain and boring to the next person and vice versa. I think pain is also a deterrent to some for pursuing. There are many numbing agents and techniques on the market now that pain can be decreased dramatically.