Permanent Makeup

Also known as micropigmentation and permanent cosmetics

Permanent makeup uses tattoo techniques to enhance or reproduce features that are not pronounced or have been lost due to aging, a medical condition, or scarring. “Cosmetic tattooing” is most often used for the face, on the eyebrows, lashes and lips, but also can improve scars or uneven coloring of the skin (vitiligo) and restore the areola around a woman’s nipple after breast surgery.

When to Consider Permanent Makeup
  • If your eyebrows, lashes and lips are pale or lacking definition
  • If you are active, swim or do not wish to apply makeup daily
  • If you have a skin or makeup allergy
  • If surgery or scarring has left you with uneven coloring or loss of pigment (color) in some areas

Are you a good candidate for permanent makeup?

The following are some common reasons why you may want to consider permanent makeup:

  • You have sparse hair on your eyebrows or have poorly defined eyelashes
  • Your lips are pale and you do not like wearing lipstick or gloss
  • You are undergoing breast reconstruction and would like to recreate the areola area of your breast (around your nipple)
  • You have scarring that could be improved by tattooing pigment
  • You want to eliminate daily makeup application

If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.

Detailed Procedural Info
How is a permanent makeup procedure performed?

Micropigmentation is a form of tattoo art, but is specialized to achieve specific cosmetic goals.

A topical anesthetic is usually applied to numb the skin and make you more comfortable during the procedure.

If appropriate, there will be an outline of the area that will be tattooed. Needles penetrate the skin a few millimeters in depth and implant pigment below the epidermis for cosmetic enhancement or correction. Once the treatment is complete, ointment is applied to keep the area soft and to promote healing. A bandage may be applied to protect the area for a few hours, but is not required. More than one session, spaced four to six weeks apart, may be necessary to achieve the best results.

Your initial consultation appointment

During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your cosmetic goals. Your tattoo artist will evaluate you as a candidate for permanent makeup and clarify what permanent makeup can do for you. Once your Aesthetician understands your goals and medical condition, alternative and additional treatments may be considered.

You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your complete medical history. This will include information about:

  • Previous surgeries
  • Past and present medical conditions
  • Allergies and current medications
Your treatment plan

Based on your goals, physical characteristics, and the artist's training and experience, your tattoo specialist will share recommendations and information with you, including:

  • An approach to your treatment, including the type of device or combination of devices to be used and the number of treatments anticipated
  • The outcomes that you can anticipate
  • Your financial investment in the procedure
  • Associated risks and complications
  • Treatment location options
  • What you need to prepare for your treatment
  • What you can expect to experience after treatment
  • The artist will also share before-and-after photos of cases similar to yours and answer any questions
Preparing for Your Procedure
How do I prepare for a permanent makeup procedure?

Your Aesthetician will provide you with pretreatment instructions, answer any questions that you may have, take a detailed medical history, and perform a physical exam to determine your fitness for treatment.

In advance of your procedure, your artist will ask you to:

  • Wear sunscreen and/or avoid the sun
  • Avoid pretreatment shaving, waxing, or exfoliating
  • Avoid tanning and spray tans several weeks before your procedure
  • Stop smoking at least six weeks before undergoing treatment to promote better healing (recommended not required)
  • Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs, and some herbal medications that can cause increased bleeding
  • Regardless of the type of surgery to be performed, hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery

What can I expect on the day of my permanent makeup procedure?

Permanent makeup is performed on an outpatient basis. Some form of local anesthesia, such as a topical anesthetic cream, may be applied before treatment. The pain experienced during treatment is quite tolerable, but will be different from person to person, and from area to area. Your specialist will take as many breaks as you need.

Most permanent makeup sessions last two to three hours including the preparation (topical anesthetic and scratch test), but will vary depending on your treatment area.


  • Your specialist will follow the treatment plan discussed with you.
  • After your procedure is completed, the area will be red and slightly swollen.
  • Ointment will be applied to keep the area moist and soft.
  • Once you have received instructions, you will be able to return home and resume your normal activities.

It is important to follow your post-treatment instructions and to limit any activity that might irritate the tattooed area.

Aftercare and Recovery

In most cases you may return to work and other daily activities immediately following your treatment. After the procedure, you will receive detailed instructions about your post-treatment care, including information about:

  • Skin care
  • Normal symptoms you will experience
  • Potential signs of complication

It is important that you follow all patient care instructions provided by your artist. Your artist will also provide instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. Contact your artist to find out if your pain, redness, and swelling are normal or a sign of a problem.

Immediately following my permanent makeup procedure

It is normal to experience some mild pain or discomfort for up to forty-eight hours after treatment. There will be redness and swelling, but it will subside completely within one or two days. It is important to keep the area moisturized with ointment for several days as the skin heals.

Two to three weeks (time varies with each tattoo)

A crust will eventually form over the entire tattoo, which will fall off after about two weeks. You will be able to see the full results in approximately three weeks, to determine if the color and shade is appropriate. If not, you will need a touch up.

How Long Will the Results Last?

Permanent makeup is permanent, but it may take two or three sessions to achieve the right look for you. Over time, tattoos fade and may need to be touched up.

Maintain a relationship with your aesthetician

For safety, as well as the most beautiful and healthy outcome, it's important to return to your tattoo specialist for follow-up evaluation at prescribed times and whenever you notice any changes in the treatment areas. Do not hesitate to contact your artist when you have any questions or concerns.

Associated Costs

The cost of permanent makeup varies from artist to artist and from one geographic area to another. Costs are also related to the size and complexity of the tattoo, as well as the number of sessions required for you.

Because permanent makeup is an elective procedure, insurance does not cover these costs.