What is Semi Permanent Makeup, and other FAQs
(Feature image shows healed subtle powdered brows)
In this page I hope to give honest answers to questions you may have about Cosmetic Tattooing, also referred to as Semi and Permanent Makeup. If you’d like a fuller explanation of anything, please don’t hesitate to call me
Lisa – 01273 775188 or 07530 978856
Over the years I’ve had several personal experiences cosmetic tattooing so can offer advice and experience from both sides, including what happens when cheap machines are used, and the reality of pain and healing when numbing creams and good aftercare are used
Advice when choosing your cosmetic tattooist
It is scary thinking someone is going to be tattooing your face with colour lasting many months or years, so how do you ensure they have your best interests at heart ? It helps to know what questions to ask your cosmetic tattooist, also known as semi permanent makeup artist…
- Are they licensed and registered with the local council ?
- Do they have public and professional liability insurance ?
- Do they use EU regulated pigments ?
- How many visits are you paying for ?
- Is the portfolio of their own work ?
- How many tattoos have they carried out ?
- How long have they been tattooing ?
- How much time spent with you during appointment ?
Always check that your cosmetic tattooist is licensed and registered with the local council to offer semi permanent skin colouring treatments. Ask where they get their pigments from, and what kind of machine they use, is it rotary or fully digital ? Is the price quoted for both treatments (cosmetic tattooing is always at least two treatments), if not ask how much the second treatment is
Does the portfolio show fresh and healed photos ? Fresh tattoos are often all you see, but it’s the healed tattoo you wear. A fresh cosmetic tattoo usually looks very dark and solid, but the healed version can be so much softer, and more natural. So why do you so rarely see healed photos ?
Do the photos you see belong to the technician, or are the just taken from the internet ? Most experienced technicians have a certain style when takeing photos, generally using the same camera, hopefully you’ll see that with mine. It’s very easy for an inexperienced technician, or a lazy one, to screen grab another technicians work and claim it as their own
It’s also good to know how often to they are tattooing clients. Not only do you need excellent client and needle skills, but an understanding of how the pigment is implanted, how it heals and what to do on the top up visit. These skills take a while to build, and longer if not always working on them
My technician’s been in the beauty industry for many years, learning cosmetic tattooing is an easy transition right ? Wrong. Just like any artist, learning to work with a different medium, there’s a whole new understanding, hand skill and colour knowledge to learn
- During your visit will they take before, during and after photos ?
- Ask you to fill out a client consent form, including health questionnaire ?
- Fill out an agreement of works that details the effect you want ?
- Name and date details of products used
If these formalities are not carried out, you have no come back should the procedure or results not be as you planned ! I’d also question their professional insurance cover for treatments if these formalities are not carried out
Why choose Beautiful Ink ?
Along side my training and experience, I have had personal experience of being tattooed, body, eyebrows, eyes and lips. I’m not offering you a treatment that I haven’t already experienced, I know what it feels like !
Yes I’m pretty tattooed, that’s my arm in the picture, I’ve also had my eyebrows tattooed several times, with a cheap rotary machine and an advanced digital machine like one of the ones I use on my clients. There is a marked difference in the experience and the results.
One of the reasons I’ve put Beautiful Ink together to be so open about what I offer and the results I can achieve, is because I know what else is out there. I didn’t make the best decision when I first discovered cosmetic tattooing, and that’s still too easily done
What is semi permanent makeup ?
Semi permanent makeup is cosmetic tattooing, with coloured micro pigments being implanted into the upper dermis layer of skin, giving the appearance of makeup or a natural correction of missing hair, shape or pigment
How long does semi permanent cosmetic tattooing last ?
After the initial visits to give the result you wish to achieve, you should expect to do annual top ups to keep the colour looking fresh. Without further top ups the colour will fade away, but some will remain for many months or years. How long semi permanent makeup lasts is very individual, it depends on the colour used, how much colour was used, the persons skin, lifestyle and more. Most people find the effect lasts 9 – 18 months before needing the colour topped up. If the colour is not topped up it will over many months, or years, fade away
The colour semi permanent pigment fades to during this time cannot be predicted, nor how long it will take to fade completely. For this reason you should always choose to visit with someone who will create a good long term eyebrow shape for you
How is the pigment semi permanent ?
Semi permanent makeup is also called Micropigmentation as it uses micro pigments. Because they lack size, they also lack density of colour, so the colour fades quicker. Were the pigment molecules bigger, the colour would be more dense and more permanent, just like normal tattoo pigment
There are other factors, like how deep or shallow the pigment is implanted, but that’s in the hands of your tattooist and how your skin responds. Permanent makeup pigment is like working with watercolour, because the small pigment molecules need to be layered to build up density
Eyebrows that have been plucked away over the years will have a lot of scar tissue, not visible to the eye, but implanting pigment becomes more difficult in scar tissue. Knocks, grazes and other scar tissue make working on one eyebrow often different to the other.
It’s a perfect little shape we’re creating, on scar tissue, as well as normal tissue, that swells or contracts as it’s being worked. This is why you need to visit someone experienced working with permanent makeup pigments, as they, and the area being tattooed, are very different to tattoo pigment, which require their own skills to implant
Why not use tattoo ink ?
Think of the old saying “Why would you want a tattoo, what’s it going to look like when you’re 80 ?”, and if you’re thinking that’s only because you might regret the design you chose, that’s not the entire story when considering how a permanent tattoo will age
Pigment, whether permanent or not, changes colour over time, especially when exposed to the sun. Black pigment goes grey, green or blue, brown can go pink or orange. You can accept that for a body tattoo, but your eyebrows ? or as eyeliner ? Yes you can top up a permanent tattoo to keep the colour fresh, but you’ll never be able to change the shape without lasering off the unwanted bits. Why would you want to change the shape ? …Does skin stay tight forever ? Do people have or need brow lifts ? If you’ve chosen a fashion style of brow to be tattooed on permanently, how much do styles change, and your style, will you want those eyebrows when you’re 80, grey and wrinkly ?
That’s the colour and shape dealt with, but how well does permanent pigment stay crisp and clear in the skin ? If you’re looking for a tattoo with lots of fine detail, the tattooist will always ask you to go large or cut out having so much detail. Well you’ve seen old tattoos, and tattoos on old people, they blur. Fine detail goes and the edges smudge, I’ll put the thought back in your head about the splodge of green tattoos that used to be crisp black lines. Why does it become smudged ? Skin changes and thins as we age, some colour is absorbed by the body, and some pigment remains, without its crisp edge
When you read this kind of information on a website you can be forgiven for thinking “well you only want to sell me your thing, you would say that”, but things I’ve written here are from knowledge and personal experience. I’m pretty tattooed, about 80 hours worth by two very respected artists, on an arm and a leg, and yes it’s cost an arm and a leg ;o) I’ve done a lot of watching, listening and asking, on top of my own research, wanting to be satisfied that I know my stuff
This gets tested, and I fully enjoy it, when I take a trade stand at a tattoo convention and introduce myself, and my services…
Why do eyebrows sometimes fade orange, pink or grey ?
Eyebrows use brown pigments, and brown is made up of many colours. Just the same as when we colour our hair, and it fades over time, everyone holds on to certain elements of brown differently. Some people hold on to the warm tones, others the cool ones
Can you correct the colour ?
Yes, I specialise in eyebrow colour and shape corrections
Is cosmetic tattooing safe ?
When it’s carried out by a fully trained and experienced technician, yes very. The pigments Beautiful Ink use are from known sources in the UK and USA and are EU registered for use in the UK. They are hygienically prepared and packaged, created from organic and in-organic minerals, specifically selected for their safe, non-toxic, hypoallergenic properties. These cosmetic tattoo pigments are quite different from conventional tattoo inks. With conventional tattoo ink the colour is more opaque and can be implanted in clean dense lines with a single pass. It is not advisable to have cosmetic tattoos using permanent pigment, would you want that same style and colour of eyebrow when you are 80 ?
Do I need an allergy test ?
Pigment allergy tests are inconclusive and will not guarantee you to have no future reaction, they are more for your piece of mind rather than any result. An allergy/patch test is available, and a test can be carried out a minimal 2 hours prior to a tattoo to see if there is any sign of an immediate allergic reaction. Allergic reactions to pigments and numbing creams are exceedingly rare, so cosmetic tattoos are carried out at the same time as the consultation unless the client asks otherwise
Does having a cosmetic tattoo hurt ?
As the face is such a sensitive area numbing creams are used making the process quite bearable, and the highly advanced cosmetic tattoo machine and needles Beautiful Ink uses causes minimal skin damage, meaning less pain with easier, quicker healing. I’m very mindful managing your pain expectations, so the areas you want to have cosmetic tattoos won’t be as difficult as you could imagine. Afterwards the area may be a little sore, for eyes and brows this settles quickly, lips a little longer. Aftercare packs and healing advice are given for each treatment area
Can I bring someone with me ?
Yes you can bring one person with you, it’s quite nice to bring along a friend, family member or partner and they can stay in the room with us, or leave for a time. Please let us know if you are bringing someone along. Beautiful Ink reserve the right to ask the guest to leave if the session is becoming distracting. No one under 18 years old is allowed during a cosmetic tattoo appointment
What happens after the treatment ?
Afterwards the area tattooed may be a little swollen and red, this is very individual. The colour will appear darker and more intense, this lasts for several days as the area begins to heal. Aftercare advice and balms will have been given to make this initial healing more comfortable. Complete healing can take 2 to 4 weeks, during this time the pigment will mature into the skin and its true colour will emerge. Top up visits are after 4 weeks. Having had all these procedures myself, I am able to explain the healing process and how soon you’ll be back to normal
Health & Safety
Beautiful Ink uses several digital tattoo machines, and like medical equipment each are safe by design against cross contamination. Beautiful Ink use fully disposable ‘single use only’ applicator cartridges, and the pen like device used for the procedure is digitally controlled, virtually silent, and without deep vibration.
Beautiful Ink’s equipment, hygiene practices and studio have been inspected by the Brighton & Hove City Council Environmental Health & Licensing Department, also Lisa and Beautiful Ink are licensed and registered with Brighton & Hove council to offer Semi Permanent Skin Colouring treatments. Beautiful Ink has both public and treatment liability insurance to offer semi permanent cosmetic tattoo treatments at our studio in Crown Street, Brighton BN1, and in studios or salons in Brighton & Hove
Does using advanced digital equipment really make a difference ?
Yes, to the speed with which the pigment can be implanted, the level of skin trauma, pain during the treatment and the ease of healing. Less advanced and cheaper rotary pen machines tend to scratch the skin surface until the pigment is accepted, this causes the body to swell and produce lymph fluid which forms into scabs. You may have especially heard of this bad scabbing with eyebrows, it really needn’t be like that
Using an advanced digital machine and a single use needle cartridges clients experience noticeably less discomfort, minimal lymph fluid, less anxiety, and less swelling than they do with an ordinary body tattooing machine
Beautiful Ink Limited
Private Limited Company Registered with Companies House:
Company Number 8032553