Why Cosmetic Tattoos Are Semi-Permanent by Rojin Surreah

Some people are wary of the idea of getting a cosmetic tattoo simply because of the permanent nature of something being on their face. 

Well… your face is different from a body part, it’s your identity.  

So that said, a permanent change on the face potentially going awry, is absolutely a valid concern.

You may have seen some cosmetic tattoo work from ~20 years ago that doesn’t seem to ever go away. It may have changed color, looking green, purple, or pink. 

Or it may look like it doesn’t “match” the face it’s on.

This older work was likely performed with INK. These older tattoo inks were less stable compounds and more permanent, and if the technician was heavy-handed, could migrate through the skin over time. 

Over the last decade, permanent makeup has evolved significantly. The art and the industry as a whole have been on a massive growth trajectory, with innovations coming to fruition at rapid-fire speed, and from all corners of the world. 

In today’s era of permanent makeup, cosmetic tattoos are designed to fade with time. Microblading, Nano Brows, Lip Blush, and Eyeliner tattoos are implanted specifically into the “upper dermal layer” of the epidermis, and with pigments that are typically formulated specifically for the face.

Here are the top reasons why it is ideal for Permanent Makeup to be SEMI permanent: 

  1. Your complexion and coloration change as you age.
  2. Your features and proportions will evolve as we get older.
  3. Styles and trends change with time. 

Artistic or “decorative” body tattoos are made to last permanently. They are designed to be an artistic statement, an expression, or to tell a story. Body tattoos employ bright and bold inks which are designed to be permanent, though they do fade with exposure to UV rays and may alter in tone as the skin ages.

Cosmetic tattoos, however, are used to enhance your natural facial features and should fade as we age. What suits you today may no longer be suitable 5 years from now. Gravity will alter your proportions, your coloration will change as your skin matures, and you may desire a different makeup look. If the tattoo fades, you can create a more “lifted” look when you have your eyebrows re-tattooed, by raising the ends or “tails” of the brows. 

Cosmetic tattoos employ pigment rather than ink. The pigments are formulated with softer tertiary colors, which is important because a subtle and *natural* look is imperative in the realm of cosmetic tattooing.

Body tattoo ink is implanted into the subcutaneous tissue, the layer of fat beneath the skin. This is deeper than the layer that cosmetic tattoo pigment is implanted into, the dermis, which the second layer of the skin. The skin will eventually regenerate and doesn’t hold the pigment forever.

Given that semi-permanent makeup is a luxury service with a higher-end price tag, some clients ask me if the work can be done to “just be permanent”. Despite the general quality and elevation of this craft, it is NOT ideal to have permanent make-up be truly permanent. Semi-permanent is ideal because this means that you can either let the tattoo completely fade over time, or make adjustments as time goes on. 

I tattoo my own brows and make minor tweaks every time I do a touch-up just to change things up as my preferences change. Most of my clients want to go a bit thicker and darker, but that’s also a reflection of the times we are in. For me, I love having the freedom to change things up should I choose to do so.

That said, a cosmetic tattoo, especially if tattooed too deeply, can still last many years. Always research your artist thoroughly, and look at HEALED photos as well as fresh work. 

Fresh work represents artistry, healed work represents technique. The price you pay includes the artist’s training and certifications, high-quality pigments and sterile, high-grade tools, as well as rent, licenses, and other expenses. 

Your face is worthy of investment, so choose wisely, and you will be so happy with the time that you save and the confidence you exude!

Follow Rojin @rouge.ink and get inspired by MEI-CHA artists @meicha_official!

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