How to Achieve the Blackest Eyeliner Possible by Erika Mopress
Eyeliner procedures for permanent cosmetics are classic and never go out of style or demand with exceptionally long-lasting results.
When eyeliner is tattooed, pigment/ink is placed in the skin and the skin grows over the tattoo, this will automatically dull out the appearance of the black pigment. If your client desires a vibrant black pigment healed result, how can we successfully achieve this?
There are a few influencers that will contribute to the healed result of a desired black eyeliner outcome:
- Eye anatomy
- Techniques and needle selection
- Ink and pigment
First, let’s discuss the anatomy of the eye area. The eyelid skin is the thinnest skin on the body, this skin is both translucent and vascular giving the eyes cool undertones (some cooler than others). The canvas and undertones of the eyelid skin will influence and contribute to the healed results. For example, if someone has a very cool blueish undertone and their lids are very vascular, their healed result may not yield a true black. Instead, the pigment may result in a blueish color when healed. Remember, black is cool in temperature (the coolest other than white) and color. It’s important to know and anticipate the outcome.
Tattooing techniques and needle selection will influence the healed eyeliner color. Is the pigment saturated enough? How do I know how many passes to implant? Density will affect how the pigment/ink looks when healed. Imagine light and how it and reflects (lighter colors) or absorbs color (darker colors), let’s use this example of someone snorkeling or scuba diving. Snorkeling is on the surface like topical makeup, but scuba diving is our permanent makeup with no or little light and deeper inside the skin.
We want density, we want layers of pigment particles to fill in space. During the liner procedure you need to make sure you saturate the skin enough and use a liner needle to pack in the pigment/ink color; if it is not filled in it will reflect more light. Black absorbs all light; black is the ultimate dark color. Even the blackest black reflects just a little bit of light so layer in the pigment/ink and create density when we tattoo to achieve saturation.
What is tattoo ink or pigment? Tattoo inks are solutions comprised of a carrier and a colorant. The carrier is the fluid that is used to transport the colorant to the application location. It may contain glycerin, water, isopropyl alcohol, and witch hazel. For eyeliner procedures, we either use carbon black or iron oxide black to produce a black pigment/ink.
Carbon black is a thermal decomposition of hydrocarbons. Carbon black is synthetically produced and does contain the carbon atom. It is one of the most popular ingredients in tattoo inks and appears to break down into nanoparticles becoming long-lasting in the skin. Carbon black is used in our tattoo pigments because it gives the illusion of depth and its small particle size makes it easy to saturate into the skin. Carbon black sourced material is organic. However, after processing (the thermal decomposition process) carbon black is usually grouped with inorganic pigments/inks.
Iron oxide black pigment is inorganic magnetite; a rock mineral that may be sourced from the earth or made synthetically in a laboratory. It does not contain the carbon atom.
Both blacks are formulations used in the permanent cosmetic industry to achieve the color black. Please refer to a Company’s color index “CI” numbers to become more knowledgeable about the ingredients in the pigments used.
At the beginning of my PMU career, I was extremely disappointed with how my black eyeliners were healing. I could never get the pigment to look black enough or the pigment/ink would come back appearing with a blueish undertone on some clients. When I started mixing my black iron oxide with my carbon black did, I saw the beautiful blend in creating a dense black healed result. The nanoparticle size of the carbon black worked well with the larger black iron oxide molecule; I began to get back beautifully healed black eyeliners. I started topping off my black eyeliners with one pass of dark brown pigment to add a layer of warmth for my cooler undertone clients, and this would avoid the liner appearing blueish.
Until I understood eye anatomy, techniques for eyeliners, and pigment/ink formulation, and factored in light reflection, ( all of which I have shared in this article), I never completely enjoyed doing eyeliner procedures. Now it’s one of my favorite areas to tattoo and an extremely popular service that I offer.
Note: Over time, pigment fades and pigment refreshers are required. Ultraviolet light can affect the structure and especially fade your black iron oxide faster. Remember to educate your clients on how to best take care of their permanent eyeliner to avoid premature fading.