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Are permanent cosmetics worth the hype?

Numerous cosmetic trends have left the public eye as quickly as they appeared. Subcultures and microtrends have introduced rapidly changing forms of expression and bred creative ways for people to mold their looks.  

Face augmentation has always existed. Plastic surgery has been a major field since its inception and rhinoplasties have consistently grown in popularity. However, as cosmetic procedures have evolved, the average consumer desires fewer invasive procedures to achieve their ideal looks. 

What are Permanent Cosmetics? Who should get Permanent Cosmetics?

Permanent makeup, also known as permanent cosmetics, is a popular technique that uses tattoos to produce results resembling makeup. These forms of semipermanent makeup can last years and there are various forms to indulge in. 


Microblading uses thin, fine needles to deposit pigment under the skin, giving the impression of fuller yet natural-looking eyebrows. This semipermanent treatment typically lasts one to three years. 

Generally, people with smaller pores and less oily skin see the best results, as oil in the skin can cause the tattoo to expand and blur. However, everyone's skin is different, and results will vary from person to person. 

Many choose to get microblading to shorten their makeup routine and avoid dealing with thin, patchy or uneven brows. In 2024, the price of the procedure can range from $172-$650 but exceed that in some locations. 

Lip blushing

Lip blushing is another rising trend in the cosmetic tattoo industry. Cosmetic tattoo artist Gabrielle Rainbow popularized the technique with her partner, Erick Holguin. Their technique prioritizes giving the customer a defined shape and a youthful lip tint. 

Sejal Shah, a cosmetic dermatologist and founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology, told Allure that one should be careful with the shade they pick. 

"The final color depends on the underlying color of the lips and you may not always get the color you expect ... While lip blushing may not be permanent, it can last years and even still may not fully disappear," Shah said. "If you aren't happy with the color, you may be stuck with it or have to do laser removal."

Lip blushing is not a cheap procedure. Individual sessions can cost $1500. 

Permanent Eyeliner 

While photos can make the procedure look like something from a "Saw" movie, many consider permanent eyeliner a worthy investment. Applied above the lash line, permanent eyeliner is a tattoo of the customer's preferred eyeliner shape. 

The two-to-three-hour process is meant to help those who typically wear eyeliner daily. With this procedure, clients can avoid the constant battle of pencils or liquid eyeliner for up to three years. It can cost anywhere from $400-$1000 or more.

These are just some of the many procedures that have gained popularity in recent years. Several trends have emerged in the last decade, including faux freckles, which were widely popular during the 2010s. 

Why are people getting these procedures?

Makeup is extremely time-consuming. Even with surgical precision, the worry of one wrong swipe or missing a step can throw off an entire look. This can be extremely pressing, especially in time-sensitive situations. 

Permanent makeup removes the worry about time. Waking up with the perfect eyeliner, eyebrows, lipstick and lashes makes makeup a nonexistent worry. It is especially appealing to people who have on-the-go lifestyles. 

Not only does it remove the daily concern for makeup, but it also potentially lasts for years. This has made certain parts of makeup routines obsolete, with the only maintenance being routine touchups. Giving people their desired look with professionals enhancing and correcting their looks according to their features. 

It can also be a lifesaver for people who have suffered medical issues. People who have suffered strokes and struggle with applying traditional makeup can get permanent and long-lasting alternatives. Scar camouflage is a method of tattooing used to lighten scars to make them invisible or at least barely noticeable. 

Self-confidence and self-esteem can also be improved by making a person's eyes bolder or their lips look vibrant. This gives a permanent look that people want without the struggle of makeup. 

What are the risks of Permanent Cosmetics? 

It's permanent and expensive. Plus, when a person gets unflattering results, removal can be painful and take multiple sessions, resulting in a bill that can be even larger than the initial procedure. 

There are also the risks of infections, keloids and scarring. According to FDA spokesperson Dr. Stanely Milstein, these reactions aren't always immediate.

"Anytime you implant a foreign body into the skin, it has the potential for results not anticipated. The reaction could occur years later as a rash or an immune system allergic reaction."

Is it worth it?

The value of these procedures is up to the person. Some can significantly reduce the time spent on their daily routines, giving them time to complete other interests or responsibilities. 

On the other hand, these are expensive and painful procedures, and your desired outcome isn't guaranteed. Many factors determine the results of these procedures, so someone who is not keen on spending money without guaranteed results may not invest in them. 

Research the procedure and the artist or salon you go to thoroughly. Make sure they have experience with your skin type and skin color. The results should be worth your time, money and effort. 


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