Is Permanent Makeup Really Permanent: Debunking the Myths and Exploring the Facts

By Emily M.| Last updated on March 16, 2023
is permanent makeup really permanent
⏱️ 3 min read

Permanent makeup is very popular nowadays and one of the main reasons for that is that it’s nothing like it used to be. Today’s results look more natural, enhance natural beauty, and don’t last forever.

Or do they?

People usually get confused with the term permanent makeup, especially after they realize it doesn’t really last for a lifetime.

So let’s find out is permanent makeup really permanent and debunk some common myths.

So, Is Permanent Makeup Really Permanent?

Permanent makeup is supposed to fade after some time. Depending on the treatment, whether it’s eyebrows, eyeliner, or a lip tattoo, the average permanent makeup last somewhere between 1 and 5 years.

However, while for some people it lasts shorter, for some it can be persistent and last for many many years.

The term permanent comes from the fact that it’s done similarly to a traditional tattoo. That means that the pigments are inserted at the same depth under the skin. Traditional tattoos as well as permanent makeup are done in the dermis.

Another reason why the term permanent is used is that the pigment, being inserted into the dermis, some of it will stay in the body forever, although it may not be visible forever.

pmu microblading implementation depth skin layers

Why Does Permanent Makeup Fade?

At the end of the last and the beginning of this century, people did their eyebrows with traditional body tattoos. They used tattoo guns and traditional body ink and the results were permanent.

Contemporary permanent makeup uses more sophisticated tools and pigments. For example, the popular microblading treatment uses a delicate hand tool that consists of ultra-thin needles. These needles create delicate hair strokes which are filled with pigment.

The pigment is formulated to be broken down by the body with time. So, it’s different from traditional body ink.

Permanent makeup is mostly done on a person’s face. It’s known that even traditional tattoos which are done on a face fade faster than those done on other parts of the body. The reason for this is that the face is much more often exposed to sun, water, makeup and cosmetic products.

Permanent makeup, being usually done on the face, will naturally fade faster and the fact that it’s done with pigments, not ink, means that it will fade much faster than a traditional tattoo.

Isn’t It Called Semi-Permanent Makeup?

The term semi-permanent makeup was used at the beginning of the permanent makeup expansion. It was used to show that the results of the treatment will fade after some time.

People were more willing to commit to something that will not stay on their faces forever.

Nowadays, when most people know much more about permanent makeup, the term semi-permanent makeup is not used as often as it used to be.

So we can say that it was a form of a marketing trick that helped people get to know permanent makeup, but there’s no need to use it anymore.

Permanent makeup artists admitted that their treatments are kind of permanent and that they are a form of a tattoo.

It’s more correct to say that semi-permanent make-up treatments are those that last only a couple of weeks and don’t include tattooing, such as henna eyebrows, eyebrow tinting or brow lamination.

What If My Permanent Makeup Disappears Too Soon?

A secret to long-term permanent makeup results are:

  • The artist’s skill
  • Good-quality pigments
  • Proper aftercare

If the artists did something wrong, for example, didn’t insert the pigment as deep as they should, the results will disappear after a couple of weeks.

Also, if the client doesn’t follow the aftercare tips, they will mess up the results. So, before you go to your appointment, make sure you are well informed on how to properly prepare for the treatment and how to behave afterward.

What If I Can’t Get Rid of My Permanent Makeup?

Permanent makeup can be persistent and visible for years. It’s not so problematic with a lip tattoo, since it can be covered with lipstick. But when it comes to eyebrows, the unattractive shade can be annoying.

If you want to get a new tattoo but the old one is still present, it’s best to contact your permanent makeup artist. They will assess the situation and tell you whether old permanent makeup can be covered or a removal is required.

Here’s how to properly take photos of your old eyebrow tattoo for the PMU artist’s assessment.

photos of brow tattoo visual


So, the answer to the question of is permanent makeup really permanent is that in some way it is, meaning that it is a form of a tattoo and the pigments stay in the body, and the results can be visible for a long time. However, if done properly and depending on your skin, the results are supposed to fade within 5 years tops.

Cover image source: Freepik



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