Help, My Permanent Eyeliner Disappeared! What Do I Do?

By Emily M.| Last updated on July 11, 2022
my permanent eyeliner disappeared
⏱️ 4 min read

Permanent makeup goes through different stages as your skin heals from the treatment. Your artist may or may not warn you about them, but it’s not uncommon for clients to get freaked out when they wake up and notice their makeup tattoo is acting weird.

PMUHub is here to warn you of all those unexpected side effects of permanent makeup, and one of those is the vanishing act. Here’s what you should do if you find yourself in a my permanent eyeliner disappeared situation.

Should I Get Worried If My Permanent Eyeliner Disappeared?

No. If your permanent eyeliner becomes very light at some point during the healing process, this is a normal part of pigment settling and skin recovering in 99% of the cases.

The permanent eyeliner healing process entails several stages:

  • First, your tattoo will look really dark. This is usually days 1 and 2 after the treatment.
  • Then, a thin scabby film will form over it*. Once the punctures underneath it close up, the scabs will start falling off in tiny flakes. This whole process should start about day 3 and end by day 10.
  • As the flakes fall off, the pigment underneath them will probably look very light. At this point, you might find yourself thinking my permanent eyeliner disappeared – it didn’t, it just needs some more time to reveal its final form.
  • Over the next few weeks, the pigment will darken back up.

Of course, this is just a general outline of the PMU eyeliner healing process. Your experience may vary, the timeline might be slightly different, and the color shifts may be more or less dramatic.

*Note that not all clients get scabbing. The pigment can still go through the color changes.

permanent eyeliner flaking stageImage source: Instagram @b.a.m.mommy

Why Has My Permanent Eyeliner Disappeared?

2 main factors contribute to the so-called ghosting stage of permanent eyeliner: some of the pigments get extracted, and new skin that closes up the punctures made with the needles looks very light.

After a PMU session, the skin starts oozing lymph as a response to the breaking of its surface. The lymph gets mixed with drops of blood, and since pigments are a dense liquid, they also get into the mix. It’s normal and expected for a portion of pigment to not get retained in the skin as it heals and artists work with this in mind – this is why they sometimes go a shade darker.

As the skin heals over the dots of pigment, a new layer which is very light gets formed over the marks and creates a sort of veil. The pigment is in there, but it can’t really be seen well through the new skin. As the light skin blends, the pigments will show back up.

Eyeliner tattoo flakingImage source: YouTube @OhhMyAnnie

How Long Will the Ghosting Stage Last?

Most clients report that their permanent eyeliner looks its lightest around day 9. From that point, it will gradually darken back up, so it’s hard to say exactly when the ghosting stage will end.

The pigments will show their true color by day 40 after your treatment. At that point, you can assess how well the results have healed, and get your 6-8 week touch up.

At the touch up, any spots which healed lighter can be replenished with pigment, and you can go darker if you feel the healed results are too light.

permanent eyeliner healing process

What If My Permanent Eyeliner Doesn’t Come Back?

If your permanent eyeliner doesn’t follow the described process and the pigments don’t darken up, there’s a possibility something went wrong and your treatment wasn’t successful.

These scenarios are very rare, but the following could have happened:

Your Artist Didn’t Implement the Pigment Deep Enough

When doing PMU, the artist is supposed to implement the pigments into the dermis – the second layer of the skin. This is the only depth where the pigments can get retained properly and last as long as they’re supposed to.

If the implementation depth is insufficient, i.e. if the pigments don’t reach the dermis and stay in the epidermis, they’ll get extracted very quickly and you’ll get very little color retention.

If this happened, you will probably need to get a whole new treatment, preferably with a different artist.

PMU Implementation Depth in the Skin

Complications Occurred During Healing

Since the treatment implies breaking the skin, infection is always possible. If the punctures get contaminated during the treatment or in the days after it, infections of different intensities can happen.

An infection triggers an inflammatory response from the body, and your system will work hard to get rid of the issue. In the process, it can reject and extract the pigments.

To prevent an infection from developing, follow your prescribed aftercare instructions as closely as possible.

Your Body Simply Rejects the Pigments

Extremely rare, but it’s possible that some people’s systems simply do not tolerate this form of foreign matter in the skin and reject pigments. If this is the case, there’s not much you can do about it, unfortunately.

Final Piece of Advice

Remember the mantra – trust the process! Clients decide to get permanent eyeliner thinking they’ll walk out of the salon with instantly perfect permanent wings, but this is simply not the case. The actual pigment implementation is only half the work – your skin has to do the rest and allow the pigments to settle in and get retained.

Cover image source: Freepik



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