Permanent Eye Makeup – What Eye PMU Options Are There?

By Emily M.| Last updated on June 28, 2022
permanent eye makeup
⏱️ 5 min read

Permanent makeup has evolved so much it now offers a wide range of treatments that can recreate almost any makeup look! This includes permanent eye makeup, a way to enhance your eyes and free you from an elaborate makeup routine in the morning.

Let’s go through permanent eye makeup treatments which can give you a custom look.

What Is Permanent Eye Makeup?

Permanent eye makeup is a form of micropigmentation that’s done on the eyelids to recreate the look of wearing regular makeup, but in a long-lasting version that doesn’t smudge or wash off.

How Is It Done?

Permanent eye makeup is actually a form of cosmetic tattooing. It’s done with a PMU machine, a pen-shaped device that works in a similar way to a tattoo gun, but it’s designed specially for facial pigmentation.

The device features a cluster of super fine needles that break open the skin of the eyelid in tiny dots and implement pigments into it. Pigments used are formulated in such a way that allows the body to break them down and extract them over time, so permanent eye makeup isn’t really permanent.

Once the punctures made on the skin heal and the pigments settle in, they’ll stay visible for a couple of years. Their color will gradually lose intensity and unless you get occasional touch ups to replenish the color, the results of the treatment will fade.

what is permanent eye makeupImage source: Freepik

Is This Safe and Does It Hurt?

We know it may sound scary to have a needle poking around your eyelids, but the treatment is completely safe if performed by a trained, licensed and experienced artist. Topical anesthetics are used during the procedure, so there’s no pain, although some discomfort is to be expected.

Find out what the permanent eye makeup treatment feels like here.

What Permanent Eye Makeup Treatments Are There?

Permanent eye makeup comes down to permanent eyeliner and its spin-off, permanent eyeshadow. These are highly customizable treatments, so the same technique can be used to create different eye makeup styles.

Permanent Eyeliner

An eyeliner tattoo can be done in many different styles:

  • Eyelash enhancement. A very thin line is drawn just above the eyelashes, on the upper lid. The line is supposed to blend into the lashes to make them look thicker. It starts in the inner corner, close to the first lashes in the lash line, and can end with the last lash, or be dragged outwards slightly, to create a tiny wing. The most versatile style which can be built up with regular makeup.
  • Classic eyeliner. The classic look you probably create with regular eyeliner for everyday occasions. A thicker, visible line is drawn above the lashes, and a more prominent wing can be drawn. The wing can be as long or as short as you want it.
  • Smokey eyeliner. The more dramatic version of a classic eyeliner. Here, the line is also thick and relatively prominent, but this style differs from the classic eyeliner in the fact that the line is shaded in, so it has a powdery finish.
  • Lower lid eyeliner. The lower lash line can also be enhanced with permanent eyeliner. A thin line is drawn just beneath the lower lashes, and it usually starts with the first lash and ends with the last one.

Here’s a detailed guide through eyeliner tattoos.

permanent eyeliner wingedImage source: Instagram @liat_shenhav

Permanent Eyeshadow

A spin-off on permanent eyeliner many artists don’t recognize as a separate treatment yet.

Permanent eyeshadow is created in the same way as regular permanent eyeliner is, but it’s done in a very soft manner, with a lot of blending and not a lot of opacity. The dots of pigment are placed in such a way that creates a shadowy look, giving an illusion of more transparency.

It can be done on top of a prominent eyeliner, or on its own, for a more subtle look. It can look great, but not many artists can get this look right.

Read more about permanent eyeshadow in this article.

permanent eyeshadow
Image source: Instagram @manufaktura_urody_iwon

What About My Waterline? Can That Be Enhanced with Permanent Eye Makeup?

No! In some salons, you might come across the eyeliner tattoo treatment for the waterline, the thin stretch of moist skin that connects the lash line to the eyeball.

Darkening up the waterline with an eye pencil gives the eye a special look that many people love wearing, so naturally, they wonder whether they can get it recreated with permanent makeup.

But tattooing the waterline is just not a good idea. It’s unsafe and it can cause a whole range of complications. Plus it doesn’t last long.

Learn all about the risks of tattooing the waterline here.

How Do I Choose the Best Style for Myself?

Think about which style of eyeliner you wear most often and what will be most practical for you.

In general, the wisest decision is to go for a more subtle style which will work for you on any occasion and which you can build up with some extra makeup on special days.

The one style you can’t go wrong with is eyelash enhancement. It looks good on literally everyone and it fits any style. It even works for no-makeup makeup looks.

It might be tempting to go straight for the gorgeous on-point smokey look with a razor-sharp wing, but unless you wear this on the day-to-day, this may be too much. Bear in mind that, with permanent eye makeup you can always add, but you can’t really take away the drama that easily.

Since eyeliner tattoos are done over 2 sessions, the best solution may be to get a classic look on your first session, test it out in the weeks between your 2 appointments, and have the artist add more pigment at the touch up if you want to go thicker or more dramatic.

How Long Does Permanent Eye Makeup Last?

Up to 3 years with a touch up needed at around 18-24 months, but this is just a ballpark estimate. The longevity of permanent eye makeup is very individual and it depends on a number of factors, including:

  • How closely you follow the aftercare routine
  • Your skin type
  • Your lifestyle
  • Your makeup and skincare routine
  • How much time you spend in the sun
  • Your age
  • The formula of the pigments implemented.

And those are just the main factors.

So you can’t really know in advance how long your PMU will last, and neither can your PMU artist. You can make some minor adjustments to your life to make sure your permanent eye makeup lasts out as long as possible, though. Read more about it here.

how long does eye permanent makeup last?Image source: Instagram @eyethebrows

Also Worth Looking Into – Permanent Brows and Semi-Permanent Lashes

Love the sound of permanent eyeliner? Then you’ll love the thought of permanent brow makeup and semi-permanent eyelash enhancements! The beauty industry now offers us the opportunity to recreate the look of wearing brow makeup and mascara.

If you’re interested, look into eyebrow tattoos for permanent brow enhancement, and lash lifts and lash extensions for getting 6+ weeks of perfect lashes without mascara.

Cover image source: Freepik



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