Eyeliner Tattoo Gone Wrong

By PMUHub Editorial Team| Last updated on November 1, 2022

PMUHub explains all the possible scenarios of eyeliner tattoo gone wrong. We go over all the possible medical complications, as well as those esthetic ones like color changes and pigment migration.

Eyeliner Tattoo Gone Wrong - Side Effects, Risks, and Fixes

Image source: Instagram @the_tatt_rat

Getting permanent eyeliner helps many people shorten their morning routine without sacrificing their favorite look. It’s a long-lasting recreation of whatever eyeliner style you want that will last for up to 3 years.

That’s great when you love the results of your treatment. But in cases of eyeliner tattoo gone wrong, the fact that you can’t wash it off becomes a nightmare.

In order to convince you to choose your artist carefully and help you recognize signs of more serious complications than just not liking your PMU, we’ve prepared a guide through risks, unsatisfactory outcomes, and side effects of permanent eyeliner.

Let’s see what eyeliner tattoo gone wrong looks like.

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What Is Considered an Eyeliner Tattoo Gone Wrong?

There are several potential causes of eyeliner tattoo gone wrong.

The least serious eyeliner tattoo gone wrong scenario is you just don’t like it. That’s annoying, but won’t harm your health.

A degree above that are pigments turning color into strikingly unattractive blue or green shades, or migrating and leaving your eyeliner tattoo smudged and messy.

Then, there are minor side-effects which are irritating but not serious, and more serious medical complications.

PMUHub explains each eyeliner tattoo gone wrong scenario.

Want to find out more about permanent eyeliner? Follow the links:

Permanent Eyeliner – The Ultimate Guide

Permanent Eyeliner Before and After

Permanent Eyeliner Removal

What Is Considered an Eyeliner Tattoo Gone Wrong?Image source: Instagram @microbladingdetroit

Side Effects of Permanent Eyeliner

Every cosmetic tattoo application comes with a couple of ultimately harmless, but uncomfortable side effects. They’re the body’s natural response.

In the couple of days after the treatment, you might experience the following permanent eyeliner side effects:

  • Redness
  • Skin irritation
  • Swelling
  • Lymph oozing
  • Tenderness
  • Tightness
  • Itchiness

All these are to be expected and are not cause for concern if they subside within a few days. However, if you notice your swelling is increasing instead of passing, and that any of the above side effects has continued past day 3/4, contact your artist.

You may be dealing with an infection, or an allergic reaction.

Eyeliner Tattoo Risks

Breaking the surface of the skin always entails certain risks. The potential eyeliner tattoo risks and complications are:

  • Infection. If the treatment was conducted in conditions that were not sterile, or the tools used were not sterile, or the wound gets contaminated during the healing process, you can develop an infection. Signs to look out for: redness, irritation and swelling past day 3, pus.
  • Allergic reaction. Before the treatment, do a patch test to make sure you’re not allergic to the pigments or other products used. Signs to look out for: redness and irritation past day 3, itching not related to healing.
  • Scarring. The eyelids are a very delicate area to work on. If the artist’s technique is anything short of perfect, there’s a risk of permanent scarring, especially if you’re generally prone to keloids. The artist mustn’t go too deep or overwork the skin. Signs to look out for: redness not related to healing – contact your artist and let them assess if it’s scarring, or just normal irritation.

Tattoo Eyeliner Gone Wrong

These are the esthetic causes of eyeliner gone wrong.

1. The Shape Is Wrong and You Don’t Like

You may love wearing your favorite eyeliner look every day, but seeing its permanent version isn’t exactly what you expected. Or, your artist didn’t quite manage to give you what you wanted.

You may be feeling disappointed and annoyed. But take a second and consider this – is it possible you just need some time to get used to your new look?

PMU clients sometimes need a few weeks to get over the initial shock of having makeup that can’t be removed. Give it some time, it might grow on you.

Of course, this doesn’t apply if the shape of your eyeliner tattoo is all wrong for your features. The wing may be misplaced, or the symmetry between the two eyes isn’t quite on-point. The good news is that minor imperfections can probably be corrected, so book a touch up.

PMUHub Tip: The eyeliner tattoo comes in many styles. We advise you to start thinner and less dramatic than you may want in order to prevent an eyeliner tattoo gone wrong scenario. It’s best to get a subtle, classic look that’s versatile and that you can build up with regular makeup, then to start super-dramatic and end up regretting it.

2. Eyeliner Tattoo Gone Wrong Color

Sometimes, permanent pigments can turn color once they tattooed area heals, or as your body starts breaking them down and they start fading.

There are many reasons this can happen.

Wrong Pigment Choice

The most common issue with tattoo eyeliner gone wrong is the wrong choice of pigment color to begin with. Although most of us like wearing dramatic black eyeliner, pitch-black is not a good choice for PMU. Black pigments will turn into a cool, gray, blue or green over time.

That’s why the pigment has to be warmed up to the point of looking like a dark brown, depending on your skin undertone. The clients who insist on pitch-black usually end up with blue/green over time.

Wrong Implementation Depth

Dark pigments which were implemented deeper into the skin than they were supposed to often end up healing into a cool tone. This is the artist’s fault – they probably put too much pressure when tattooing and the pigments went too deep.

Pigment Formula + Body Chemistry

The quality of the pigment plays a huge role in eyeliner tattoo gone wrong color. Some formulas are more stable than others, so don’t look for bargains when booking an appointment – artists who charge significantly less than the average may be using cheap, low-quality pigments.

Then, there’s your body chemistry. Every shade of PMU pigments contains a number of different colors. Our body reacts differently to each of the components, and it may break down a certain component faster than others.

For example, if you’re anemic, your system will absorb iron oxide components more quickly. Many clients’ systems break down the warm tones faster, and that’s why the color can turn cool.

This is out of your hands – no one can predict what your body will do to the pigments.

Possible problems with permanent eyeliner tattooImage source: Instagram @lorenaobergskincare

3. Pigment Migration

Once injected into the skin, pigments may migrate outside of the initial shape. This can happen due to a number of reasons – pigment formula, artist’s technique, the properties of your skin, etc.

The skin of the eyelids has different properties in different areas, and some of them are more prone to pigment migrations than others. That’s why the outer connection between the lower and the upper lash line should never be tattooed.

Skilled artists know how to adapt their technique to the different areas of the skin. They may use a different pigment formula for problematic areas – pigments with a high content of carbon tend to migrate more, so they’re not used towards the corners or the eyes.

Once injected into the skin, pigments may migrate outside of the initial shape.Image source: Instagram @permatechmakeup

What Can I Do About My Eyeliner Tattoo Gone Wrong?

First you need to assess the situation. How has your eyeliner tattoo gone wrong? Are you experiencing a medical emergency, or is the issue just esthetic?

If you’re experiencing alarming symptoms during healing, contact your PMU artist. Explain the symptoms and send them a picture so that they can assess the situation. The symptoms are either the part of the process and they’ll subside on their own, or you’ll be instructed to see a dermatologist.

If your eyeliner has turned color over time, or the pigments migrated, you have 2 options – correction and removal. It’s probably best to book consults with a PMU and removal tech, and discuss your options with them.


If your eyeliner was thin, you can get it corrected. If what you’ve got is minor smudging due to migration, the artist can make the line thicker and give you a new, crisp outline.

If the issue is color, that too can be corrected if it’s not too bad. The artist can go over the pigments with a corrector shade.

The problem is, your skin can only take in so much pigment, so you can’t keep having color corrections for more than once or twice before you need removal.

Eyeliner Tattoo Correction TreatmentImage source: Instagram @cosmeticartbymicah


If you’re dealing with a really bad case of eyeliner tattoo gone wrong, removal may be the only option. The most effective methods of permanent eyeliner removal are:

You can get partial removal, if the issue is just minor migration or the wing you no longer want, or you can get the whole thing removed.

Bear in mind though, that removal is a process that takes time and money. You will probably need 2-10 sessions with 6-8 weeks apart. Removal can also get expensive, with a session priced anywhere between $150 and $700.

For more information on eyeliner tattoo removal, visit our guide here.

Eyeliner Tattoo Removal TreatmentImage source: Instagram @doffandflux

Eyeliner Tattoo Gone Wrong – Main Takeaways

If you notice something isn’t quite right with your permanent eyeliner during healing, it’s important to determine whether you’re dealing with normal side effects of permanent eyeliner like minor swelling and irritation, or the symptoms are more intense – in that case, you may be dealing with infection or allergies. Contact your PMU artist and let them assess the situation.

If your eyeliner tattoo gone wrong emergency is esthetic – pigment color has turned or they’ve migrated – you can get shape or color correction, or removal.



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