Permanent Eyeliner Healing Process Day by Day

By PMUHub Editorial Team| Last updated on April 5, 2024

The permanent eyeliner healing process typically lasts around 6 weeks. Read about the healing stages your eyeliner tattoo will go through.

eyeliner tattoo healing cover

Image source: Instagram @permanentmakeuproom

The eyeliner tattoo healing time can vary depending on your skin type, condition, and aftercare. It’s a process like any other cosmetic procedure, so it will be a few weeks before you can actually appreciate the final results.

To help you through this, we’ve put together a permanent eyeliner healing schedule with different stages of the process.

eyeliner healing stages

Healing Timeline

DAY 1: Your eyes might feel puffy, tight, and tender. You may notice some swelling and bruising. Swelling typically goes down in a few hours, and bruising fades over a few days.

DAY 2: The swelling should be gone. The tattoo looks darker and more intense. Your eyes may still feel dry because your body is locking its natural fluids in to help your skin heal naturally.

DAYS 3-4: Your tattoo may feel dry, itchy, and flaky. The scabs may start lifting from the skin. Leave them alone because picking will cause scarring, unevenness, and blank spots.

DAYS 5-10: Once the scabs have fully lifted from the skin, the color should look around 50% lighter and less intense.

DAYS 11-14: You might think the healing process is over, but you’re not there yet. Your skin is still regenerating and the pigments are gradually settling down.

DAYS 15-40: Your color is slowly darkening and becoming more intense. The definition is sharper and more pronounced. At the end of this stage, you should be able to see the true color.

DAY 41: It’s time for a touch-up. After the appointment, the color will be more intense, the definition will be crispier, and the healing process will be much quicker.

EXTRA Q&A: Find out more about the post-touchup effects, potential risks & maintenance.

Click on the day stamps for more info, or scroll down for the whole guide.

Healing Schedule Day by Day

This may come as a surprise, but eyeliner tattoo healing is typically the easiest of all PMU treatments.

Everyone’s skin and system are unique, but as long as you stick to the prescribed aftercare routine, you can expect smooth healing and fantastic results.

The process of permanent eyeliner has two main phases — skin regeneration & pigment settling — so you need to be patient and just let your body heal naturally.

To help you get a better idea of what to expect, here’s a day-to-day healing schedule:

Day 1

Since the skin has been broken, you can expect some soreness, swelling, and bruising on the first day, or even longer.

As Dr. Susan M. Tucker, MD explains in her study of the anatomy of eyelids, this happens because the eyelid tissue is very soft, vascular, and sensitive. Typically, the swelling should reduce in a few hours and the bruising should fade in the next couple of days.

You can also expect lymph buildup, which you need to clean according to the aftercare plan your artist prescribed.

PMUHub’s Tip #1

You can relieve the discomfort with a cold compress, just don’t press too hard. Everyone’s skin reacts differently, so give it some time. If the swelling doesn’t subside within a few days, contact your artist and have them assess the situation.

Also, your eyeliner may look too dark and dramatic, but do not panic — it won’t be forever!

fresh and healed eyeliner tattooImage source: Instagram @permanentmakeuproom

This happens due to color oxidation and swelling, and it’s totally normal. The pigment will fade up to 50% until the permanent eyeliner healing process is through, and you’ll be able to appreciate the true color only about 3 weeks later.

There is no downtime, so you’ll have no trouble getting back home or going about the rest of your day normally.

Day 2

At this stage, your eyelids might feel dryer, tighter, and more sensitive than usual. This is because your body is locking in its natural fluids to help your skin restore the structure of the damaged tissue.

As Dr. Heather A. Wallace explains in her study Wound Healing Phases, a protective biofilm is formed on the top layer of your skin to speed up the healing process.

The swelling on your eyelids should be better by now; it may even be gone completely.

However, if you still notice some puffiness after you wake up, there’s no need to worry. Most likely, your sleep position is causing the body liquids to accumulate in the area, making the swelling look more dramatic than it actually is.

PMUHub’s Tip #2

To help with the swelling, continue with the cool compress or try sleeping on a slight incline. Also, avoid touching your eyes to prevent irritation and infection. Just clean the area gently and apply an ointment if recommended.

Days 3–4

The scabbing and flaking stage begins. Most clients experience it and it’s a perfectly normal part of the permanent eyeliner healing process.

From a scientific angle, it simply means that wounds are closing up, so the protective film is lifting from the top layer of your skin to let it breathe.

The eye area becomes itchy and it doesn’t look attractive. Luckily, it doesn’t last too long, and you can relieve the itchiness with an aftercare ointment (if your artist approves it). However, one thing you should never do is pick at your skin.

A certain amount of pigment gets caught in the scabs and, if you rip them off before the pigments settle, you can create blank patches and risk getting scars. So, the best you can do to make sure your color settles evenly is to let the flaking and peeling pass at its own pace.

Days 5–10

Once all scabbing has finished flaking, your eyeliner will look 50% lighter and the tattoo will be less defined at the edges and along the lashline.

Don’t rush to conclusions and think your artist has scammed you or the pigment has magically disappeared from your skin. The lighter shade is only temporary as your freshly healed skin is hiding the true color underneath.

Over the next few days, the pigment will slowly start showing and the color will become more intense.

Days 11–15

Now, you might feel like the healing process is over, but you’re not quite there yet. You probably won’t have to follow the strict aftercare routine anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can go straight back to your regular beauty regimen.

At this stage, your skin is still sensitive and the PMU pigments are yet to settle fully. So, be patient, keep the area clean, and refrain from wearing eye makeup for at least a couple more days.

Days 15–40

The pigment-settling phase will continue for a few more weeks, but you won’t see the unattractive symptoms like scabbing or flaking anymore. This is your sign to start wearing eye makeup again.

PMUHub’s Tip #3

Use only fresh, brand-new eye makeup products. Old mascara tubes, pencils, eyeshadow containers, and brushes inevitably have germs inside. At this point, your freshly tattooed skin can’t handle that. You risk developing an infection.

As the pigment settles, you should notice the color darkening and some of the original definition restoring.

However, if you appreciate a more dramatic look, you might still find the shade and shape a bit more muted than you’d like. These are the things you can successfully fix at your touch-up.

It’s always easier to add more pigment and go darker than it is to reverse the consequences of going too dark at the initial session.

Day 41

At week 6, your skin is fully regenerated, the pigment has settled, and the healing process is officially over. Congrats, you’ve made it! It’s now okay for you to come back in for your touch-up.

Schedule an appointment and use it to make any enhancements regarding the color or shape of your eyeliner.

You can go darker and bolder if you prefer the way your tattoo used to look in the early healing stages. Or you can do just a little refresh and keep the results as soft and sophisticated as they were at the end of your healing journey. It’s up to you!

After the touch-up session, you will notice that the color is fuller and more vibrant. That’s because the new pigment is added on top of the first, original layer, so it’s holding better. Your eyeliner won’t fade as much as it did the first time. Also, it will feel and look healed a lot quicker than after the initial session.

shayli eyelinerWork by Harmony PMU, Ontario

EXTRA Q&A

When Can I See the Final Results?

Technically, you can only see the final results of your permanent eyeliner treatment after the touch-up healing process is over. But you should get a good sense of what they’ll be after approximately 3 weeks.

The eyeliner tattoo healing time depends on your skin type, condition, and lifestyle, so every person heals differently. Some people will not even experience scabbing of the treated area, while others will have to deal with flakes for as long as 10 days. It’s all very individual.

PMUHub’s Tip #4

If your skin feels significantly irritated and painful after the treatment and you experience some unusual side effects, contact your permanent makeup artist immediately.

permanent eyeliner resultsImage source: Instagram @thecosmetictattoostudio

What Do I Do if My Permanent Eyeliner Gets Infected?

To lower the chances of this happening, choose your permanent artist carefully.

Check their background i.e. experience, reviews, and website. Ask for recommendations either from people you know or online. Make sure your artist works in sterile conditions and with proper equipment.

In the days after the treatment, it’s all up to you. Be extra careful not to contaminate the area and follow aftercare tips religiously. If you do end up getting an infection, contact your PMU artist right away. If it’s serious, you might need to see a dermatologist and get some antibiotics.

How Do I Maintain My Permanent Eyeliner Once It’s Healed?

PMU pigments are formulated to fade over time. This is a good thing because you won’t be stuck with the same look forever – you can modify it, or remove it if you get tired of it.

If you want your permanent makeup to last longer, avoid sunlight exposure because it will speed up fading. Also, be careful about which skincare products you’re using. Harsh skincare ingredients like retinol and exfoliating acids can speed up fading, too.

Regular touch-ups are very important if you want to keep the tattoo on point. The first touch-up is mandatory. It’s an opportunity to fix any imperfections that might have emerged throughout your permanent eyeliner healing process.

sas pmu eyelinerWork by SAS PMU, Florida

Want to Find Out More about Permanent Eyeliner?

Here are some relevant further reads:

Permanent Eyeliner Healing Process – Main Takeaways

The permanent eyeliner healing process can last up to 6 weeks. To make things as easy as possible, study the permanent eyeliner healing schedule and prepare for each of the stages.

The first 10 days are the most uncomfortable part, but once your eyeliner starts taking shape and its true color emerges, you’ll forget all about the soreness, the scabbing, and the flaking.

Just make sure you follow your aftercare routine to ensure maximum pigment retention.

WHY TRUST THIS GUIDE

This guide is a result of 5+ years of studying and researching the permanent makeup industry. The information comes from reliable sources: a number of permanent eyeliner technicians, and a wide variety of medical references, including an in-depth review of the scientific studies by Dr. Susan M. Tucker and Dr. Heather A. Wallace.

LEARN MORE ABOUT PERMANENT EYELINER

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