Permanent Eyeshadow – What Is It and Is It Worth It?

Permanent Eyeshadow Tattoo - What Is It and How Is It Done?
⏱️ 4 min read

Many people have recognized the benefits of permanent makeup, and its popularity has been soaring in the past few years. So the industry is constantly developing and artists are coming up with ways to recreate more and more makeup looks in their permanent versions.

But when it comes to permanent makeup eyeshadow is not something that’s often talked about. This treatment is nothing new, though, and artists have been perfecting it for years, only under a different name.

Let’s find out what a permanent eyeshadow tattoo actually is, what it looks like, how it’s done, and every other aspect of the treatment you’re curious about.

What Is Permanent Eyeshadow?

The permanent eyeshadow is actually a style of permanent eyeliner. It implies creating a line along your lashes with an added shade above it. Both the line of the eyeliner and the permanent eyeshadow above it can be customized, so you can recreate the look you normally wear.

However, it’s not common to cover the whole eyelid with shading. The farthest up it can go is somewhere halfway towards the crease, but that’s the look most people wear anyway. The shading can be as sheer or as opaque as you want it, and it’s done with a gradient, so it looks nicely blended.

Other names the treatment goes by are shaded eyeliner, designer eyeliner, smokey eyeliner.

The Permanent Eyeshadow Is Actually A Style Of Permanent EyelinerImage source: Instagram @ecochic_agata_ciolek_pmu

How Is It Done?

The permanent eyeshadow is essentially a form of tattooing, but it’s not the traditional body art tattoo. It’s actually a cosmetic tattoo, which is done in such a way that allows it to gradually fade over a period of a couple of years. For most clients, it lasts up to 3 years.

An electric PMU device with a needle is used to open up the skin of the eyelid in tiny punctures, and pigments are injected into it. The pigments are formulated with components that the body can gradually break down, and they don’t go as deep as traditional tattoo ink, so the results can fade into invisibility if they’re not refreshed.

The color is built up over 2 sessions, done 6-8 weeks apart.

Does This Hurt?

Not really, although it might be somewhat uncomfortable.

The treatment is done with topical numbing, an anesthetic cream that eliminates the pain. Still, you might feel some pinching or pressure, and be prepared for the weird feeling of a vibrating machine being pressed against your eyelid.

Does Permanent Eyeshadow Treatment Hurt?Image source: Instagram @_maris_beauty_

What Are the Healing and Aftercare Like?

Since the needle doesn’t go deep into the skin, the permanent eyeshadow treatment is generally considered non-invasive and the healing isn’t that bad. Nevertheless, the skin needs some time to close up, and during that time, you might experience:

  • Some redness
  • Some minor swelling
  • Some scabbing
  • Then some flaking
  • Some itchiness.

These symptoms will last up to 2 weeks. During this time, you have to take care of the area in a special way to prevent infection and make sure the pigments settle properly. You will need to:

  • Clean the area according to a schedule your artist prescribes
  • Apply an aftercare ointment is prescribed
  • Keep the area dry outside of cleaning
  • Refrain from eye makeup
  • Avoid sweating, saunas and steam baths
  • Minimize sunlight exposure

When the flaking ends, you don’t have to follow the aftercare routine anymore.

Then, it will take about 2-3 more weeks for the tissue underneath the skin to recover completely and for the pigments to set into their final color. 6-8 weeks after the initial session, you can get a touch up to add more pigment if necessary, and your skin will go through another round of healing, but it will be less intense.

Can Permanent Eyeshadow Be Done in Any Color?

Technically, yes, but the most common choices are shades of deep brown, as they fade the best, and they’re a neutral choice that will match any other makeup you put on your face. Everyone loves a smokey eye, right? Once your skin heals, you can add more makeup to the look.

Check out our PMU eyeliner gallery to get inspired by the best permanent eyeshadow before and after transformations.

Can Permanent Eyeshadow Be Done in Any Color?Image source: Instagram @olga.loginova_permanent

Is the Eyeshadow Tattoo Permanent?

As we said, the application technique is such that it allows the pigments to fade away after a while. For most clients, the results stay visible for up to 3 years, but they will lose intensity over this time. When you feel like your permanent eyeshadow is too faded, you can boost the color back up by booking a touch up.

For more information on the longevity of the permanent eyeshadow tattoo and the factors that determine it, check out this article.

What If I Get Tired of It, Can I Remove It?

Yes, although the best option is to just wait out until it fades.

There are several methods of removing your permanent eyeshadow if you decide you don’t want it anymore:

The thing is, all these removal methods take multiple sessions, each of them entails a healing period, and it can get expensive. So unless you absolutely hate your permanent eyeshadow, it’s best to just wait it out.

Still, it’s nice knowing you can get rid of it if you change your mind.

So, Is It a Good Idea Overall?

If you wear the smokey eyeliner or eyeliner + eyeshadow look so often you’re getting annoyed at how much time and energy it takes to apply it every day, then the semi permanent eyeshadow is definitely a good idea. With just 2 sessions, you won’t need any eye makeup except for maybe mascara for several years, which sounds like such a relief! Just make sure you like the look so much you won’t grow tired of it quickly.

And, make sure you find a good, experienced artist to get the best results possible.

Cover image source: Freepik



Exclusive insights into the PMU industry right in your inbox.

FREE newsletter. 100% good stuff.