Semi Permanent Makeup: What is It and How Does It Work?

By Katarina V.| Last updated on February 1, 2023
Semi Permanent Makeup: What is It and How Does It Work
⏱️ 4 min read

Semi permanent makeup is still a relatively new beauty trend out there, but it’s been very popular lately. Nowadays you can see permanent and semi permanent makeup on almost everyone, from celebrities (even Helen Mirren), Instagram influencers, to regular people who are simply too busy to worry about reapplying makeup every single day.

However, to those of you who don’t follow beauty trends too closely, it may not be totally clear what exactly semi permanent makeup is. So today we’re answering the most common questions about semi permanent makeup.

What is semi permanent makeup?

Permanent makeup, semi permanent makeup, cosmetic tattooing, and micropigmentation are all names for the same thing, which is implementing pigment into the papillary layer of the dermis”

Semi permanent makeup is a general term that implies a number of different procedures that result in permanent markings on the face that look like a specific makeup product was applied. The prefix semi stands for the short term effects of these permanent makeup treatments that usually last for a couple of years (1-3), depending on the procedure.

Since they are not completely permanent, the treatments are described as semi permanent instead.

Semi permanent makeup procedures

Some of the most popular semi permanent procedures are:

All the procedures mentioned have one thing in common; the results are achieved by injecting pigments into the skin between the dermis and the epidermis using microneedles.

Of course, the color of the pigments varies according to the area treated (black for eyeliner, black and hues of brown for eyebrows, shades of pink for lips and cheeks, and special tinted serums for BB glow procedures).

For more information on different semi permanent treatments visit our Treatments page

Different techniques for best results

Some technicians call the technique used for face, lip and cheek treatment pixelization, which describes the method quite well – a series of tiny dots create the illusion of shading and highlighting. For example, eyelash enhancement is relatively new and implies tiny dots of black pigment injected inbetween the natural eyelashes and just below their roots, on the upper waterline, which gives the illusion of fuller and thicker eyelashes.

Procedures targeted at the eyebrows can slightly vary. The point is to draw lines that resemble the natural eyebrow hairs as closely as possible. This is achieved by drawing numerous individual strokes between the hairs, dragging the microneedle through the skin.

Also there are eyebrows techniques that use dotting effect, such as powder brows. It may sound a bit scary, but pain is minimal and topical anesthetics in the form of gels are enough to make the procedures more than bearable.

semi permanent makeup applied

Photo by Ali Pazani on Pexels

What about the aftercare?

Any type of skin trauma takes some time to heal. In order to stay healthy and minimize the risk of infection, it is crucial to follow the aftercare instructions your technician gives you. Proper healing also makes the results look their best and last as long as possible.

The time skin takes to heal is very individual and depends on a number of factors, but the first 7-10 days are particularly important. During this time, you should avoid getting the treated area wet as much as possible, avoid direct sunlight and use sunscreen any time you leave the house. UV light makes the pigment fade or alters the color.

How long does semi permanent makeup last?

Results of semi permanent makeup can last up to several years, depending on the procedure. Semi permanent eyeliner lasts about a year, micropigmentation lasts about 3 years (depending on the part of the skin treated), lip blushing can last up to 5 years, while results of microblading last up to 2 years.

Given that the pigments used are iron oxides which are injected relatively shallow into the skin, results eventually fade. Part of the pigments is broken down naturally by our bodies, while part of the pigment is removed mechanically – skin renews itself, old cells die and are shedded, new cells eventually emerge. This is in no way a minus.

In fact, eventual fading is desirable, as skin changes color and texture throughout the years, facial features change, we might want to dye our hair a shade that wouldn’t match our brows, or we might simply want to change up our look. That’s where touch ups kick in as an opportunity to refresh and modify the results.

How to remove semi permanent makeup?

Although the results will fade at some point, there’s a solution if you get impatient (or are not satisfied with the look). There are ways to accelerate fading of microbladed eyebrows, most of which come down to not following the aftercare routine.

Alternatively, saline removal has been quite safe and efficient. It means injecting a specialized saline solution on top of the work. The solution lifts pigment molecules from the skin and fades the marks.

Laser removal is always possible, but a single laser session can cost up to $500. It is also possible to remove semi permanent eyeliner, but this procedure is delicate and most experts advise against it.

Obviously, removal must be done by experts.

For more information on different semi permanent treatments visit our Treatments page! 

Cover image source: Freepik



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