Eyeliner-Tattoo Tips from Someone Who's Had It for Years
There's a lot to like about permanent makeup—it saves time, it simplifies your beauty routine, and depending on your makeup-buying habits, it can save you significant money over the long term. But many people still have questions about the treatment, which is understandable, since it essentially consists of getting a tattoo on your face.
To find out more about the procedure, we interviewed our in-house beauty blogger Favin, who got an eyeliner tattoo on both her upper and lower eyelids a few years ago. ("I couldn't deal with smudged eyeliner anymore," she says.) She walked us through the experience and told us what she liked and didn't like about it.
How much does an eyeliner tattoo cost?
Cost can depend on a few factors, including your location, the experience of your technician, and whether you're receiving eyeliner on just the top eyelid, just the bottom, or both. A rough range would be $200–$800, though you can often find less expensive permanent makeup deals on Groupon.
What happens during the procedure?
First you have to decide on a color, which might not be as straightforward as it sounds. For instance, Favin ended up settling on a dark brown, since a straight black eyeliner can sometimes come off blue-ish. Next comes the numbing cream, which has to sit on the eyelids for about 20 minutes to take effect.
Finally it's time for the tattoo application. A permanent-makeup applicator doesn't look like a regular tattoo needle. Instead, it's a handheld device that contains multiple tiny needles. The procedure consists of repeatedly running this applicator over each lid—"what felt like 200 times back and forth," according to Favin. Keeping your eyes open during the procedure can be tricky. "As soon as she put it against my skin, my eyes watered and wanted to close," says Favin. "She had to hold my eye open with one hand and tattoo with the other."
Does it hurt?
Different people report different levels of discomfort, but Favin certainly experienced pain during her procedure.
"To put it mildly, yes [it hurt]," says Favin.
"Anyone with a tattoo can imagine what the process felt like—just imagine getting one right next to your eye." But even though Favin squirmed throughout the procedure, she downplays the negativity of the experience: "The entire process took only an hour, and once it was done, there was no pain at all."
What is eyeliner tattoo aftercare like?
Most of the principles of general tattoo aftercare also apply to permanent makeup: don't scratch or pick at the tattooed area; minimize exposure to the sun; keep the area clean and moisturized; and wash your hands before touching the area to prevent infection. Favin experienced some normal swelling and scabbing afterward, but it subsided within a few days, which was as expected.
What are the results like?
Pleasing and practical. Favin called the final result "perfect" and praised the convenience of her new morning routine. "All I have to do in the morning is put on lotion and a few quick swooshes of mascara," she says, though she adds that she'll sometimes enhance her eyeliner tattoo with actual eyeliner if she wants a more dramatic look.
Four years on, she's noticed a bit of fading, and she knows she may be due for a maintenance treatment soon. But ever since her original treatment, she's been recommending the service to all her friends. "I tell everyone about my liner. I love it, and I'm so glad I did it," she gushes. "If you're considering permanent makeup, my advice would be to try it out with your favorite type of look," she adds. "I don't like other makeup as much as I like eyeliner, so it's the perfect fit for me!"