Permanent makeup dates back at least to the start of the 20th century, though its nature was often concealed in its early days. The tattooist George Burchett, a major developer of the technique when it become fashionable in the 1930s, described in his memoirs how beauty salons tattooed many women without their knowledge, offering it as a “complexion treatment … of injecting vegetable dyes under the top layer of the skin.”
Permanent makeup results in enhanced features of the face—definition is rendered to eyebrows, eyes and lips by the use of colors. Results can imitate topically applied cosmetics or can be quite unnoticeable, depending upon the design, color value and amount of pigment used.
At first, permanent makeup results may look darker. This is due to colour remaining in the outermost epidermal layers of skin at the start. Colour softens within a few days during the healing process as the upper layers of epidermis slough and are replaced by new epidermal cells.
The best possible colour results can perform for many years or may begin to fade over time. The amount of time required for this, depends per person. While permanent makeup pigment remains in the dermis its beauty-span may be influenced by several possible factors. These can be environmental, procedural and/or individual factors. Sun exposure fades colour. The amount and colour of pigment deposit at the dermal level can affect the length of time that permanent makeup looks its best. Very natural-looking applications are likely to require a touch-up before more dramatic ones for this reason. Individual influences include lifestyles that find an individual in the sun regularly such as with gardening or swimming. Skin tones are a factor in colour value changes over time.
There are cases of undesired results. The four most common complaints are “too dark,” “wrong colour,” “uneven” and “too big.” A skilled, experienced, permanent makeup professional is able to adjust the colour and evenness of permanent makeup results in most cases. A design that is too large presents a serious challenge, however. Costly pigment lightening techniques and/or removal may be the only solutions.