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There has been a significant advancement in cosmetic procedures, technology and products over the past few years with one particular area – semi-permanent makeup – gathering a lot of public attention. Here’s a look at the techniques and benefits of this modern cosmetic procedure. 

What is semi-permanent makeup?

Also referred to as permanent makeup, cosmetic tattooing and micropigmentation; semi-permanent makeup is a process whereby pigment is inserted into the papillary layer of the dermis (or skin). It is a blanket term that refers to a number of different procedures that effectively result in permanent marks on the face that reflect makeup. The reason this process is referred to as semi-permanent is that it will last for a number of years, although not a lifetime.  

Development of semi-permanent makeup

While cosmetic tattooing has been around for quite some time, the industry has seen massive enhancements the past few decades, with innovations happening almost monthly. Initially, semi-permanent makeup was more a solid block of colour using ink with titanium dioxide. Modern, organic pigments are now applied in various shades which allow for more natural fading. 

Where can semi-permanent makeup be used?

The versatility of this cosmetic procedure and modern techniques make this a safe treatment option for the face. The popular semi-permanent makeup procedures include:

Semi-permanent makeup treatment types

Using a tattoo machine or microblading tool, semi-permanent makeup will be carefully applied by an industry specialist with training in the relevant techniques. Here is a look at some of the treatment options available. 

1. Eyelashes

Microdroplets of pigmentation can be gently placed between each eyelash as a way to create the appearance of thick, fluttery eyelashes. The application will be done using light vibrations and will need to be kept dry for 48 hours after the procedure. 

2. Eyebrows

Possibly the most popular of all semi-permanent makeup treatments is on the eyebrows. Here’s a look at the innovative procedures. 

  • Microblading

One of the latest techniques on the market is microblading. This is a semi-permanent tattoo procedure using a specialised, handheld microblading eyebrow pen. This is used to draw on strokes that give the appearance of natural eyebrow hairs. The ink used in microblading is much less concentrated than a regular tattoo. 

  • Microfeathering

A less full version of microblading is microfeathering. This technique creates hair-like strokes that also resembles natural hair, but the finished look is not as solid. The skin between the hair and tattoo strokes is more evident. 

3. Lips 

In the 1990s, semi-permanent makeup for the lips was generally restricted to just lip liner, but this has evolved to a complete, full-lip blush that gives the subtle appearance of a pout and a much livelier hue. The lips can still be lined with a darker shade and then blended with a softer shade on the lips for a more natural look. 

4. Eyeliner

Placed on either the upper or lower eyelid, semi-permanent eyeliner will create a youthful appearance that gives the eyes definition and clarity. 

5. Beauty spots

Creating a really attractive look, people are now turning towards semi-permanent tattooing to place beauty spots on strategic places. Dating back to the 18th century, women used makeup beauty spots as a way to create an irresistible attraction, either near the eye, above the lip, or high on the cheekbone. 

6. Cheek blushing

For those with a particularly pale complexion, a light blushing of the cheek will offer a healthy, youthful appearance. 

7. Light freckles

Semi-permanent makeup is even being used to add a youthful, sun-kissed look in the form of light freckles. These should be drawn on first to ensure the individual is happy with the pattern and placement of the freckles. 

8. Correctional 

In addition to enhancing facial features, semi-permanent makeup can also be used to provide reconstructive camouflage to conceal scars or patches from Vitiligo, accidents, hair transplants, and others. 

  • Areola re-construction 

For those who’ve undergone breast re-constructive surgery, including mastectomies, semi-permanent makeup can be used to re-pigment the areola and create a more natural appearance to the breast. 

What are the aftercare procedures?

The different semi-permanent makeup procedures will require unique aftercare treatments, but skin trauma of any type will need some time to heal. The first 7 to 10 days are vital, and it’s important to not get the area too wet and to avoid UV rays. To minimise any risk of infection and ensure the treatment remains intact, it’s important to follow all aftercare instructions carefully.  

What are the benefits of semi-permanent makeup?

There are so many benefits of semi-permanent makeup, and this is evident by its rise in popularity and high-profile users. Some of the benefits include:

  • Saves costs on makeup and removers. 
  • Saves time taken to apply makeup.
  • Gives the wearer a fresh, confident look day and night. 
  • Allows the wearer to participate in sports or go out on hot days without concerns about smudging and smearing the makeup. 
  • Reduces wear on skin as there is no need for constant application of makeup and removal. 
  • Gives those with scars or alopecia sufferers a sense of confidence.  
  • Modern techniques are incredibly natural looking. 

How long does semi-permanent makeup last?

Depending on the procedure type and where it is done, the longevity of the semi-permanent makeup will differ. The pigments are injected relatively shallowly into the skin, so the results will fade over time. Part of the pigment will be broken down naturally by the body, and part of the pigment will be removed when the skin renews itself. Eventual fading is actually preferred because the skin naturally changes colour and texture over time, and personal tastes and fashions will also alter. This allows the individual to update the look at a later stage. 

The results of semi-permanent makeup can last several years, but it will depend on a number of factors:

  • Quality of the products and equipment used.
  • Lightness or darkness of the ink used – yellows will fade quicker than reds on the lip, for instance. 
  • The more hydration used, the quicker the pigment fades. 
  • Exposure to UV lighting will damage skin and result in quicker fading. 

Fortunately, it’s possible to go for a colour refresher and the individual can decide when it is time for a touch up. As long as the procedure is done by a qualified technician, the finished look should suitably enhance the overall appearance almost immediately.