Semi-permanent brows: is it really a tattoo?!

The idea of waking up without makeup is a compelling one for some women. It’s estimated that the average woman spends around half an hour each day putting on their makeup, and for a lot of us this includes filling in eyebrows to make them fuller, more even or just to try and make them match each other. When you add it up, that’s over 182 hours a year!

To try and cut down on some of that very valuable prep time (and to get some of their mornings back!), it’s becoming increasingly popular for women to opt for a semi-permanent solution that saves both huge amounts of time and effort literally every day – but most importantly, looks and feels stunningly natural and not ‘tattooed on’.

So to answer the question – are semi-permanent brows actually tattooed onto the face?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions out there for beauty practitioners and brow professionals alike. Essentially, the answer is yes, but very importantly, both the process and result makes it drastically different to a traditional tattoo. It’s nothing like that little tatt of your cat’s name you secretly had tattooed when you were 16 – that weird greenish-grey that stubbornly won’t fade! As the name suggests, it’s in fact a semi-permanent solution to get your brows microbladed or enhanced by digital machine. This fundamental difference means that because it’s not permanent, cosmetic tattooing does fade, but with proper care it can last up to a year and a half before needing a touch-up (or ‘colour refresh’). This means that you aren’t committed to your brows should trends change over time, and you can always go slightly darker or more bold knowing that they will become lighter as well.

Most cosmetic tattooing is classified as a semi-permanent makeup option. The reason it is ‘semi’ and not just ‘permanent’ is in how it’s applied. During application, the pigment is only inserted into the top layer of the skin, so it stays very much close to the surface where the skin repairs and regenerates. A conventional tattoo penetrates down to the deeper dermal layers, which is why without some serious laser therapy, it isn’t going anywhere! Secondly, a particular type of pigment is used, instead of ink. This pigment is made of iron oxide and is deemed to be the safest pigment to have under the top layer of the skin. Traditional tattoos on the other hand use ink that can be made up of chemicals such as mercury sulphide, lead, ash, iron or nickel – so by this standard, cosmetic tattooing can be considered a much safer procedure.

How else is it different?

The purpose is also a major difference when it comes to tattooing versus semi-permanent makeup options. Cosmetic tattooing aims to take the everyday grind out of some parts of the typical makeup we tend to struggle with the most, being brows, lip liner, eyeliner and lipstick. When you consider the 182+ hours a year we spend on average trying to get these niggly things just so, cosmetic tattooing can be a massive time saver. Life is too busy to worry if your eyebrows are twins, sisters or vague distant cousins!

For most of us, the difference between conventional tattooing and cosmetic tattooing may not warrant such an in-depth discussion. It is however important to consider doing proper research when it comes to putting things in and on our bodies, especially so when you’re considering something as important and personal as your facial features. If you want to see before and after pictures of Amanda’s previous work, check out her Instagram and Facebook – or feel free to get in touch and ask any more specific questions on the services she offers.

If eyes are the windows to the soul, that means eyebrows are the frames - so make sure you get the best!


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