Permanent Makeup Is Not A Good Idea

Permanent Makeup Is Not A Good Idea

When I wrote about my big brow mistake back in 2013, I didn’t expect to open a can of worms for people who have gone through eyebrow embroidery and absolutely hated their decision for doing it. In a way, I’m glad that it created open conversations as to why eyebrow embroidery and permanent makeup are not good ideas. I’ve received a lot of emails from readers who stumbled upon my blog when they Googled “bad eyebrow embroidery experience“. One of them regretted the decision so much that it was affecting her day-to-day life, to the point where she had lost appetite to eat because the eyebrow embroidery was done poorly and that she’s now unfortunately stuck with it unless she goes for laser removal.

In recent months, the Australian beauty industry has jumped on permanent makeup and lauded it as “the next big thing in makeup“. They claimed that these expensive beauty treatments like eyebrow and lip-tattooing will give your face a subtle yet improved change in appearance. It’s also a time-saver from having to do your brows and line your lips in the mornings, they said!

Now facial tattoos are popular in Asia. By tattoos, I don’t mean pictorial ones but the ones that changes how your face looks. I have aunties in my family who have had eyebrow tattoos. I knew several teachers in college who had black eyeliner permanently tattooed onto their waterline. Heck, even Mum and I have had eyebrow embroidery done. It’s not a new trend at all.

Coming from someone who has had a form of tattooing done on her brows more than just once and have regretted it since, I’ve said it back then and 3 years later, I’ll say it again: eyebrow embroidery or any sort of permanent face makeup is not a good idea.

Our face shape changes as we age

This is something not many of us realise. The shape of our face changes as we grow older. Depending on our lifestyle, it could be a subtle change or it could even be a dramatic change. If we lose weight, our face narrows. If we gain weight, our face balloons. As we age, we begin to lose collagen and elasticity in our skin. As our face shape changes, so does our brows and lips. As the skin on our forehead begin to slowly but surely droop as we age, so does the shape of our brows. Our lips will slowly begin to thin out.

I know I’ve probably freaked you out there but it’s the reality of the human condition. We age. And it’s okay! The thing is, permanent makeup doesn’t change together with age. Highly arched tattooed eyebrows may look good in our 20s or even 30s but what about when we enter our 40s? Or 50s? Would we still like that same brow shape we had that many years ago? How would that highly arched brows look on our slowly-but-surely sagging forehead?

Hang on, it lasts that long?!

They take a long time to fade

Depending on the level of tattooing and embroidery, oh yes it can last that long. The first time I had eyebrow embroidery done, I thought it looked fantastic. I never need to get my brows groomed and tidied, ever again! Money saved! The next year, I went back to “top up” the embroidery. The beauty therapist followed the shape that was created the previous year but she extended the “tail”. The brows looked rather strange on me and as months went on, I started to hate it. The lady said it will fade in 1-2 years’ time. It’s now been 7 years and if you look closely at me, you can still see the embroidered lines. My brows have grown back to its natural shape, which is shorter than the “tail” the beauty therapist embroidered on my face. You’ll still be able to see the brown line above my natural brow line and taper 1 cm longer than my natural brows. I always look as though I’ve done a poor job in filling in my brows with a brow pencil/powder because of those lines. Seven years, people. Yep, those blasted lines are still there.

Trends change. So do our tastes.

We may like the Instagram-and-Pinterest-worthy thick, arched brow look and dark-rimmed eyes now, but what about 5 years down the road? Ten years? Our tastes change as we grow older. Who knows, one day you may prefer thin brows. You may prefer thick, straight brows like the Koreans do. You may prefer thinner lips instead of thicker ones. You may not like that dark-rimmed-eyeliner look anymore. The thing is, you wouldn’t know what you’d like many years down the road. When you have permanent makeup on, you’re stuck with it.

You’re screwed if the beauty therapist makes a mistake

Beauty therapists are humans too and they can make mistakes. Even the very experienced tattoo artist can slip every now and then. Regular tattoos can be filled in with different colours or designs to hide the mistake but facial tattoos and permanent makeup mistakes are far harder to fix and hide.

Laser removal is a pain in the arse

Okay, at the end of the day, if you really don’t like what’s been done, you can always get the permanent makeup lasered off, right? Yes you can. However, it’s going to cost far more than the tattooing and embroidery, and it’s going to hurt a lot more.

I could go on and on about why permanent makeup is not a good idea but I reckon you get the gist. Sure, it saved me time at first but after a while, I was bored with those embroidered brows. They always looked the same. If they’re embroidered thinly, I can fill them in with a brow pencil/powder later on but how’s that saving time, eh? And if they’re too thick, I can’t go back to making them appear thinner if I wanted to.

Makeup application is fun. With the stroke of a pencil or brush, you can create thin or thick brows. You can create thin or thick lips. You can make your eyes appear bigger by using an eyeliner to line your waterline. Best of all, at the end of the day, you can remove all of them and start again the next day. And you can do it differently if you want. You can’t do this with permanent makeup.

What do you think of the permanent makeup trend? Is it something that you’d consider? Or would you not even touch it with a ten-foot pole?

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15 comments… add one
  1. Mel

    Thanks for the warning Tine! I know eyebrow tattoos are so darn popular right now. They say they’re only meant to last less than a year. Have you seen them? They apparently use this technique called feathering or something. Is that the same as what you got?
    Mel recently posted..Manicare Face and Body Tools Round UpMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I’ve not heard of feathering so I can’t comment on it. If it’s proven to last less than a year, then I suppose it’s not so bad. I was told mine would last for 2 years but here we are, 7 years later and I still have the damn lines to prove otherwise. >.<

  2. Efrain

    Oh Tine you’re so right about permanent makeup, I have to accept I was so tempted to get my brows tattooed well I think it’s more of brow embroidery, here in Mexico they’re calling it microblading and it’s announced as miraculous.

    However I’m afraid after your story and also looking at my mom’s brows which were tattooed so many years ago and I step back, I’m worried about hating them after or not being able to change their shape after some time; my mom can’t grow hers without looking messy and after growing them she needs to make up them everyday.

    So no permanent makeup for me, instead I’m playing with my hair. And yes I know I’m the worst commentator but I still read you.

    1. Tine

      Good on you Efra! Stay away from permanent makeup. Our tastes change as time goes by; who knows if you’ll still like the way your eyebrows look now a year down the road or maybe even less? Heck, I change my bag every few days! 😛 It’s more fun putting makeup on anyway, drawing it on anyhow you like. 😉

  3. Natasha

    I had permanent eyeliner done right after I turned 50. It’s subtle — just a soft grey-black in my lashline, which suits my coloring. I worked with my artist to create a soft look that I thought would just boost the visibility of my eyes, but not to replace eyeliner altogether. I was very clear that I didn’t want something that screamed eyeliner. And I’m happy with the results. It’s been 3 years and no one has even noticed that I had it done — and that was exactly what I wanted. So I feel confident going without make-up now, but usually choose to wear eyeliner. And I think that in 7 years when I’m 60, it will still look OK. I have seen bad examples on other people and feel very lucky to have found a talented artist who understood my understated vision.

    1. Tine

      As long as you’re happy with the results, Natasha, then that’s good. 🙂 You’re lucky to have found a very good artist who understood exactly what you wanted! 🙂

    2. Yvonne

      Hi Natasha,

      Would you be able to share where you got your eyeliner done ?

      Thanks so much !

  4. Mardi

    I have been getting my eyebrows tattooed for a few years now and my experience is that they actually fade quicker than I’d like. Having virtually no outer eyebrows I always looked angry unless I drew them on, and if I was going to do that I needed to do foundation and powder first or they wouldn’t last. So I love my tattooed eyebrows, they changed my life!

    1. Tine

      I’m glad yours work for you Mardi! I wish mine faded quicker than I liked. Mine is taking a reeeaalllly long time 🙁

  5. Sydney Shop Girl

    Great points, Tine.

    I agree. Not a good idea and I’d never personally consider it. Even now that I’m 40 and showing it in my face.

    I’ve been getting my brows threaded rather than waxing or plucking them and it’s changed my life. Not literally but you know what I mean. Much nicer look than if they were to be tattooed like a pair of black caterpillars across my forehead..

    SSG xxx
    Sydney Shop Girl recently posted..Lovin’ Life 17/7/2016: Stepping Back From the Rest of the World.My Profile

    1. Tine

      I love getting my eyebrows threaded. I can’t believe I stuck to waxing for so long even after eyebrow threading became popular. They look so natural!

      My aunts had the old school tattooed eyebrows and at their age now, I’m afraid those brows look awful. Brows are meant to soften with age but theirs still remain the fiercely arched even in their 70s. Yikes!

  6. Kathryn

    My daughter had the feathering tattooing thing done to her brows this year. more guts than me. But, I must say they look amazing, her own brows were overplucked, and a chef she can’t wear brow pencil or really any makeup with it sweating off. She said hers will need to be redone in 2 years. Funny thing is, I found a photo of myself at a similar age and what she done has is what I had back then. Agree absolutely with our face changing, one brow lady decided mine need to be more arched (without asking, because I always say just a tidy, I like the shape I have) and it made me look older. Not happy. I’ve never heard of brow embroidery, off to google it 🙂

    1. Tine

      I’m so glad your daughter had hers done well. A far cry from some readers who wrote to me regretting it the very next day and there was nothing I could do for them other than letting them know that they’re unfortunately stuck with crappy brows (in better words but you know what I mean) 🙁

  7. Corne

    Hi I’m going to go tomorrow but not so sure anymore.
    I can’t apply any makeup, very allergenic to anything close to my eyes and to top it of I have a scar cutting right through my brow. Was thinking to fill in the spots of my brow that’s missing lightly.
    Don’t want a needle near my eyes what happens if she slips??
    Will sleep on it.

  8. Lexx

    I just want my waterline done, upper and lower, with maybe a little bit of a lift in the outer corner, but as basic as possible, since I normally do my eyes heavily but don’t want to have to slave over them just to go to the store lol. I have really large prominent bulgy eyes and doing the waterline alone with tricks to lengthen my eye shape work best, they can handle alot without looking overdone

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