I get this question several times each week.
So is permanent makeup a tattoo?
I have found when I explain that, yes, they are one and the same, I get some shocked responses. Why? In short, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. And much of it stems directly from permanent makeup technicians themselves.
So allow me to shed some light on the subject.
Permanent makeup (or cosmetic tattoo) dates back seemingly to the ice age. Tattoos have been found on Egyptian mummies. Tattooing has existed for thousands of years in various forms for various reasons. Once man discovered ways to feed and shelter himself, self-expression and the desire to implant pigment on a canvas of human skin evolved.
Yes, permanent makeup is a tattoo.
Permanent makeup technicians may like to separate themselves from the word “tattoo” and replace it with “micropigmentation,” but, truly, it is all the same thing. Permanent makeup is implanting pigment into the dermis—and that process is known as tattooing.
The tools and pigments are interchangeable. Many permanent makeup professionals try to sever the relationship between permanent makeup and body art cosmetic tattoo because, with some, there still exists some negative emotion by the public about tattoos. What the individual permanent makeup professional feels is socially appropriate will determine how she promotes and explains what permanent makeup is. However, no matter the professional’s opinion, the fact is, permanent makeup is a cosmetic tattoo.
With the rising popularity of the artistic body tattoo and permanent cosmetics, new and more advanced pigment delivery devices have emerged. It is not likely that one will encounter the primitive hammering of charcoal into the skin by means of sharp stone slivers or sharpened wood picks at the local tattoo shop. Today there are various machines and digital power supplies to aid in implantation. There are machines that cost thousands and employ a variety of safety and efficiency features. Thanks to the body art tattoo popularity, permanent makeup artists reap the benefits of the advancing tattoo technology.
Tattooing is currently the sixth fastest growing retail business in the United States of America. And the single fastest growing demographic group seeking tattoo services? The middle class suburban woman.
Call It How You See It
So if one desires permanent makeup to define her eyebrows, to cover a scar or make her lips more pink and calling it a “tattoo” is uncomfortable, then by all means, call it micropigmentation. Call your tattoo whatever you desire, but permanent makeup is a genre of traditional cosmetic tattoo, which is widely accepted in the United States.
Today, tattoos are commonly seen on public figures, sports figures, fashion models, movie stars and most commonly, now, the average suburban woman. So do not fear the “tattoo” word. It is doubtful that after your conservative eyeliner procedure that you will grow a taste for a skull with crossbones on your left arm because you already have a “tattoo.”