If you've ever heard about people tattooing on eyebrows or getting permanent lip liner and wondered "Who DOES that?!?", allow me to introduce myself. I'm wearing black eyeliner—forever—and it's been one of my better life decisions, right up there with learning HTML and adopting a tortoise. I paid a lady in Chinatown $150 to do it (found her on Yelp!), and now I'm considering getting my lips permanently tinted, too.
The whole experience has been great and so freeing. I only wear makeup now when it sounds fun and I'm excited to do it. For me, cosmetics are a great means of self-expression, but on Monday at 8 am when all I'm trying to express is my need to be at work in a half hour, the goal is to put as little work as possible into looking good. Hence my willingness to let a tattoo gun puncture my lash lines. It was an uncomfortable experience to say the least, but now for the rest of my life I never even have to consider whether my eye makeup will smudge, and combined with bimonthly at-home lash tinting it's actually cheaper than getting new products on a regular basis. Of course, like any tattoo, permanent makeup fades over time. So in a few years I'll go back in to have the ink freshened up. But $500 in tattoo maintenance over a decade is still a substantial money/time/frustration savings over replacing $39 liquid liner every three months, ya know?
Long story short, I'm very, very happy and if you're interested, here are the things I'd recommend you do to get the best possible permanent makeup:
–Absolutely research and read every review you can.
-Make sure your artist is reputable, licensed by the state, and has excellent studio hygiene.
-Ask for photos of your artist's work to make sure their cosmetic style is compatible with what you want—any professional will have a book.
-Take super close-up, clear photos of your eyes wearing the kind of liner you want, then use them as a guide.
-Talk about how thin/dark you want the ink and be very precise; the more straightforward you are the easier it is for your artist.
-Have the artist draw practice lines on your eyes beforehand until it's exactly the shape you want.
-Ask for the slightly more expensive hand-tattooing option rather than the tattoo gun if it's available—you'll get finer, more precise results.
If needles/pain are your main concerns, I have some good news...and some bad news. The good news: there's numbing cream, so it won't hurt unless you're getting liner tattooed right next to your eyeball, literally on the rims of your eyes (which is what I did; it hurt, but it was worth it). The bad news: there's no avoiding the needle. If you're terrified of shots and may start freaking out, please, please do not go get this done. I don't want to see you on the front page of The Post talking about how your eyeball is permanently polka dotted.
There's some healing time involved, just as with any tattoo. I had minor scabbing that no one besides me even noticed, and some places will try to sell you a healing ointment to speed up the process, but any triple antibiotic ointment will work just as well.
Eyeliner is probably the least traumatic/noticeable permanent makeup, so if I'm making my experience sound suspiciously easy, that's because it was. If I'd gone in to get my eyebrows or lips done, there would have been significantly more scabbing and a longer healing time. Other than that, I think I'm just about ready to give permanent lip color a try! I need to bring in good stain/lipstick/gloss options, so if you have suggestions, let me know. Also, if you have any other questions, I'll answer them to the best of my abilities—just put 'em in the comments!
Photo by Elizabeth Brockway.