In this article, we discuss the process of getting permanent eyeliner and the things that may go wrong with this popular beauty treatment.
What Is Permanent Eyeliner?
Permanent eyeliner is a form of cosmetic tattooing that deposits pigment onto your upper and/or lower lash line to mimic the look of eyeliner or create the illusion of fuller, darker eyelashes.
They can create any look you want from a thin, natural-looking eyeliner look or even thick, winged eyeliner.
Getting permanent eyeliner is popular because it can cut back on the amount of time it takes to get ready in the morning.
You can toss your eyeliner pencil or liquid liner in the trash because you will wake up each day with your eyeliner already done.
This service is only performed by trained cosmetic tattoo artists. Although the process is similar to getting a traditional tattoo, the process and the type of ink used are different.
The ink in cosmetic tattooing only deposits on the first layer of skin, which is why it fades over time whereas a regular tattoo does not.
4 Things That Can Go Wrong With Permanent Eyeliner
When you are looking to get any kind of cosmetic tattooing done including permanent eyeliner, there is some degree of risk involved.
The tattoo artist is using a needle to place pigment on a very sensitive area of your face, so it’s important to understand the risks and research the procedure as well as the artist before your appointment.
1. You are allergic to the pigment or other products used
Although it’s common to have some redness, itching, and swelling in the eye area after your permanent eyeliner service, anything that persists longer than 2-3 days post-treatment could be a sign of an allergic reaction.
It’s important to monitor your eyes in the days following your appointment to keep an eye out for symptoms that are changing or worsening.
If your eyes are still red, swollen, itchy, or painful to the touch after 3 days, contact your tattoo artist for further instructions and consider seeing your doctor as well.
2. You get an infection from the procedure
One of the major risks of permanent eyeliner, and other cosmetic tattooing, is getting an infection due to non-sterile equipment or materials used during the service.
Be sure to research several cosmetic tattoo artists before selecting one to do your permanent eyeliner to make sure you find one who is reputable and trusted in the industry.
When you arrive at your appointment, make sure the room appears clean and that the artist uses all sterilized tools.
3. The color isn’t what you expect
The most common colors for permanent eyeliner are black and brown.
Most people will assume that they want black eyeliner, but that color isn’t always flattering to everyone’s coloring and often looks much harsher than you were expecting.
If so, you may want to look into ways to lighten your eyeliner tattoo at home.
Here are a few reasons why the color of your permanent eyeliner might not look the way you expected:
Your body chemistry changed the color
The pigment that is deposited during the permanent eyeliner service reacts with your own individual body chemistry as it heals.
When this happens, it can change the way that the color looks on your skin.
One of the common things that happen is that black permanent eyeliner will appear more blue or gray as it heals.
Many people will be dissatisfied with this outcome because they were expecting black eyeliner.
Pigment deposited at the wrong depth
Tattooing around the eye area is a very delicate thing because the pressure that is used is everything.
If your tattoo artist uses too heavy of a hand during the procedure, they may place the eyeliner pigment too deep into the skin.
When permanent makeup pigment is deposited too deeply into the skin, the eyeliner may appear a different shade than expected or look faded or dull.
The wrong color pigment was used
Your tattoo artist will discuss the color options with you before your permanent eyeliner appointment to help you choose a color that will flatter you best.
Sometimes the look is not what you expected or the artist may make a mistake and use a color you weren’t expecting.
4. You don’t like how the permanent eyeliner looks
Another common complaint after getting permanent eyeliner done is that you may not actually like how it looks on you.
This is why it’s important to do a lot of research on your artist and ask to see before and after pictures of their past clients to get an idea of how it will look.
Ask lots of questions about the process and make sure you select the right color and shape that you think will best flatter your eye shape and complement your overall look.
Here are a few reasons why you might not like how your permanent eyeliner looks:
The permanent eyeliner is thicker or thinner than you expected
Your tattoo artist can create almost any eyeliner look that you want with permanent eyeliner.
It’s important to share with your artist the way that you typically like to do your eyeliner so that they can try to recreate that look with permanent makeup.
Sometimes even with the best preparation, your tattoo artist may get it wrong.
They may have given you a line that is too thin or too thick. It might look more bold and more dramatic than you expected or perhaps it doesn’t look dark enough.
If the eyeliner is too thin or subtle there are usually some things that the tattoo artist can do to thicken it up, but it’s difficult to correct eyeliner that is too thick.
If you are worried about this, ask your artist to start with a thinner line to see how it looks before adding more pigment.
You don’t like how you look with permanent eyeliner
It’s nearly impossible to predict how you will feel with eyeliner on your eyes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Even if you do research on your tattoo artist and tell them exactly how you want your permanent eyeliner to look, you may just not like how it looks on you.
If you aren’t happy with the way the eyeliner looks, you can cover some of it up with makeup to soften or change the look.
This isn’t ideal, but because permanent eyeliner is a semi-permanent service you will have to live with the results for at least a few years.
The permanent eyeliner pigment migrated
One of the risks of getting permanent eyeliner that your tattoo artist should prepare you for is that the eyeliner pigment can migrate over time.
This can cause your eyeliner to appear smudged or uneven in some areas.
There are a few different reasons why permanent eyeliner may migrate.
Migration isn’t always avoidable as it is sometimes caused by the shape of your eye or the type of pigment used, but it can also be caused by the artist not using the appropriate technique on different parts of your eye.
It’s important to discuss any concerns about migration with your artist prior to your appointment.
Why Is My Permanent Eyeliner Not Taking?
Although the hope of permanent eyeliner is to give you exactly the look you want, there is always a small chance that your permanent eyeliner might not take.
If you find that you can’t see where the eyeliner was applied or the effect is much more subtle than you were expecting, there are a few reasons why your permanent eyeliner may not be showing up.
Some of the most common reasons why this might have happened are that your tattoo artist may have used tattoo strokes that were too thin or the pressure used was too light.
This can cause the pigment to not transfer onto the skin.
Why Is My Permanent Eyeliner Peeling Off?
Flaking and peeling is a very normal part of the healing process for any permanent makeup including tattoo eyeliner.
Approximately 3-5 days after your appointment, you will start to notice bits of the eyeliner flaking off and the area that was tattooed will appear faded during this phase.
The peeling should stop within the first week after your tattoo appointment, revealing the finished product.
How Long Will My Permanent Eyeliner Last?
Permanent eyeliner can last anywhere from 2-5 years.
Most people will notice some fading and need a touch-up around 12-18 months after the initial application, and repeat that touch-up each year afterward.
Why Is My Permanent Eyeliner Taking So Long To Heal?
The healing process for permanent eyeliner varies from person to person, but most people can expect to be fully healed in 7-10 days.
During the first 10 days, you will notice some fading, flaking, and peeling, but there is virtually no downtime associated with it.
It is advised to avoid wearing eye makeup, especially mascara, and avoid touching your eyes or getting your eye area wet for a prolonged period of time.
This will help prevent bacteria from infecting the area because the tattooed area is considered a wound while it is healing.
What Can I Do If I’m Not Happy With My Permanent Eyeliner?
If you are unhappy with the results of your permanent eyeliner, it’s important to discuss your concerns with your tattoo artist.
Share what your expectations of the service were and what you are unhappy with to see if there is any resolution that they can offer.
Happy customers are their goal because they are in the industry of making people feel beautiful and word of mouth travels far, so they will likely be willing to work with you.
Sometimes the issues that you notice immediately following your permanent eyeliner treatment will resolve themselves as you heal, but other times there are things that need fixing.
If you aren’t happy with the color or overall look of your eyeliner, ask your tattoo artist if they are willing to fix it.
Discuss your options and see if there is a way to fix what’s wrong with your permanent eyeliner to make you happy with the result.