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How Long Does Permanent Makeup Last, and Why?

Permanent makeup and body art tattooing work in much the same way - a machine is used to implant pigments or inks under the surface of the skin, using very fine needles. The two processes differ, however, in the length of time that they stay visible in the skin.

Traditional body tattoos are well known to be permanent and people are rightly encouraged to give serious thought to their chosen designs. Once a person has been tattooed, the options for removing it are limited, and often both expensive and painful.

Permanent makeup - or semi-permanent makeup, as it is sometimes called - is often advertised as lasting for around 12-18 months, with professionals then advising their clients to return after this period for a ‘colour boosting’ appointment.

So why do you need a colour boost for PMU, but not for body art?

Simply put - the products used are different. Permanent makeup uses medical grade pigments, which are made up of finely ground powders often suspended in either alcohol or glycerine. The individual particles of these powders are much smaller than those found in traditional body art inks (which are manufactured in a similar way).

The smaller particle size found in permanent makeup pigments is responsible for pigment fading. Over time, the body’s natural immune system will gradually remove the particles from the treatment area, causing the colour to become lighter and lighter. Depending on the pigments used, these may fade until the colour is no longer visible or there may be some pigment left in the skin indefinitely.

To keep your permanent makeup looking vibrant, clients are therefore encouraged to attend a colour boosting appointment after the treated area has begun to fade.

What are the benefits of PMU fading?

The most obvious benefit of permanent makeup fading is that as trends change, what may have been fashionable at one time, may no longer be in future. Think of the pencil thin brows of the 90s… The fading process therefore allows the shape and style of a treatment to be adjusted to suit changing preferences over time.

Another benefit of fading is that, even if a trend doesn’t change - our faces will. Permanent makeup is suitable for people over the age of 18, and however we might try to slow the effects of time, our faces will change and what once suited us may not in future.

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