Pain is a subjective notion to which women for decades have been saying (with an air of obviousness) – “Beauty is pain, darling.”  It is no secret that women work hard on their appearance and permanent makeup lowers the daily maintenance and time involved. This article will help you understand more about the pain, permanence, and if these procedures are a good fit for you.  

Does permanent makeup hurt? Pain is different for everyone as some claim to experience no pain at all while others say it’s unbearable. However, modern anesthetics have greatly reduced the pain associated with these cosmetology procedures.

Despite becoming recently popular through the trends of microblading, permanent eyeliner, and lip-tattooing – permanent makeup is nothing new. In fact, it’s been around for over 7,000 years. Luckily for you, we live in an advanced age of medicine where you can desensitize your skin, fight infections, and use numbing agents to make a painful process easier. 

How Painful Is It Really?

This is one of the most popular questions on this forum of discussion and the answers are somewhat split. More people than you would believe say that the process was much easier and more pain-free than they were anticipating. The common theme seems to be going to a technician that uses quality numbing agents and is well-reviewed to have the outcome or coloration you are seeking.

Pain tolerance will depend on a variety of things such as genetics, time of the month, and hormones reacting to the desensitizers in each individual.

Topical treatments will assist, and the technician should apply this about 10-20 minutes before beginning. This anesthetic is commonly placed on with a Q-tip and will limit the pain of needle to skin contact.

Pain will also depend on the procedure you’re having done. Popular verdicts are that the eyeliner tattooing is the least painful and surprisingly easy. Microblading somewhere in the middle and that lip-tattooing is by far the most painful, because they are so vascular. 

History vs. Modern Day of Permanent Makeup:

Permanent makeup was no less of a fetish in the past and face art has been ritualistic for thousands of centuries in human culture. Today is by far the safest time in history to do it and we are lucky to have so many licensed professionals taking safety measures that our ancestors never would have had. 

We picture Cleopatra with her charcoal coated eyes and liner that would remain permanently on the bodies. The first recorded users of permanent and semi-permanent makeup adorned the faces of the Egyptians, Romans, Africans, Indians, and Grecians.

It is interesting that even thousands of years ago women (and men alike) were seeking a simpler and faster method of makeup than having to reapply every day. It makes sense to consider as a 21st century individual in this working society to take that tedious step out of the daily routine. 

Compared to the intense procedures done in history, like Tofi women tattooing their entire faces in swirling patterns to signify their family’s lineage, or Ancient Middle Easterners micro-blading with stones – our modern-day makeup tattooing looks like a piece of cake. 

In modern cosmetology, influencers on social media are without a doubt affecting the present game on these procedures. Trends yield more than two million photos tagged with #microblading, #ad, and over a million shares on the tag #permanentmakeup this year. 

Reviews from Users:

Believe it or not, some people do in fact have ‘tougher skin’ and can tolerate pain on a different scale than others. Reviews differentiate all over the board and you truly need to understand the exact results and the degree of permanence you’re seeking to achieve.

Some reviews found on public forums (left anonymous) include:

  • “The sensation isn’t alarming but feels like a vibration against your lashes — at the most, like someone is lightly scratching your skin.”
  • “Will it hurt? Unfortunately, yes. But how much depends on the area and the person. Some of my clients think microblading is intense, while others say it’s only a little uncomfortable. However, topical numbing solutions lessen the discomfort.”  
  • “Just did third touch up for eye liner. Hurts like hell but worth it. Don’t put on makeup anymore. Highly recommend, pain is worth it.”
  •  “Had my brows redone for the first time in 10 years and won’t be doing it again. WAY too painful!!”
  • “Most people do not take any painkillers. (If you do take painkillers, make sure it’s not aspirin, which thins the blood.)”

You can see the results are divided and dependent on personal factors.  RealSelf says that 75% found it to be ‘worth it’ on their website. Many say the long-term reduction in stress and efficiency of waking up looking ready to go each morning is far worth it compared to a temporary feeling of pain. 

Healing Process:

Some blissful news is that once your eyeliner is applied, there is no down time. Even celebrities hit the red carpet after one of these procedures. Lips may be a bit more swollen but healed in the matter of a few days and the longest with scabbing might be around 1 week.

There may be mild scabbing while it heals just like any tattoo. You can ask your technician what they recommend using on it but most tattooists have special balms to preserve the color and allow it to set properly. 

This is important – for the love of all things holy – Do not pick your scabs. Allow the particles to fall off naturally to avoid tearing and permanent scarring/discoloration. This is your face. Just don’t do it.

Permanence is based on skin pigmentation, genetics, quality of ink, and more contributing factors. The average client goes back for a retouch around once a year. 

Is it Right for Me?

Permanent makeup may be the perfect fit for you if:

  • You hate getting ready in the morning and the idea of not having to ‘glam up’ each day appeals to you.
  • You have allergies to traditional makeup.
  • You have hair loss that’s affected your eyebrows and you want a fuller brow look. 
  • You workout often and like not having to reapply every time you get sweaty/showered.
  • Other procedures which don’t seem as obvious but might be a good fit for you include – covering up stretch marks, lip contouring, and even artificial freckles. 

It’s Not Worth the Pain If:

  • You’re a perfectionist and won’t be satisfied with anyone doing your makeup but you. Don’t put yourself through the pain unless you’ve hand-selected the perfect technician for your preferences and style.
  • You lack commitment. You know who you are.
  • Needle phobic. This is an obvious one but even for the tattoo-adorned femme fatale a needle to the face can be a terror. Decide if you can handle a needle against your eye or on your face at all.
  • You haven’t done your research. 
  • You’re a self-proclaimed ‘sucker for the trends.’ If eyebrows are thick now but thin as razors tomorrow and that’s going to affect you in any way at all, I would recommend you simply consider a semi-permanent solution.

Final Verdict:

Beauty is pain and women have known this for thousands of years. Starting small is best and working your way up to darker, higher-pigmented and fuller shades. Begin with semi-permanent and go from there if you’re a decided fan or tolerant of the pain at all. 

It only feels right for me to mention a valid cliché – that beauty truly does come from inside. Beauty comes from your kindness and the energy you exude to those around you. 

Though, we can’t ignore the convenience of these modern advances in beauty and their heightened popularity. It’s gaining traction with more and more people having these procedures done. It is best to speak outright on the popularity rather than avoid it so users can take advantage of these methods knowledgably and safely.

Forgive the bad pun but I do believe the permanent makeup is – here to stay.

Author

The Eyerly Family is a tight knit family from Texas. Married for 10 years Dane and Deena are the parents to six awesome kids! In 2021 the Eyerly's are leaving normal life behind to travel full-time throughout the United States in their Double Decker Bus which has been converted to a tiny home. They've been featured in Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Style, Medium, and Latestly. Learn more about The Eyerly's here.

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