When it comes to permanent makeup, there are a lot of benefits, which may be why so many people have sought it out. Due to a few different reasons, permanent makeup eventually fades over time and needs to be touched up to regain its original result. Because of this, one of the most popular questions asked about permanent makeup is:

How long does it take permanent makeup to fade? How long it takes permanent makeup to fade depends on a few factors like where it’s placed, what pigment is used and how it’s taken care of, but overall, it can take permanent makeup anywhere from a year to ten years to fade.

If you’ve ever been curious about why permanent makeup fades in the first place and how long it takes different permanent makeup procedures to fade, below is a complete guide on the most popular permanent makeup procedures and how long they last. 

The Most Popular Permanent Makeup Procedures and How Long it Takes Them to Fade

First and foremost, what exactly is permanent makeup? Permanent makeup is a cosmetic procedure in which micro-pigments are applied to the skin using small hollow needles to recreate the look of day-to-day makeup.

Permanent makeup is generally applied to different areas on the face, like the eyebrows and lips, but it is also commonly applied to other areas on the body like the areolas and on scars.

Permanent makeup is often compared to regular body tattooing, and the two are somewhat similar. That being said, permanent makeup can be temporarily uncomfortable or painful when it’s applied. Thankfully, permanent makeup artists will almost always use a numbing cream or gel to help make the process more comfortable!

Different Types of Permanent Makeup Procedures

There are many different types of permanent makeup procedures, but here we’ll discuss the most popular ones in a quick overview.

Eyeliner

Permanent makeup eyeliner is a very popular procedure and is applied around the outer rims of the eyes. Permanent eyeliner can be applied to the top of the eyelids only, the bottom of the lines of the eyes only, or both.

Day-to-day eyeliner can be time consuming to apply and hard to get even, so getting permanent eyeliner is a desirable procedure for many.

Eyebrows

Permanent makeup eyebrows, most commonly called microblading, is another procedure that is very common and popular. Chances are you know someone who has had their eyebrows done with permanent makeup!

Permanent eyebrow makeup is generally applied with small machines or hand tools to deposit natural looking hair strokes of pigment onto the eyebrows. Permanent eyebrow makeup is also a big time saver, and can be very desirable for those who have hair loss or less visible eyebrows and want a long lasting solution.

Stretch Marks

Stretch marks tend to be noticeable because they don’t hold pigment like the rest of the skin. Permanent makeup can be applied to stretch marks in virtually any area of the body to re-deposit pigment onto the area and make them less noticeable.

Lips

Permanent lip makeup is another very popular procedure. Pigment can be applied to the lips on the outer lines of the lips, all over the lips, or both. In other words, permanent lip makeup can be applied to mimic the look of lip liner, all over lip color, or both.

Permanent lip makeup is especially popular because it can sometimes make the lips look fuller and healthier. It also lasts longer than other solutions, like temporary lip fillers. The lips are one of the most tender places to get permanent lip makeup applied, and it can be one of the more difficult procedures to perform due to the fact that the lips are muscles, unlike the skin.

However, with an experienced permanent makeup artist, permanent lip makeup can turn out looking great!

Scars

Like stretch marks, scars don’t hold pigment like the rest of the skin and therefore become much more noticeable. Permanent makeup application on scars is a great solution for those who have large, noticeable scars that they wish to cover, or just for anyone who wants to camouflage their scars.

Areolas

Areola repigmentation is very popular among women, especially those who may need their areolas reconstructed following breast cancer. Permanent makeup on the areolas can hide small scars, change the shape of the areolas, even out the color of the areolas, or repigment the areolas completely.

Areola repigmentation is said to be one of the easier permanent makeup procedures to perform, which is great for both permanent makeup artists and their clients.

Why Permanent Makeup Fades At All

First and foremost, it can actually be a great thing that permanent makeup fades. Some people may get their permanent makeup applied according to trends, and trends tend to change. For example, someone who got permanent eyeliner in the wing shape or cat eye shape may no longer desire that if those shapes go out of style or if they no longer like them.

Since permanent makeup fades, it could be easier for that person to remove their permanent makeup (which is possible) or to get their permanent makeup applied in a different way. The fact that permanent makeup fades can make it much easier to get it applied differently the next time, or to get it removed if one so desires.

There are a few different reasons why permanent makeup fades in the first place. The first reason is because of the type of pigment that’s used in permanent makeup. When you think of permanent makeup, you may think of it as a tattoo. You wouldn’t be completely wrong as the two are very similar, but permanent makeup and regular body tattoos have key differences.

The pigment used in permanent makeup is different than that of regular body tattoos. Permanent makeup pigment contains some ingredients that actually allow it to fade over time. It is also more dense than the pigment used in regular tattoo ink, which allows it to have its less harsh textures.

Another reason why permanent makeup fades is because of where it’s applied. Permanent makeup pigment is applied to the top layers of the skin, rather than deeper down in the skin like regular body tattoos. This leaves it more exposed to the elements and more prone to fading.

Like mentioned before, permanent makeup fading can actually be a good thing. Also, don’t worry: it can be easily touched up!

How Long it Takes Different Types of Permanent Makeup to Fade

Now that you know some of the most popular permanent makeup procedures and why permanent makeup fades in the first place, take a look at how long it generally takes different types of permanent makeup to fade.

How Long Permanent Makeup Lasts Before Fading

Permanent Eyeliner 1 year to 5 years
Permanent Eyebrows 1 year to 3 years
Stretch Mark Permanent Makeup 3 to 5 years
Permanent Lip Makeup 1 year to 10 years
Scars Permanent Makeup 3 to 5 years
Areola Permanent Makeup 5 to 10 years

Remember, these are estimations and permanent makeup may last different times on different people. These estimates are based on the time from the initial procedure. For example, permanent eyebrow makeup can last one year to three years from the initial procedure, and after that touch-ups may be needed and desired.

Making Permanent Makeup Last Longer

Thankfully, there are a few ways to potentially keep your permanent makeup lasting longer!

Touch-Ups

Permanent makeup can theoretically last as long as desired if it’s regularly touched up. Touch-ups are done by permanent makeup artists to re-apply pigment to areas that need it, and to keep the permanent makeup looking fresh and like it was originally intended.

Different permanent makeup procedures may have different times for touch-ups, and those who get permanent makeup can decide to get touch-ups frequently, or even not at all.

Touch-ups on permanent makeup can happen one year, two years, three years or even more after the initial permanent makeup procedure. It largely depends on what your permanent makeup artist recommends and what you feel is best.

For example, if you’ve only had your permanent eyebrows for six months, but feel they need a touch-up in certain areas, you can schedule a touch-up appointment with your permanent makeup artist. The same goes for all permanent makeup procedures.

Keep in mind that touch-up appointments are typically an additional cost. They generally cost less than the initial procedure. One touch-up appointment may be included in the cost of the initial service, but it’s important to ask as that isn’t always the case.

Aftercare is Important

Taking care of your permanent makeup once it’s initially been applied is a huge factor that can play into how long it lasts. Just like with regular body tattoos, the aftercare process is important in the way permanent makeup turns out and how long it lasts.

Your permanent makeup artist will have specific aftercare instructions for you once you have finished a procedure, and aftercare instructions can be different for each procedure. There are some general guidelines to follow to make sure you’re taking care of your permanent makeup, though:

  • Avoid picking at, rubbing or peeling anything from the area in which permanent makeup was applied
  • Avoid overexposure to sunlight
  • Avoid completely submerging the area in water for the first while
  • Keep the area moist with recommended products

There are of course more aftercare tips to be aware of, and it’s important to discuss them with your permanent makeup artist to make sure you understand them and are following them correctly. There are reasons aftercare tips are in place! For example, picking at, rubbing or peeling anything from the area in which your permanent makeup was applied can result in the pigment not being the same color or holding the color at all. Overexposing the area to a lot of sunlight, especially right after it’s done, can lead to the pigment fading faster.

Learn More

If you are interested, here is a link to the Makeup section on Amazon.