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What is Permanent Makeup Eyeliner?

What is Permanent Makeup Eyeliner?

Let’s face it: applying eyeliner can be hard. It can be time-consuming. Trying to get the perfect shade, the perfect shape—even trying to attempt a winged eyeliner—can be frustrating. Luckily, there’s a solution that many people have sought out already: permanent makeup eyeliner.

Permanent makeup eyeliner is the application of micro-pigments into the skin of the eye to recreate the effect of day-to-day eyeliner.

Research is important, especially when it has to do with a service that involves your body. That’s why we’ve done all the research about permanent eyeliner for you—from how it’s applied and the different types of permanent eyeliner to what to consider if you’re thinking about getting it.

What is Permanent Makeup Eyeliner?

Overall, permanent eyeliner is permanent makeup applied on and around the eyes to recreate the look of normal eyeliner. However, there’s a lot to know about permanent eyeliner, especially if you’re considering getting it done. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of permanent eyeliner below.

The Application of Permanent Makeup Eyeliner

Perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions about permanent eyeliner is how it’s applied. Permanent makeup practitioners use hand tools, tattoo pens, or machines to apply permanent eyeliner. Needles attached to the tools, pens, or machines deposit colored micro-pigments into the top layer of the skin in the desired form to create the look of eyeliner.

Makeup practitioners typically also use topical anesthetics or numbing creams to help make the process more comfortable for those getting the procedure. Since needles repeatedly entering the skin can be painful, numbing creams help ease the pain of the procedure. Once the anesthetic or numbing cream sets in, the permanent makeup practitioner can get to work.

How Long it Takes to Apply

Permanent eyeliner can take anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours to apply, depending on the style. The numbing process is also included in this timeframe, as numbing creams tend to take about 30 minutes to take effect.

More natural and traditional permanent eyeliner has been said to only take about an hour to an hour and a half to apply, where specialties like thicker liner and wings may take two to three hours in total.

Different Permanent Eyeliner Styles

While each person may ask for her or his own style of permanent makeup eyeliner, there are two general styles:

  1. Tightline – The tightline style of permanent eyeliner is applied between the layers of lashes to darken the lash line. It typically produces more natural, thinner, and more subtle results.
  2. Eyeliner – The eyeliner style of permanent eyeliner is applied above either lash line, creating a look that resembles liquid eyeliner. Its results are typically less natural, thicker, and less subtle.

Things to Consider Before Getting Permanent Eyeliner

While getting permanent eyeliner isn’t a very invasive procedure or service, it’s one with effects that will stay with you for a long time. It is called permanent makeup, after all!

With that said, if you’re thinking about getting permanent eyeliner, here are some things you should consider:


There may be some precautions to take before committing to getting permanent eyeliner applied. These precautions can and will differ for everyone, but general precautions to consider are:

  • Make sure any prescriptions you’re taking won’t interfere with the procedure.
  • If you are on Accutane, seek medical advice before getting permanent eyeliner. You may have to stop taking it before getting any permanent makeup procedures.
  • If you’re pregnant or nursing, seek medical advice before getting permanent makeup eyeliner applied.
  • If you have diabetes, seek medical advice before getting permanent eyeliner.
  • Stop taking blood thinners like aspirin or fish oil for at least three days before getting a permanent makeup procedure to minimize the risk of any potential bleeding (although it’s not common).
  • Remove any eyelash extensions at least two days to a week before getting permanent eyeliner done.
  • Take out contacts before getting permanent eyeliner done.

Potential Risks

Like with most things, there are potential risks associated with getting permanent eyeliner. Potential risks of getting permanent eyeliner include dissatisfaction with the results, allergic reaction to pigment, and eye infection.


Permanent eyeliner costs will vary depending on who it’s being done by and what exactly is being done. Costs of permanent makeup eyeliner have been said to range anywhere from $400 to $1500. Usually, permanent eyeliner can cost around $300 to $400 for just upper eyeliner or just lower eyeliner; additionally, permanent eyeliner can cost around $600 to $1000 for both upper and lower eyeliner.

Downtime and Aftercare

There isn’t any downtime after getting permanent eyeliner applied, but some aftercare tips need to be followed and will be discussed below. At first, the result of the permanent eyeliner may be shiny and dark—that’s normal.

Note: It will take about three weeks for the color of the permanent eyeliner to fade to its normal, permanent shade.

Aftercare is important in any permanent makeup procedure, and permanent eyeliner is no exception. The following aftercare tips will need to be followed after the application of permanent eyeliner:

  • No wearing makeup (especially mascara) for at least three full days.
  • Keep contacts out for at least a few days.
  • Wait a few weeks to get lash extensions put back on if desired.
  • Use cold compresses to treat any redness or swelling.
  • Avoid direct sunlight and prolonged sunlight exposure if possible.
  • Avoid touching the eyes for several days.

Aftercare will ensure you get the best results from your permanent eyeliner and ensure your eyes stay healthy.

How Long Does Permanent Eyeliner Last?

While permanent eyeliner is considered permanent, it can (and tends to) fade within a certain time. This is because the micro-pigments are not inserted as far into the skin as regular body tattoos and because the pigment differs.

Permanent eyeliner lasts at least a year but will generally keep its color for three to five years. Contrary to some beliefs, this is actually a good thing—when permanent eyeliner fades, it will be easier to change or remove if you wish.

Touch-ups may be needed if you wish to keep the same look. The minimum time frame for touch-ups is generally six weeks (this may happen in the case of the look not coming out as desired), but you can speak with your permanent makeup practitioner to set up a touch-up timeline that works best for you and your wants. Sometimes, touch-ups aren’t needed for a few years.