Your Frequently Asked Questions About Microblading & Permanent Eyeliner

Beauty

It’s finally here! The permanent makeup post that I’ve been promising for months now!

I have both microblading and permanent eyeliner done and I get asked so many questions about it from friends and followers all the time. It’s becoming very common, but unless you have gone through the process of permanent makeup yourself it can seem so scary, confusing, and extreme. So I put together a list of all of your frequently asked questions about permanent makeup in hopes that it will help you if it’s something you’re thinking about having done.

If you have any other questions you want me to add, please leave them in the comments so I can make sure I address it! Or if you have your own experience you would like to share, please do so. Reading different stories and experiences is so helpful for others who are interested in the procedures!

If you want to read my full experience of getting permanent makeup, the consultation, the touch-up, and the healing process you can read my latest post, “My Microblading and Permanent Makeup Experience: What They Don’t Tell You About Getting Your Face Tattooed.”

DISCLAIMER: Before I begin this post, I just want to say that if you’re against permanent makeup, beauty procedures, or cosmetic enhancements, then this post is not for you. I know that many people are against things like plastic surgery or permanent makeup and that’s ok. Opting for cosmetic procedures and enhancement is a personal choice. If you’re not a fan then you don’t have to get it done! I don’t want this to be a platform where people would shame others for being interested in permanent makeup. Pretty please with a cherry on top, keep the negative comments to yourself.

Q: What is permanent makeup?

A: Permanent makeup is a cosmetic technique where the face is tattooed to resemble makeup. Permanent makeup isn’t just one particular technique. It can be performed to create full, shaped eyebrows, eyeliner on the lower or upper lashes, lipstick, lip liner, beauty marks, cover scars, conceal dark circles under the eyes, create the appearance of hair on people who are balding, or even darken the areolas after breast surgery. Permanent makeup enhances a person’s natural beauty, creates symmetry in the face, and fixes imperfections. For example, it can be used to fill in an area of the eyebrow that doesn’t grow hair so it appears full, or it can be used to line the lips and make them appear fuller too.

Q: What is microblading?

A: Microblading is different than a regular “eyebrow tattoo.” In an eyebrow tattoo, the artist literally tattoos the eyebrow in pretty much the exact shape that your brows are naturally. It looks dark, thick, and filled in. Most of the women I’ve seen with this are 60 years and older who like that dark, pencil makeup look. Not hating on it, just trying to give you an idea.

Microblading specifically refers to a style of permanent makeup where the artist uses a handheld tool and creates small incisions or cuts on the skin that are filled with pigment. It gives you hair-like strokes to appear more natural so it’s not obvious that your face is tattooed. The person will literally plan out each stroke of hair they will do ahead of time so it mimics the look and direction of natural eyebrow hairs.

With microblading, you are able to create a new eyebrow shape which could completely change your face and make you so much more attractive with and without makeup. The ink is also not placed as deep into the skin as a traditional eyebrow tattoo and uses much smaller strokes to look natural. However, because the ink is in smaller strokes and isn’t as deep in the skin, it will fade faster and require more touch-ups.

Then there’s microshading. Microshading is used to create a soft, powdered look that gives the effect of having the eyebrows filled in with powder. For this one, the shape of the eyebrow is planned out and created with little dots of pigment.

Q: Where did you get your permanent makeup done?

A: A woman named Stella from Professionals in Permanent Makeup performed the procedure. She was located at Taylor Lane Studio in Jacksonville, Fla., which is pretty close to the Avenues Mall. At the time I lived in St. Augustine so it was pretty easy for me to drive a half an hour up to Jax. When I get a touchup, I’m planning on going back to the same woman if she’s still there, but if she’s moved I’ll seek out someone in the Tampa or Orlando area.

Something you might want to know is that there are some amazing permanent makeup artists that won’t touch up other people’s work. So if you do want to get it touched up in the future, you’ll have to keep that in mind.

Q: Why did you get permanent makeup?

A: I have wanted to get permanent makeup ever since I first heard of it when I was 13 or 14. As a little girl and a teenager, I was obsessed with beauty, beauty products, treatments, and procedures. Just like many other young girls, I felt the pressure to look pretty. I would see so many beautiful celebrities and think, I want to look like that! So ever since the day I learned of it, I knew that someday I was going to get it done. Sadly, for a full decade, I actually felt like I needed it to look pretty, and that my face was somehow unattractive and incomplete without it. (I’m not sharing this for pity, I’m sharing this because the pressure to look good as a woman is so enormous and impossible to even describe. And I know that many women reading this might feel that as well.)

As I got older, I did manage to calm down about my appearance and I didn’t necessarily feel pressured to have permanent makeup to look better. When I did decide to get permanent makeup at 21 or 22, it was mostly about convenience. I wanted a nice shape to my eyebrows and I was sick of spending 10 minutes shaping, filling them in and correcting them each and every morning. (How I did that for years I will never know. I could never go back to spending that much time on my eyebrows again!) I wanted to shorten my routine and I wanted my eyes to be more defined so I didn’t need as much makeup.

I also wanted to finally feel confident without any makeup on. I remember so many times waking up at a sleepover or on vacation with family and being around people without having makeup on yet and being so self-conscious. I was so scared about what people would think of me that I didn’t want anyone to see me bare-faced. Even going to the beach without makeup, I felt uncomfortable and awkward and I couldn’t enjoy myself. But if I would try to put makeup on at a time like that (when it’s apparently not socially acceptable to wear makeup) I would get shamed for putting it on and would be called fun things like “high maintenance.” I will never understand why society pressures women to look beautiful, but then shames them for trying too hard…

Long story short, I got permanent makeup for my own self-confidence. So I could finally be barefaced without being uncomfortable and self-conscious.

Q: How long did it take?

A: I had both the eyeliner and the microblading done in one day, so it took much longer than it would if you were just getting one thing done. The entire process took about 5 hours straight. It felt like one of the longest days of my life. It took about 3 hours for the microblading and 2 hours for eyeliner. However, the touch ups didn’t take nearly as long. It was only a few hours for both the micro balding and eyeliner touch-up.

Q: Is it really permanent?

A: Permanent makeup isn’t actually permanent, it’s semi-permanent. It does require a touch up after a few years to keep it looking fresh and beautiful. Although I don’t know if it would ever 100% fade, once you tattoo a part of your body, it’s pretty much there to stay. However, permanent makeup is very different than a regular tattoo. The ink is not as deep in the skin, so I guess there is a chance that for some people it could fade almost completely after years. But I’ve had mine for a year now and it’s still going strong!

Q: How often do you have to get it touched up?

A: This question is tricky to answer because it’s different for everyone. I know, I’m sorry. I can’t stand it when people give me answers like that!

But the thing is, permanent makeup fades based on how oily someone’s skin is, how much sun exposure they get, and all sorts of other factors. If you go out in the sun without sunscreen all the time, if you have super oily skin especially around your eyebrows, if you apply oil to your skin every day, or if you sweat a lot, it will fade faster. So how often you need to touch it up depends on your own skin and your lifestyle. If you take care of it you could stretch the touch-ups.

Looking at different online articles, reading so many experiences, and talking with permanent makeup artists I hear very mixed answers about this. The most common response is “every couple of years.” Although some people say every year, every other year, every three years, five years, etc. Some women like it to look fresh, perfect, and brand new all the time, so if that’s the case you’ll probably want it touched up every year.

Again, I’ve had mine for a year and I still don’t think I need a touch up yet. It still looks great to me and I still get compliments all the time about how well-done and beautiful my eyebrows are. So I may not get a touch up yet, but I have been in contact with my artist and sent her photos to see if she recommends a touch-up. Kathy told me that she still think it looks good, but some of the color has “deteriorated” and gotten light in some areas so a color boost should help, but it’s not urgent. I’ll be planning a touch up in a few months when I hit the year and a half mark.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: So, I found the Professionals in Permanent Makeup through Groupon. I had been interested and searching for permanent makeup for about a decade and I knew that Groupon was a spot where permanent makeup was offered and discounted all the time. I found this one Groupon that offered a nice discount for microblading, permanent eyeliner, and touch-ups, and then even bigger discounts for a package.

I didn’t actually buy through Groupon, but I looked up the artist and saw all her hundreds of photos and I knew she was really good at it. I called the studio to ask a few questions about permanent makeup and they told me to pay directly through them and they would honor the Groupon price. That way, if I changed my mind after the consultation or didn’t need a touch up I would be able to be refunded.

So my cost is slightly cheaper than you would typically pay. To be honest, I don’t remember exactly how much it was, but I believe it was $500 for the first appointment and I paid another $250 for both the microblading and eyeliner touch ups together.

Q: How do they choose the color?

A: This is the question I was so curious about myself! I was so freaking scared that they would tattoo giant black lines on face for some reason, but that’s not at all how it works. They have different shades of color so they can match your hair color and make your eyebrows look natural. I had a light brown color done that looks close to my own hair color.

For eyeliner, they had black and brown ink. I chose the brown at first which they did NOT recommend, but I did it anyway (and then regretted it and had them do black for the touchup). It turns out brown pigment falls out very fast and looks patchy. At first, I was afraid that black eyeliner would look too harsh on me because I born a redhead with very pale skin. But because I had a very subtle, natural eyeliner look done, it doesn’t look bad at all.

Q: How do they choose the shape?

A: When you go in for a consultation, they’ll ask you a bunch of questions about what exactly you want, what look you’re going for, what shape you like, etc. You can even show them pictures so they can get an idea of what you’re going for. That helps the artist determine the shape a bit.

However, your shape is created the day you go in to get it done. They’ll thread the random little hairs and shape your brows, and draw the outline on you with what I would describe as a fancy eyeliner pencil. There are tons of measurements involved and drawing on your face to create symmetry and create the perfect, natural shape that compliments your face, not the face of a person you saw from a picture. They’ll go back and forth many times and continue to step away from you and see how the shape looks for your face.

They’ll literally create the shape for you, even if you hardly have anything to work with. They create the little subtle curve in the center of your brows, determine what thickness looks the best, how far the ends should come past your eyes, and whether the inside of your brows should be straight up and down or slightly angled. They literally think of every detail of the brow and take it into consideration to make sure that it’s what you want and what compliments your face and bone structure. I remember being very concerned that they wouldn’t create a nice looking shape for my face, but they do this for a living! Permanent makeup artists know how to design brows that compliment you.

Q: What did you talk about in the consultation?

A: The consultation was surprisingly short and we mostly discussed what look I was going for and some of the details. I showed them pictures and talked about how I wanted something subtle for my eyeliner and a more defined shape for my brows. We talked about the colors, the procedure, the healing process, and they got a nice good look at my face to talk about what I wanted.

I do remember being stressed out because Stella, the woman that actually performed the permanent makeup, was up and walking around and setting up for her next appointment and she couldn’t speak English. I was talking with a woman named Kathy from the Professionals in Permanent Makeup and then she would turn and talk to Stella in Spanish. So I felt like Stella wasn’t really paying attention to me, and it bothered me that I couldn’t understand what they were saying to each other. I was nervous that something I wanted – some detail I was looking for with my makeup – would be lost in translation leaving me with a botched microblading job. It would have been nice if she had sat down and given me her attention and looked at my face closer on the first day so I felt I was being ignored.

Side Note: You might be thinking, “Then why the hell did you let her tattoo your face, Heather?!” Because she’s f*cking good at what she does and I looked at her portfolio a million times!

Q: Is it painful? Do they numb you?

A: Ok, so this is what I wish I would have known about more than anything. I had done my research on permanent makeup and in every single experience I read, the women said it didn’t hurt, they didn’t feel anything, they fell asleep getting it done, they were numbed, and it was totally not a big deal. That was not my experience.

Microblading: For the microblading, it did f*cking hurt. Think about it, they are taking a little blade and making cuts on your face. UM, YES it hurts. Why do we not talk about that?! They did numb me, but if I remember correctly, I was being numbed during the process, so the first 20 minutes I felt every single cut on my face. OUCH.

Eyeliner: For the eyeliner, it didn’t hurt, the numbing hurt. I had to have 3 shots in each eyelid to numb me. And let me tell you, getting shots in my eyelid was one of the most excruciating sensations I’ve ever felt. They had to put one shot on each side of the eyelid and one in the center of it. When the shot happened it was a very sharp, painful pinch on my eyelid and then the numbing … liquid …  I guess you would call it, would pop all over my eyeball. That was the absolute worst and just because of the shot I don’t think I’ll be getting my eyeliner touched up because I’m scared to do it again.

What they don’t tell you: Ok, here’s the thing people don’t talk about. Even if you’re not having pain in the area that’s getting tattooed, there was literally a person pressing and drawing on my face for 5 hours. She had to rest her arm hard on my face and she had to wipe my face and eyes many, many, many times. By the time I left, I definitely felt like I had my a** kicked and been punched in the face repeatedly. Imagine getting punched in each eye – hard – at least three times. It wouldn’t feel good, would it? That’s how I felt after. It felt like I had been beaten up.

Here’s the other thing they don’t tell you… You know how when you pop a pimple on your face or you get your nose pierced, there’s a strong uncomfortable, painful tickle sensation in your nose and eyes? You know how it makes your eyes tear up like crazy and you want to sneeze SO bad? I sat through FIVE HOURS of that feeling. I had to stop to sneeze and blow my nose constantly. I used up almost a whole box of tissues and actually had to keep them in my hand the whole time.

I’m not sure if everyone goes through this, because obviously everyone’s body is different. We all have different pain tolerances or feel pain stronger in certain areas. I also have some serious sinus issues and get chronic sinus infections each year so that could have contributed to the all the sneezing, nose blowing, and ticking for me. I can’t speak for everyone who’s had microblading and eyeliner done, but that’s what I felt like.

Q: What was the healing like?

A: Here’s the other thing no one talks about. Healing is not as simple as they make it sound. The day I left and the week following the appointment my face was very swollen and puffy. I had to avoid salt because it made my face blow up even more, drink tons of water, and sleep with my head elevated.

Microblading: The microblading healing wasn’t so bad. When your eyebrows are healing they feel itchy more than anything. All you want to do is scratch them, but you can’t. They look extremely dark because there’s ink falling out as your body is forming a big scar over your eyebrow, so it looks very strange and might make you panic that you’ll look that way forever. You have to let them heal and completely leave them alone and you’ll notice that there’s dead skin flaking off through your brows. When I noticed a bunch of it collecting, I would use a brow brush to get rid of the dead skin that was hanging around. I also was instructed to not get any water on them for at least a week. Or it could make the ink fall out. Let me tell you, I’ve never wanted to wash my face so bad.

Eyeliner: The eyeliner healing was the worst. Here’s a fun fact you probably didn’t know, when your permanent eyeliner heals you get a big scar over the area that was tattooed. The ink falls out and the scar looks gray and sticks out far from your eyelid. You can’t pick it off, it has to fall off on its own. And, what happened to me what half of the scab fell off and got stuck in my eyelashes, the other half was still stuck to my face which SUCKED. It looked super gross. Also, when the scab came off, so did my eyelashes… which if you know me personally you know how obsessed I am with long lashes, so I was traumatized.

Q: Do you still have to wear makeup?

A: I think one of the most common misunderstandings that people have about permanent makeup is that you never have to wear makeup. I guess it’s up to you and what you feel comfortable with though.

I think you do still have to wear it… Here’s why: For microblading, if you’re not wearing any makeup you can actually see the ink strokes if someone is close enough to you. Especially if you’re standing under a bright light or outside in the sun, you’re able to see the ink and you’re able to see the real hairs overtop of it. So to me, it actually looks a bit unattractive and obvious. When people see me up close in the light without makeup on, they’ll usually say, “You have microblading don’t you?”

Here’s the other thing, when I do my makeup, my powder foundation sticks to my hairs and lightens my eyebrows so I need to put on makeup to make them pronounced. I also think it would look super weird to have a full face of makeup and then not touch your eyebrows. To me, it would look like you missed a spot.

Also, the permanent makeup does not look as bold, pigmented, or pronounced as putting makeup on your face like actual eyeliner and eyebrow makeup. So, yes, I still have to wear makeup, but it doesn’t take me nearly as long to put on and I don’t have to wear as much of it. Most days I don’t even wear eyeliner now unless I really want my eyes to pop like for a night out or for a shoot.

However, when I recently talked with Kathy from the Professionals in Permanent Makeup, she told me that the goal of permanent makeup is to not have to wear any makeup at all. She says that I shouldn’t feel like I still have to put it on. Maybe that is the goal for many women, but I personally got permanent makeup because I wanted to have a shape to my eyebrows and eyeliner instead of having to create a shape every day.

Q: Would you do it again?

A: Yes, I 100% would do microblading again, despite the language barrier, despite the healing, and despite the pain. However, for the eyeliner, after experiencing it, I don’t think I would do it again. I don’t even know if I would ever get it touched up. It was honestly so terrifying, so long, and so uncomfortable. And the healing process was not pleasant at all. For at least a week after I got it done, I hid at Matt’s house and didn’t want anyone to see me at all. If I had known what I know now, I wouldn’t have done it. I’m so frustrated that the women who have permanent eyeliner never share a negative experience or what it was like getting it done. I think it’s because women don’t want to be shamed for going through something like this and hearing people say things about how they’re “high-maintenance” or “self-absorbed” or “too into their looks.” But after talking to so many women who had it and reading so many experiences, I felt very misled because no one really opened up about what’s it actually like getting your face tattooed.

Q: Are you glad you did it?

A: I didn’t like getting my permanent makeup done. It wasn’t like getting a massage and it wasn’t relaxing in any way, but I’m glad that I have it now. I get compliments on it all the time, I feel more confident without makeup, and I save time on my makeup in the morning. I no longer have to use eyeliner and filling in my eyebrows now isn’t a  whole production.

I hope this helped!

There you have it! Those are my frequently asked questions about microblading and permanent eyeliner! I really wanted to create the post that would have been most helpful for me before I had gotten it done, and I wanted to be completely transparent about it. My goal is not to convince you to get it done or not to get it done. I just want to share my experience so you can decide if it’s right for you.

As always, remember to tell me your thoughts in the comments! Do you have any other questions about microblading and permanent eyeliner? Did you have it done OR do you want to have it done? If so, was your experience different than mine? If you want to have it done, is there something that concerns you about it or is holding you back from booking your appointment? Why did you get it done OR why do you want it done?

If you like what you read here, remember to go down to the bottom of the page, click that “+” symbol, and type in your email where it says “follow blog via email.” You’ll have all future blog posts sent right to you! Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

Photo by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.

My Microblading and Permanent Makeup Experience: What They Don’t Tell You About Getting Your Face Tattooed

Beauty

Why I Got My Face Tattooed

I was 13 or 14 years old when I first learned of permanent makeup, tattooing your face to make it appear like you have eyeliner on and eyebrows filled in all the time. That very moment when I learned of it, I knew that I would get it done “someday.” Here’s why…

Self-confidence: For as long as I could remember I was self-conscious about the way I looked without makeup on. For several years as a teenager, I would even re-apply it at night time and wear it to bed. I would make sure to put it on first thing on a Saturday morning so even my own mother wouldn’t see me without makeup. I was completely ashamed of how I looked and was completely sucked into the world of beauty magazines and learning all the secrets to looking like my favorite celebrities. Poor, little 14-year-old Heather had no idea that celebrities not only have millions of dollars, but also have plastic surgery, lip injections, personal trainers, hair extensions, fake nails, spray tans, and beauty treatments to look like that!

I remember being extremely uncomfortable and unhappy whenever I would wake up from a sleepover and my friends would see me without a drop of foundation or mascara on. If I went to the beach I would feel uncomfortable and try to avoid eye contact with people. If I woke up on a family vacation I would have to put a full face on or I felt like my family would secretly judge how I looked.

I had a very unhealthy body image as a teenage girl and a very, very long and painful journey toward self-love and self-acceptance that I’m still working on to this day. But that’s what initially drew me to permanent makeup. From the moment I first learned of it in my early teens, I knew that I had to get it. I wouldn’t feel comfortable in my own body until I had it. I knew that it would bring me some peace of mind and help me relax about how I looked without having to wear a full face of makeup each day.

A+ Brows: Right smack dab in the middle of high school, that’s suddenly when the brows became a big freaking deal. My Twitter account was blowing up with girls posting close-up photos of their brows and selfies with brows that would make you wonder, “How the f*ck did she do that?” The brows became sexier than boobs! All the so-called “popular” girls had the most gorgeous brows and would be complimented left and right about how their brows were “on fleek.” (Remember when that was a thing?)

Sadly, I didn’t have much to work with. My brows just didn’t have a nice shape to them. I’ve also never been someone that was into the makeup arts, I was way more into skincare. So I never learned how to get those brows that everyone wouldn’t shut up about.

Convenience: The last reason why I really wanted permanent makeup is for the convenience and ease of getting ready. I knew that I would save me so much time in the morning because I had to shape and fill in my eyebrows and then spend time fixing them and trying to get them to match and look identical. Some days they would look good and others not so much, but either way, they took a whole lot of time. I wanted to finally get ready and use those 10 minutes on my brows doing something else, like oh I don’t know, SLEEPING! I wanted to cut that part of my morning down significantly because I put makeup on because I have to, not because I love doing it.

Preparing for Permanent Makeup

I really wanted permanent makeup right from the second I heard about it, and I spent a decade looking at pictures of it in my free time, talking to women who had it done, reading FAQ’s about it, scoping out artists, looking at portfolios, and deciding what I wanted. I didn’t know when I was going to get it done, but I knew that I wanted to be prepared for the day I was old enough and finally had the money.

The day finally came in October 2017 when I made the decision to get permanent makeup and microblading. I then got it touched up in January 2018, so I’ve had it now for just over a year. Because it’s been a year, I’ve been asked about my experience with permanent makeup from women who are also interested in getting it done. I always answer their questions with honesty and try to be as helpful as I can, but I also don’t want to scare them away from getting it done. Because if I’m being completely honest here, getting your face tattooed is no walk in the park, and there are some things I really wish I would have known when I walked into that studio to get inked. Before you consider going in and getting your face done up, especially if you’re getting two makeup treatments done at once, it’s much more like getting outpatient surgery than is it spending a day in the spa.

Here’s my entire permanent makeup experience from start to finish. I share the dirty details that you won’t read in any other blog from the cost, the actual tattooing, the healing and more. I’ve never heard a completely open and honest account from anyone else who has had permanent makeup, and I really believe this a procedure women should be more transparent about with each other.

The Cost

I actually saved money several different times to get permanent makeup while I was in college. After doing my research into the prices from different artists, I knew that I would have to pay about $1,000 or more to have permanent eyeliner and microblading done from someone who was very good at it. Microblading and eyeliner are both usually several hundred dollars, but many professionals charge up to $500 or more for each procedure. However, because of the boom in permanent makeup popularity and the number of people getting certified to do it (also the ease of getting certified today… be careful who you let tattoo you), I’ve seen the price slowly coming down from $1,000-$1,500 for both eyeliner and microblading when I was in high school, to now, just a few hundred dollars.

Eventually, when I finally had the money, the time, and was mentally prepared to get inked, I found the artists of Professionals in Permanent Makeup through Groupon. I had looked at other places, but I knew that I trusted the Professionals in Permanent Makeup more than anyone else I had come across, even though I found it through a Groupon deal. They had tons of five-star reviews, a very hefty portfolio of flawless microblading and eyeliner, and they were just 30 minutes from my house!

Also, because I was 1) getting Groupon pricing 2) getting two permanent makeup procedures done and 3) paying the entire amount up front, the cost was significantly cheaper than I thought it would be! So oftentimes, when girls ask me how much it costs to get it done, I have a difficult time answering that question because I searched for a great deal. At the end of the day I had to pay about $500 to get microblading and eyeliner done, and then about $200 for the touchups. I remember being so happy that I didn’t end up paying $1500 by the end of it! Again, the price is lowering because it’s more popular, but I believe you get what you pay for. I wouldn’t trust someone to tattoo my face for $250. To me, higher prices mean they have more experience.

The Consultation

What I remember most of all during the consultation was how worried I was that they wouldn’t understand the look that I was going for. I’ve gone into hair salons before and came out with a completely different color than I asked for. What if that happened with permanent makeup? I was so nervous that somehow they wouldn’t understand that I wanted definition and shape to my brows, but that I also wanted to look natural. I didn’t want to walk out with crazy eyebrows that didn’t match my face. What made it extra nerve wracking for me was that I noticed that Stella, the woman who was actually going to be tattooing me, not only couldn’t speak English but was bouncing around the room the whole time setting up for her appointment that day. Kathy, from the Professionals in Permanent Make-up, was the one who sat with me the whole time and would translate some parts or ask Stella some questions. Then Stella would occasionally come over and look at my face. Kathy told me about the process and the healing and asked me lots of questions about how I preferred to wear my makeup.

I also remember the consultation being quick and efficient. I wasn’t there for more than 20 minutes or so. And I remember that they were very interested in how I wear my makeup every day and I was told to wear my makeup to the consultation so they could see what my everyday look is like.

The Pre-Permanent Makeup Mental Breakdowns

Leading up to the appointment, I was a hot mess. I wanted my makeup done my whole life, but as soon as the appointment was booked I started panicking and thinking of every possible thing that could go wrong. My mind went something like this for the days leading up to the appointment, “What if they accidentally tattoo big black lines on my face? What if the eyebrows are crooked? What if they mess up the shape? What if it’s obvious I got them done? What if I’m making a big mistake? What if I chose the wrong person? Should I have done more research?”

For that reason, I also went to the Facebook page for the Professional in Permanent Makeup and looked through their before and after photos about 15-20 times a day. I would always look at their page and be reminded of how beautiful their work is and calm down, then I would start to panic again, and frantically open up the page.

I was such a nervous wreck that I couldn’t eat and was in a constant state of stress from anticipation. My boyfriend, Matt, can tell you that I was completely panicking and was not at all pleasant to be around then. He had to constantly reassure me that everything was going to be ok.

My Experience & What They Don’t Tell You About Permanent Makeup

When the day finally arrived for my appointment, I ended up getting my car towed right before I was about to leave and wasn’t able to make my appointment. I called and had to reschedule and out of Stella and Kathy’s generosity I didn’t have to pay a fee for not making the appointment which they are normally very strict about. Then I had to go through the anticipation all over again! Eventually, the day arrived, I didn’t get my car towed, and it was time to finally get my face tattooed after over 10 years of wanting it done. And let me just say it was the longest five hours of my life!!

My appointment started with Kathy and Stella taking many measurements of my face, drawing on my face to create my shape, and constantly stepping away to make sure the outlines were symmetrical. I remember being so lost because they were doing so many things to prep my face and prepare for the microblading. Stella also did threading on my brows to shape them and get rid of the little hairs that were hanging around. I had watched videos of women getting microblading done before, but I never actually saw the process of creating the shape ahead of time.

Stella and Kathy also kept handing me a mirror to look at the shape and see if it was what I wanted. I remembering being so overwhelmed because there were so many lines and markings on my face that I couldn’t even visualize what the final product was going to look like. I kept thinking, “There’s too much going on! The brows are too big! I’m gonna look like I have Nike Swooshes on my face!” I’m not at all good visualizing a final project, so this part was so very difficult for me. I finally had to give them the ok, and trust their judgment.

Then, the actual tattooing started. This is the stuff, no one tells you ahead of time: IT HURTS. Stella was numbing me as she was tattooing me, but for the first 20-30 minutes, I was in pain. I felt every little cut on my face as I laid there questioning every decision I had made in my life. I often get asked by other women whether it’s painful. I always tell them the truth. Someone is making little cuts all over your brows, so yes it hurts. There’s nothing pleasant about it. The only good thing is that after a while you start to not feel it and the pain goes away. You slowly get used to the sensation and the numbing starts to kick in.

Unfortunately, I was so nervous about getting it done and laying on that table for 5 hours getting my face tattooed, that the entire time I had adrenaline pumping through my body. I was on high alert. My heart felt like it was going to pop out of my chest, I felt sick, I was worried, and I was hyper-aware of everything that was happening around me. I often hear girls, who went through the microblading or eyeliner procedure, say that it wasn’t that bad and they fell asleep. For me, I was in a state of stress from the moment the tattooing began. I’m a worrier so all I could think about was every possible thing that could go wrong. The thing that I was most worried about during the microblading was her hand slipping causing a giant scar or line of ink across my face forever.

After the pain of being cut finally subsided, it was still incredibly uncomfortable. What had never occurred to me was that there would be a woman pressing and drawing on my face for 5 hours straight! Throughout the whole process, I could not get used to how heavy and uncomfortable it was to feel her hand and arm pushing against my face and resting her weight there. On top of that, she had to wipe my face and eyes many, many, many times. By the time I left my face was so swollen and red that I didn’t even look like myself.

I also remember more than anything that throughout the process of tattooing, I had to sneeze and blow my nose constantly. I had this intense tickle in my nose that didn’t go away for those 5 hours, and it got a million times worse once it was time to do the eyeliner. I had to keep stopping to ask for tissue and blow my nose, and I could tell Stella was getting annoyed by it.

I eventually decided to keep the tissue box in my hand the whole time and had to hold the tissue against my nose during some parts of the tattooing to keep the tickle at bay. The constant tickle sensation and the feeling of having to sneeze was something I didn’t expect at all. I had never heard of other women having that reaction and it made the fears so much worse because I kept thinking, “What if I sneeze, causing her hand to slip and I end up with a scar or a line of ink across my forehead?”

I had made it through the microblading ok, but once I had gotten to the eyeliner, that’s when my nerves shot even farther through the roof. I don’t think I’ve ever been so worried before in my life. It began with Stella giving me three numbing shots in each eye, which was the worst part of the entire experience. I could feel the pain and pinching sensation of the needle followed by the liquid from the shot popping all over my eyeball. The numbing shots were so excruciating. I had never had pain that strongly in my eye before. It’s such a delicate area filled with so many nerve endings, I don’t know why I had never heard of women saying they were in pain from getting it done.

The actual eyeliner tattoo was far worse than microblading. I could see the outline of the needle through eyelids since there was a fluorescent light above my face. I would feel my eyelid and eyeball vibrating, and I could feel the little punching of the tattoo gun. In some parts, Stella was trying to get close to my lash line and my eye would actually open slightly. I tried so hard to hold my eyes still and closed the entire time but Stella needed my eyelids to lay flat for the tattooing. So there were moments when my eyelid would creep open.

That moment of my eyelid opening and seeing the needle through the light over my face is an image I will have permanently ingrained in my mind. I’ve never been so terrified before. My biggest fear for those few hours was that all it would take is one slip of her hand and I would be blind forever.

Also, keep in mind that throughout my entire experience, my makeup artist and I couldn’t talk to each other. I would always have to talk to Kathy who would relay something to Stella. I think what made it all so much scarier was not only getting a face tattoo, but getting a face tattoo while having a language barrier! Five hours of getting my face tattooed by someone and we never even said a word to each other. I think that also made it feel so much longer because she couldn’t check in with me and tell me little updates about how it was coming. I was in the dark the entire time wondering when the hell it was going to be over.

Immediately After Getting Inked

Immediately after the appointment, I was ROUGH. My face was swollen, my skin was red, and my eyebrows and eyeliner looked like someone had drawn over them with a sharpie. You know how when you get a fresh tattoo, the ink is really dark and prominent? Ok, imagine that on your face. It was a scary sight to see. I also was incredibly sensitive to light and felt like I wanted to lock myself in a dark room and never come out.

Walking out into the light of day was surreal. It had felt like I had just been punched in the face repeatedly. My eyes couldn’t really focus on anything and all they wanted to do was rest. My body was still so on edge and filled with adrenaline that I was shaking. I felt like the way I would imagine feeling after getting tased, only that sensation lasted for a whole day.

The worst part about afterward though, was that I had to run several errands in Jax and then drive myself an hour and a half to Matt’s house in downtown St. Augustine, DURING rush hour. I can barely survive Jacksonville rush hour traffic even when I’m feeling like myself, let alone after getting my face tattooed. If you ever decide to get it done, especially eyeliner, for the love of life have someone else drive you! Kathy and Stella told me that many women would drive down to see them from Atlanta and then drive themselves back home after getting it done, and I have no idea how that would be possible. My eyes were so swollen, tired, unable to focus, and sensitive to light that I almost got into car accidents the entire drive home. Driving yourself home after permanent makeup is about as smart as driving yourself home after taking seven shots of tequila.

The Healing Process

Here’s another fun fact about my permanent makeup experience… I never told my family that I was getting it done and I had to keep it a secret even though I still lived with them at the time. Long story short, there’s a woman in my family who has permanent makeup that everyone hates. She married in the family for money, and her life revolves around getting plastic surgery, doing her makeup, shopping for designer bags, and gossiping about anyone who is below her socio-economic class. So now, my family associates permanent makeup with her, and they’re 100% against it.

So when I was going to get it, I knew that if they found out, it would cause screaming matches and probably lead to them taking away my car or something to make a point about their disapproval. I had to stay at Matt’s house for almost an entire week hiding away and making up reasons as to why I wasn’t coming home.

I hung around his house with a super puffy face, keeping my head elevated, and drinking shocking amounts of water trying to get my face to go back to normal. Any time I would eat something with even a little bit of salt in it, my face would puff up again like blowfish and I was back to square one. During this time Matt also had to keep talking me off the ledge every time I looked in the mirror. Kathy has tried to tell me about how it would look after, but I didn’t know my eyebrows and eyeliner would be that cartoonish.

Just like when you get a regular tattoo, the ink continues to fall out in the following days. Your skin doesn’t hold all of it, so it looked like my eyebrows were nothing but large, dark brown Nike Swooshes on my face until the ink slowly started to come away. I also wasn’t able to get them wet or wash my face for a week or two.

Throughout the healing, the ink continued to fall out as scabs formed on my face. I remember how itchy my eyebrows were more than anything, but I wasn’t able to scratch them or it could have messed it up and peeled off the ink. As they were healing, the skin on my brows flaked off much like dandruff and I kept my eyebrow brush around to lightly remove the dead skin cells.

The healing was far more unpleasant for the eyeliner than it was for the microblading. When the eyeliner was healing it had a big scab all over the area that was tattooed. It stuck far out from my eyelid and was a nasty gray color from all the ink. It also had to fall off on its own even though all I wanted to do was rip it off and not have it on my face. That was the worst of the healing process because it took close to two weeks to fall off. What actually happened was that half the scab was still attached to my face and half of it was stuck in my eyelashes. I couldn’t even remove that part because it would pull at the rest of the scab. So there I was for a full 10 days with half of the scab stuck in the center of my lashes and the other half attached. Then when the scab fell off, the majority of my eyelashes fell out with it. From the first day I had gotten it done until I was completely healed, I wore sunglasses 24/7.

The only thing that I had to do as far as cleaning and maintenance was using this little product made out of a mixture of ingredients including beeswax and vitamin E to clean and moisturize it. I absolutely hated that part because the product was so hard and sticky that it actually hurt to put it on. It didn’t feel like I was being moisturized and helping it to heal at all. I would have much rather used Aquaphor, but I don’t think they would have wanted me to because it would have been wetter.

The Touchup

Once I finally healed and the scabs were completely gone, I was pretty happy with the makeup so far, but it wasn’t completely perfect yet. The coloring looked great, but the eyebrows had some flaws and didn’t completely match. That’s why they always want you to come in for a touch up after several weeks. My eyebrows had some minor things that had to be corrected where the skin didn’t hold ink in some areas, and one of the eyebrows was slightly thinner than the other. I also ended up getting a white head on one spot as I was healing so no ink stayed there causing a small spot that didn’t hold any ink. I counted down the days until my touch up and still kept panicking about how it would look in the end (because that’s just what I do).

When the day came for me to get the touch up, it wasn’t nearly as bad as getting it done the first time. It didn’t take as long getting the makeup done because it was pretty close to perfect. It also wasn’t as traumatic and nerve-racking the second time around and the healing was much more pleasant. It still was not necessarily enjoyable but at least I knew what to expect and I wasn’t in there for more than 5 hours. The worst of it was finally over. For that reason, I’ll probably regularly go back for touch ups so that whenever I do get it done, it’s quick and painless.

The Takeaway

Moving forward, Kathy recommends getting a touch up every 2-3 years, but if you like your makeup looking super fresh and close to perfect, they recommend every year and a half. I’ll be going back for my microblading touch up in the next 2-3 months, but I don’t know if I’ll ever do the eyeliner touched up. I like having it done and I like how defined my eyes are without make-up on but I don’t know if the pain and procedure is worth it to me.

I’m sharing my full experience with all this detail with you today not to scare you, create clickbait, or convince you to not get permanent makeup done. I’m sharing this with you today because I heard so many women talk about it as if it wasn’t a big deal and getting it done wasn’t uncomfortable at all. The women that I read reviews from and talked to about it made permanent makeup sound like it was as simple and painless as getting a pedicure. It makes me so mad that I never heard about all of this before I went in and got inked.

My theory is that many women don’t want to share what they went through in order to look prettier without makeup. I think women have a fear of being judged about what we put ourselves through for our vanity. We live in this weird culture where women are expected to look like a Kardashian but are then judged for trying too hard and getting invasive procedures done all for the sake of looking younger, prettier, and more feminine. Yet there’s so much pressure to look good, can you blame women for trying?

So today, I wanted to share with you what they don’t tell you about getting your face tattooed – all those uncomfortable little details of the process that make you lay on a spa table for 5 hours with a needle in your face questioning every life decision you’ve made. But hell, it makes for an entertaining story and I always get a ton of laughs from it when I tell people all about it.

Believe me, I’m happy I got permanent makeup. I’m SO happy I got it. I love the way that it looks and I get compliments about my makeup all the time and about how well done it is. It not only makes my routine easier but it has made me so much more confident. I just didn’t like getting it done, and now I make sure that every woman who tells me about how they want microblading or eyeliner done knows what they’re getting into ahead of time.

Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

Remember to keep an eye out for my upcoming blog post with all of your Frequently Asked Questions about permanent make-up. I answer one question at a time from readers and followers who are curious about the procedure.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments! Do you have permanent makeup? Do you want to get it done? Why did you decide to get it? If you did get it done, what was your experience like? Was it easier for you or about the same? And I’m curious, what exactly did you get done? Did you drive yourself home afterward?! Did you have any crazy tickling sensation like me?

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Photos Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.