The complete guide to cosmetic tattooing


Whether it is defined, well-groomed eyebrows, enhanced eye shape with eyeliner, or more youthful-looking lips with added colour, cosmetic tattooing can really enhance and beautify a woman’s looks and transform self-confidence.

What is permanent makeup?

Permanent makeup, or Intradermal Pigmentation, involves the application of natural pigments into the dermal layer (layer beneath the surface) of the skin. Such cosmetic tattooing is used to enhance features and disguise scarring, and can assist with a host of cosmetic concerns such as discolouration, freckles and age spots.

In today’s hectic society, cosmetic tattooing provides a safe, quick and easy alternative to the daily application of makeup, giving clients the opportunity to always look their best. Some of the most sought after cosmetic tattoo procedures are performed on the eyes, lips and eyebrows to permanently enhance colour and fullness.

Other areas commonly treated include:
– Cheeks
– Neck
– Jaw Line
– Mid face
– Hands
– Breasts
– Lips

Cosmetic tattooing can be applied to the entire lip or as a lip liner depending on client preference. Permanent lip liner can create the illusion of larger lips and effectively restore definition. Cosmetic tattooing can also reduce fine lines within the lip for a more youthful appearance.


Cosmetic tattooing can be used to re-design the shape or increase fullness of eyebrows. Creating a powdery effect or using fine brush strokes when applying the colour can reinforce the eyebrow and create a more youthful appearance.


Pigment implantation can be used in the most delicate regions of the eyes to create a permanent and natural look, giving the illusion of more open eyes and thicker lashes. Colour can be added to the inner eye tissue and lash lines along with additional colour and shading to compliment the natural eye colour and skin tones.

Procedures and techniques

Permanent makeup procedures are performed using sterile needles in a tattooist gun. As colours have been specifically designed for the purpose of being implanted beneath the skin, the risk of infection and reaction is minimal. Anaesthetic cream is applied to the region prior to treatment, and a gel can also be used once the skin has been broken.

Because there are many colour options to choose from, an initial consultation is crucial as are follow-up meetings to evaluate progress and satisfaction. Depending on the individual case, colours will need to be replenished as cells begin to renew themselves. Some darker options, most commonly when applied to the lips, can be prevalent for up to ten years. Additional light treatment can also assist in enhancing results when they show signs of deterioration.

What are some of the associated risks, and are procedures suitable for everyone?

Whilst the risks of permanent makeup are minimal in most cases, such treatments are not suitable for everyone. Individuals suffering from skin diseases and allergies, blood disorders, or those who are undergoing chemotherapy or living with cancer are not suitable candidates because of the associated risks.


In most cases swelling is minimal and usually lasts for up to 48 hours after the procedure. Cold packs should be applied to the region to help reduce such swelling and bruising.


Less commonly, patients may experience a feeling of nausea or light-headedness following the procedure.

Skin infection

In rare cases, a secondary skin infection can develop which can lead to hospitalisation. In these unusual circumstances cellulitis may also occur, which should be treated with a combination of antibiotics and cold compresses.

Reconstructive Tattooing

What is reconstructive tattooing?

Reconstructive tattooing is used to disguise scars and give patients a new sense of confidence after having a mastectomy or reconstructive surgery as a result of an accident. In many cases reconstructive tattooing can improve scar tissue and permanently conceal any resulting disfigurement.

What are some of the reasons for getting reconstructive tattooing?

Scar Concealing

Reconstructive tattooing disguises scars using an intricate procedure whereby the skin’s natural pigmentation is microscopically copied and the colour is injected beneath the skin using a pen-like machine. An anaesthetic is usually applied prior to the procedure, minimising any discomfort for the patient. The matched colour pigments are then infused within the scar to create a customised disguise. As all cases vary, the recovery time, costs and results will differ significantly from patient to patient.

Areola Reconstruction

Women now have the option of areola reconstruction thanks to cosmetic tattooing. This can greatly affect the lives of women who are uncomfortable with the appearance of their nipples, especially if they have undergone breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.

Considered one of the simpler cosmetic tattooing procedures, a natural areola can be mimicked using a tattoo gun or pen to apply the colour on a carefully measured region on the top layer of the skin. The relative simplicity of this technique means there are minimal risks involved and any resulting tenderness or redness should fade after a few days.

Important tips for reconstructive tattooing of the areola and reconstructive tattooing:

– It is critical that the skin is not tanned when skin pigments are being microscopically matched, as the area will again become noticeable as the tan fades.

– Women who have undergone breast surgery should feel no pain from the tattoo instruments, as they often have no nerve endings in the breast. However, in cases where some sensation may remain a topical cream is sometimes used to numb the area.

– Alcohol and some over the counter medications should be avoided for several days before the procedure as this can affect the healing process.