The pandemic, through its lockdowns and mask wearing, disrupted the beauty routine of many women around the world. Gone are lipsticks, contouring and other techniques to achieve a perfect complexion. The focus has now shifted to skincare, which has replaced cosmetics intended to camouflage all sorts of imperfections rather than actually improving skin texture. And it’s a trend that appears to be persisting beyond the pandemic, even if mask wearing is no longer mandatory in many countries around the world.
These changes have helped bring back one trend that was thought to have fallen by the wayside: permanent makeup. Very popular in the 1990s, permanent makeup techniques are once again winning over those in search of a more natural beauty look. That might sound paradoxical, but it actually makes sense. Beauty is no longer about spending hours in the bathroom plastering on layers of foundation, concealer and other correctors, but about enhancing the eyes and mouth through perfectly shaped — and subtly tinted — eyebrows and lips.
Actually, permanent makeup is, in fact, closer to the art of tattooing than to makeup, but with one key difference: it most often relies on dermopigmentation. In other words, it involves introducing a coloured substance — a pigment — via micro-needles into the superficial layer of the dermis (or skin) — much less deep than a tattoo, and therefore less permanent since the pigments decompose over the years. It is most often used to add colour to a specific area, whether to fill out sparse eyebrows, to redraw the contour of the lips, to add colour to pale lips, or even to enhance the eyes.
If permanent makeup may have traumatized many people in the 1990s, techniques have evolved in recent years to offer a more natural — and discreet — result. Gone are the days of leaving a beauty parlour with frozen-in-place eyebrows, or worse, with an ultra-contrasting lip outline. The goal today is to save time with a natural but enhanced look focusing on pale shades, allowing yourself the luxury of skipping a few steps in your daily routine, but without going overboard. This is a concept that’s well understood by today’s professionals, who now offer all these services.
From fuller brows to freckles
Permanent makeup techniques are many and varied, but a lot of the options involve eyebrows. Microblading (1.8 billion views on TikTok) is undoubtedly one of the most common techniques, since it can reproduce a hair-like effect using pigments, and can therefore effectively reshape brows and thicken them according to the desired result. Microshading, on the other hand, uses pin-like dots to offer a more powdery finish, as if you’d used a simple eyebrow pencil. The more recent micrograyling technique works on the same principle, except that it is aimed at those with a more complex natural brow shape, and who simply want to reduce the sparse appearance.
But permanent makeup is also a great ally for women whose lip contour has faded over time. Candy lips is one of the most popular techniques, which can redraw the outline of the lips through a process of micropigmentation, while also adding colour, thus creating a more voluminous effect. Some also use it to correct any potential asymmetry. And if you want to go even further, it is now possible to get an eyeliner line, or even an eyeshadow effect, applied permanently, in just a few sessions, or even to add a few freckles here and there, in line with a major trend of the moment.
However, the main disadvantage of permanent makeup is that it sometimes lasts longer than trends. While permanent makeup fades with time — the duration depends on many factors such as age or sun exposure – one’s should still think carefully before taking the plunge. For example, while thick eyebrows have been all the rage for several years, there have been several attempts to bring skinny brows back into fashion in recent months.