Semi Permanent Make Up Versus Micropigmentation / Permanent Cosmetic Tattoo Procedures

Semi permanent make up UK professionals like Louise Walsh, and Tracie Giles International, founder of the London Permanent Makeup Centre, offer unique make up treatments by qualified technicians to enhance women’s appearance with brow, eyeliner and lip liner treatments that promise ladies a relief from everyday cosmetic application. But the question is: what exactly do they offer? Is semi permanent make up and micropigmentation, and what many call permanent cosmetic tattooing, the same thing?

While there is no such thing as a “temporary tattoo” if a needle is used to insert pigment under the skin at any depth (unless it is the fun stick-on variety), when it comes to permanent makeup, cosmetic tattoo procedures, micropigmentation and semi permanent eyebrow make up, eyeliner and lip color, there are some variations that need to be understood before undergoing a cosmetic procedure of this kind.

Some of the confusion between treatments and terminology is due more to country and language differences than with the procedures themselves or the end results.

If you are in the UK, it will be very common to hear the term semi-permanent make-up, while in the United States you will likely see the terms permanent makeup, cosmetic tattooing, even dermagraphics or derma graphics. However, in both the UK and the US, you’ll find the term micropigmentation. The discrepancies are primarily linguistic, and the procedures are essentially the same, but aside from the perceptual connotations (where in the UK the emphasis is placed on the fading nature of the pigment versus their potential permanent nature stressed in the US), there are slight technical differences:

  1. depth of pigmentation deposited under the skin
  2. when and if touch-ups of pigment are applied

In both cases, when micropigmentation is involved, the state-of-the-art machines are identical, equipped with a single-use needle which breaks the skin and deposits pigment. In some cases where the term SEMI permanent make up is used, the pigment is deposited into the epidermis, and may be very light, therefore subject to fading much faster than a tattoo procedure that deposits the pigment deeper, and may be a darker or stronger color, therefore less susceptible to the natural fading process.

In both cases the skin is broken, pigment is deposited and the effects are “permanent” although subject to eventual fading, yet leaving traces of pigment under the skin, more or less visible, for X period of time or even forever.

Due to the fading, in both cases (from sun, wind, chlorinated water, sea salt, air and even facial cleansers), and the way in which each body reacts to the pigment, touch-ups are required either to maintain, enhance or make the makeup more permanent.

When it comes to those seeking PERMANENT cosmetics, a second or third micropigmentation procedure can be performed very soon after the initial one, almost immediately after the area has healed. A second or third procedure can set the pigment into the skin in such a way that fading will take 5 or more years (in some cases women have eyeliner that remains visible for 7 to 10 years), and therefore the procedure is considered permanent. Why? Because the pigment, although not so bright as when initially done, will remain in the skin indefinitely.

In the UK, it’s common to have a semi permanent procedure that’s done only ONCE (without immediate touch-ups) and therefore it seems less permanent. It is common for women in the UK to get eyeliner, lip liner or eyebrow tattoo touch-ups about a year and a half after the initial procedure, because by that time the light epidermal pigmentation has faded substantially, and to maintain the rich color, a second application is necessary. A year or two after that, another application may be done, which is why the industry in the UK has chosen to emphasized it’s less than permanent nature, since it requires touch-ups to make it permanently visible. But that is also true of the cosmetic tattooing procedures in the US, just that the second procedures are usually done within a month or two of the initial application and therefore fading takes a longer period of time and the permanent nature of the makeup is stressed.

Let’s be clear. If the skin is broken and pigment is injected with a needle it’s a form of tattoo, be it light or dark, deeply penetrated or lightly planted in the epidermis, retouched or not retouched.

The only true semi permanent makeup will be treatments that tint the skin. These types of makeup will wear off in the natural course of the skin’s renewal process, which takes about a month. These may be eyeliner tinting procedures that last a few weeks or a month, henna eyebrow shading, lash tinting and even lip blushes that are done superficially and do not, at any point, break the skin of the patient. They may be offered at beauty salons in conjunction with facials, eyebrow waxing or shaping procedures or even where professional artists do bridal makeup and offer photographic sessions. These services, although necessitating artistic skill, do not require the expertise of a technician who is qualified to use high-tech equipment with needles, offer anesthetic to numb pain, take into account a patient’s medical history, or implant pigment under the skin in the sensitive areas like the eyes, the lips and the brow.

How long will Louise Walsh semi permanent make up last?

1. Louise Walsh states that her brows, lipliner, full lip color, and “smudgeproof eyeliner” will last up to 5 years. She offers a touch-up session after a month of the initial one.

How long will the procedures offered by Tracie Giles last?

2. Tracie Giles states that her procedures can last many years and she offers some reasons why an exact time is not given. Factors that determine the longevity of the permanent or semi permanent procedures, and how quickly the color fades, are your skin type and how much expose to the elements your face receives. However, Tracie Giles, as most other micropigmentation specialists in the UK, recommends refreshing or retouching the area once a year or once every year and a half.

We invite you to watch: Tracie Giles Q&A’s on Semi Permanent Make Up – Part 1

Tracie Giles Q&A’s on Semi Permanent Make Up – Part 2

Professional Technicians and Semi Permanent Make Up Training UK

One of the top training centers in the UK is the Finishing Touches Semi Permanent Make Up Training School and Supply Company. They are located in Haywards Heath and on Harley Street and naturally offer procedures to clients and training to those who wish to learn. Their micropigmentation technicians are certified in the UK at the national NVQ 4 standard, and their technicians undergo a testing/assessment system that is very thorough.

If you’re looking for training, or searching for an expert i to have semi permanant make up done, but you’re not situated near Finishing Touches, or where either Louise Walsh or Tracie Giles offer services, then you can get a list of specific technicians, who are highly recommended, by going to the Finishing Touches “Find Technicians” tab and there you’ll find professionals listed by county. For example:

  1. semi permanent make up Essex – Claire Smith is a certified graduate of Finishing Touches Training Center who now operates from her clinic in Brentwood, Essex.
  2. semi permanent make up Hampshire – Catrina Valentine is a trained cosmetic tattoo technician who works from Botley, Hampshire. Also, Lydia and Andrew Smith provide cosmetic tattoo make up from a company named Call of Beauty in Romsey, Hampshire.
  3. semi permanent make up Kent – in the County of Kent, choose your most suitable technician from a list of professionals in Ashford, Beckenham, Canterbury, Gravesend, Tenterden, Tunbridge Wells, Westgate-On-Sea, and Whitstable. However, Hazel Everest is a professional who offers both medical and cosmetic tattooing services through Abbey Lodge Health and Beauty at several centers: (a) Beckley, East Sussex, (b) Tunbridge Wells, Kent, (c) Tenterden, Kent, (d) Ashford, Kent.
  4. semi permanent make up Surrey – Belinda Hayle offers expert permanent makeup services in Surrey and several other locations. Her clinic offers cosmetic tattooing, eyelash extensions, permanent makeup, corrective reconstruction of the areola, and scar camouflage amongst other things for which she had received national media attention in Vogue and Surrey Health and Beauty.
  5. semi permanent make up East Sussex – permanent makeup specialist Nerissa Martin offers lip tattoo, eyeliner and eyebrow tattoo procedures from a salon/clinic called Bright on Beauty, located in Brighton, East Sussex.

A clinic, a beauty or waxing salon, centers that offer permanent electrolysis and places that specialize in beauty treatments such as microdermabrasion, natural eyelash extensions, eyelash tinting and other cosmetic enhancements, often offer eyebrow tattoo micropigmentation services and permanent cosmetic procedures for the face and body. There are plastic surgery clinics that also provide micro pigmentation after certain types of reconstructive surgery.

Genuine semi permanent eyebrow make up, lip liners and eyeliners that last longer than a day but less than a year (in fact less than a month) are not very common, and beauty centers that offer such services are not readily found. We continue to investigate if there are practical options that use organic dyes to tint the skin as an alternative to the tattooing methods we’ve been discussing.

Although there are long-lasting makeup products that last 24 hours or a little more, we can’t find any solution that’s better, when it comes to lips, than what Tracie Giles offers and is called the Lip Blush or Lip Tint treatment.

These treatments are rejuvenating and not just about adding a lip line in the form of a tattoo around the mouth. In fact the system is designed to add soft shading to the entire lip as well as a contour and a volumizer. It’s very natural looking, achieved only after assessing how to improve each individual patient’s lips. The border is added with the machine that can give shape or enhance the natural form, then they are filled with a feathering blush, and made fuller and poutier. The lip enhancing procedures start at about £400, are considered safe and hygienic, performed in a clinic, and the results are astounding. It’s silly to search for a “less permanent” procedure when what Tracie Giles’ clinics offer is so affordable, natural-looking and last over a year (or several years depending on touch-ups).

For more information on permanent cosmetic tattoo procedures in the US, especially for those considering an eyebrow tattoo, please see related posts.

We offer information on Eyebrow Tattoo Removal, and Potential Problems With Eyebrow Tattoos as well as Eyebrow Pencil suggestions for the ladies who have opted not to have permanent makeup.

Need to know how to do Eyebrow Waxing?
Need recommendations regarding Facial Hair Removal?

We have posts dealing with this subjects as well. There are also Eye Makeup Tips for those who wish to create natural looks with shadows and soft liners that are not permanent.

The art of the cosmetic Lip Tattoo is addressed at length in the post titled A Guide To Lip Micropigmentation, which discusses what the procedure entails and even potential problems that may arise and suggestions for successful aftercare.

If you’re a professional cosmetician, micro pigmentation technician, permanent or semi permanent make up specialist or a medical expert in areas that pertain to microdermabrasion or reconstructive techniques, we welcome your impute and suggestions.

If you’d like your clinic or services featured in one of our posts, please feel free to send us information on what you offer and we’ll be delighted to do a review and consider recommending you to our readers.

Those who have had cosmetic makeup procedures are encouraged to write to us tell us about personal experiences, and we welcome permanent makeup before and after pictures if you wish to include them.

We welcome questions pertaining to related issues such as eyelash extensions, eyelash tinting, permanent mascara or other unique beauty treatments.

*Note: We strongly suggest that everyone interested in permanent makeup get acquainted with the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, the American Academy of Micropigmentation and the International Micropigmentation Association.

One Response


I would like to have permanent makeup done by tracie can you please tell me how much would it be the price for just eyebrows
please reply thank you

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About the editor

Nena Argent, editorial director of EbT magazine since 2009, oversees online editorial content in English and Spanish. She joined EbT after ten years as an investigative journalist in Asia where she researched oriental health, nutrition and beauty treatments. Now based in Europe, she reports on the latest beauty trends, health issues, high-tech medical advancements and state-of-the-art cosmetic procedures from around the world.

Permanent Makeup / Cosmetic Surgery / Health / Beauty / Nutrition / Weight Loss / Diet Pills / Supplements / Hair Removal / Skin Care / Tattoo Removal / Eyebrow Tattoo / Permanent Eyeliner / Cosmetic Lip Tattoo / Eyelash Extensions / Cellulite Removal / Makeup Tips / Permanent Makeup Directory / Cosmetic Surgery Directory / Hair Restoration Surgeons Directory / Tanning Lotion / Natural Remedies / Low Calorie Foods / Acne Cream / Hair Transplant / Eyebrow Implants / Breast Implants / Liposuction, Liposculpture / Vaser Lipo / Tummy Tuck / Laser Hair Removal / Laser Tattoo Removal / Cosmetic Surgery Prices / Permanent Makeup Schools / Micropigmentation / Permanent Makeup Supplies / Permanent Makeup Equipment / Beauty Product Reviews

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The info in this site doesn't replace consulting with a dermatologist, micropigmentation expert, plastic surgeon or nutritionist prior to undergoing a dietary change or a cosmetic/surgical procedure.