The term permanent eyebrows refers to the application of permanent makeup to the brows through micropigmentation or eyebrow embroidery. Makeup of this kind will not wash or wipe off, hence the name, but the pigment can fade over time. The procedure can be completed in as little as one hour, but a follow-up consultation is recommended. Specific aftercare instructions are usually given to help prolong the life of the tattoos.
Permanent eyebrows are created by inserting pigment into the dermis using a small vibrating needle, much the same as those used by tattoo artists. During micro-pigmentation, pigment is inserted into the second layer of the skin, whereas with eyebrow embroidery the pigment only goes as deep as the first layer of the skin. Eyebrow embroidery also creates a "feathered" look, whereas permanent eyebrows done through micro-pigmentation are more opaque in color.
Makeup of this kind is only semi-permanent, but the results can last several years depending on the individual, the color of the pigment, and aftercare. Lighter colors tend to fade more quickly, and may also be more prone to discoloration. Most applications last for at least one to two years, but can last longer. Touch-ups are usually needed to correct any fading or discoloration. Eyebrow embroidery usually requires more frequent touch-ups, since the pigment is placed less deeply than with micro-pigmentation.
The procedure to apply permanent eyebrows usually only takes an hour or two, but most technicians will recommend a second visit after about a month. A follow-up procedure allows the technician to make corrections as requested by the client, or to fill in any light areas in the brow. The procedure can cause some discomfort, and discomfort levels may be higher with micro-pigmentation than with eyebrow embroidery.
After the procedure it is normal to experience some redness and swelling, but the redness should fade within a day. Swelling may take longer to disappear, and eyebrows may seem uneven if one half of the face has less swelling than the other. A scab may also form after a few days, but experts recommend letting this fall off naturally, as picking at it could cause uneven patches or affect the shape of the brow.
Clients are usually asked to refrain from applying makeup to the area for anywhere from three to six days to help prevent infection. Exposure to direct sunlight or the use of tanning beds should also be avoided for the first six weeks after the procedure. Avoiding these in addition to tanning products helps to prevent fading and discoloration.
Skincare products that have an exfoliating effect or that contain ingredients like glycolic acid can speed up the fading of permanent eyebrows. It's best to avoid using them on the tattooed area. Swimming in chlorinated water can also have the same effect.