Tattooed Eyelids - Makeup Forever

Jan 14, 2002 (Updated Oct 21, 2002)

The Bottom Line Getting my eyes tattooed was the best beauty decision I've ever made.

Stuck deciding between pencils or liquid liner? Can I offer a third easy option? Tattoos!

The recent decision to get my eyelids tattooed was pretty easy - I have quite a few tattoos on my body and I usually wear liquid liner, so it only seemed just like a matter of time...

I think I started using eye liner when I was fourteen or fifteen - I started with pencils (kohl) and graduated to liquid liner by the end of high school. Being that I'm in my 30's, I'd say I've stood in front of the mirror lining my lids (minus all the times I was too lazy, sick or hungover) about, oh 4,000 times. 4,000 TIMES! It amazes (and embarasses) me to think that I wasted so much time in the name of shallowness.

A Little Background
This procedure has been pretty big in Asia and the Middle East since the 80's and I'm running into more and more women here who are making the change.

There are two basic types of cosmetic tattoing - machine and the hand-applied method - each has its own merits. Machine work is a lot faster (forty-five minutes v. an hour and a half) but I'm told hurts ever so slightly more. The heal time is slightly less with hand-applied tattoos, but hand-applied costs almost twice as much. (up to $500) I'm told that the hand-applied tattoos also fade faster as well. (Five years.) I weighed out my options and went for the machine application; which set me back $350.

The Procedure
It ended up feeling a lot more like a visit to the dentist than a tattoo shop. Everyone's a little too perky, wearing scrubs and masks... non-stop muzak streams in from the ceiling - you're reclined in a pleather chair waiting for the procedure.

Does it hurt?
Well, duh. It's a tattoo. It actually hurts a lot more than a regular tattoo (even work done on the back of your knee.) Your eyelids are a pretty soft, sensitive area. Fortunately the clinician knows this and numbs your eyelids with a topical. Don't believe anyone when they say there's very little pain and it's comprable to tweezing or electrolysis pain.

Note: With your topical anesthetic, it's almost painfree but the procedure is annoying as heck - it feels like the needle will poke through your eyelid the whole time.

Fade Factor and Heal Time
Unlike a regular tattoo, you kind of want your lines to soften a bit so it doesn't look like you took a Sharpie to your face. The first two days after the procedure, expect the color to look unbelievably dark and crisp; it's brand new. The lines soften a little and start to look 'normal' after about a week.

You might be a little sore (I just looked tired for a few days.) You won't be able to wear contacts or wear eyeshadow or liner - just gobs of ointment.

So, How Does It Look?
Honestly, you can't tell the difference between regular eyeliner and cosmetic tattoos. It simply looks like I skillfully applied eye liner to my lids. Frankly, it looks great. I chose a look just like my regular look, a sleek black liquid liner. Of course, clinics offer different colors and looks - brown, soft, muted, faint... Most places are real good and provide a consultation to personalize and determine what look is right for you.

Where to Get the Procedure Done
I'd recommend a clinic that specializes in permanent make up. I've seen beauty salons and private individuals advertising services - you should use your common sense.

Permanent makeup, micropigmentation, cosmetic tattooing - however you choose to call it - all results in the same thing... NO MORE HAVING TO STAND IN FRONT OF THAT MIRROR FOR EYELINER! (And, just as important, no more having to take the eyeliner off!) Getting my eyelids tattooed has been the best beauty-related decision I've ever made. (Come to think of it, it's probably the only beauty-related decision I've ever made.) I love not having to put eye liner on anymore. My eyes look great before I go to bed, when I wake up, when I'm in the shower, swimming, down with the flu, et al. (Shallow, but true.)

If I ever went camping or the gym (which will never happen), I'd be set.

I'm as pleased as punch with my new eye liner.

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