Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About My Permanent Eyeliner
About four years ago, I decided that enough was enough. I couldn’t deal with smudged eyeliner anymore. I love the way that eyeliner looks on me, though, so I wasn’t about to give it up—I was going to make sure that it stayed on for good. I took a look at my bank account, weighed the pros and cons, and paid a visit to my nail tech, Kim, who also happens to specialize in permanent makeup.
The result? Eyeliner I couldn’t smudge if I tried, and a lot of friends who were curious about my procedure. To save everyone some time, here are the answers to the questions I always get asked when people find out I have, you know. A face tattoo.
Were you nervous?
I wasn't, really. I didn't let myself think about the pain until the day of my appointment. And I wasn’t nervous about looking good, because Kim had done her own face—brows, liner, blush, and lip color!—and she looked amazing. I knew I was in capable hands.
What happened? Did she stick a needle in your eye?!
We decided on a really dark brown color (sometimes, when you get straight black eyeliner, it comes off as blue-ish). First, I had to take my contacts out. Then, Kim applied a numbing cream to my top and bottom lids that had to sit there for 20 minutes to take effect.
The tool she used for tattooing wasn’t one big needle—it was a handheld device that ended in seven tiny needles. As soon as she put it against my skin, my eyes watered and wanted to close. She had to hold my eye open with one hand and tattoo with the other.
The needles moved at warp speed as she made what felt like 200 swipes, back and forth, over my top right lid. Just when I thought I couldn’t take anymore, she stopped and moved to the other side.
Did it hurt?
To put it mildly, yes.
I cried for 30 minutes while Kim lined my top lids. After that, she started on the bottom ones, but much of the numbing cream had been wiped away. Kim had told me that the bottom would be “a little more uncomfortable than the top.” She was underselling it. Anyone with a tattoo can imagine what the process felt like—just imagine getting one right next to your eye. Because I was moving around so much, Kim actually had to sit on my chest with her knees pressing into my shoulders to keep me still.
The upside? The entire process took only an hour, and once she was done, there was no pain at all.
What did you look like afterward? Were you bleeding?
There wasn’t any blood, but I looked like I had just watched Titanic, then The Notebook, then Homeward Bound, and rounded it off with Steel Magnolias. My face was ... quite swollen.
Did you like the way it turned out?
There was a short recovery period, but after a few days, the scabs were gone and the final result was perfect!
So, wait, do you never put on eyeliner?
All I have to do in the morning is put on lotion and a few quick swooshes of mascara.
Sometimes, I’ll add more eyeliner on top of the tattoos if the occasion calls for a more dramatic look. I just line it on and pat it down with powder.
Is it going to last forever?
Sort of. It’s never going to completely disappear, but it fades over time. I've had it for about four years now, and the fading has definitely started for me. Kim did say that I would have to redo the procedure if I wanted to maintain it. I haven’t made my second appointment yet, but I’m thinking about it …
Would you recommend permanent makeup to others?
Yes! I tell everyone about my liner. I love it, and I'm so glad I did it. If you’re considering permanent makeup, my advice would be to try it out with your favorite type of look—I don’t like other makeup as much as I like eyeliner, so it’s the perfect fit for me!
For me, both beauty and fashion need to be accessible and not intimidating. I love a great deal and a good DIY beauty treatment. I pride myself on trying new trends, being open minded and getting a great treatment without breaking the bank. In the name of beauty I will try anything once.