How long does Permanent Makeup last ?


by Lisa Young – PMU



Does permanent makeup last or will it need doing again ?


Permanent make up can also be referred to as semi-permanent makeup. However, because it is not as semi-permanent as the name suggests, most permanent makeup artists refer to it as permanent make up.

This helps the client to understand that it is actually a form of tattoo.  They are then made aware that if they do not like it, or if it goes wrong, it will not fade away over a matter of weeks but instead can last for years in the skin.

The only option if you aren’t happy after a treatment is therefore by removal.


If you need help to correct too dark or discoloured permanent make up or microblading (green, blue, orange or even pink) or if you do not like your permanent make up or microblading, please refer to my BOTCHED INK page by clicking on the link below. Please also feel free to share with any friends who may need some help.


Tattoo Removal



Image showing microblading in relation to does permanent makeup last



However, because permanent make up is done with pigment and not tattoo ink (unlike traditional tattoos) the colour will fade and change over time. This means that a maintenance or top up treatment is required every so often. It’s a bit like having your hair coloured. The colour will fade over time so you need the ends refreshed to boost the hair colour again.


So the simple answer to the question …


Does permanent makeup last forever ?


… is No !




When you have lovely permanent make up and you want to keep it looking fresh, you will need a booster or maintenance treatment on average every 12 – 24 months.


How long does permanent makeup last depends on a number of factors:

  • The technique & pigment used.
  • Your skin type.
  • Genetics.
  • Your medical & health – diagnosed & underlying.
  • Your lifestyle – Smoking, Sun exercise.


Technique & pigment used

There are 2 types of permanent make up:

  • Microblading or manual shading.
  • Permanent make up.



Microblading & Manual Shading

Microblading & Manual Shading is a technique that uses a group of needles in a manual tool. This glides across the skin creating tiny abraded channels in the skin. Microblading is a more superficial technique. It will last approximately 9 to 12 months (sometimes 18 months) before the colour starts to breakdown in the skin and fade or discolour. When it reaches this stage, it doesn’t look as sharp as when it was initially done. Manual shading is a technique that uses a different type of grouping of needles in a manual tool, which is used to tap pigment into the skin.



Digital Permanent Make up

Permanent make up is traditionally done with a digital handset and a cartridge needle, very much like a traditional tattoo. The needle goes up and down in the skin and for this reason the pigment is normally longer lasting. Expect 18 to 24 months before you will need a booster treatment.



Your skin type & Genetics

A brief explanation is that some skins retain pigment better than others. Oily skin is better suited for permanent make up than microblading, which tends to fade quicker. The hairstrokes can blur, which means not all skin types are suitable for microblading.

Older mature skins can retain pigment really well. They are however better suited to machine work rather than microblading due to a lack of collagen in the skin keeping it plump and firm.

Genetically sensitive skins could mean that the body fights the pigment as part of the body’s defence system which leads up to medical and health.




Medical & health

Medical & health is quite complex. Some areas we know with certainty and others we do not know as it varies from person to person. What we do know is that permanent make up is not an exact science and we really don’t know what is going on in the skin or the client’s body.

The body is a clever system. It looks after itself and protects itself from invasion. Some clients have medical conditions that we know and understand how the body would react to permanent make up and we can set expectations or make adjustments for this.

But in some cases , such as undiagnosed anaemia or autoimmune illness we may not know until it impacts the results. How many of you have been to the doctors to be told that blood tests reveal that your iron levels are low and you think wow I eat healthy and I eat lots of vegetables where did that come from? We simply just do not know what we don’t know!

This is why there is always 2 treatments when having permanent make up with a permanent make up technician for the 1st time. I.e. to get to know the skin and understand it for that individual client, see how the skin retains and boost the colour so that it lasts after the 2nd treatment.

But there are some things that you can do to help in your lifestyle.



Your lifestyle – Smoking, sun, exercise & alcohol

Permanent make up fades quicker and the results vary depending on your lifestyle. The best advice is protect your investment in permanent make up by following the pre-treatment instructions prior to your treatment. Make sure you also follow the aftercare and protect your make up from the sun by applying sun protection.

Alcohol, aspirin and caffeine can make you bleed more during treatment, which impacts retention.

Going to the gym in the first 4 to 7 days during healing will impact your retention as the salt in your sweat makes your body push out the pigment and inflames your skin.

Yes sunbeds and sun will fade your skin in the same way leaving something in a window fades.

And …. Yes your glycolic or lactic acid or salicylic skin wash or your microdermabrasion or home exfoliator or professional skin peel over your brows will fade your permanent make up. I know because I have had it done to me with a peel and wow did it fade. So believe me, these little skin treats WILL fade permanent make up quicker than you realise, so take care.


And there you have it !

Hopefully you found this informative and revealing but before you go I have 1 last surprise.

If you have your permanent make up maintenance done before it fades too much with the permanent make up technician that did your last treatment they will charge you a reduced fee as it will only be 1 treatment.

This is because they can see the original treatment mapping and they know how your skin behaves and retains. It’s normally around ½ the price and ½ the time investment to you, so there are plenty of reasons why you should maintain your permanent make up.


To book an appointment with me check out my booking page or give me a call on 07718 453269.