Semi-permanent makeup: why it might be right for you

If you removed makeup application from your morning routine, how many extra minutes would you be able to steal under the covers? Rolling out of bed and dashing out the door sans an ill-fated winged eyeliner incident is becoming a handy reality for many.

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Semi-permanent makeup is a form of tattooing, capable of allowing you to sport a fully 'done' face – with no products necessary.

We spoke to semi-permanent makeup pioneer Debra Robson to find out a bit more about the beauty treatment.

Who is semi-permanent makeup for?


"Anyone who wears makeup could be right for semi-permanent makeup. I have young people with macular degeneration who come for their brows, eyes and lips – those with a medical reason as to why they can't see to pencil them in. And then you've got people who've overplucked their eyebrows in their teens, you've got guys with alopecia, people who've had accidents and then you've got people who just haven't got the time.

READ: How to find the ideal eyebrow shape for your face

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"For example, I've got lawyers and barristers, people who are really busy, who started off just coming to me for eyebrows because they haven't got time to pencil them in everyday before they go to work, and then they've come back and had the whole lot done because it's so convenient – you're talking about a lick of mascara and a dash of lip gloss and you're gone!"

How long does semi-permanent makeup last?

"A lot of the time the length it will last is indeterminable because you've got a lot of factors at play here – like the quality of the skin you're working on, sensitive skins, whether or not someone has an autoimmune disorder, acid peels can effect it. The length of time that semi-permanent makeup remains will vary from person to person."




We spoke to celebrity micropigmentation and microblading artist Tracie Giles to find out everything you need to know about semi-permanent eye makeup.

What is permanent eyeliner?

"Just like with conventional eyeliner, there are lots of different styles of permanent eyeliner – from a subtle lash enhancer, to a more dramatic liquid-look liner, to a beautiful smokey whipshaded eyeliner. All of these techniques are achieved using a digital tattooing machine, which uses an electronically powered handpiece and needle to implant pigment into the skin."

What are the benefits of permanent eyeliner?

"Achieving the perfect eyeliner with conventional makeup is almost impossible – clients need to understand and be able to achieve the correct shape and style for their eyes and to be able to draw perfectly symmetrical eyeliner every time. With permanent eyeliner, clients wake up every day with expertly applied eyeliner that enhances their eyes, is perfectly symmetrical, creates the illusion of fuller lashes and is designed in a shape and style that complements their natural features – saving them time and energy."




Seeking the perfect pout? Tracie's south-west London clinic also offers services for people wanting to add some long-lasting colour onto their lips.

What is lip tattooing?

"For lip tattooing or lip blushing we use a digital tattooing machine and needle, similar to a conventional tattoo machine but much less aggressive, to tattoo a beautiful, borderless blush of colour across the lips, correcting the shape and adding fullness, volume and definition."

What are the benefits of lip tattooing?

"Lip blushing creates a full blush of colour across the lips – essentially a permanent lipstick in the perfect shade designed just for you. Perfect lipstick all day, every day, without the hassle of reapplying conventional lipstick is a major benefit for clients, but it isn’t the only one! Lip blushing adds definition, creates the illusion of volume and can also be used to correct any asymmetry or pigmentation in the lips and to disguise scarring – for example scarring caused by cleft lip surgery."



Fancy nailing your brow look every day without fail? We also spoke to semi-permanent makeup artist and celebrity brow artist Sarah Amelia Fogg about the process. 

What are semi-permanent brows?

"This is a semi-permanent makeup technique that enhances your natural brows to make them appear fuller and define your brow shape if needed. There are a few different techniques available, but my favourite semi-permanent eyebrow treatment is ombré brows. For this, I use a hand-held digital machine and I airbrush pigment into the skin, softer towards the bulb of the brow and stronger towards the tails to create the ombré effect. This will frame your face perfectly and the right set of brows will set off every single feature on your face."

What are the benefits of semi-permanent brows?

"The benefits of this treatment are that it’s longer lasting and less invasive than micro-blading and is suitable for all skin types, leaving you will super natural brows that will last up to three years, fading slowly. After your initial appointment I recommend having a perfecting top-up around six to eight weeks later. At this appointment we can make the brows darker and more defined if needed. After this, I would recommend the average person to have an annual top-up every 12 months to keep them looking perfect all year round."




What is permanent concealer?

"Permanent concealer is the same process as the tattooing techniques with lips, eyebrows and eyeliner. Using a needle tool, ink pigment matching your skin tone is inserted under the skin into the epidermis where it settles. It’s great for brightening your eyes by minimising dark under eye circles and it also helps to hide blemishes. It can last anywhere from one to five years depending on your skin but it’s hard to predict the long-term results. An important factor to bear in mind is that opinions on this treatment can vary as your skin colour will change at different times of the year depending on how well you tan, so the pigment used may not match your skin if it goes any lighter or darker," Sarah explains.

"With this in mind, you may prefer traditional makeup concealer as you can change the shade you’re using as your skin changes. If you’re looking for this kind of treatment for covering up scars, scar camouflage is slightly different and done with a dry needle to insert concealer into scars which is great for covering stretch marks and any other kind of scarring."