If you've ever tried out microblading , then you'll know this beauty treatment is the stress-free solution to spending an age stencilling in your eyebrows. Not only can the semi-permanent treatment help to enhance your features, but it also saves you bags of time and money in the long run.
Now, a new treatment is set to replicate these same benefits – only this time it's tailored to those who deal with dark circles. Enter: permanent concealer, a new treatment being pioneered by Brazilian tattoo artist, Rodolpho Torres.
Specialising in concealing skin concerns (he banishes stretch marks, as well as dark circles) Torres uses a handheld device to detect each person's skin tone, before customising the ink so that you get the perfect match. You can watch the method via this Instagram video, below.
We'll admit that the before and after images on social media caused us to do a double-take, but is this technique too good to be true? WH spoke to industry icon, Semi-Permanent Makeup Artist Tracie Giles, to get her take on the trend.
First up, what is permanent concealer?
If you’ve developed dark eye circles, aka periorbital hypermelanosis or periorbital hyperpigmentation, as they are referred to by dermatologists, it may give you some comfort to know that this condition is fairly common. It's also tricksy to treat because it's the result of excessive pigmentation that lies underneath the skin, therefore topical treatments can only do so much.
Concealer that's inked onto the skin is, therefore, a way to permanently hide dark circles. Similar to other semi-permanent makeup treatments (think lip liner and eyebrows), the pigment is inked into the skin via a cosmetic tattoo gun.
However, 'unlike microblading, lip blushing or other permanent makeup treatments offered at my Knightsbridge clinic, the ink used for permanent concealer will not fade over time, as semi-permanent makeup pigments will,' explains Giles.
What does the procedure involve?
Torres reveals that: 'It’s not micro-pigmentation, it’s a tattoo. You can live a normal life and expose it to sunlight knowing that your skin will not become stained, because the tattoo pigments approved by Anvisa [Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency regulatory body] give us this security.'
How many treatments do you need?
Because it's permanent, only one session is needed.
Could permanent concealer be risky?
Giles explains that because this treatment is permanent it’s hard to predict the long-term results.
'One thing that we do know though is that the results cannot be removed from the skin. This ink usually contains Titanium Dioxide which is impossible to remove as laser treatments will react with the ink and make it turn black. Lasering near the eyes is also very dangerous and carries the risk of blindness,' cautions Giles.
'The other known risk of permanent concealer is that any white pigment, which is needed to replicate some skin tones, rises in the skin over time and could eventually discolour, turning the colour of sour cream, she adds.
'The inability to remove permanent concealer, combined with the unstable white pigment and added factors such as the under-eye skin sagging as we age and therefore moving the positioning of the permanent concealer, are why it’s a definite 'no' from us at Tracie Giles London.'
Is permanent concealer available in the UK?
Not currently, and, given the risks associated, it doesn't look it will make its way over here any time soon.
Which areas of the face are usually treated with permanent makeup?
'Brows put permanent makeup on the map, and are still the most popular permanent makeup treatment,' says Giles.
'Microblading and Digital Tattooing are the two main permanent brow treatments and are essentially just different methods of implanting pigment in the skin. Microblading uses a small handheld blade whereas Digital Tattooing uses an electrically powered handpiece and needle, more like conventional tattooing.'
There are lots of different styles of permanent brows, from extremely natural Hairstroke Brows, to more defined Ombré and Powder Brows, to the latest in Eyebrow Tattooing – Hyper Realism Brows, which is only available at a handful of clinics worldwide,' she adds.
What should someone think about before getting permanent makeup?
According to Giles, it's imperative to carry out the following before opting for permanent makeup.
1. Do your research
'The permanent makeup industry is largely unregulated which means you absolutely must do your research before choosing your clinic or Artist. For most artists, their Instagram or social media accounts are their portfolios of work – so take a look there first and make sure their work is good and their style matches your desired outcome.'
'Remember that Instagram photos can be edited and likes and followers can be purchased, so don’t stop your research here. Message the artist, ask them questions and make sure you feel confident in their responses and knowledge. Take a look online at their website and crucially at their online reviews.'
2. Check for industry accreditations
'Look for accreditation and to see whether they have won any awards – anything that will validate their claims and prove they are operating safely and to a high standard.'
3. Don't be driven by price
'We are seeing more and more people come to see us with permanent makeup done cheaper elsewhere that needs to be corrected or removed and this process ends up costing them much more than if they just spent a little more to get the very best artist and the very best results the first time. You are permanently altering your face, and this cannot be hidden, so make sure you choose the very best.'
4. Know that timing is everything
'There is also a two week healing period following permanent makeup treatments and during this time, you should avoid getting the area wet (outside of the aftercare cleansing protocol advised by your artist), direct sunlight, strenuous exercise, wearing conventional makeup, and facials, aesthetic treatments or spas.
'Bear this in mind before booking your treatment, in case you have any holidays planned at that time.'
What are the benefits of permanent make-up?
Giles explains that the main advantage is that you can achieve results with permanent makeup that you would never be able to achieve with conventional makeup, and you get to wake up with this beautifully and expertly applied makeup, every single day.
'Imagine the feeling you get when you leave the hairdressers with your hair blow-dried and looking better than you could ever do yourself at home, that’s the feeling you’ll get when you see your permanent makeup for the first time, but it will stay perfect that day, and the next day, and the next and the next…and that feeling never goes away.'
'Permanent makeup should always be bespoke, designed for you to work with your facial features and to suit your own unique style. It can be used to disguise any scarring or pigmentation, and not only enhances your appearance but can often transform your confidence,' she adds.
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