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Tattoos: Cosmetic vs. Permanent

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Hello everyone!

I’ve been getting a lot of requests for cosmetic tattoos these days, and sadly I’ve had to say no! However, these questions got me to realize that most people don’t seem to know the difference between cosmetic tattoos and permanent, traditional tattoos. To be honest, I didn’t really know much about cosmetic tattoos until you guys got me curious! So for this week’s article, I also learned something new, and will be sharing with you guys!

While traditional tattoos have been around for thousands of years, cosmetic tattoos weren’t used until the 1960’s. Back when it first started regular tattoo ink was used, resulting in bold, vibrant eyebrows and lips that unfortunately ended up looking very clownish. Now, cosmetic tattooers are able to use more natural colors and even color match to your natural skin tones.

The main difference I’ve found between cosmetic tattoos and traditional tattoos is the depth at which the needles dispense ink into your skin. The cosmetic tattooer would only pierce up to 1mm of the skin. That way, during the healing process most of the pigment would fall out, resulting in the softer, more natural look. Whereas a body art tattooer would pierce up to 3mm deep into the dermis, which is the 2nd layer of you skin. That way, the ink and pigment would be more saturated into the skin, creating permanent and vibrant colors.

Cosmetic tattoos are also meant to fade over the next couple years, which I think is a great thing because you wouldn’t want the same eyebrows from 10 years ago, would you? Makeup trends come and go, and I don’t really see the pencil-thin drawn eyebrows from the 90’s making a comeback anytime soon. They are mostly meant to enhance your natural look, also for someone who doesn’t want to spend much time in front of a mirror.

However, just because they are temporary tattoos does not mean they are safer, per say. Some people may also face the same problems that arise with traditional tattoos, such as keloids, granulomas, allergic reactions and infection, be it from dirty needles or bad aftercare.

It was very interesting researching cosmetic tattooing for this week’s blog, and it will allow me to better inform the differences for future clients. I hope you learned something new along with me!

If you’re thinking of any cosmetic tattoos in the future, remember to treat it just like any other tattoo, do your research, have consults, and look through portfolios! Even a temporary mistake can seem like forever. 🙂


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