Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Permanent makeup procedure like?

Permanent makeup is a two-session procedure. Some makeup technicians combine the initial consultation with the first session. 

The initial session

  • Your artist begins the session by measuring your face and deciding the ideal brow shape. Feel free to bring in photos of a desired look.
  • Once you agree on a shape, your technician will: 
  • draw out the shape on both eyebrows
  • remove excess hair
  • determine the right pigment color for your brows
  • The first session is the longest and takes about 2 hours.
  • After the procedure, your eyebrows will appear darker for up to 5 days. The brow color will gradually lighten as your eyebrows heal. 
  • They’ll match the color of your natural brow after about 4 weeks.

You’ll return for your second session about 8 weeks later. This is the perfecting session. 

At this appointment, your makeup technician “perfects” the design by increasing the thickness and tweaking brow shape, if necessary. 

The second session is shorter and takes about 1 hour.

Preparing for treatment

To prepare for a microshading procedure, you should avoid the following: 

  • alcohol, caffeine, ibuprofen, and fish oil 24 hours before the procedure to prevent bruising and bleeding
  • waxing or plucking eyebrows 1 week before the procedure
  • facials at least 2 weeks before treatment
  • sunbathing and tanning beds on the day of the procedure 
  • retinol or vitamin A products 1 month before the procedure

Post-session care

Here are some post-session tips for your eyebrows:

  • For the first week after treatment, gently clean your eyebrows daily with a damp cloth. Allow your brows to air dry, and then apply the moisturizing cream supplied by your makeup technician.
  • Don’t sleep on your face for the first few days after the procedure. 
  • Avoid eye makeup, exercising, saunas, and baths for the first week to keep your eyebrows dry. 
  • Limit sun exposure.
  • Don’t scratch or pick at your eyebrows.


How long does permanent makeup last?

The results vary from person to person. Usually, permanent makeup lasts up to 1 to 3 years, although you’ll need a touch-up or maintenance session every 6 to 8 months.

Your Artist

Your permanent makeup procedures should be provided by a properly trained professional. Don’t hesitate to ask your artist about her background, training, and experience—especially as it relates to the treatment you are considering. Your artist is a professional member of Associated Skin Care Professionals. Our members have been validated as meeting their state’s licensing credentials and/or core training requirements, and agree to follow a code of ethics which ensures you’ll be treated responsibly and with the utmost respect. ASCP also provides its members with comprehensive resources that allow them to keep up with changing trends, making certain you’ll receive the most up-to-date therapies available.

Does permanent makeup hurt?

You can expect some discomfort — more than tweezing or waxing, but less than a tattoo. Your artist will apply a numbing cream over the service area before starting the procedure. The discomfort also depends on individuals pain tolerance. 

Your service area will be sore once the numbing cream wears off. You can take a pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to stop inflammation.


Are there side effects or precautions?

Permanent makeup is relatively safe, but complications can occur.

This procedure implants ink on the upper dermal layer of skin. There’s the risk of injury if the needle goes beyond this layer of skin. 

You may also have some skin irritation symptoms after the procedure, such as:

  • itchiness
  • swelling
  • redness

There’s also the risk of a reaction to the numbing cream or tattoo ink, and the risk of infection from blood-borne pathogens. 

See a doctor if you develop signs of a skin infection, which include: 

  • increased pain
  • swelling
  • blistering