How Long Can Permanent Makeup Last?

How long does permanent makeup last?

Surely we have all grown up hearing the wise old quote: “Nothing is permanent.”

Is the permanent makeup industry simply taking our hard-earned bucks and selling us on a temporary fix?

Read on, dear reader, as we go through permanent makeup machines‘ application and the fading process. 

Does Permanent Makeup Fade? 

Cosmetic tattooing is a lifesaver for women on the go who have no time for applying makeup.

I mean, the whole process of having to apply a load ton of makeup every morning just to take off at night and repeating the same process day in and day out is quite a hassle, now that I think of it.

putting permanent tattoo eyebrow to a lady but how long does permanent makeup last?

What if you could wake up to a full face, and you could dash out the door with zero effort? Oh yeah, permanent pigmentation is the way to go, all right. 

But but but.. all good things eventually come to an end. It is hard to hold on to the high of semi-permanent makeup because, over time, it will (insert sad emoji here) fade away.

Like your one true love or your childhood dreams. Ermmmm… too dark, too fast. Back to talking about semi-permanent makeup, please! 

Here’s our elaborately researched brief on when your tattooed makeup will fade away.

As a bonus, take a look through our top favorite permanent makeup machines to bid goodbye to traditional makeup. 

ALSO READ: How to Keep a Tattoo From Fading

How Long Do Permanent Eyebrows Last? 

Let’s start with our bushy brows or lack thereof. Everyone wants their brows on fleek every single day, but how long do semi-permanent eyebrows last?

Permanent brows are a Godsend, especially to a clumsy makeup wearer like me who cannot get her brows to look uniform. Is anyone else with me on this one?

lady getting permanent brown tatooo eyebrows

There are two sides to this one.

One process is called microblading which saves you a lot of time and lasts anywhere between 12 months to 2 years. Within this time frame, your pigment will significantly fade and will require touch-ups.  

However, other people like to get eyebrow tattooing done. When a tattoo pigment is injected into the brows, it will most likely last you a lifetime.

But as with all tattoos, there is the risk of the black pigment turning blue. We hope this answers your question about how long tattooed eyebrows last.

How Long Does Permanent Eyeliner Last? 

Another beloved procedure that most women visit a plastic surgeon for is to get permanent eyeliner. But how long does tattooed eyeliner last?

A permanent eyeliner tattoo can help lift your eyes visibly and create an illusion of fuller lashes.

But, the effect will fade off in about a year, although it has been known to last two to three years in some cases.

Everyone’s skin holds tattoo pigments differently and so the fade time can differ from person to person. 

Related: Permanent Eyeliner Problems

How Long Do Lip Tattoos Last? 

Thanks to cosmetic surgery, we can now get a natural lip color all day, every day.

Depending on your skin tone and lifestyle factors, a permanent lip color may provide ample color from a year to about three years.

But, aestheticians recommend you get a color boost every six to twelve months to keep the color from fading. 

pretty woman having a permanent lip tattoo session: how long does permanent makeup last?

How Long Do Freckle Tattoos Last? 

Freckles are hella cute and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. While some of us cannot, for the life of us, get freckles naturally, we can count on our tattoo ink aestheticians to let us have them.

Freckle tattoos are made with the same pigments as eyebrow microblading and will last as long as one to three years, much like a tattooed eyebrow.     

Related: How to Make Temp Tattoos Last Longer?

What Causes Permanent Makeup to Fade?   

So, how long does makeup last on your face?

Now that we have established that permanent makeup is actually semi-permanent and will not last you a lifetime, there are some factors at play that can elongate or shorten the life of your tattoos.

Sure, getting a permanent tattoo is expensive, and paying for an experience that will eventually fade off in two to three years is no joke.

But, you can do your best to keep the color from fading away as long as possible. 

lady getting permanent lip tattoo

Here are some things to consider while getting cosmetic tattoos to enhance your natural beauty.   

#1 Time   

The biggest and the cruelest player that causes all the effort your aesthetician put into your face to fade off into infinity is time: that waits for no one and nothing.

Thinking about time and how it runs out turns us all into age-long philosophers, that’s for sure. Over time, your tattoo will fade off.

The only way to elongate your makeup life is to schedule a touch-up appointment every six months to a year, depending on the procedure you’ve had done to your skin.

Sadly there is no antidote to this one unless you know how to stop time, in which case we’d love it if you could kindly share your secrets with us!   

#2 Sun Exposure

Another major player and an ever-present necessary evil that causes your color to break down is sun exposure.

To ensure that your tattoo color stays intact for as long as possible, it is best not to skip on sunscreen, not even on the days when it’s cloudy or rainy.

SPF has a plethora of advantages for the wearer, and keeping your tattoo intact is just one of them.   

#3 Strong Exfoliators

Physical and chemical exfoliators work on the skin and remove dead skin cells, flaky skin, and debris.

So while they are an absolute must-have in your skincare arsenal, the use of strong exfoliants may deteriorate the life of your permanent makeup.

We cannot suggest that you stay away from exfoliators altogether because your skin needs it more than you know. But finding gentle exfoliants may help prolong the life of your beloved cosmetic tattoo.     

While these are primary factors that affect the life of your cosmetic pigment, other factors also determine how long your color will last on the skin.   

#4 The Type of Tattoo Machine You Used

Some cosmeticians still rely on the best tattoo machine for beginners, but in doing so, they may be shortening the life of your tattoo.

If the ink is only injected into the topmost parts of your skin, it is bound to fade away sooner.

However, tattoo artists with heavy hands can get the pigments to go deeper into the skin, preventing your color from disappearing more quickly, although it will surely disappear over time.

Finding a seasoned cosmetician with a good tattoo machine may decide how fast your pigment fades.   

#5 The Pigment

The type of ink used to get your tattoo done is another factor to consider while determining the life of your permanent ink.

Carbon-based ink can be a little unstable on the skin and washes away quicker than most other pigments. However, there are some that can last longer if the technique used is correct.

Also, lighter colors will require a touch-up every six to twelve months. Darker pigments can last longer than lighter colors and need minimal touch-up appointments. 

READ MORE: How to Find The Best Permanent Makeup Artist Near Me?


Will permanent makeup fade completely?

Yes. With time, your permanent makeup will fade completely. Most tattoos start fading in less than six months and take two to three years to disappear entirely from the skin. 

Can you have an MRI if you have permanent makeup?

The FDA has reported a number of cases in which people with permanent makeup ink shades experienced swelling in their tattooed areas while getting an MRI done. While this is quite rare, it is best to talk to the radiologist first. 

How painful is permanent makeup?

Pain is a relative term and differs from one person to another. While some people complain of unbearable pain, some describe it as a mild discomfort. However, a cosmetologist always numbs the area before tattooing to keep the pain at a minimum. 

How are permanent cosmetic procedures performed?

Permanent cosmetic procedures are performed with traditional tattoo coil machines or rotary machines. Some cosmeticians also make use of a hand-held device to insert color into the skin. 

How long is the recovery or healing time? 

Some people can walk out the door by themselves without any assistance after getting a procedure done. The tattoo will settle onto the skin in about two to three colors and look more natural. It is best to keep sweating at bay until the skin recovers. 

Final Thoughts

Getting permanent tattoos on your face means you get to save a lot of time while getting ready for the day.

And not just that, some people rely on laser treatments to get rid of their scars or eyebrow tattoos because they have lost their natural brows to alopecia.

The best part about permanent makeup is that it isn’t permanent: meaning you can always change your mind and change the color of your pigment or decide to get your bare face back.

And isn’t that the beauty of starting over? You get to decide what to do next! 


  • Ama Kwarteng. 2020. “Permanent Makeup Guide: Everything to Know about Tattooed Makeup.” Cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitan. February 13, 2020.
  • Barhum, Lana. 2017. “All You Need to Know about Microblading.” Medical News Today. November 30, 2017.
  • Skarnulis, Leanna. 2004. “How Safe Is Permanent Makeup?” WebMD. WebMD. June 21, 2004.
  • “What Is Microblading? All the Facts about Microblading Eyebrows.” 2021. PMUHub. July 5, 2021.
blonde woman getting a permanent lip tattoo

How long does permanent makeup last? If you have tried it, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

About Edith Russo

Edith is a self-made entrepreneur with a keen business sense that others admire and a total “can-do” attitude. She’s always coming up with new ideas to anticipate her readers’ needs and help solve all their toughest beauty and skincare problems. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES. FOLLOW HER on Linkedin and Twitter. Learn more about her HERE.