Permanent Eyeliner Tattoo: What it is & Does it Hurt?

If you’re curious about permanent makeup eyeliner, stick around!

Below, we’ll go over everything you need to know, including what it is, whether it’s safe, and perhaps most important of all, if it hurts.

There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s just dive right in.

Don’t forget to also check our permanent makeup machine reviews!

What is Permanent Tattoo Eyeliner?

Remember that one time you successfully applied your eyeliner evenly on both your eyes? That feeling of accomplishment?

And then, on the very next day, things were back to normal. You find yourself wishing for an easier way out.

Well, we live in blessed times, and there’s a solution to your everyday eyeliner problems- permanent makeup eyeliner. Let’s talk about what it is first, then we’ll get into more specifics.

All kinds of permanent makeup are typically tattoos. In the case of permanent makeup eyeliner, a pen containing iron oxide is used for tattooing the skin.

This tattooed skin mimics the look of an eyeliner. Hence the name, permanent tattoo eyeliner.

It can be an excellent way for you to get that perfect eyeliner shape and also to enhance your lash by filling in your gaps.  

lady's eyes with permanent makeup eyeliner

ALSO CHECK: Best Tattoo Pen for Beginners

How Long Does Eyeliner Tattoos Last?

Although it is called permanent eyeliner, it is not really permanent. That’s just a term used by the industry.

It would be more apt to call it ‘semi-permanent ‘. The color of the tattoo starts fading away in 2-3years, which is a comparable answer to “how long do tattooed eyebrows last?” as well. 

permanent makeup eyeliner procedure of a pretty lady

As Rob Falco, co-owner of ElleBrow Microblading & Permanent Makeup Studio told HuffPost, it is said to be permanent because the pigment will remain in the skin forever. 

How to Choose an Artist for the Procedure?

Ask around friends and acquaintances, if they have undergone the procedure, they can recommend someone. Make sure your technician has some experience.

You can also check what kind of permanent makeup machine your technician uses.

Should I Get Permanent Eyeliner?

The answer to that question may vary from person to person.

If you’re someone who wants to have one less thing to do every morning and you don’t really appreciate the daily struggle of putting on eyeliner, permanent makeup eyeliner is for you.

Also, if you don’t mind spending a few hundred to thousand dollars on the process, this is definitely for you. 

If you are someone with light-colored or missing eyelashes, don’t think twice before going under the procedure as it will definitely help your appearance in a significantly positive way.

Also, if you live somewhere with a hot and humid climate, you will really appreciate that your permanent makeup does not runoff.  

Is Permanent Eyeliner Safe?

Yes, permanent eyeliner is entirely safe. You do, however, have to follow all the instructions by your artist religiously.

permanent tattoo eyeliner session of a pretty woman

As a precautionary measure, you’ll be asked to stop taking any blood-thinning medicines three days before the procedure. They minimize the risk of any potential bleeding. 

People with diabetes and other serious illnesses that have adverse effects on the body’s immune system are not suitable for the procedure.

It is always safer to consult your doctor first before undergoing the process if you are under medication. 

Does Tattoo Eyeliner Hurt?

A topical numbing cream is applied to the eye area before the procedure; this makes the whole process relatively painless.

After this, the most you can feel is a vibration sensation on your skin. 

a cute lady getting a permanent tattoo eyeliner session

It is, however, worth noting that different people have different thresholds for pain, and hence some can still feel mild discomfort during the procedure.

After all, the process does include a tattoo machine penetrating your sensitive eyelid skin to put ink so it’s not like you won’t feel anything at all.

There’s nothing to worry about as the pain wouldn’t be so much that you have to stop the procedure in the middle. Mostly, you’ll only feel the vibrating sensations caused by the tool on your face.

For comparison’s sake, let’s just say it’s a little more painful than microblading.

If you have done microblading, that should give you an idea. If not, read these- Microblading Vs Tatoo PainHow Much is Microblading?  

Related: How to Make Tattoos Hurt Less?

How to Prepare for Your Eyeliner Tattoo Appointment

Once you have made up your mind to get the procedure done, consult your technician and communicate clearly what you are looking for. Discuss the color, thickness, and style to make sure there’s no room for confusion.

It is worth noting that if you’re planning to get any botox treatment, you must get that before the procedure. You should be completely healed before coming for your permanent eyeliner makeup.

Make sure to come with clean skin with no cosmetics applied for the treatment. If you use any sensitizing product, stop its use a few days prior to the procedure. 

Also, if you wear lenses, you won’t be able to wear those a few weeks after the procedure. So, make sure you have specs for that time period. 

If you want to know more about permanent eyeliner, check out this video:

4 Advantages of Permanent Eyeliner 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the major pros and benefits of tattooed eyeliner.

#1 Saves you time

Probably the most significant advantage of permanent eyeliner is the amount of time you save.

Once you’re done with the procedure, you’ll have one less thing to worry about in the next three to five years — no more daily struggle of putting your eyeliner perfectly before heading out.

With permanent eyeliner, you don’t have to worry about smudging, smearing, and wiping.  

It also is great for active people. Sportspersons who want to look their best while swimming, biking, running, or playing any other sports don’t have to worry about their makeup ruining, and they can give their full focus on their respective sports. 

#2 It saves you from allergies

If you’re someone who’s allergic to some of the products used in makeup, you know the struggle of constantly reading the labels to make sure your nemesis is not present in any of those products.

A permanent eyeliner tattoo can be a blessing for you in that case.  

#3 Great for people with special needs 

It can also be a boon for older people with diseases that restrict the movements of their limbs, like arthritis and Parkinson’s.

Even for people with vision issues for whom applying makeup regularly can be a challenging task, permanent eyeliner seems to make life much easier for them. 

#4 Customization 

You can tailor your procedure to your unique preference suiting your style. You can even choose a different style depending on your eye shape and facial features.

You will have a variety of colors, styles, and thicknesses to choose from.

Since you’ll wear the style every day for the next few years, artists suggest getting something more versatile. That essentially means a not too thick line and not too long wing. 

It’s best to go for something that’s subtle, discrete, and can be enhanced with some makeup on special occasions.     


Do eyes swell after permanent eyeliner?

Immediately after the procedure, the eyes may be slightly swollen. Due to the selling, your eyeliner will appear thicker than you have asked for. Don’t be alarmed; the swelling will reduce to a minimum after 72 hours of the procedure.

Is permanent eyeliner has any side effects?

Other than swelling, bleeding, bruising, and itching may occur at the injection site. However, experts suggest these are normal, and there’s no reason to worry unless they persist. Consult your doctor if you still have these effects after a few days.

How long after permanent eyeliner can you wear makeup?

The whole idea behind spending close to $1000 was not to put makeup on the next few years. With that being said, you can enhance your eyeliner with some makeup on special occasions after three to four weeks of the procedure.

How long does permanent eyeliner take to heal?

an expert putting a permanent makeup eyeliner to the lady's eyes

In general, it takes about three to four weeks for the skin to heal after the procedure thoroughly. Depending on how the pigment looks after that period, you can opt for a touch-up.

How long does the procedure take?

That depends on the thickness of the eyeliner you are going for. A traditional eyeliner can be done in an hour which includes numbing the area and other preparatory measures. If you are opting for something fancier like Cat eye, be prepared to spend an extra hour at the studio.

How much does it cost?

The exact cost will depend on a number of factors, including your artist’s location, experience, and style you’re looking for, but be ready to shell out anything from $500 to $1000. Thicker eyeliner will generally be more expensive than tear line ones.  


If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy applying eyeliner every day and is looking for an easy way out-permanent eyeliner makeup is for you. The procedure is almost entirely safe (nothing is 100% safe, of course).

Invest some time to find an experienced permanent makeup artist near you to carry out the process and follow the aftercare routines advised to you. If you do follow all the steps, you won’t have to worry about your eyeliner for a few years, at least. 


  • Brucculieri, Julia. 2018. “Everything You Need to Know before Getting Tattooed Eyeliner.” HuffPost. HuffPost. June 13, 2018.
  • Diana, Zoe. 2019. “Dermatologist Discusses Permanent Eyeliner, Microblading.” Dermatology Times. Dermatology Times. September 9, 2019.
  • Shunatona, Brooke. 2020. “Your Permanent Eyeliner Tattoo Guide: The Safety, Cost, and Pain.” Cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitan. February 26, 2020.
lady getting her permanent makeup eyeliner procedure

What do you think of permanent makeup eyeliner? Do you consider getting it? Please share your thoughts 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.