Seven misconceptions about semi-permanent make up

The popularity of semi-permanent make up has risen hugely in the past couple of years. With so many different cosmetic treatments available, including microblading for eyebrows, permanent lip and eye liner application and full lip colour tattooing, there is a lot of misinformation about semi-permanent make up and as a result many misconceptions.

It’s important to know the facts before undergoing treatment and in this article, Renée Cleovoulou, aesthetic dermatographist and cosmetic tattooist at The Dermatography Clinic, reveals the truth about the latest cosmetic techniques that have swept the capital.

1. “Tattooed make up always looks so fake.” False!

In expert hands and using the latest technology and techniques, this treatment can produce extremely natural and realistic results.

For the best possible finish, it’s so important to do your research thoroughly prior to treatment and take care in choosing which clinic / practitioner to trust. Take your face seriously because there are many people practising without the skill or necessary certification required.

A practitioner who is qualified to carry out both cosmetic and medical tattooing will have far more knowledge and experience. Those fully qualified in micropigmentation (also known as dermatography or semi-permanent make up), should be qualified to carry out corrective treatments anywhere on the body, literally from head to toe.

An expert will understand all skin types and which colours to use for a natural looking enhancement and will never recommend something that looks odd or false. I always test colours on the skin prior to treatment and my client will be involved in making the final decision.

2. “Semi-permanent make up means you look ready for a night out all the time.” False!

Semi-permanent make up should be a subtle enhancement used to correct and improve rather than to create a make up look or style. If you want to get made up for a night out, by all means use make up but please don’t get cosmetically tattooed to create this look 24/7 as it will dominate your face and can take up to three years to fully fade. Less is always more and the goal is to enhance the individual’s natural features rather than look stylised.

In fact, many of the treatments I offer are for corrective purposes for both men and women. Semi-permanent make up can be used to camouflage scarring, pigmentation issues such as Vitiligo or even help those who suffer with Alopecia, hair loss or thinning. In these cases you want it to look imperceptible.

3. “You have to shave your eyebrows before the treatment.” False!

Never! Understandably my clients tend to be sensitive about their hair and are looking to create a more defined brow or suffering from hair loss, so I do not remove any hair unless necessary and never without permission. I will try to work with what hair is there unless it’s in the wrong place. Only then would I recommend removing it – and certainly not by shaving!

4. “Bigger eyebrows are better.” False!

While I do believe that hair removal should always be kept to a minimum, it is a misconception that bigger is better.

Fuller eyebrows are definitely more youthful and natural looking than skinny, over-plucked ones. However, great eyebrows do not need to be the ‘greatest’ feature of your face. Flattering eyebrows should bring out your eyes – they are there to frame them, not detract from them.

5. “Lip tattooing means that your lips are outlined like lip liner.” False!

Gone are the days of the ‘liner look’, which is ageing and dated. The Dermatography Clinic improves lips to look fuller and more symmetrical or to improve the overall colour and to hide imperfections. When lip treatments are carried out to a high standard, the results will be very subtle and the lips will look slightly improved.

Plus, it’s important to remember that looks and trends do go in and out of fashion, so never get one permanently applied to your face.

6. “Semi-permanent make up and permanent make up are the same.” True!

Semi-permanent make up and permanent make up is the same thing. In the U.S., the process is known as permanent and in the UK we call it semi-permanent. The process is also known as digital microblading, dermatography, cosmetic tattooing or micropigmentation.

However, it’s important to note that microblading and digital microblading are different. Both produce ultra fine hair strokes, usually for eyebrows, however, microblading uses a hand-held manual tool to implant pigment under the skin whereas digital microblading uses advanced digital technology to do this.

At The Dermatography Clinic, we offer both procedures, although the majority of clients prefer the finish of digital microblading as it allows greater precision. It enables artists to cross over hair strokes, which is not possible with microblading, creating a more realistic, natural looking eyebrow. It also limits trauma and lasts longer than microblading.

7. “The results are permanent.” False!

These treatments are not permanent – they last between one and three years, sometimes longer. However, cosmetic tattooing should be taken seriously as it lasts a long time. In safe hands, it is a fantastic low-maintenance solution for many. While most clients wish results could last forever, semi-permanence can be a good thing, especially when it comes to eyebrows as this gives the opportunity to further improve them in the future and adjust them as the area ages. The process requires maintenance and is usually repeated within 1-3 years.

In the case of microblading for eyebrows the effect is not as long lasting with colour remaining for 6-12 months.

About the author

Renée Cleovoulou is a leading aesthetic dermatographist and specialist cosmetic tattooist based at The Dermatography Clinic, in Spitalfields, London. She offers the latest in semi-permanent make up, digital microblading and corrective and camouflaging medical tattoo treatments. Her steady hand, attention to detail and artistic eye has led Renée to be regarded as one of London’s finest practitioners of semi-permanent make up and she has helped thousands of people regain confidence in their appearance. Find out more at

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