Before and After Guide


Before Your Appointment

When scheduling an appointment date for a permanent makeup procedure, keep in mind the healing time of the procedure. You will need a few days afterward without social plans or strenuous activity. You will not look your best (swelling, oozing, & looks like wet paint) so plan activities around the house. Plan a shopping trip ahead of time for items you will need: ointments, straws, napkins for blotting, Q-tips, OTC pain reliever, prescriptions, a good book or movies. Get ahead on your dirty work - no lawn mowing or chores that will get dirt/ bacteria on the healing area. Do not have a procedure right before going on vacation because 1) you need healing time – you will not look like you had a makeover at the mall, 2) you may not be able to avoid sun, wind, or other items listed in post-care instructions, 3) if you had a question or permanent makeup problem it would be best to be near your permanent makeup artist and local physician. Do not wear your good clothes for the procedure because pigment might splatter on them. Pigment washes out of most clothes, but not your favorite ones. Wear something comfortable.

How to prep for permanent makeup (procedure)

• Do not tan two weeks prior or have sunburned face
• Do not have any type of facial/peel 2 weeks prior to treatment
• Discontinue Vitamin A/Retinol products one month prior to treatment
• Do not work out the day of the procedure.
• Do not have botox 3 weeks prior
• Do not take Fish Oil or Vitamin E one week prior (natural blood thinners)

In order to avoid excessive bleeding and poor color deposit:

• Do not drink alcohol 24 - 48 hours before your tattoo
• Do not consume coffee before your procedure
• Do not take an aspirin or ibuprofen for pain relief (this thins the blood)

For Eyeliner

• Do not wear contact lens during the procedure or for 24 hrs after.
• Bring sunglasses to wear home. Eyes may be light sensitive.
• Do not dye or perm lashes for 2 days prior.
• Do not use eyelash curler the day of the procedure.
• If you have had any type of eye surgery, consult with the physician about how long you should wait before having a permanent eyeliner procedure. Most physicians are giving a 2 month ok after cataract, lasik, and blepharoplasty.

For Eyebrows

• Do not pick/tweeze/wax/perform electrolysis or tint/dye brows for a week prior.
• Electrolysis should not be done for a week prior.

For Lips

• If you get cold sores you will need an antiviral prescription. Physician usually instructs to begin taking it 3 days before procedure, for a 7-10 day course.
• If you have had any type of lip surgery, consult with the physician about how long you should wait before having a permanent makeup procedure on the lips. Most physicians are giving a 3 week ok after lip filler injections like collagen or Restylane. Permanent makeup artists have noticed poor color retention in lips that have received collagen injections within the previous 6 months, longer for restylane. There has even been a little pigment migration along lip edges with Restylane. It may be best not to have lip filler injections and permanent lip color within the same year. If the lip surgery involves an incision (like a lip implant), the incision needs to mature about 6 months before tattooing on top of it.
• Oral prosthesis dentures/ partials/ braces and tongue piercing bars may increase risk of getting bacterial and/or fungal infection from the mouth to the lips. Frequent or recent sinus infection puts lips at risk of infection. Denture wearers generally carry a higher candida/ yeast count. Cutaneous candidiasis/ candidosis is more common in older women (angular stomatitis - perlèche, angular cheilitis). Recent antiobiotic therapy can be responsible for a high candida count. Steroid medications and antacid drugs can allow candida to overpopulate. Smokers tend to have a high count also. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The bacteria-yeast balance in the mouth can get out of whack, and the oral saliva will get in the holes made by tattooing lips. Lips can get infected easily. Bacterial infections clear up more quickly than Candida Albicans infections. It is possible to have a co-infection when both bacteria and fungus are involved. It is possible to get a candida infection right after clearing up a bacterial infection. More lip infection information will be on the lips special problems page.

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After Your Appointment

Cold packs have not shown to make a noticeable difference in reducing permanent makeup swelling, but they feel good on the skin and are a comfort measure. Cooling a skin wound is beneficial; freezing it is not. Using refrigerator temperature cold packs is safer for damaged dermis than freezer temperature cold packs. The traumatized tissue is already in a delicate condition and can get frost damage. Slight cooling of the skin a few times after a permanent makeup procedure can be done by applying wet tea bags, cloths, or gel compresses that were placed in the refrigerator (not freezer) in a ziplock bag. If you like to use bags of frozen peas, place a wet washcloth between your skin and the bag. Clients that leave it alone and let nature take its course heal better than the ones that frantically try to help the process. Cold packs are contraindicated for anyone with poor skin circulation, Raynaud’s, cold allergy/ cold urticaria, and other skin/ vascular/ blood disorders that react to cold temperatures.

• A permanent makeup procedure is the equivalent of a skin-deep wound - like a scratch you might get around the house. Expect it to ooze a little, scab a little, and heal in a similar time frame.
• May cool the skin a few times after permanent makeup procedure with cold pack (or wet and chill chamomile tea bags) for 10 min. every couple of hours the first day. Don’t overdo it. May switch to warm moist pack (or tea bags) after the second day.
• Keep moist with healing ointment at all times while outer healing occurs (3-5 days eyes, 7-10 days lips).
• Avoid strenuous activity for 2 days. Increased blood pressure and dilated blood vessels increases swelling and oozing. Also, sweat running into a wound stings.
• No Scrubbing. Do not rub, wipe, or scratch area. Use patting motions only.
• Keep area clean. Blot or rinse off oozing. Soap/ cleansers may be used as long as they are not alcohol based and do not have anti-aging acids or acne acids in it. Some cleansing chemicals might burn or bleach. If you wouldn’t use a product on any other type of injury, don’t use it on the healing permanent makeup. Rinse and pat dry.
• Do not expose the area to full pressure of the shower. You don’t want the water to beat on it, but water will not erase the tattoo despite the myths being told. Not keeping it clean sets it up for infection. Germs love the extra warmth generated by inflamed tissue, and they like the moistness provided by the oozing and ointment. Germs will be breeding in it. Clean it and keep ointment on it. Scabs that dry out take longer to heal off.
• Do not smash your face in a pillow while sleeping, especially the first couple of days. The skin is drilled full of holes and can tear or kink. The compressed tissue does not get adequate flow of blood and oxygen. The dependent side swells more, can ooze more, and have more color loss.
• Do not peel or pick at crust, this could cause pigment loss, scarring, and delayed healing.
• Do not expose to sun or tanning bed while outer healing progresses. Use of sunblock after healing is completed will help prevent premature fading.
• Do not swim in fresh, salt, or chlorinated water for 2 weeks.
• Avoid environments that would cause dirt or germs to contact area while healing.
• Do not apply topical cosmetics over area while healing.
• Ibuprofen or your favorite pain reliever may be used to reduce swelling and discomfort.
• Final healed result is at about 2 months. If a touchup is needed, it is not done any sooner than 2 months after the first procedure. Performing a touchup too early could cause scarring. Some colors (especially eyebrow colors) take that long or longer to see how they are going to settle in and look. Free touchup period is within 1 year. Brows may need additional fill-in strokes. Eyeliner should not need a touchup.
• Many anti-aging products and services containing acids, lighteners, and exfoliates cause premature fading of pigment. Avoid pigmented area. Stay about 1/4 inch away from permanent makeup.
• Do not use laser hair removal or foto-facial too close to pigmented area to avoid an accidental hit. Most laser operators know how protect a permanent makeup tattoo from the light by placing a tongue blade perpendicular/ 90° right angle against the edge of the brow or lip.

Specifics for Eyeliner

• Do not wear contact lenses during the procedure or for 24 hours after.
• Have sunglasses available. Eyes may be light sensitive or even dilated immediately after. The sunglasses are also handy for hiding puffy eyes.
• Do not dye, perm, or use eyelash curler for 2 weeks.
• Do not use mascara until outer healing is complete (3-5 days). Most clients are returning to work in 2 days and are noncompliant about this, so at least begin with a new tube of mascara due to risk of bacterial presence in used tubes. Stay a little farther out on the lashes, not too close to the liner. Remove with vaseline or baby oil without rubbing it into the liner.
Eyes will be swollen for a few days. Eyes may feel dry or irritated. Lubricating refresher drops may be used.

Specifics for Eyebrows

• Do not dye, wax, tweeze, or use electrolysis for 2 weeks in the cosmetic tattoo area. You can tweeze outside / around the permanent makeup.
• It can take a little time for the eyebrow tattoo to soften up, and to see how the color is going to do. After the skin is healed over you can put brow powder on it to mask it while waiting. Many women buy eyeshadow to use as brow powder because there are more tones available. Just make sure it is matte and doesn’t have sparkles in it.

Specifics for Lips

• Lips will ooze a couple of days. Blot and reapply ointment. After sleeping, crust will have dried on the lips. Rinse with water or put more ointment on to loosen crust, blot and reapply ointment. Most tissues like the ones you blow your nose with will leave lint on the lips. Use something stronger and lint-free like Bounty hand towels. A soaking wet cloth feels good to blot with.
• Lips will be tender at first. Drink through a straw. Choose foods you can place in your mouth with a fork without touching lips.
Place an old towel on the pillow you will sleep on until the oozing stops so you won’t ruin good pillowcases or pillows.
• Do not excessively stretch lips while they are healing with big smiles, or pucker lips with smoking. Those motions push and pull against the lip edges, applying tension and friction between the strong normal skin surrounding the mouth and the broken inflamed lip edges. Lip skin is a continuation of the delicate mucous membrane in the mouth. It is not strong like normal skin.
• On the third day, lips stop oozing and start peeling. This is when the chapped lip feeling is strongest. You may relieve the chapped lip feeling by lightly massaging the lips after placing a thick layer of ointment on them and making gentle circular motions with one finger. The light, wet massage helps get loose skin off that is ready to come off without yanking out skin that is not ready to come off. The massage relieves the chapped feeling for several hours, then it returns, and you can massage again.
• Lips will peel for a week. Other than the massage mentioned above, allow it to flake off on its own. Picking and pulling off skin that is not ready to come off will cause pigment loss and can pull out deeper tissue. The edges or lip liner will be the last to fall off. Pulling this off will result in an uneven splotchy line or an indented scar (like messing with a pimple).
• Try to keep toothpaste off lips while healing.
• Do not have teeth bleached while healing.
• During the peeling process it may look like there is not much color there. Color is more apparent by the second week. Final result is not judged for 2 months.
• It is normal to have discomfort or a feeling of pressure the day of the lip procedure. The next day should be minimal. If you begin having pain on the 3rd or 4th day after being pain-free, it is a signal that something is wrong. It is usually one of three things: 1) Infection, 2) Cold sore, or 3) Allergic contact dermatitis from antibiotic ointment. Switch ointments to rule out that as the cause, and consider a culture to determine bacterial vs yeast infection.
• After the lips are healed over and all is well, they still feel more chapped than normal. The chapped feeling subsides over a period of weeks to months. Certain lip balms create the problem. Do not use anything made for cold sores or blisters (carmex, blistex) because although they initially feel moisturizing, they turn around and dry the lips out. Some do more damage than that, especially if applied on broken lip tissue during the healing process. Applying vitamin E will usually help.

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Typical Healing Times

Permanent makeup will appear extremely intense and thick immediately after the procedure. The color will not even look right the first few days. Other factors are added to the permanent makeup pigment bottles to counteract the undertones of facial skin. Browns can look orangish-brown, blonde brows may look too yellow, lip colors are shocking! Some colors initially look too bright and others look too dark. But don't worry - it changes. Excess pigment sheds off over the next 2-3 days, and then the skin starts healing over. A layer of healed skin on top of the pigment masks and tones it down considerably. As swelling goes down the lines will be thinner. On about the fourth day you are close to looking normal and no one notices anything. Colors will continue to soften over the next few weeks. It will look very natural in 2-3 months

OUTER HEALING completes in about 3-6 days for eyes, 7-10 days for lips.
INNER HEALING completes in 1-2 months.

How easily a person swells and bruises may be affected by age, food and meds consumed, and hormonal cycles. I have seen everything from no noticeable swelling to bruising. Brows have minimal swelling, but the wet paint look is difficult to hide unless you have long bangs or big rim sunglasses. Eyes have moderate swelling, but can be easily hidden with sunglasses. Generally speaking, younger women’s eyes swell less and the swelling goes down faster after eyeliner procedures. Older women have loose skin that provides a greater water holding pocket. Additionally, circulation and cellular turnover slows with aging. Lips can swell four times their normal size, and there is no hiding them. Request a few surgical masks if you are embarrassed to walk out of the building, or for use at home in case you have to answer the door, or make a trip to the store. After three or four days when the area is healed enough that you don’t have to worry about infection, you can mask the area with other makeup/ powder/ lipstick while waiting for healing to complete.

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