PMU or Tattoo:

What's the difference between permanent makeup, eyebrow tattoos, and microblading?

There's a lot of different words for permanent makeup, and they're tossed around on our website pretty frequently. So what's the difference?

Well, they all fall under the same umbrella term of 'Permanent Makeup'. Anything that involves depositing pigment below the skin to enhance beauty/facial features would be considered permanent makeup. This includes microbladed brows, lip blushing, makeup tattoos, and even our Signature Ombre Brow!

Tattoos used to be fairly popular as a form of permanent makeup, but are becoming less common as newer and better methods become available. 

a woman looking up at a search bar for 'permanent makeup'. The results of the search are shown below: 'a cosmetic process that uses micropigmentation to enhance the color and shape of your facial features'.

Am I getting an eyebrow tattoo?

From us, no. Tattoos are a form of permanent makeup, but not all permanent makeup is a tattoo. Microblading, nano, and ombre methods are not considered eyebrow tattoos. Tattoo ink is typically deposited into a deeper layer of the skin than permanent cosmetics. While tattoos go down to the dermis layer of skin, most non-tattoo permanent makeup methods only deposit pigment into the epidermis layer.

Shallower pigment means a faster healing time, quicker fading, and softer color. The techniques and tools used for tattoos are also quite different from the tools used for a procedure like microblading. Tattoos use a tattoo gun; a machine that deposits the pigment using a small needle that repeatedly goes into the dermis layer. Microblading is done with a set of very small blades on a handheld tool, making thin cuts into the epidermis. Our ombre method uses a tool similar to a tattoo gun, but the pigment is still only deposited into the epidermis. 

The three different layers of the skin, separated by epidermis, dermis, and hipodermis

So Permanent Makeup isn't Permanent?

Not exactly. It doesn't necessarily have the permanence of a tattoo because the pigment isn't deposited as deep into the skin, but it's still permanent in some regards. The pigment will fade over time and may need touch-ups, but most people will see some color that lasts decades. 

It's dangerous to think of permanent makeup as temporary or semi permanent, We regularly see clients who had microblading over 10 years ago and still have patches of pigment in their brows. 

How pigment fades over time will be heavily dependent on skin type and texture, but it's important to go into a permanent makeup decision with the right mindset. Microblading, nano, and ombre are not temporary eyebrow enhancements. They're not as solid and unmoving as an eyebrow tattoo may be, but they're by no means able to be scrubbed off if brow trends change in upcoming years. 

Speaking of brow trends, have you read our blog post about the importance of your natural brow shape? Trends don't last forever!

Two photos of girl with very nice shape eyebrow after ombre brow and brow sculpt.

The Importance of Shape

Eyebrow shapes follow trends throughout the years. Those who had access to a pair of tweezers in the 90s know exactly what that entails! The last twenty years has seen the rise and fall of several brow trends: the thin sharp arches of the early 2000s, the thick dark brows of the 2010s, the natural bushy brows of a few years ago, and finally the re-emergence of thin brows within the last year. With all these trends, there's only one constant: brow styles will change. 

Ready to get started? Book your appointment at Aphrodite's Secret today.