A woman wearing Nanocolor Eyeliner

What is Permanent Eyeliner? Is it Really Permanent?

All forms of permanent makeup are technically classified as a tattoo. In other words, they involve implanting color into your skin with a tiny needle. As for whether it’s really permanent, the short answer is no. Permanent eyeliner isn’t going to wash off with the rest of your makeup at night, but it will gradually fade away within a year or two.

If you’re wondering why permanent eyeliner eventually fades out but regularly tattoos last for years, the reason is that the color embedding doesn’t go nearly as deep into your skin. Only the top surface layers are infused with the pigment.

As for the actual process of applying tattooed eyeliner, your artist will clean the area with an eye-approved antibacterial and then apply a numbing cream to reduce discomfort. Then micro-droplets of colored pigments are inserted between your lashes and under the skin with a special tool. This process is done over several appointments to monitor the color absorption for each individual, and insure there is no over saturation of the pigment, that could result in an unnatural results.

Before and after image of a woman using Nanocolor eyeliner
Does All Permanent Eyeliner Look the Same?

Definitely not. This is a completely customized process. There are many different techniques, tools, and digital tips depending on the desired look or the expert technician. You can go for ‘high definition,’ a powdery or shadow-like finish, a thicker liner, or a tight line.”

The tattoo eyeliner color is customized to your preference, and your artist will also work with you to determine what shape and look  is best to compliment your unique features.

For example, I aim to give the eyes a boost, lift a droopy corner, and/or strategically make the lashes look fuller and the eye brighter and more defined. The shape should be as conservative as possible so that it naturally enhances your eyes without makeup, keeping in mind that your traditional makeup can be added for a more dramatic or evening look.

While you can technically get different colors applied, Iam  super adamant about keeping permanent eyeliner as simple and natural as possible. Also, if your complexion is lighter, you’ll want to stick to a brown versus a jet black.

Brunettes can afford darker colors, but especially for blonds with super light lashes, stay away from super dark colors like black since it will make the liner look like it’s floating above a pink line.


The expertise and color knowledge of the technician also play a key role here. They know which colors do and don’t blend on different skin tones, and understand which molecules take longer to fade.

Does Tattooed Eyeliner Cause Pain?

We know what you’re thinking. A tattoo? On my eye? Thank you, next. Surprisingly though, tattooed eyeliner doesn’t cause as much pain as you might expect, especially if you’ve hired an experienced artist, you will be surprised that the discomfort is very minimal, and not worth the  before treatment  anxiety.

Once I start the tattoo process, thanks to the numbing gel, all the client will feel is a vibration. In 99% of the procedure, there is no bleeding and no swelling.

More numbing agent is added throughout the procedure to keep the entire process comfortable.

Afterward, a thin coat of eye ointment is applied to the area and then you can get on with your day. Though there’s little downtime, aftercare is very important to insure ultimate results.

  • No sun exposure
  • No swimming in salted or chlorinated water
  • No scrubbing
  • No picking
  • No steam
  • No harsh water pressure

you shouldn’t expose the area to water for about a week, and that eye makeup should be avoided or kept to a minimum. For example, you’ll want to use non-waterproof mascara only on the tips of your lashes.

How Long Does Permanent Eyeliner Last?  

A woman having permanent eyeliner applied.

Permanent makeup, including tattooed eyeliner, looks best for about one year, with gradually fading expected. Depending on how well your eye holds the color, it can last for up to two to three years before you have to start worrying about touch-ups.

Over time, the color will naturally fade down and evenly until the molecules all dissipate and you can do it again.Once faded, it [might] look like a soft grayish color,it should not look bright green.

Note that things like after-care, general lifestyle factors, diet, skincare products, medications, and sun exposure all play a role in fading.

What Are the Benefits of Permanent Eyeliner?

The majority of women complain that it takes so much time to get it right and to apply evenly day in and day out just to see their work smudge or melt away minutes into their day. Permanent eyeliner helps address that. Also, active people who want to look their best when swimming, hiking, biking, playing tennis, or working out have a great benefit of not sweating it off or having to reapply. In general, saving time, energy, and money over time is a great benefit of tattooed eyeliner. Clients wake up and start their day with natural-looking, fresh faces much more effortlessly.

Some other benefits include not having to deal with “running” makeup if you live somewhere hot or humid. Also, permanent eyeliner can be a mega game-changer for people who can’t wear regular makeup due to sensitivities and allergies, and for those who have vision issues or dexterity conditions such as arthritis and Parkinson’s.

Ready to book a consultation? 
We offer both virtual consultations via Facetime, Skype and Zoom, or in person consultations in Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris and Dubai. For your convenience, Dominique can speak Spanish, French and English. Prior to your consultation we will need you to send us clear pictures of your areas of concern to schedule@dominiquebossavy.com