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What is an Eyebrow Tattoo?

By G. Melanson
Updated May 21, 2024
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Like tattooed eyeliner and lipstick, an eyebrow tattoo is a type of “permanent makeup” that frees people from the need to continuously reapply cosmetics. Some people might opt for eyebrow tattoos in lieu of applying eyebrow pencil continuously, particularly if they have sparse eyebrows they feel need to be filled in. Although eyebrow tattoos may seem like a good time-saving solution for people who fill in their eyebrows, their permanency can become problematic, as eyebrow shapes can be as subject to changing styles like hair and makeup. For example, the thick and full eyebrow trend popularized by Brooke Shields in the 1980s was considered extremely dated by the early 1990s, when pencil-thin eyebrows became fashionable.

An eyebrow tattoo can be applied either manually with a hand-held needle or with a tattoo gun. While a tattoo gun is faster, it applies the pigment in more solid blocks of color to the eyebrow area, which tends to create an artificial look. A hand-held needle, however, gives the person applying the eyebrow tattoo the ability to create very fine lines of pigment that more closely resemble individual hairs, and therefore create a more natural look. Eyebrow tattoo application with a manual needle is also generally considered to be less painful than tattoo gun application and causes less bleeding, bruising and swelling. In the United States, the best way to choose from the many cosmetologists, plastic surgeons, aestheticians and tattoo artists that offer eyebrow tattoos is to find one who is certified by the American Academy of Micropigmentation.

Eyebrow tattoos can be an especially practical option for people who suffer from hair loss caused by a condition like alopecia, or as a side-effect of chemotherapy. They may also appeal to individuals who have sparse eyebrows and are allergic to makeup, have difficulty seeing, or otherwise have difficulty applying makeup. After undergoing a procedure for eyebrow tattoos, patients are usually advised to place an ice pack on the eye area to reduce swelling. They are also advised to avoid using any product with alpha-hydroxy acid on the eyebrow tattoo, as it can dissolve the pigment. Most people are candidates for eyebrow tattoos, except people who take immunosuppressive drugs, anticoagulants, or have Herpes Simplex.

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Discussion Comments

By ZipLine — On Jun 15, 2014

@fify-- Yes, there are semi-permanent eyebrow tattoos out there. But the definition of "semi-permanent" can vary. Some semi-permanent tattoos last several years where some only last several weeks. So you should do some research and decide which type of tattoo you want to go with. And then look for an experienced tattoo artist in your area that provides this type of tattoo.

The henna based semi-permanent eyebrow tattoos are fairly new but are becoming popular. It's made of natural ingredients and looks very natural as well. But the downside is that it has to be redone every three weeks to a month, depending on how quickly it fades. This might not be a good idea for you if you want something that lasts longer.

By fify — On Jun 15, 2014

I'm considering an eyebrow tattoo. I have very sparse brows due to a health condition. But I'm a little nervous about getting something done that will stay forever. Are there eyebrow tattoos that last only a certain period of time?

By SarahGen — On Jun 14, 2014

I don't think a tattoo gun should ever be used to make eyebrow tattoos. As the article said, a hand held needle is a much better option.

My sister got an eyebrow tattoo which was done with a hand held needle. The artists made very fine, short strokes in the direction of hair growth. The end result was very natural looking and the color of the tattoo matched well.

Although some tattoo artists argue that the tattoo will fade over time and encourage a slightly darker tattoo, I don't think this is a good idea. I certainly wouldn't want to go around with over-done eyebrows until the tattoo fades enough to look normal.

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