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Everything You Need To Know About Getting Makeup Permanently Tattooed On Your Face

Beauty standards are fickle things. Once upon a time, women sought perfectly unblemished skin; it was a sign of prosperity. Today, though, the world of beauty is all about cosmetic tattooing procedures, and the look of the moment is freckles. Starting in early 2017, Instagram was taken over by images of fresh-faced women sporting sprinkles of perfectly placed freckles.

Why get cosmetic facial tattoos? In the case of freckles, it has to do with projecting a youthful appearance. But they're far from the only facial tattoo trends flooding social media. There are also creative permanent makeup looks, incorporating fanciful eyeliner and delicately drawn lip color. And cosmetic tattoos aren't just for women – men have begun experimenting with ink as well. It provides a subtle, natural-looking way to fill in receding hairlines.

Are these facial tattoo trends pricey? Are they even safe? There are reasons to debate facial tattoos versus permanent makeup, but both can be a real confidence booster if you're willing to go under the needle. There's lots of cool (and weird) stuff to learn about facial tattoos and how they're bringing a new twist to the world of beauty.

  • Tattooed Freckles Are The Look Of The Moment

    Photo: mandaals / via Instagram

    Some people find their natural freckles a nuisance, but if Instagram is anything to go by, plenty of women who don't have them are seeking out ways of getting the sun-kissed spots artificially. California-based tattoo artist Mo Southern describes 2017's craze for tattooed freckles as a "grass-is-greener" mentality: "People want what they don’t have!"

    Southern says once she began creating freckle constellations in 2016, she was flooded with requests. She thinks the subtle tattoos add a youthful look to an individuals face, but cautions that it can be tricky to get an ideal look: "You have to match the right shade of freckle to the skin. Every single person needs a different shade and tone to make it look natural."

  • Tattooed Freckles Can Be Natural Or Fantastical

    A lot of tattooed freckles go for a natural look. But a more daring trend in cosmetic facial tattooing includes the use of colors that go beyond typical skin tones. Some tattoo enthusiasts have even had rainbow freckles applied. Talk about a youthful look!

  • Beauty Marks Can Express Individuality

    Looking for a dash of old Hollywood glamor? A beauty mark might be just the ticket, and a professional can help you get the tattooed mole of your dreams. Should you want to express some extra individuality, those beauty marks can take the form of a tiny image, like a star, a heart, or a flower.

  • They're Not Permanent Makeup

    Photo: Irma Hulscher / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Cosmetic facial tattoos are not the same as permanent makeup. Facial tattoos are typically more artistic and out there, while permanent makeup is designed to mimic the look of traditional cosmetics, like lip liner and eyeliner.

    There are also differences in how the two types of tattoos are applied. To apply permanent makeup, a specialist carefully tattoos pigments under your upper layer of skin, otherwise known as the epidermis. This layer continually sheds, meaning the tattooed pigments will fade over time and need to be redone.

    A full-on tattoo process involves depositing pigments in a deeper layer of skin called the dermis, which does not shed like the epidermis. Therefore, there is far less fading.

    Freckled tattoos fall somewhere in the middle: they're semi-permanent. They're applied the same way as a traditional tattoo, but the ink isn't deposited as deeply into the skin. The freckles are designed to fade in a natural-looking fashion after a few years.