On average, women spend about an hour every day on hair and makeup. That doesn’t include all the touch-ups throughout the day to re-apply lipstick and fix smudged eyeliner.

And let’s be real, most of us aren’t experts at drawing on a perfect lash line, and we haven’t mastered the art of those hair-like strokes that create perfectly shaped brows either.

Applying makeup certainly isn’t as fast and easy as those Instagram and youtube makeup artists make it look!

Even if you have gotten pretty good at applying makeup, just think of the time and money you would save every year if you didn’t have to “put your face on” every day.

If you’ve ever wished your makeup could look flawless 24/7 or are just looking for an easy way to add hours to your busy day, permanent makeup is something you might want to consider!

From microblading and permanent eyeliner to lip blushing and even the fastest-growing permanent cosmetics trend, 3D nipple tattoos– in this ultimate guide, we will answer all your questions about permanent makeup.


Permanent makeup is a form of subtle tattooing where a board-certified dermatologist, cosmetologist, aesthetician, or nurse, uses a small needle to tattoo tiny dots of ink on the desired area. The most popular places to tattoo permanent cosmetics are the brow area, lash line, lips, and nipple and areola.

The process is similar to a traditional tattoo because the pigment is implanted under the skin. However, permanent makeup is not as deep as a conventional tattoo. This means, over time, it slightly fades more than a traditional tattoo. We’ll discuss this a little further down.

Permanent cosmetics aren’t only for your face. Scalp pigmentation is becoming one of our most sought-after cosmetic procedures.

3D nipple tattooing is also a growing cosmetic procedure primarily used by cancer patients as part of their breast reconstruction process.

Whether you want to add hours to your day by not having to apply makeup or build your self-confidence with scalp pigmentation or nipple reconstruction as the final step of your breast reconstruction surgery, permanent cosmetics are worth considering!


Rather than providing a dramatic look, when tattooed by an experienced licensed and certified technician, permanent makeup looks very natural.

Pending the area you want to enhance, you will leave with perfectly shaped brows, a lash line that will enhance your eyes and make your lashes look full and lush, permanent lip color that will give you perfectly defined lips with the perfect shade of color, a natural looking hairline or scalp, or tattooed on nipples that are designed to look natural and balanced.

Even better, the highly trained professionals at The Lett Center in Mt. Juliet and Lebanon, Tennessee are experts at helping you decide what shape and color will work best with your face, body, and skin tone!

Our clients report that people have no idea that permanent makeup is the reason their makeup always looks so perfect!

People will only wonder why you always look so flawless, even after a sweaty spin class, a day on the lake, or a night out on the town!


Because a numbing cream is applied to the area before the cosmetic makeup procedure, the process should be relatively painless. Most clients say they feel little to no pain and describe it as a ‘scratchy’ feeling.

More numbing cream can be applied if you experience any pain throughout the procedure. Multiple rounds of numbing cream may be applied if needed.


Anytime you place a foreign body into the skin, there is potential for an adverse reaction. However, allergic reactions to the pigments in permanent cosmetics are rare.

Sadly, there are lots of unqualified people performing permanent cosmetic procedures. You should look for a respected, reputable facility with well-trained board-certified plastic surgeons and technicians that treat permanent makeup as a medical procedure.

In the hands of a skilled person, like our staff at The Lett Center in Tennessee, permanent cosmetics are very safe.


Because the pigments of permanent makeup naturally fade over time, you will often hear the procedure referred to as ‘semi-permanent makeup.’

We use the term ‘permanent makeup’ or ‘permanent cosmetics’ at The Lett Center because there will always be remnants of the ink left within the skin despite a little bit of fading.

Permanent makeup offers some fantastic lasting results; however, just like a regular tattoo, it does fade over time.

Most permanent cosmetics last three to ten years, only needing periodic touch-ups to maintain your desired look.

Touch-ups don’t take as much time as the initial tattooing and are generally a fraction of the cost.


It might seem like permanent makeup is a new trend, but the first documented permanent cosmetic treatment was actually said to be performed on the cheeks way back in 1902 by the famous U.K. tattoo artist Sutherland MacDonald.

Permanent makeup continued to be a trend in the U.K for many years. Then, in the 80s and 90s, it became a popular procedure in America, primarily to give those with alopecia the appearance of eyebrows or to treat burn victims and cancer survivors.

Today, permanent makeup has expanded to go well beyond eyebrow shaping and uses techniques that are a far cry from the overdone tattooed-on makeup of years past.

Here is a list of the most popular permanent cosmetic procedures:

guide lines for microblading


Adding color, shape, and symmetry to the brows is hands down the most popular permanent cosmetic procedure. Microblading is only one method used to enhance brows. Many technicians perform other popular brow-shaping methods such as microshading, micro feathering, and powder brows.  A combination of techniques is often performed to create a perfect brow area.

Whether you inherited thin or light brows, over-plucked for too long, have a scar or a patch that refuses to grow, or your brows just look more like cousins than twins– microblading can make a remarkable difference.

Lip blushing for permanent lipstick

Lip Blushing/Lip Color:

Like microblading, this pigment-depositing treatment is meant to enhance the color and shape of your lips. This is done by depositing ink in the color of your choice into your lips and along your lip line to improve the overall look. The color is subtle and gives natural-looking results.

Lip blushing does not make the lips larger; however, it can give the impression of more fullness. That is exactly why many are opting for lip blushing over filler.

That said, many are getting lip blushing done in addition to lip filler. If you use filler on your lips, it is recommended to wait 6 weeks to have lip blushing performed.

permanent eyeliner on a woman

Permanent Eyeliner/Lash Line Tattoo:

Sometimes referred to as “invisible eyeliner,” lash enhancement tattooing helps define the eye and gives the appearance of thicker lashes.

The ink is applied to the lash line, and just like eyeliner, it can be a thin or medium-to-thick style. Whatever you prefer, expect an “eye-opening” effect!

We know what you might be thinking… a needle that close to my eyes?! While it sounds like an uncomfortable process, our clients say it is actually less painful than a regular skin tattoo.

3D Nipple Tattoo:

Nipple and areola tattooing is a procedure in which a trained technician or plastic surgeon tattoos on a nipple and designs a tattoo that recreates the natural look of the nipple and areola.

Many opt for this permanent cosmetic procedure if nipples are missing after breast reconstruction surgery. However, because 3D nipple tattooing can create a realistic image of a nipple, many opt to only tattoo their nipples and areolas and not undergo full nipple reconstruction surgery.

Adding color or a change of shape to the nipples and areolas isn’t only reserved for cancer survivors. Many people opt to have their nipples and areolas tattooed simply because they want the nipple area to have a darker color or to have both nipples match.


Freckle tattoos are a form of cosmetic tattooing that recreates the look of natural freckles on the face. With more people wanting to embrace a “natural look,” freckle tattoos have become really popular in the past few years.

Faux freckles can be done anywhere on the face, in any shape, and in any pattern.

Scalp Pigmentation:

Scalp micro pigmentation, sometimes referred to as a hair tattoo, is a non-invasive cosmetic treatment for thinning hair or hair loss. Detailed micro-needles are used to deposit pigment into the scalp, creating the appearance of fuller hair.

Some opt to pigment their entire head, while others only want to enhance a thinning or receding hairline.


Permanent makeup involves using a needle to place pigmented granules beneath the upper dermal layer of the skin. The process takes anywhere from one to two and a half hours, depending on what area you’re having tattooed.

Before the procedure begins, a numbing cream is applied to the area that will be treated. It takes about 20 minutes to kick in, then the tattooing can begin!

You will be sent home with an antibacterial ointment to avoid infection and instructions on how to ensure your permanent cosmetics heal correctly, which takes anywhere from 1-2 weeks.

Permanent Makeup Aftercare

Aftercare is critical. You should follow these instructions precisely so your skin will heal properly, and your permanent cosmetics will last a long time.

You can expect some swelling and redness for about 24 hours post-procedure, and your newly pigmented skin will go through several phases.

First, the area might look really dark. Don’t freak out! Soon after, the area will start scabbing. After a couple of weeks, the scabs will fall off and be replaced by new skin.

The area will be much lighter after the scabs fall off. You might even think your permanent cosmetic procedure was unsuccessful. Again, don’t panic! It’s in the next phase of healing that the color comes back.


Everyone heals differently, and it’s normal for some of the pigment to come off with the scabs. For this reason, most people need to schedule a touch-up around 6-8 weeks after the initial procedure.

The touch-up is to add additional color where the pigment didn’t settle properly and also an opportunity to make modifications in case you feel the color or shape isn’t exactly the way you want it.

The retouch appointment is much shorter than your first appointment, and so is the healing period. Your touch-up will typically heal in 4-7 days.



Cost is often one of the first factors many patients consider when deciding to undergo a permanent cosmetic procedure.

However, makeup is expensive, and most of our clients find that permanent makeup pays for itself and can even save money long term. With permanent makeup, you never have to buy an eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, or lip tint ever again!

The initial cost of permanent cosmetics varies based on the area. The 6-8 week touch-up is often included in the initial fee, and any further touch-ups are a fraction of the cost of your initial appointment.

During your consultation, The Lett Center staff will assist you with understanding the financial process better.



Whether you want a full face, just the basics, a lush hairline, or want to explore 3D nipple tattooing as the final step of breast reconstruction, the friendly and experienced staff at The Lett Center in Tennessee can help make your permanent makeup dreams a reality!

To schedule a permanent cosmetics consultation and meet the board-certified team at The Lett Center, call us at 615-443-0901.

We have locations in Mt. Juliet and Lebanon, Tennessee.