Only 65% Say Permanent Makeup is Worth It

K. Mathews on 2 Aug 2011 at 2:28pm

Are you someone who feels naked without makeup on? Rather than putting on a new coat each day, some women turn to permanent makeup, a form of facial tattoo that makes you appear as though you’re always wearing makeup such as eyeliner, lipstick, and eyebrows. 

The permanent makeup forum is fiercely divided on this procedure. With a Worth It Rating of 65%, there is a fairly even split between women who are pleased with their decision and others who regret it immensely.

Pros and cons from RealSelf reviewers:

PRO: “I hated putting on lipstick every day.” – lukenmylissa

CON: “They were so crudely applied that they looked like they had been drawn on by a child.” – 8212anon

PRO: “As I am a busy mom always in a hurry, I hate the hassle and time issue of applying make-up [that] is always smudging and wearing off.” – nat678

CON: “[I] have to walk around with 2 totally different size eyebrows, I was way better off before.” – angiee

permanent makeup eyebrow photos

PRO: “I could never put on eyeliner [previously] because my skin is oily and pencils just skipped over the very sensitive and thin lid skin.” – Winterfield2817

CON: “Imagine waking up and looking like a clown when you are at the pool/gym – trust me, not places where it looks good to have a fully made-up look.” – scgali

PRO: “My own [eyebrows] were not this even before and I get compliments all the time.” – Sara Hoffman

CON: “Once the make up is done there is no going back, so if you hate it, it will ruin your life like it has mine.” – rub4287

If you are considering permanent makeup, Over 40 offers some sound advice: "This is not something you shop the price or use a coupon! It is permanent on your FACE! Take your time, see photos, get all the info you can and make an informed decision on using a very experienced tech."

permanent makeup reviews

Photo credits: RealSelf members Over 40 (lead), ElisabethZ (Worth It), 8212anon (Not Worth It)

Comments (9)

I think permanent make up is not for everyone. Some who are always in a hurry and putting on make up is what gets them always late should consider the idea. But those that have time to put on make up and make themselves pretty should not consider the idea. I myself would not get a permanent make, it would loose the excitement of buying a new one once in a while.
Dearest Dr. Andy, Don't you think it's a little odd that the health care industry has made it so profitable for a physician to dispense and profit from a prescription medication even if used in an off label or newly labeled application? Can you think of another drug? Is this in the best interest of the consumer and patient? But, I thank you for your care and concern. I would never recommend using this or any other alternative source for eye application. I agree, the risk of contamination to the eye is too great; but, I also question if this is a genuine concern or one perpetuated by the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. I have traveled the world and never had a problem with dispensed medication.
As a physician, I take responsibility for any prescription that I write. ALL physicians are supposed to do this...and having that medical degree and level of expertise available to the patient is part of the cost of a prescribed drug. If a patient to whom I've written a prescription has a reaction or concern, I am there to answer questions or help -- any time of the day or night.

Pharmaceutical testing is ALSO a part of the cost of any given "drug,"and the testing and resulting qualifying information -- including contraindications -- can be overwhelming. I won't argue that it isn't a perfect system, but it is better than no testing or regulation. The number of unwarranted lawsuits against doctors and pharmaceutical companies adds to this cost. And while there ARE cases where lawsuits SHOULD be filed, the fact that so many attorneys and unscrupulous individuals are abusing the system just makes it worse for the rest of us.

So while a drug may take pennies to actually make, it costs far more to actually dispense. I'm not a drug store and rarely dispense drugs at my office, so I don't make a huge profit. I DO sell Latisse, but don't promote it for off-label use -- and sales of Latisse certainly add very little to my bottom line. I also sell cosmesceuticals like tretinoin, not for the profit, but as an adjunct to the procedures we do at M.D. Laser Studio.

I guess I'd rather err on the side of caution than just HOPE that all consumers are smart and willing to educate themselves as you appear to. I'm also willing to pay a little more for a product that I'm confident has been produced, stored, and shipped in a controlled environment. When a generic version of Latisse is approved by the FDA for the intended use, I will certainly support it. Meanwhile, as I originally stated, I'd just suggest caution.

Kudos for doing your research! If all my patients were as well-educated, my job would be far easier!

All the best ~ Dr. Andy

Try latisse on your eyebrows. After about six weeks of applying the generic form ($10 a bottle online instead of $100 from the local doctor)with an eyebrow brush, my brows are darker and fuller. And, if I ever decide I don't like the results I can stop the application and my brows will return to pre-application status in about two months.

NHaven -- I would caution you about using a "generic" form of Latisse (Lumagen) purchased online at such a discount. It is a serious drug used to treat glaucoma, and carefully reconfigured to make it appropriate to treat hyperhydrosis. Among other things, it will cause increased blood flow which can manifest as redness in and around the area where it is applied.

Using Latise on your eyebrows might work for you...and that's terrific if it does. But bear in mind that severely discounted "alternatives" online may be expired, diluted improperly, and may not be safe. Please be cautious.

~ Dr. Andy
Well, one thing's for sure: it's not for everybody. But in the case that you are planning to undergo these types of things, do a lot of research about who and what to consider. And just because it's expensive it don't mean they are what's good for you. Then again, aging is beautiful. Embrace it fully while keeping tabs on your health and lifestyle.

Well said!


I'd be afraid to have anything drastic done. Some of those "Not Worth It" photos are shocking! Also, the pain is a big turn-off.

Do you get electrolysis on your eyebrows before you have them tattooed, or do you still have to pluck?


I used to work with a girl who over-plucked her eyebrows and eventually had them tatooed on -- she was really happy! But hers looked more like the "Worth It' photos than the "Not Worth It."