What is Cosmetic Tattooing

Let’s start by defining what Cosmetic Tattooing is

At Mien Brows we believe eyebrow cosmetic tattooing is a form of eyebrow architecture designed to achieve fuller, more structured brows thereby alleviating the regular routine of applying brow makeup. 

According to Wikipedia (2020) Permanent makeup (PMU) is a cosmetic technique which employs tattoos (permanent pigmentation of the dermis) as a means of producing designs that resemble makeup, such as eyeliner and other permanent enhancing colours to the skin of the face, lips, and eyelids.

Although referred to as permanent, cosmetic tattooing is a semi-permanent procedure, which starts fading after around one year depending on the client’s skin type and technique used. Cosmetic tattooing is quite different from the more common body tattoo art forms that use different equipment, pigments, and deposits the ink deeper into the skin, resulting in a permanent tattoo. 

You will often read descriptions relating to eyebrow cosmetic tattooing as, “FeatheringFeather touch eyebrows3D brows or Microblading”. Basically, all these refer to the cosmetic procedure that uses a special blade consisting of a number of tiny needles to create the look of individual hair to enhance the natural brow.  


Eyebrow cosmetic tattooing uses 2 application methods:



Digital Machine Techniques.

 It is essential that you learn both of these techniques, as not all skin types suit microblading, and the digital machine allows for different techniques to be used.

The Evolution of Permenant Make-up

When permanent makeup first surfaced in the ’90s, it developed out of necessity. People who were victims of the 90’s thin eyebrow trend were desperate for a solution.  So much so, that they were willing to have a flat, tattooed stamp-like eyebrow, just to give them some kind of frame to their face. It left most women choosing to draw thin little lines on their brows instead of getting stamp-like brows tattooed on their faces forever.

1990’s Pam Anderson’s signature thin brow look 


Gwen Stefani’s razor-thin brows of the ’90s

As time passed, PMU slowly started to make a comeback, equipment began to improve, and the demand for PMU slowly began to grow. Artists were mainly doing procedures like solid brows, lip pigmentation, and eyeliner. Thank goodness the thin brow trend fizzled away and normal, fuller brows reappear on the scene and women started to ditch their tweezer addiction little by little. 

The supermodels of the 1990s always had “the perfect brows”. Photo credit Peter Lindberg

Then came microblading in 2014, and our impression of the old, outdated tattooed eyebrow look changed forever. New needles were available for digital machines allowing artists to create beautiful thin crisp strokes.

So what set microblading apart?  Microblading is a technique of cosmetic tattooing performed, specifically on the eyebrows. Like earlier methods of cosmetic tattooing, it is done by manually depositing pigment into the second layer of the skin (dermis). But what makes it truly unique is the hand tool used. The unique formation of needles allows the artist to create the look of real eyebrow hairs by tattooing very fine hair-like strokes in the skin.

“Microbladed” brows were suddenly the “must-have” beauty treatment coveted by celebrities and beauty bloggers around the world. Backed by social media, Microblading exploded onto the internet and short, 2-day training to the masses was being touted and the perfect beauty career choice and the answer to every woman’s eyebrow problems.

With the invention of new tools like the Tina Davies Micro blades, innovation in the industry was finally happening after limited choices of cheap, cumbersome tools.  Artists started using disposable, one-time sterilized tools, and the industry began to flourish.

But Microblading’s party wasn’t going to last forever as artists quickly learned that it wasn’t suited for all skin types nor was it a skill that could be acquired in 2 days.  Even as natural as microblading looked, many clients still wanted more definition and that paved the way for the resurgence of something BEYOND microblading: enter “combo” brows. 

This technique combines the look of natural, loose hair strokes around the edges, but the depth and impact of shading throughout the middle of the eyebrow.  Combo brows added more definition to microblading, giving it that “boost”. Now that clients were ready for more and bolder eyebrows were still the must-have staple for each woman’s face, artists started to give the solid powdered brow another go. Quickly, the ombre style, which is similar to the way a natural eyebrow is bold at the tail end and gets more transparent toward the front of the brows, graced endless feeds on Instagram and went head-to-head against the popularity of Microblading. Mass training ensued and artists scrambled to adopt these skills as competition increased, raising the bar and artist’s portfolio even further.

What an exciting time it is in PMU to see the old become new again and the blending of techniques! This evolution and resurgence of different looks and techniques are exactly what improves the industry and pushed boundaries of creativity and artwork.

Whether it be Microblading, Combo, or Ombre Brow, to have longevity in the industry, artists must hone their skills and adapt to the needs of the customer and the industry.  This comes through extensive and thorough research of various techniques, tools, pigments, and implementation/experimentation on the skin. Remember, the bar continues to be raised every day and if you don’t adapt and hone your skill, your competition will.  Your thirst for knowledge and constant improvement will give you the experience and expertise to become a well-rounded artist, capable of any challenge and ready to offer a variety of services that will delight your customers for years to come. After all, at the end of the day, it’s all about the customer!

Let your art flow…..