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In some form or other cosmetic tattooing has been around for thousands of years, although the techniques and the pigments have changed dramatically. Advances in recent years have been quite breathtaking.
Cosmetic tattooing has also become more targeted, in that you may wish to get an eyeliner tattoo, lipliner or an eyebrow tattoo. In the past, different civilisations have adorned their bodies with tattooed markings to express their culture and beliefs. For some, it was seen as a rite of passage.
To the Egyptians, however, even thousands of years ago, cosmetic tattooing was definitely seen as a beauty aid. As well as using removable makeup made from ground minerals and rocks, they also tattooed their eyes and other body parts for purely cosmetic reasons.
Tattooing has been around for so long but it didn't really take off as a cosmetic procedure until the late 1980s and 90s. Even then, some cosmetic tattooing treatments were originally developed to help cancer victims. Take microblading for example; this was developed in Asia to help those who had lost their eyebrows through illness and cancer treatment.
Microblading actually uses quite different tools to most other cosmetic tattooing procedures. As a result, the pigment doesn't penetrate as deep, which is why microblading is generally referred to as semi-permanent.
The iron oxide-based pigments used gives a softer powdery finish that appears more natural than traditional eyebrow tattoos.
There are both ups and downs to this method; microblading will gradually fade over the years and require touch-ups, but it's a great alternative if you don't want to be stuck with the same look.
The most popular forms of cosmetic tattooing, apart from the brows, are eyeliner tattoos (top, bottom or both) and lip tattoos (entire lip or just liner). Lash enhancement is also popular and involves applying pigment in-between the lashes for a more sultry mysterious look. It gives great depth to your eyes and makes your lashes appear thicker and darker.
Many people now choose lash enhancement over eyelash extensions, especially if they have allergies to the glue used.
Eyeliner tattooing is a great choice for people who can't wear conventional makeup, or find it a problem when wearing glasses or contact lenses. It might just be that you're lazy when it comes to makeup! Cosmetic tattooing means you can just get up and go in the mornings.
The best thing to do is to book a consultation with a professional cosmetic tattooist and discuss your options, likes and dislikes. You can choose a more natural result or you may want something really dramatic. With eyeliner, for example, the line can be as thick or thin as you like; it can even be 'smudged' for a softer look.
Eyebrow tattooing is probably the most popular procedure, and you can choose either the traditional method or microblading. Eyebrow tattooing is great for creating perfectly shaped brows, filling in hair loss or covering scars.
Often a lip tattoo is a great alternative to lip augmentation. It enables you to change the shape, size and colour of your lips. Some clients opt for lip liner only to give them definition. Others get their whole lips filled in with a natural-looking tint or a bright 'lipstick' shade.
It also appears that the procedure itself stimulates the body to make more collagen in the treatment area. This can help reduce fine lines and make the lips fuller.
If you are concerned about pain during treatment talk to your consultant directly as he or she will be able to help. Different cosmetic tattooists use different methods, including numbing cream and local anaesthetic, so there's no need to suffer.
Use the Bookwell directory to find a professional near you.