Can You Use Regular Tattoo Ink For Permanent Makeup?

Can tattoo ink be used in PMU procedures? The answer is, of course, no. Due to the specificity of the area of action: the skin on the face is more delicate than other parts of the body, so the ingredients used in permanent color pigments are strictly regulated to minimize the risk of allergic reactions.

Below we’ll discuss what’s the difference between Permanent Makeup Pigments and Tattoo Ink and why regular tattoo inks are not suitable for permanent makeup.


Ingredients and Regulatory Stringency

Permanent cosmetic pigments fall under the category of cosmetics and are formulated with safe and approved non-toxic ingredients. Their are straightforward - the color comes from iron oxide, which is considered one of the safest and most stable colorants, and the carrier is distilled water, alcohol or glycerin.

Relatively tattoo inks are not as strictly regulated, tattoo ink consists of pigment, carrier and various chemicals. Due to their complexity and number of ingredients, tattoo inks are more likely(but still rare) to cause an allergic reaction than pigments. For the tattoo artist this is also a liability issue. Tattoo inks do not have product liability insurance for use on the face, and if anything goes wrong, the PMU artists will be fully responsible for any complications that may occur.


pmu pigments tattoo inks
 PMU Pigments Tattoo inks



Tattoo ink looks unnatural on the face

The skin on the face is much thinner than the skin on other parts of the body. PMU pigment colors look like regular makeup (specifically designed for the face), so they look smoother and softer and more natural after implantation. Their color blends into the skin's natural tone and undertone, not against it, so they do not stand out too much.

Instead, the traditional tattoo inks are highly concentrated, is formulated to look as bright and vivid as possible, however, the face requires a more subtle approach.


Color change of tattoo ink and PMU pigments

Tattoo inks will more commonly transform into ashy tones, and if you stick to use regular tattoo inks for permanent makeup, your clients will have harsh blue or green eyebrows or eyeliner within a couple of years. PMU pigments are formulated in such a way that they prevent healing into cool tones. If they do turn grayish, it is due to the customer's skin undertones or the depth of the application.

Even if this happens, correcting the color of PMU pigments is simpler compared to regular tattoo inks. As we said above, regular inks are more concentrated and look more opaque, making correcting their color more challenging.


Tattoo Ink Doesn’t Fade

The pigment fades over time, this is actually a good thing. it keeps you current with the new style, when you are not satisfied with the color, you can change to a new color. After all, popular colors change from year to year, the style that’s in today may not be in style in the next 10 years. Tattoo inks do not fade easily, and while removal is an option, removing regular tattoo ink can be much more difficult than removing PMU.


Different Technique

Compared to PMU, tattoo artists use coil tattoo machine or rotary machine to settle the ink deeper into the skin. PMU artists tend to use only rotary machines and it also thinner needles for higher precision. This technique is much gentler and can help reduce the trauma to the skin when working on delicate areas of the face.


In conclusion

Even though the idea of permanent makeup that lasts a lifetime may sound appealing to some, the complications definitely outweigh the benefits, both for artists and clients. Don't risk it and don't try to use regular tattoo ink for permanent makeup.

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