Permanent Makeup Pigments Vs Tattoo Ink

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Permanent Makeup Pigments and Tattoo Ink

 

A week ago, I had a client inquire about what to do regarding an eyeliner that has turned different shades of blue. Normally, black with a drop of blue correction would help that situation but when I proposed the solution, she said she had already tried it and it was still bright blue. Then she told me that the previous technician had used tattoo ink on the client.

Being in both the Permanent Makeup and Tattoo industry, we know not to use tattoo ink for permanent makeup procedures, yet very little information state the actual reason.  I’ve gone through many ink labels in my quest to find the difference between Tattoo Ink and Permanent Makeup Pigments, because we should get to the ingredient level of this.

In many courses, permanent makeup artists are taught that there are semi-permanent pigments and permanent pigments, which makes up the difference in tattoo and permanent makeup ink. I truly believed that. But I’ve yet to find a blog post or website that explains the actual differences in colorants (pigments). So I went on a little research expedition…

 

Permanent Makeup Pigment and Tattoo Ink Ingredients

 

Ingredients are what makes all the difference between tattoo ink and permanent makeup pigments. I remembered when I use to make cosmetics, I would research every particle and ingredient for compliance with Health Canada before making my lipstick or eyeshadow. In the cosmetic world, this is very important because FDA regulates particle size, pigments and carriers that can be use in cosmetic products. Since Permanent makeup pigments are under the same cosmetics banner, they also need to comply with the same regulations.  So I did a bit of a comparison.

Black pigment and ink comparisonBlack Colorants Comparison:

Tattoo Ink Black: CI 77226 (Pigment Black 7)

In my search on www.cosmeticinfo.org, this pigment is not listed for cosmetic use, which is fine, because this is a tattoo ink, not permanent makeup pigment.

Permanent Makeup Pigment: CI 77499 (Iron Oxide)

In my search on the same cosmeticinfo.org, this pigment is listed as iron oxide pigment along with other Iron Oxide CI numbers.  For more information, please see: http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/iron-oxides

 

 

Brown inksBrown Colorants Comparison:

Tattoo and Permanent Makeup Ink Brown – Approved Cosmetic Pigments: CI 77491, 77492, 77891,
CI 77491, 77492 are both Iron Oxide pigments, same as CI 77499, and are also found in permanent makeup pigments. They are approved and commonly used for cosmetic products.
CI 77891 is Titanium dioxide, it is a natural mineral that is processed and purified for cosmetic products. For more information see: http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/titanium-dioxide

As the above pigments are in both tattoo and permanent makeup, below is where the differences appear:

Tattoo ink Brown, may also contain the following pigments:
CI 21095, 12475, 11740, 21110 and others ( I pulled out about four or five different browns from various brands, so there may be other ingredients in other brown colors in tattoo inks). Searching any of these CI numbers on Cosmetic Info, nothing pulls up, just like the CI 77226, however, on a quick google search, CI 21110 pulled up quite a few results, as an orange dye. And again, that is fine, since it is not for permanent makeup.

What I am pointing out from the above colorant research is that there are differences between body tattoo ink and permanent makeup pigments. Next, we are going to look at the carriers used such as Glycerin, Alcohol, Water, and Oils.

**Below are some pictures to show what it looks like on the Cosmetics Info website when an ingredient is listed and when one is not.**

Carriers

Going through the lot of tattoo inks and permanent makeup pigments, the carriers are mostly the same, such as:

  • Aqua, Distilled water
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Glycerin

The above carriers are all that are in our Doreme pigments.

However, there are items on the list that are different in various brands of tattoo inks:

  • EC2317912
  • EC2002895
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Preservatives (no other clarification)
  • Witch Hazel / Hamamelis Virginiana Extract. (This is approved for cosmetics as a natural preservative either in either soluble or insoluble form.)

All the ingredients do not comply with regulation for cosmetic products, other than Witch Hazel. Preservatives may be, but it really depends on which. Ingredients need to be labeled clearly on cosmetic products. This is the case because the skin on our face is more sensitive and more prone to reactions. So when a cosmetic product does not tell you what exactly you are putting on your face, that is cause for concern.

Conclusion:

Cosmetics products, including Permanent Makeup Pigments’ ingredients are more regulated than tattoo ink and rightly so.  Unfortunately, this did not answer which ingredient produced the bright blue in the eyeliner, but it did give us a reason on why it is not recommended to use tattoo ink for permanent makeup.

 

10 Comments

  1. Dalia
    September 26, 2017 2:24 pm Reply

    Very in depth and informative, excellent read. I have a question… I am trying to find a permanent make up line that is true to color when healed and will last more than six months! Please help. It looks as if all lines I’ve reviewed fade so much so fast.

    1. admin
      September 26, 2017 4:54 pm Reply

      Hello Dalia, our Doreme colors will heal true but pretty much all pigments will fade over time.

  2. KAY MANUEL
    January 11, 2018 8:36 pm Reply

    Thank you for doing the research however I am still not convinced that there are differences that give a reason NOT to use tattoo inks under certain circumstances. ALL pigments/inks will change colour under certain conditions and most permanent makeup colours do have correcting colours available for purchase alongside the pigments – which prove that they can change colour. The main thing is ink/pigment added to clients ethnicity = the final colour, it’s not just about the ink/pigment itself.

    1. admin
      January 12, 2018 1:44 pm Reply

      Hello Kay,

      Thank you for your inquiry. The difference between ink and pigment is not only in the changing of colors, but also the migration of the pigment as well as the approval in each country’s pigment regulation. Its the same reason why you cannot use paint as makeup. The ingredients within are not deemed safe for cosmetics used. It has not only to do with the chemicals but particle emulsion stability and PH ratings of the liquid as well.

      Permanent Makeup colors do have correcting colors, that is correct, but if you can use a pigment that does not require as much correcting, that will also help each procedure. When i use Doreme on my clients, i dont require the correcting colors, because i know what to use for what type of clients and i know the stability of the pigments, no matter what ethnicity.

      So at the end of the day, the post is to tell artists to choose their pigment wisely. Do not use pigments that are not approved for cosmetic use. This is not only to protect your own business, but also to protect your clients as well. Artists that choose to use Tattoo Ink instead are doing so at their own risk.

      Thank you

  3. Sandra Gilbert
    February 14, 2018 4:30 pm Reply

    Great info,
    Can you tell me if I k vs permanent makeup Ink is safer for tattooing areola a from mastectomies? I wails like to explain the difference as which one is safer for thier body, especially since there bodies are already immune compromised.

    1. admin
      February 15, 2018 4:41 pm Reply

      Hello Sandra, many people do use permanent makeup pigments for tattooing areola after mastectomies, as a matter of fact, our Doreme brand has pigments specifically designed for areola pigmentation. Regarding immune issues, I would recommend speaking with your doctor on his/her opinion on how long after the mastectomy would it be safe to undergo such a procedure.

  4. Lita Edwards
    April 12, 2018 9:18 am Reply

    I specialize in tattooing mastectomies, both art and nipples/ areolas. Ive seen the cosmetic inks fade dramatically over time so they have to be redone. I personally use permanent tattoo inks and have for years. I customize all of my colors according to the client and give them that 3D effect, not a solid color. It is not the same tissue as the face and mucus membrane areas, so you are safe with tattoo inks, providing you are using top quality inks and not purchasing off ebay, craigslist, or amazon. Rule of thumb is 6 months heal time for tattoo over last surgery of a mastectomy and depending on severity of scarring could be less or more. If scarring is bad, there are alternatives to reducing them beforehand also.

  5. Tanya
    April 20, 2018 3:40 am Reply

    What do you think about perma blend ? They say it’s between ink and pigment and that’s why it stays so long in the skin ?
    I just purchased perma blend and I’m a bit worried !
    Thank you !

    1. admin
      April 20, 2018 12:11 pm Reply

      Honestly I am not familiar with Perma Blend Tanya, wish I could help with that one!

  6. Esmeralda
    May 01, 2018 2:06 pm Reply

    Hi Tanya i did too and i am worry eyesterday i did a lips and look so dry i am not sure ehat going to happen. Did you had any problem with perm blend?

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