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My Permanent Makeup Brows - Tattooed Makeups -

My Permanent Makeup Brows – Tattooed Makeups
Helen Nguyen

The topic that I rarely get to read about in the beauty world is permanent makeup. There are some information out there, but are usually very basic and one dimensional. So I like to share with you a little bit more about permanent makeup, what it is and who is it for.

Personally, I have experienced permanent makeup as I am certified to do them and also got permanent makeup done to myself. I can tell you the point of view of both.

Why did I decide to get permanent makeup?

Probably many of you can relate to my story of over-plugging my eyebrows in the early age. Yeah, I was going wild with the tweezers and end up having very sparse brows. After a few years living life with bad eyebrows and limited makeup skills, I finally made the decision to get them permanently done. I can’t speak for entire Asia, but in Vietnam, permanent makeup is very popular among women, young and old.

Permanent makeup brows done - Mine are done almost 3 yrs ago

Permanent makeup brows done – Mine are done almost 3 yrs ago

Permanent makeup brows done - Close up of my brow, tattoo fading

Permanent makeup brows done – Close up of my brow, tattoo fading

To Vietnamese people permanent makeup is not only to fix or disguise you imperfections. It’s especially use to enhance your beauty.

In the West the common assumptions about permanent makeup are, it’s only for older women, people who suffer scarring, cancer patient, sparse brows, pigmentation disorder etc. Although permanent makeup can be a great solution for them.

When we think of permanent makeup, people would see in their mind an old lady with dark blue eyebrows that are too high on her face. Well I don’t blame them, because people have seen more the worst of permanent makeups and nobody raves about the great ones. That’s because you wouldn’t be able to recognise permanent makeup if they are well done. Just like plastic surgeries, some looks fake and some you can’t even tell.

Now days there is various colors to choose, or you can also pick and mix the colors together, if you can’t find a single color that suits you.

The permanent makeup can be done on:

- Eyebrows

There is actually lots of ways to get your brows done with permanent makeup. The old method is to color the whole brow all evenly. I got mine done the “gradient” way – the inner part of my brows were done lighter, then the color got stronger towards the end. The tail of my brows are the darkest parts, I don’t have hair growing there any more because of over-plugging.

In Vietnam some girls with thick black brows, got the tail of their brows permanently makeup done, so they would be more defined. The results are as natural as they are filled in with powder or brow pencil. You don’t have to tattoo your entire eyebrows with one shade or one way. You can combine different shades with different methods to get your desired brows.

Permanent makeup brows done - After filled in with brow pencil

Permanent makeup brows done – After filled in with brow pencil

Permanent makeup brows done - After filled in with brow pencil

Permanent makeup brows done – After filled in with brow pencil

I have my brows done 3 times already. Yes that many! They do fade over times and depending on how the permanent makeup been done, your type of skin and what do you do to your skin, will determine how long it last on you.

- Upper and lower lash lines

You can get your eyeliner tattooed on you eyelids, if you wish. They can be done in any color and any style.

I say that you should have high tolerance to pain when deciding to get permanent makeup. Of course, everyone’s pain tolerance is different. But the eye area is very delicate, and just like lining your eyes with real makeups, you want the tattoo to be really close to the lash lines and to be defined. So the needle needs to go over your skin over and over again.

I remembered how nerve-wracking it was, when I first tattooed a real client. Imagine, I was holding a tattoo machine on top of someone’s eyeballs. Screwing up wasn’t an option.

- Lips

Lining, coloring and reshaping the lips are more popular to older women. Most younger ones wouldn’t understand, why would any women want to settle to one lip color. But stepping into someone’s shoes, who’s been suffering discoloration on her lips, or any part of her face where it’s most noticeable. Permanent makeup can be the best solution for them.

- Areolas

Reshaping, re-creating, coloring the areolas or to camouflage scarring. This is usually done to cancer patient after breast and areola reconstruction.

Does my brows looks natural to you?

Does my brows look natural to you?

There are many ways to get permanent makeup done. I don’t want to go into specific details what are the different methods, because I rather leave it to you to do your own research, if you’re interested to get permanent makeup and different permanent makeup artists have their own way of doing them.

Just like any tattoos, you should take your time and consider it carefully. Permanent makeup can be removed later if you’re not happy with it, but the progress can become complicated and may leave to scarring or hyperpigmentation. I recommend you to find a trusted professional makeup artist, whom’s works you have seen before.


You might want to check out The beauty benefits of MSM.



  1. Denise

    Your permanent make up is lovely and looks v natural. I’ve often thought of getting my brows done too but never got round to it

    • Thank you :) I think they look pretty natural comparing to others I’ve seen. But now Im waiting for them to fade away, so I can try a new style on my brows. I dont want to remove them with laser. Have you thought how you want your brows to be done?

  2. J


    You seem very understanding and knowledgeable of the topic (especially since you have the POV of both a permanent MU artist and a patient!). If you don’t mind, I have a few questions for you.

    1. As a permanent MU artist yourself, what do you think about brows done in both hairstrokes and fill-ins? I have sparse brows also, and when I fill my brows in everyday, I use both an eyeshadow/brow pencil duo (a light charcoal color first to fill in my brows) and a matte brow powder (a 2 or 3-shades darker light brown color to “round” the edges and finish the look for a more natural look). I find that I like this method best because using brow powder/shadow on its own doesn’t produce the darker shade that I prefer on myself. So, I’ve been thinking about having a light base fill-in color with darker hair strokes on top. Is that too much? Do you think that would be an overkill? Have you had any patients who asked for this?

    2. As a patient, do you always find yourself having to fill in your brows with makeup (on top of your tattoo brows)? If so, how often? More specifically, I am wondering if you’d ever have to fill in your brows with makeup for a “more natural” look… Do you do that only when it begins to fade? Or immediately after your brows have been done and properly healed? I do plan on doing this… Possibly getting a light tattoo procedure done (dark enough to feel comfortable without any makeup on), and lightly filling it in with shadow to my liking.

    I am curious to hear your thoughts, and I would very much appreciate your response.

    Thank you,

    • Hi J

      I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with combining both methods. I had both method done to me on the second time when I got my permanent tattoos retouched. I got most of my eyebrows done with fill-in method, then used the hairstrokes method on the “head” of my brows. What I noticed that those parts that got done by the hairstrokes way, were fading quicker than the fill-in parts.

      I actually haven’t heard anyone with the request same like yours before :) This is very much doable, but not sure the effects going to be how you want it to turn out though. If you want to use more than one color on your brows, then you might want to consider doing hairstrokes method with both darker and lighter colors. And if you wish the edges to be darker, the MU artist could just use the darker color on the edges more, give them more “frame”.

      But doing the light base color with the fill-in method, then add on the hairstrokes with darker color – depending on how much “hair” you actually want/need to be added on your brows, I’m not sure how well the base color going to show through under those “hair” afterwards. I usually recommend the hairstrokes method for those who actually have more hair on their brows. That way it will blend in better and the outcome would look most natural on them. And my personal favorite style is the “gradient” look – darker brow tail, body in lighter color and the head could just leave natural. You can create the “gradient” look with both methods, same principal anyway. Perhaps you might want to consider using the fill-in method on your tails, then add on the hairstrokes over them and the body and leaving the heads natural..

      Each time when I just got my brows done, they already looked defined. So I didn’t need to bother with them at all, no makeup was needed on the brows. But when they started to fade like now (it’s been 3 yrs since I got them done last time), I need to fill them in with brow pencil to hide the greyness. I fill them in everytime I wear makeup, it just part of my daily makeup routine. But Im sure it’s quicker to do tattooed brows than normal ones.

      The “natural” look question is really good. With how my brows are done, even the color has faded and they look greyish now. BUT to me and from what I’ve heard from other ppl, that my brows still look natural even without makeup. And this is very important to keep in mind when getting your permanent makeup done. I’m very comfortable with my brows, even now they have faded. They still maintain the “soft” look, not as hard as those old asian ladies you see at your local mall lol. But obviously walking out the house with grey eyebrows, isn’t something I prefer to do.. just like I like to cover my dark circles each time before leaving. I don’t think it’s an extra work for me, and yes, I’m planning to get them retouched again at some point in the future.

      What you planning to get done, sounds pretty good to me :) that way you get the feel of it, and the tattoo tend to fade quicker for first timers anyway (unless you get them really dark). Do less, then you have more options with your brows (changing the shape, the color, play with makeups etc.).

      Hope my answer was helpful in some way :) Have a wonderful day!

  3. CP

    Hi Helen,
    I’ve just started followed your blog for about a week and I like it a lot so far. Although I rarely write any comment but after reading this topic about your permanent eyebrow makeup, I feel strongly to write this.

    I am also a Vietnamese woman with very light, spare, non-shaped eyebrows. I don’t like them but everyday I would use an eyebrow pencil or powder and I consider that part of my everyday makeup. But I am getting sick of the way most of the Vietnamese females (in Vietnam or outside Vietnam) I know whether friends, relatives, hairdressers or even strangers when they see my eyebrows without makeup ie when I go to the beach or go for a facial, they would try their best to persuade me to get permanent eyebrow makeup.

    Yes, you were right when you said that to the Vietnamese ladies, having permanent eyebrow makeup is very popular. It’s up to the point that in the area I am living at now, there are many Asian races, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese etc. But if you see an Asian lady with permanent eyebrow makeup, you would know that lady is a Vietnamese for sure.

    I am sorry to say that their eyebrows do look fake, not natural at all, even yours Helen, although you are a beautiful lady. Your eyebrows were the first things that caught my eyes when I saw your photo, they stood out, then I thought “that girl must be Vietnamese” without even looking at your name.

    To all the girls out there considering having it done, I have to admit that permanent eyebrow makeup does get better than it used to be years ago. But going to Vietnam last year, seeing about 80% women having it done, and within the circle of my Vietnamese friends here in Australia, about 50% of them have had it done, let me tell you, they still don’t look natural. Some are better than the others but most just look fake, you can just tell right away.

    I hope you don’t mind me writing all this Helen, but this is my opinion.


    • Hi CP :) and thank you for subscribing!

      I don’t mind what you just said at all, I find it quite amusing to be honest lol. I totally can relate to how you feel about permanent makeup brows, because I was like that too before I got my brows done. Everybody around me kept pushing me to do it. I ruined my brows when I was a teen, kept plugging the heck out of them even though I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I ended up having very sparse, almost non-existent brows. I never could leave the house without “drawing” my eyebrows on first and of course, I sucked at that too. Finally, on one of my trips back to Vietnam, I gave in.. I got tired of trying perfecting something that I didn’t even have. After I got the permanent makeup done, I couldn’t be any happier. It changed how I look and I honestly think I look better than before. I know they are not like natural brows, but I have eyebrows now and I love that I don’t need to struggle in front of a mirror, or feel embarrassed about them anymore. Though, I still have bad brows days some time to time ;) more so now, since they’re mostly faded.

      Permanent makeup brows are semi-tattooed on the skin and usually done on ppl who have spare brows. So there isn’t much hair to cover the area in the first place, that’s why they can’t look natural. But I’ve seen ppl who have full set of brows, got them done and they look very natural to me. You can hardly tell that they got permanent makeup, because they have lots of hair already. The principle here is almost the same as putting on makeup. Even ppl who have full thick brows, they still want to put makeup on them. Good pair of eyebrows adds a definition and make a huge difference on our face, I think that’s the reason why we like to enhance them.
      Helen Nguyen recently posted…Review & Swatch: Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream No 23My Profile

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