Yearning to wake up with perfectly defined eyes every day, sans makeup? Eyeliner tattoo may be the solution. But before booking in, people often worry about the obvious: does eyeliner tattoo hurt? Beauticate writer Kristina Zhou underwent the treatment and shares what to realistically expect, whether it actually hurts, and how it will look years down the track.

The style and technology has changed

People are often horrified by old school tattoo images (think: faded blue lines or dramatic black blocks). But the harsh results of the yesteryear have taken a backseat, as more advanced technology and techniques have developed. Natural eyeliner tattoos, that define the eye, but are barely detectable have emerged as the go-to in cosmetic tattoo glam.

Dramatic cat-eyes and Hollywood smokey eyes are still possible, as the style/thickness can be tailored to your desired style. However, the cosmetic tattoo ink itself looks softer, smoother and more blended.

Invisible eyeliner

In the summer of 2017, I had eyeliner subtly dotted between my upper lash line The treatment is referred to as “invisible liner” because the eyeliner is carefully placed within the lash line and not a trace of black ink can be seen on your actual eyelids. The result? Your eyes appear larger and brighter, but no one can pinpoint exactly where the makeup lies! Yes, #Iwokeuplikethis (really).

While I assure people the results are far more delicate than the strokes of an actual liquid eyeliner, the resistance remains: “Does eyeliner tattoo hurt?”


Does eyeliner tattoo hurt?

Before inking the pigment onto your lash line, numbing cream is applied on your eyelids for at least an hour. Once the cream is removed, you will not be able to feel any sensation. I even attempted to pinch my eyelids with mighty strength, but alas I did not flinch.

I rate the pain factor 1/10! You may ever so slightly sense the tattoo being drawn across your eyes, but for me, there was zero pain. For comparison, I felt more discomfort whilst inserting my contact lenses (which itself is a light and breezy process).

What to expect immediately afterwards

I’m often asked if pain emerges when the effect of numbing cream subsides. So, does eyeliner tattoo hurt after the procedure? Personally, my eyelids did not feel sore and there was no significant scabbing or irritation. There may be very mild redness afterwards, but I went to lunch with one of my most meticulous and honest girlfriends (who once told me my face resembled a stocking, after I applied foundation in the dark) and she did not notice or say anything. However, the following day my eyeslids did look mildly puffy and  swollen, although this subsided after 2 days. I applied Bepanthen to bring down the swelling faster!

During this ‘healing’ process you should expect minor eyelid skin flaking, just like you would an ordinary tattoo. I was advised to not wash the area for two days or wear eye makeup for 5 days. The pigment you leave the salon with, is a lot more intense than the final result. Through the process of skin regeneration, the darker pigments peel off to reveal a more subtle and softer result. The colour must initially look stronger to ensure the results actually last past this process.


How long does it last?

Two sessions are recommended to maintain longevity, but I only went for one session. In addition, I was also naughty and washed my eyes on the second day and wore makeup on the 3rd day. What can I say? I like a squeaky-clean face at night, and a swipe of colour on my eyes during the day!

However, 4 years on, the pigment is still slightly visible. Admittedly, it is not as defined as my friends who actually followed the instructions, but I like the hazy softness that came from smudging my ink too early.  I noticed the pigment started to fade after the first year, but slight definition has still remained. The current result is more akin to a dreamy black shadow across my lash-line, rather than a crisp and opaque eyeliner.

My eyeliner is still on standby, because I opted for the ‘invisible liner’ – perfect for “no-makeup-makeup” looks but certainly not glam enough to complete a full face for major events, or significant enough to show up in photos. Why did I opt for the tattoo then? So, I could still feel and look slightly more put together, even after rolling out of bed or pulling an all-nighter.

Story by Kristina Zhou. Holding shot: Instagram @vogueandchocolate

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