Tattoo on the eyelid or permanent eyeliner makeup, what is the difference?


Sometimes people connect those two procedures, tattoos on the eyelid and permanent makeup under one name, eyelid tattoos, but those are two separate procedures, each with different lasting effects. What should you know to differ one from another and be able to decide what you need? 

eyelids tattoo for men
Example of eyelid tattoo for men from inkedmag.com

What answers you will find in this article about a tattoo on the eyelid and permanent eyeliner?

  • What is an eyelid tattoo? 
  • What is a permanent eyeliner tattoo?
  • Are eyelid tattoos dangerous?
  • How bad do eyelid tattoos hurt?
  • How do eyelid tattoos work?
  • Can you remove eyelid tattoos?
  • Do eyes swell after permanent eyeliner?
  • Does tattoo eyeliner fade?
  • Can permanent eyeliner be corrected?
  • How long after the eyeliner tattoo can I wear mascara?
  • Can you tattoo the inside of your eyelid?
  • How much does an eyelid tattoo cost?

If you are looking for inspiration before your eyelid tattoo, check out my portfolio – you can find my works and projects here – on Instagram.

What is an eyelid tattoo? 

It’s a normal, regular tattoo made on your eyelid, with extreme attention to be sure not to damage your eye in process of tattooing. 

tattoo on the eyelid anchor example
Example of an eyelid tattoo from tattoodo.com

What is a permanent eyeliner tattoo?

Permanent eyeliner is a treatment you can receive that replaces the need to wear eyeliner each day. It involves using a tattooing technique to apply ink along the lash line to create the appearance of eyeliner. 

example for women eyeliner tattoo
Example of eyeliner tattoo from beauty-bar.co.uk

It is a bit less permanent than a regular tattoo, as most colors last three to five years. Because of that periodic touchups are recommended to maintain the desired look. 

Are eyelid tattoos dangerous?

If you are using the service of an experienced tattoo artist the procedure itself is not dangerous, it is a tattoo just like any other.

Eyelid tattooing is becoming an increasingly popular procedure so with time some more information about possible consequences may appear, for now, I was able to find this article from reviewofoptometry.com according to which there was a “new study found patients with eyelid tattoos had shortened tear break-up time (TBUT) and induced meibomian gland loss, suggesting eyelid tattoos could be another risk factor for the ocular surface disease”. 

How bad do eyelid tattoos hurt?

Tattooing on the face in general and specifically a tattoo on your eyelids or lips can be one of the more painful experiences. The reason is that there are many nerve endings in those areas and due to the thin layers of skin. Many people consider the eyelid tattoo pain scale to be close to 9-10 out of 10. 

pain scale tattoo on the eyelid
Eyelid tattoo pain on the scale according to most customers

How do eyelid tattoos work?

Tattooing the eyelid involves inserting ink granules under the upper layers of the skin using a needle, typically after numbing the area.

The main difference between a permanent tattoo on the eyelid and permanent eyeliner is the type of ink used and sometimes machines that are in use. Some of the tattoo machines can be used for permanent eyeliner, but not all of them. 

Can you remove eyelid tattoos?

Yes, it is possible and safe to remove the eyelid tattoo, but a lot depends on the type of ink that was used and how durable it will be. 

During a removal procedure, corneal shields are in place to make sure that it would be safe and equipment used for laser removal might be different, to make sure that less heat will be generated, and there will be fewer side effects to the eyelid skin, specifically scarring.   

eyelid tattoo removal corneal shields
Corneal shields for eyelid tattoo removal from jardoneye.com

Do eyes swell after permanent eyeliner?

Yes, it is normal that eyes will be a bit swollen after a permanent eyeliner procedure or eyelid tattoo. In the case of permanent eyeliner, they will be swollen for the first 1-3 days, in case of a bigger tattoo on the eyelid, it can last a bit longer. 

example swollen eyes after a eyeliner tattoo
Example on how swollen can be eyes after a permanent eyeliner tattoo from www.saubhaya.com

To make sure that it will last as short as possible try to avoid heavy lifting, physical exertion, and crying. 

Does tattoo eyeliner fade?

Typical eyeliner will last between 12-18 months, later it will fade, faster if the quality of ink was lower. But you have to be aware that it does not matter how good the pigment was, your eyeliner tattoo will fade, the best last for 3-5 years. 

Can permanent eyeliner be corrected?

Usually, permanent eyeliner can be corrected, it would be best to check with the professional what option would be the best in case of your eyeliner. 

Sometimes the best option before correction is to remove ink or pigment first and later work with a new one. Most professionals can provide additional tattooing to improve the symmetry, shape, or balance of the eyeliner. 

Can permanent eyeliner be corrected example
Example of sucesful permanent makeup removal and correction from www.pigmentausa.com

How long after the eyeliner tattoo can I wear mascara?

You should avoid applying any makeup on your eyelids for the first 72 hours (3 days) after the procedure. 

Make sure that in those crucial first hours you will not pick, peel, or scratch the area where you have pigment inserted, as it could result in an unevenly healing and you would risk scarring and infection.  

Can you tattoo the inside of your eyelid?

In theory, you can make a tattoo inside of your eyelid, but I would advise against such procedure, eyes are a too sensitive area and you would not want to risk an infection there, especially that healing in case of a tattoo on the inside of your eyelid can be really hard to heal properly. 

How much does an eyelid tattoo cost?

The price for the eyelid tattoo will vary, depending on the size of the tattoo and artist. You can expect to pay around $150-200 per hour of work, small designs can be done in 2 hours, the simple line can take 1.5 hour, as this is a sensitive area and tattoo artists have to be extremely careful. 

Some of my favourite designs, tattoo books and aftercare products, selected for you

working on tattoo at my studio
Working at the studio on one of my projects

Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.

Deasign and tattoo ideas

For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my Clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):

Tattoo meaning

If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).

Tattoo aftercare

The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my Clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):

Looking for more info about tattoos? I might have them covered!

I have written almost 100 articles about tattooing – with details about each body part, problems that you might have with your tattoo, designs, styles, aftercare, and much more.

Have a look at the search option and see if you can find what you need here.

other posts from  InkArtByKate
Some of my other articles, check them and see if you could find what you are looking for!

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