I was walking down Yonge Street last week, only half-glancing at the signs and stores, when something interesting etched into a hair salon's front window caught my eye: "permanent makeup."

I did a double-take. Yes, among the more usual hair salon services (hair, makeup, nails), this and other places offer a more permanent kind of cosmetics tantamount to having what looks like makeup tattooed onto your face. Many websites (see the reference section below) offer different varieties, including permanent eyeliner, eyebrow tinting, lipstick and various other procedures.

In essence, ink is injected between the dermis and the epidermis, creating the appearance of makeup without requiring the wearer to apply cosmetics on a daily basis. Some sites explain that this might be helpful to people who don't have the time to put makeup on every morning or who suffer from arthritis or other ailment that makes applying makeup difficult. 

Depending on the procedure, local anesthetic is often used. Each can cost up to several hundred dollars. Some websites claim that the results look more natural than regular makeup. Others maintain that each of their clients regrets not having the procedure done sooner.

Despite the name, the finished product is generally expected to last from five to six years and generally grows lighter over time. Other factors, including exposure to the sun and whether or not one smokes may also impact how long the results last. As is the case with all forms of tattooing, there are also potential side effects including swelling, scars and infections, notwithstanding what can happen if the equipment has not been sterilized.




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