Permanent make-up


The world of permanent makeup is a mysterious one, at least for an outsider! It triggers all kinds of questions, alternating between curiosity and concern. The term permanent alone gives me chills. Permanent as in irreversible???  Not a decision to be lightly made! Surrounded by my doubts, my fears, and let’s be honest my prejudice, I embarked on a discovery mission, and a fascinating one at that, the one of permanent makeup!


Permanent makeup (or micro-pigmentation) is a cosmetic procedure which introduces a pigment into the dermis with an electrical device called a dermograph. This technique employs tattoos (permanent pigmentation of the dermis) to create makeup-like designs such as eyelining and other permanent enhancing colors to the skin of the face, lips and eyelids.  It is also used to produce artificial eyebrows, particularly in people who have lost them as a consequence of aging, disease such as alopecia, chemotherapy, or a genetic disturbance, and to disguise scars and white spots in the skin such as in vitiligo. In comparison to traditional artistic tattooing, micro-pigmentation requires advanced medical knowledge and acute precision, but the principle is the same. The inks used in permanent makeup and the pigments in these inks are subject to the Law on Food and Drugs as well as the Cosmetic Regulations of Health Canada. I’m impressed!


In order to have a better picture of the subject, I chose to consult with an expert in micro-pigmentation: Mireille Migneault. Mireille has been a licensed aesthetician since 1981 and cumulates over 26 years of experience in corrective and aesthetic micro-pigmentation. From the outset, she tells me that there are two types of pigments: semi-permanent pigments have a 3 to 5 years lifespan whereas the permanent pigments have an 8 to 10 years lifespan. So, in this particular case, permanent does mean forever and ever! (Sigh of relief) That’s comforting!

Semi-permanent makeup

Mrs. Migneault tells me that semi-permanent makeup is used to enhance and support the facial structure, correct small facial flaws and enhance the natural beauty of the face.

Flawless eyebrows

There are two techniques used to reshape or enhance sparse, too thin or absent eyebrows. “Filling” provides a uniform result, similar to pencil filling. “Hair to hair”, as its name would suggest, reproduces the hair, one by one, of the eyebrows. Eyebrows completed using this technique offer an incredibly realistic effect. Regardless of the technique used, once redesigned and balanced the redefined eyebrows provide a remarkable lifting effect of the eyelids. Very interesting!!!

A smile is a door to the heart!

Who hasn’t dreamed of full, well defined and alluring lips? Weather facing asymmetrical or thin lips, or wanting to camouflage surrounding fine lines and wrinkles or simply enhancing the natural color and definition of the lips, Mrs. Migneault always takes into consideration the entire lip surface, combining an artistic and natural combination of light and shadow to the entire lip surface rather than performing a mere lip contour as we all picture it. As for the color choice, she recommends choosing a color identical or lightly darker than the natural color of the lips for an optimal, natural looking effect. Even the thinnest lips can look full with a well thought and well designed micro-pigmentation. Fuller, colourful and well defined lips will instantly take years off anyone’s smile!

Glamorous glare

They say the eyes are the window of the soul. A skilfully made semi-permanent eyeliner instantly gives back the youthful glow to the eyes and can give the illusion of fuller lashes! The line can be more or less thick, depending on the sought after effect. However, it requires a well-trained technician with exceptional skill because of the proximity of the eye and the degree of accuracy required.

Beauty marks are the stars of our face!

Just like the features of our face, beauty marks show different aspects of our personality depending on their location. Beauty marks and freckles can also be achieved by micro-pigmentation to accentuate or bring forward certain personality traits.

Permanent makeup

Since permanent makeup offers longer lasting results, most technicians will recommend to wait for the completion of major morphological changes associated with menopause before undergoing a permanent makeup. Once these changes are complete, it will be possible to restore order and symmetry while creating lines, thus providing a natural looking lift to the face.

Weather semi-permanent  or permanent, micro-pigmentation should be done by a qualified makeup stylist for his/her expertise in facial enhancement, with advanced knowledge of color concepts to avoid any unpleasant surprises such as orange, pink or green eyebrows or lip contours turning gray.

Paramedical corrective micro-pigmentation

Paramedical corrective micro-pigmentation is also a tattoo. It is used to restore proper color to the skin and scar tissue. This technique provides a very interesting avenue for post crano-facial and other reconstructive surgery patients, for burned victims, patients with congenital labial malformations, etc … Women who underwent unilateral or bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction of one or both breasts may also use micro-pigmentation to give the illusion of the presence of the areola and nipple. Different shading techniques contribute to an almost perfect illusion. Paramedical corrective micro-pigmentation can be done 6 to 9 months after the wound has healed completely, depending on the cause of scar. However, these interventions require a huge amount of experience and a lot of practice. In these particular cases, permanent make-up allows patients to regain their self-confidence and open up to others. Wow! Beauty at the service of people!


According to Mrs Migneault, semi or permanent makeup targets active women (and even men!) who are searching for ways to stay looking fresh like a rose day in day out. It is a perfect alternative to traditional makeup for all who want to combine beauty and comfort 24/7 and save precious minutes in their morning routine! Semi or permanent makeup can also provide a valuable makeup base for those who do not wear a lot of make up or are less skilled. Furthermore, it provides an excellent substitution to traditional cosmetics for those who suffer from allergic reaction to makeup products or wish to correct a previous micro-pigmentation. And because semi-permanent micro-pigmentation has a shorter lifespan the result can be adjusted every 3 to 5 years to address the changes that occurred on our face! A younger looking me, here I come!


It goes without saying that choosing the right technician is crucial when considering undergoing a micro-pigmentation procedure. Although results are not definitive, they are nevertheless medium to long term. Generally speaking, the more natural the look, the more talented, precise and color savvy the technician must be. The consultation with the technician is an essential part of the process and allows you to ask all your questions to the technician before going through with your micro-pigmentation. During the consultation, the technician should be able to put down on paper a quality and precise drawing the micro-pigmentation you are asking for – right before your eyes! If she has a hard time drawing an eye, lips or eyebrows on a perfectly still piece of paper, let’s just say you are probably better off looking for another technician elsewhere! Be vigilant and demanding. Look for certifications in morphology, in aesthetics and a perfect understanding of colors. The technician should be at the fore front of micro-pigmentation related techniques and technologies. Many technicians are makeup artists or artistic painters. Ask for referrals, to see before, immediately after, 6 weeks after, 6 months after, 2 years after pictures. Finally, account for the experience, the talent and the constancy of the results rather than the asking price. After all, it’s your face!

That’s it! I’m calling Mrs Migneault and booking my micro-pigmentation appointment!

To read the rest of this article, please read our online magazine!

N.B. Mrs Migneault is a renowned aesthetician, portraitist and painter. She is the owner of the Coup D’Éclat salon in Quebec city. Her passion: your beauty!

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