The Ultimate Guide to Tattooed Eyeliner: Everything You Must Know Before Going Under the Needle

The Ultimate Guide to Tattooed Eyeliner: Everything You Must Know Before Going Under the NeedleThe Ultimate Guide to Tattooed Eyeliner: Everything You Must Know Before Going Under the Needle
South Korea is a major hot spot for semi-permanent makeup and cosmetic surgery tourism and for good reason.
For a fraction of the cost you would normally pay in the states, you can now get semi-permanent lip tints, eyebrow microblading and tattooed eyeliner. With the price tag dropping to around $200 per procedure, it’s more accessible and affordable than ever.
If you struggle with smudged eyeliner giving you that unwanted panda-raccoon hybrid look, the tattooed eyeliner procedure is an absolute godsend. The best part? You won’t have to worry about it fading for at least three to five years.
Semi-permanent makeup is a very hush-hush trend; everyone wants to say they “woke up like this” but they never want to admit HOW they woke up like this. That’s because it’s subtle enough that the men in your life probably won’t notice but generally everyone can tell you’re looking about 10% better.
Of course, even though it’s only semi-permanent, at the end of the day you’re getting a needle very VERY close to your eyeball so here are some major factors to consider before making the commitment.

Numbing cream will be your best friend

Now, the tattoo won’t be on your actual waterline — that would be more like a “Saw” movie — but it will be on your lash line and then extended to both the inside and outside corners of your eyes. This means you will absolutely need numbing cream, there’s no way around it. Your beautician will put the anesthetic on and let it sit for around 15 minutes before wiping it away.

The Pain

If you’ve ever gotten a tattoo, you probably remember exactly what the sharp, stabbing sensation felt like. Getting your eyeliner tattooed won’t be anything like that. However, because of the numbing cream, the vibrations coming from the needle gun will tickle your eyelid. It’s okay to take a few breaks during the procedure, just don’t rub your eyes.

Don’t expect to get a winged liner

No sensible semi-permanent makeup artist will give you full-blown Kat Von D winged eyes. Talk to your beautician about what shape you’d like your eyeliner to be but just keep in mind it’s meant to look subtle, even if you want the end to be winged out slightly, it won’t extend past the outer corner of your eye.


Like any old tattoo, there will be swelling afterward and it will feel sore once the anesthetic wears off. Effects vary per person — some lucky bastards experience no swelling whatsoever and can go about their day normally, but some unlucky souls will have to stay indoors with pink, puffy bags around their eyes.

Healing process

Again, just like when you get a tattoo anywhere else on the body, your tattooed eyeliner will scab. It’s important not to pick at it or scratch your eyes no matter how much it itches, treat it like you would any open wound. Eventually the scabs will all peel off and that’s when you’ll be able to actually see what the tattoo looks like. It can take anywhere between one to six weeks to fully heal, you may need a touch up at this stage if it’s looking a bit patchy. 


For the first few days after getting your eyeliner tattooed, you’ll have to keep it dry and clean, so it’s important to be careful when showering or washing your face. A bit of water is fine, but swimming and exercises that can make you sweat are definitely off the table. Your beautician will also give you an ointment that you should apply to your eye several times a day.

The finished result?

The end result won’t make you look like you’ve got loads of makeup on, but you will notice fuller-looking lashes and a more defined eye shape. Once the scabbing has stopped and everything is healed up, you can go ahead and use whatever product or makeup you would normally use.

Research, research, research

Although it’s semi-permanent, this is a tattoo that you’re getting on your eyelids. You’ll need to do proper research before picking a clinic/salon just like you would with a normal tattoo but with extra precaution. Look through the artist’s portfolio and make sure it’s a sanitary environment; the last thing you want is an infected tattoo on your eye. Communicate with your beautician prior to the procedure about any questions or concerns.
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