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The Shift Back to Inorganic Pigments in Permanent Cosmetics

Updated: Nov 27, 2023



In the world of permanent cosmetics, the choice of pigments plays a crucial role in achieving long-lasting and satisfactory results. Over the last six months I have seen a noticeable shift away from carbon-based pigments commonly used in the permanent cosmetic industry towards inorganic pigments, particularly iron oxide. This blog post takes an insightful look into this industry trend and explores why professionals are increasingly favoring iron oxide pigments for their clients' color boost procedures.


The Rise of Carbon-Based Pigments: Back in 2017, carbon-based pigments gained popularity within the permanent cosmetic industry with the introduction of PermaBlend pigments created by World Famous Tattoo Inks followed by high profile collaborations with renowned Permanent Cosmetic Artists such as Brow Daddy, Tina Davies, and Lulu Siciliano, to name a few, have showcased impressive results. However, recent observations suggest a gradual return to using inorganic pigments like iron oxide as the primary colorant.


Understanding Iron Oxide Pigments: Unlike carbon-based pigments that tend to remain permanently embedded in the skin, iron oxide is a larger molecule that lifts out gradually during the 12 to 18-month period following application. This natural fading process allows for easier maintenance and facilitates future color adjustments or enhancements.


Advantages of Iron Oxide Pigments: One significant advantage of working with iron oxide pigments is their warmth. As these pigments naturally tend to be warmer-toned when compared to carbon-based counterparts, they offer greater flexibility for adjusting or toning down colors as needed. The risk of undesired gray tones is significantly reduced when using iron oxide pigments.


Long-Term Color Boosts Made Easier: Historically, annual color boosts on clients who had previously used carbon-based pigments proved challenging due to pigment retention and the greyish issues associated with these types of substances. Carbon is black and although we can make various shades of brown with carbon colorants, ultimately as it tends to break down over time in the skin it tend to resort back to its cool tone making it difficult to introduce modifiers for warm color adjustments.


The Future of Permanent Makeup: Based on industry observations from 2017 to 2023, it is evident that a shift back towards inorganic pigments, specifically iron oxide, is occurring within the permanent makeup world. This move reflects a desire for longer-term satisfactory results and enhanced versatility when it comes to color adjustments.


In conclusion, as trends continue to evolve in the permanent cosmetics industry, professionals are recognizing the advantages of using inorganic pigments like iron oxide over organic carbon-based alternatives. The ability to achieve warmer tones, facilitate long-term color boosts with ease, and minimize undesirable cool or gray undertones makes iron oxide an increasingly preferred choice among both practitioners and clients alike. In my humble view, I feel embracing these factors can lead to improved client satisfaction and ultimately contribute to elevating the artistry of permanent cosmetics once again.

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