One of the most common questions that clients ask (apart from “does it hurt?”) is this: “is it ‘proper’ tattoo ink?” It’s an important question that every PMU Artist should be able to educate their client about in order to put their mind at ease. Whilst tattoo inks and cosmetic tattoo pigments are very similar in the respect that they are implanted into the skin to create a tattoo, their composition is very different.
Cosmetic Tattoo Pigments
Cosmetic tattoo pigments are made up of smaller pigment particles that are suspended in a diluter – this allows for a more natural, softer colour in the skin that can be layered to create a much more realistic finish.
Traditional Tattoo Inks
Traditional tattoo inks are much more concentrated which means that they are much stronger in colour. Traditional tattoos are often very bold and can also be very bright too. If you were to compare a traditional tattoo alongside a brow tattoo for example, you’d notice that the traditional tattoo is much deeper and richer and often has an abundance of bright, eye-catching colours.
Another major difference is how the pigment is applied to the skin – a regular tattoo machine has needles that pierce the skin whilst creating a vacuum that pulls the pigment into it. Cosmetic tattoo machines work on a rotary mechanism that turn and slice the skin to apply the pigment. They don’t go as deep into the skin as regular tattoo machines nor do they create the same vacuum.
As permanent makeup artists we always want to create the most beautifully natural, realistic effect that we can. It’s important to re-assure our clients that the work that we provide is intended to blend into their skin seamlessly rather than take on the appearance of being placed on top.