Guidelines – Semi-Permanent Makeup

Position Statement Regarding Semi-Permanent Makeup

It is the position of the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals that pigments (colorants) placed into the dermis using needles are considered to be permanent. Results of fading, color change or lack of color are expected and are the result of factors such as skin variations, and sun fading. Improper application or faulty equipment can also affect the length of time color appears in the skin.

Permanent Cosmetics, Permanent Makeup, and Cosmetic Tattooing are all terms used to correctly identify the process of implanting pigments (inks) into the skin for cosmetic purposes. The term “semi-permanent” is reserved for long-wear topically applied makeup and is misleading to be associated with the tattoo industry. It implies mechanical control of the length of time a pigment may remain in the skin. There are no documented findings to suggest cosmetically tattooed skin can be reverted to its previous unaltered state within a specified timeframe stated by the technician or any other person.


Permanent cosmetics, when performed professionally with reputable pigments/ink, is an act of tattooing and is performed with the clear intention of the resulting implanted color to remain permanently.

Using the name semi-permanent is a crutch for less than favorable results and may also be considered an excuse for not properly explaining the nature of tattooing to a client.

There is no debate that what we do is tattooing. The accepted definition of a tattoo is a permanent mark or design made on the skin by a process of pricking and ingraining an indelible pigment or by raising scars. (

It is also common knowledge that many tattoo pigment colors are highly resistant or impossible to remove even with the most advanced laser techniques, so not only permanent, but also some may be non-removable as well. (FDA Science Forum, 2006, Body Marking: Tattoos, Permanent Make-up and Laser Removal.)

SPCP supplier members who manufacture pigment and devices were contacted to provide information that would support their pigments or devices as being able to provide semi-permanent results. None responded with affirmation that this could occur.