Monthly Archives: October 2016


When to Correct a Color Residual and When NOT to!

I have wanted to share my opinions regarding discolored eyebrows for some time. I am basing these opinions on my more than 25 years of experience, using many different pigment companies and analyzing how they heal in the skin.

We receive calls almost daily with questions regarding residuals left from previous procedures. What does one do with this stain or leftover color?

I first want to say that permanent makeup pigment colors, after several years, will leave some stain or residual. A great metaphor I use is, imagine you colored your hair just once, one single time.  It would first begin to fade and then the color would continue to change over time until it no longer resembled the original color that was used. It would be unrecognizable and this process is called oxidation. The base color of the hair dye, your climate, your lifestyle and your hair products will affect how this one-time hair color faded and also how it would oxidize.

Permanent Makeup colors will eventually behave in this same manner after years, if not touched up. There will be some residual color remaining that may not even resemble the original color that was tattooed.

There are some residuals that are of concern and some that are not. The residuals that hold no concern for me are: shades of red, orange, coral and pink. In other words, warm residuals.

I do not see these residuals as an issue. I either utilize the warm residual or simply do a cover-up with a taupe shade. I utilize it by adding a taupe shade of hair strokes and allow the warmth to remain in between them. This technique heals out beautifully. If it is a powder brow, I may not add warmth to my selection. This would depend on the amount of warmth I am working over and if there is enough residual to warm my pigment selection.

If we receive a call from a client, regardless of where she had her procedure done and she says her brows are turning orangey, we just tell her it’s time for a color touch-up. We do not make a big deal out of this since it is anything but a big deal!

We are often asked by practitioners if our Face Inks pigments heal red. If you choose a warm base that is too warm, this will occur with any and all pigments.

Light gray residuals can often be ignored, as well, if you are tattooing a darker color than the light gray residual over it.

The more difficult residuals are the darker gray, darker blue, blackish tones and purple. These are not a cover-up. I consider these a color correction and they generally take a minimum of 2 visits.  I make no commitment of how many return visits will be required with these types of corrections, although it is rarely more than 2.

Face Inks Goldfinch is a fabulous purple corrector. I will often add some Milk Chocolate to it, since it has a golden brown base.

For the darker grays and blues, I use Henna and Butterscotch.

Turquoise and shades of green simply need red.  Adding Henna or Cocoa to your selected brown will help stamp this out. However, if migration has occurred, it may require a salt removal in addition to the color correction.

For correcting color, I always use a 5-round and do not travel nearly as deeply in the skin as I would a regular procedure. My goal and my visual is to place the color on top of the color to be corrected and not place it as deeply as it was initially placed.

We must keep in mind there are many factors that affect how a pigment color wears or fades in the skin. What is their overall complexion? Some very fair people can heal on the cool side while some hold onto the warmth in a color. Ruddy complexions can heal with cool tones, as well, since the pink or redness translates and adds blue to the healed color.

Where are they on the Fitzpatrick Scale?  The more color in the skin, the more blue. Deeper skin tones and higher on the Fitzpatrick Scale can tend to heal cool if some warmth is not added to balance the blue in these higher numbers.

What is their skin undertone? The undertone of the skin also affects how color will heal over the years. Warmer undertones often hold onto the warmth in a brow shade while olive tones can eventually oxidize with a cooler tone.

What is their lifestyle and where do they live? Those that spend a great deal of time outdoors will fade more quickly and you will see your pigment residual sooner than those that do not spend time outdoors. Warmer or tropical climates will often tend to pull warm tones.

What skin care products are they using? Retinols and Glycolic Acids can affect the way color ages, matures or oxidizes in one’s skin.

So, all of the above can and will affect the amount of time color will last in the skin and how it will fade out. Do not allow anyone to tell you differently about their pigments!!!  Skin is a live organ and is always changing and moving. Skin exfoliates, tans, peels and we expose it to various conditions and chemicals.

So, in conclusion, keep your words sweet, since you never know when you will have to eat them! In other words, be careful not to criticize someone else’s residuals, especially if they are the typical warm or cool residuals, since you will one day be touching up your own!