The Pros and Cons of a Career in Permanent Makeup: What You Need to Know

If you’re considering a career in permanent makeup, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of this profession and the qualifications needed before making a decision. There are many benefits to working in this field, however, if you’re planning to apply for a permanent makeup job on Jooble, there are some potential drawbacks that should be taken into account.

In this article, we teamed up with experts from job aggregator Jooble to take a closer look at what you need to know about a career in permanent makeup.

What is a Permanent Makeup artist?

A Permanent Makeup artist, also known as a permanent cosmetics artist, is someone who specializes in the application of cosmetic tattoos using specific techniques and tools. Some permanent makeup artists are actually tattoo artists, while others are cosmetologists.

Permanent Makeup artists create the appearance of makeup, such as eyeliner, eyebrow shaping, lip liner, and even full lip color. They also assist people with skin problems such as hyperpigmentation, camouflaging scars, or regaining natural features after surgery, such as areola restoration for women who have undergone mastectomies or breast reconstructions.

Permanent makeup artists typically provide a range of beauty services such as:

  • Eyebrow microblading
  • Eyeliner tattooing
  • Lip liner tattooing
  • Full lip tinting
  • Permanent beauty marks

Where do Permanent Makeup Artists work?

Permanent makeup artists have a range of career options depending on their interests and skills. They can work in:

  • Tattoo studios: Many permanent makeup artists work in tattoo parlors, which offer a range of tattooing services, including permanent makeup application.
  • Salons and spas: Some salons and spas employ makeup artists to offer services such as eyebrow microblading, eyeliner tattooing, and lip shading.
  • Medical offices and clinics: Permanent makeup artists may also work in medical settings where they provide services such as scar camouflaging or areola restoration.
  • Freelance: Many permanent makeup artists work as freelancers, renting space in a studio or traveling to clients’ homes or workplaces to provide their services.
  • Online: Permanent makeup artists can also work online, providing remote consultations, training, and support to clients and other artists.

How To Become A Permanent Makeup Artist

Becoming a permanent makeup artist requires a combination of education, training, and experience. Here are some of the steps you will need to follow to succeed in this career:

Determine your state’s requirements

Depending on your location, the permanent makeup industry is governed by various regulations and requirements. While some states might only require some basic training, others may require you to complete a lengthy tattoo apprenticeship or cosmetology program. Prior to pursuing a career in this field, research the relevant requirements in your state.

Enroll in a training program

You will be required to enroll in an accredited training program, which may vary depending on your state. However, most reputable training programs will cover the basic principles of permanent makeup application and will include a wide range of topics such as:

  • Techniques for permanent makeup application
  • Skin anatomy and physiology
  • Color theory and pigmentation
  • Health and safety
  • Client consultation
  • Pre- and post-care

Obtain Licensure

To become licensed as a permanent makeup artist, you will need to apply for a license to practice with the relevant state board, which could be the tattooing, cosmetology, or esthetician board, depending on your state. Typically you’ll need to pass an exam that tests your knowledge of permanent makeup application, safety, and sanitation. You may also be required to fulfill a specific number of practice hours before you can apply for your license.

Build your portfolio and network

Once you’re qualified, build your client base by creating a portfolio that showcases your skills and expertise. This can include photos of your work, customer testimonials, and certifications. You should also attend industry events to network with other professionals and keep up to date with the latest developments in the industry.

Pros of a Career in Permanent Makeup

High Earning Potential

One of the biggest advantages of a career in permanent makeup is the potential for high earnings. As a skilled artist, you can charge a premium for your services, especially if you build a reputation for delivering exceptional results. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a permanent makeup artist in the United States is $72,596 (or$35/hour), while top earners can earn as much as $179,000.


Another benefit of this career is its flexible hours. You can work either full-time or part-time, and set your own time schedule or appointments. This can be a big plus if you need to work around other commitments, such as family responsibilities.

Creative Expression

For artists, a career in permanent makeup can be a highly rewarding way to express their creativity. You’ll have the opportunity to work with clients to design customized looks that enhance their natural features and boost their confidence. This can be highly fulfilling and rewarding.

Growing Demand

The beauty industry is continuing to expand, which means that the demand for permanent makeup services is growing in tandem. As more people become aware of these services as a way to enhance their appearance, there will be ample opportunity for permanent makeup artists to secure employment or build a thriving business.

Cons of a Career in Permanent Makeup

Health Risks

One of the main drawbacks of a career in permanent makeup is the potential for health risks. Because you’ll be working with needles and pigments, there is a risk of infection or allergic reactions. In this line of work, proper precautions are needed. For example, making sure equipment is sterile and following necessary hygienic procedures.

Limited Career Advancement

While there are ample opportunities to build a successful business and find employment, there is limited potential for career advancement. Unlike other professions in the beauty industry, such as hairstylists or estheticians, there are no clear pathways for advancement beyond building your own business.


The process of applying permanent makeup can be time-consuming, especially for complex procedures like full lip color. This means you’ll need to manage your time effectively to ensure you can deliver high-quality results while also keeping up with the demands of your business.

Client Satisfaction

As with any service-based profession, client satisfaction is key. However, with permanent makeup, the results are just that – permanent, which means there is no room for error. If a client is unhappy with the results, it can be difficult to correct the issue, and it may damage your reputation.

Final Thoughts

A career in permanent makeup can be a rewarding and lucrative profession for those who enjoy working with people, have a passion for make-up, and have the desire to express their creativity. However, take the time to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether this is the right career for you.

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