Organic vs. Inorganic Pigments and How It Pertains to Permanent Makeup

Organic vs. Inorganic Pigments and How It Pertains to Permanent Makeup

As a permanent makeup artist, you want to use the best pigments for your clients. However, this can be hard to do if you don’t know the difference between organic vs. inorganic pigments and how they pertain to permanent makeup.

And the last thing you want as an artist is to be uninformed about your own products! So if you’re ready to learn all about makeup pigments, then keep reading.

What Are Permanent Makeup Pigments?

To learn about inorganic and organic pigments, you’ll first need to learn the basics. Depending on the type of technique you plan to perform for your client, Permanent makeup pigments should be dipped into using the microblading tool or if a rotary machine is used, then the machine will suck up the pigment. This tool is similar to a tattoo gun. However, it’s a lot less aggressive, and it creates lighter strokes.

These tools combine with inorganic or organic pigments to create a seamless blend. Lastly, permanent makeup pigments are for eyebrows shaping, eyeliner, lip tints, and hairline reconstruction. Some are used to create areolas and to camouflage scars.

What’s the Difference Between Tattoo and Permanent Makeup Pigments?

Many of your clients may ask you about the differences between a real tattoo and permanent makeup. This is because many people are still under the impression that permanent makeup is the same as a tattoo, they are right, anytime we open up the skin and deposit pigment it is a form of tattooing the only difference is where the pigment is placed in the skin is what makes traditional tattoo vs PMU differ.

Therefore, they’re scared of the pain and the permanent aspect. However, this is not the case.

Permanent makeup pigments are in liquid form, just like tattoo ink. However, makeup pigments can stay on the skin for a few months. The body will start breaking down the pigment about 4 to 6 months after the initial placement.

However, the body cannot break down the tattoo ink the same way. This is because the skin constantly regenerate new cells every 28 days, thus pushing the lightly implanted pigment out.

In contrast, makeup pigments can only perform this cycle for a set amount of time before no pigment is left to pass.

What’s the Difference Between Microblaidng and Permanent Makeup?

Microblading is a sub-section of the permanent makeup community. Micro-blading works by adding pigments via a blade to the brows or hairline. 

Permanent makeup refers to the techniques such as micro-blading, hairline restoration, permanent eyeliner and much more. If you’re a new permanent makeup artist, odds are you’ll have training in microblading first!

Overall, these terms are both used interchangeably because they both refer to permanent makeup applications. These techniques also require inorganic or organic products to work correctly.

How Did PMU Pigments Come To Be?

Makeup goes all the way back to ancient Egypt. The ancients would use natural pigments on their skin to create a dark effect on their eyes. At the time, this was done to protect their eyes from skin damage.

This ancient trend would evolve with humanity. Now makeup enhances one’s beauty. And just like fashion, makeup also has trends that come and go.

In the mid to late ’90s, the makeup began to revolutionize the way we thought about beauty standards. Celebrities wore lined lips and bold eyebrows.

And because of these trends, the permanent makeup industry began to rise. Women and men wanted a clean and beautiful look without having to do their makeup every morning.

Thankfully now, permanent makeup can cut down your makeup application time significantly. The history of permanent makeup dates back to 1902 when Sutherland MacDonald used permanent pigments to tattoo women’s eyebrows.

However, MacDonald spent years testing and perfecting the pigments before using them on human skin. And with the help of other makeup artists, permanent makeup is now a regular process.

Organic vs. Inorganic Pigments and How It Pertains To Permanent Makeup

Now that you know the backstory of permanent makeup pigments, we can start learning about the differences between organic and inorganic permanent makeup. This is essential information as many of your clients will wonder the same question!

Organic Permanent Makeup Pigments

Organic permanent makeup is harder to come by. Nevertheless, some companies still produce purely organic pigments. Organic pigments were once called anilines or coal tar.

The pigments come from animals and plants. The green pigments came from plants, while the blue pigments came from berries. However, this wasn’t the best option as the animals, and plant particles would often cause allergic reactions.

But now, organic pigments are mostly made from hydrogen and carbon bonds, subdivided into dyes and lakes. Dyes are the different forms of chemicals that produce color. And lakes are the dyes that are then stabilized with a machine.

Organic pigments are sometimes also made from hydroxide of alumina. This substance is not dissolvable, which helps keep the color in the skin and makes them brighter. Because of the brightness, organic pigments are best used for lips. It is also longer lasting with average stability.

Pros of Organic Pigments 

The lakes and dyes allow for a hypo-allergenic product. Therefore, this kind of organic permanent makeup is for most people. These pigments are also best used on the lips because of their brighter colors.

Cons of Organic Pigments

Organic pigments do not fade quicker. Because of the small particles of carbon found in organic pigments, the retention is much longer than inorganic pigments. It is highly concentrated and may get cooler on the brows and eyeliner when clients age. Using organic pigment will require removal by either laser or saline if the pigment is implanted too deeply.

Lastly, because of the smaller particle size, these pigments transfer more. Therefore, new artists should not use this pigment for eyeliner as it could transfer the eyeball and cause severe damage.

Inorganic Permanent Makeup Pigments

Inorganic pigments come from iron and oxygen. These pigments do not contain any carbon. To be more specific, these pigments are made by adding iron oxide elements to other substances.

They are called “inorganic” pigments because they’re made from synthetic metals such as manganese, titanium oxide, and ultramarines. 

Nevertheless, iron is solid and non-lethal. The particles inside inorganic pigments are much larger and have more coverage. Inorganic pigments can also withstand the sun and are more opaque.

Inorganic pigments were once made from natural resources such as rocks, plants, and animals. But just like organic pigments, they are now solely produced in a lab.

Pros of Inorganic Pigments

Inorganic pigments are beautiful earthy tones and are very stable in color. And the particles are also larger which means more passes are required to get the desired saturation. In the PMU world, its good to have our work fade overtime so that we can keep the industry alive by performing more touch ups when needed.

Cons of Inorganic Pigments

Because it is mineral-based, some people are allergic to some metals. It’s important to discuss allergy details with your clients. Inorganic pigment fades into warm tones such as orange or reddish, these are easy fixes at touch up all you would need to do is go a tad darker to neutralize the warmth.

Organic and Inorganic: Which Is Better?

After learning about inorganic and organic pigments, you might be wondering which is better. If so, it’s crucial you understand that both kinds of pigments are perfectly suitable for permanent makeup applications.

However, one might be better than the other, depending on certain factors. For starters, if most of your clients are first-time visitors, then getting inorganic pigments could be the better option. This is because inorganic pigments fade faster which gives the client the option to not keep up with the brow maintenance.

Therefore, by using a hypo-allergenic pigment, the chances of them having an allergic reaction lower. However, if most of your work requires heavy pigment and coverage, using organic pigments could be better for overall retention. Overall, both kinds of pigments have their advantages and disadvantages.

Overall, permanent makeup is a great experience that can enhance your client’s natural beauty.

Permanent Makeup Made Easy

As a PMU artist, you should always put your best foot forward and be transparent about your services and products! Luckily, now you’re well informed on the differences between organic vs. inorganic pigments. Therefore, you can give your clients the best microblading experience of their lives!

If you have more questions about permanent makeup, speak to one of our professionals!