History of Permanent Makeup

The history of what can be described as permanent beauty modification is so interesting, that I decided to dedicate some posts to this quite fascinating subject. We already know that permanent cosmetic pigmentation processes have been used by the Egyptians, but the history of using pigments to change, alter appearances of the face and other parts of the human body stretches back to pre historic times.

No matter which civilization and culture we examine, there is none which did not engage in some form of attempting to make permanent changes to the visual appearances of our faces and/or bodies. Even in our modern times where the range of the most commonly used shades easily exceeds 100, they are only variations of the primary color available to us. Right at the very beginning the color which was used to add visual enhancement to face and other parts of the human body was confined to black.

Most likely the prehistoric man used ash, and burned wood and used it as a coloring source to add the first “cosmetic pigmentation” known to mankind. It is quite staggering when we look at the ingenuity of people when it came to finding the resources to from which different color pigments could be produced. The attempt to add color to the ancient symbols with which our forbearers decorated their skin goes back a very long way. There were trees when burned produced a powdery substance which when mixed with water created a substance which then was placed below the skin to add a different color.

Believe it or not, even the Bible became a source of creating not only color but also a primitive instrument used by the early tattoo artists. The binding of a Bible was burned providing the black color and the staples which held the pages together were changed and became the needles through which the pigments could be placed under the skin. Sandstone was ground down and pulverized and then mixed with water to gain a paste of reddish color. But the Japanese are generally believed to have pioneered the first true color pigments some 300 years ago.

The problems these early cosmetic tattooists faced was that the pigments they gained were mostly dry, and they had to find ways using water and oils amongst other means to mix the pigments with lubricants so they could be used and distributed below the skin.