Safety First: What you should know before getting a semi-permanent beauty service

Thanks to more salons offering them at budget-friendly prices, getting beauty treatments is something that more people can enjoy. Here on PV, we’ve tried and raved about lash extensions, lash perms, lash lifts, and even semi-permanent tattoo makeup. These services are becoming increasingly popular and for good reason: you can literally “wake up like this” and already look made up, so you save time on getting ready!

As transformative as these services can be, there are also horror stories of botched beauty jobs. You might have seen some of them on social media: swollen eyes, angry red rashes, perhaps even pus-filled infections. While you shouldn’t believe everything you see on social media, Dr. Erin Tababa explains that these complications really can and sometimes do happen!


Dr. Tababa is a dermatologist and fellow beauty lover who shares her expert knowledge as The Nerdy Derma on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. As someone who also enjoys makeup, she understands the appeal of long, curled lashes and perfect brows. However, she points out that “Cosmetic enhancements such as eyelash extensions, eyelash perming, eyelash dyeing, as well as eyelid and eyebrow tattooing, are so commonly done it isn't surprising that a lot of consumers consider them as perfectly safe and with no potential to cause harm.” 

Even though most of these beauty treatments turn out to be positive experiences, the fact remains that there is always risk involved. It’s important for people to know what the possible negative consequences are before deciding to get the procedure. As many of these treatments are done on or near the eye area, Dr. Tababa shares a list of potential complications of ocular procedures:

Eyelash extensions

  • redness, pain, itchy sensation, and swelling of the eyelids

  • allergic reaction to the glue 

  • bacterial infection due to limitations in hygiene (avoidance of washing eye area to prolong lifespan of extensions)

  • conjunctival erosion or scratching of the eye surface by the lashes

Eyelid Tattooing

  • allergic reaction to the ink

  • spread of ink to surrounding tissues

  • misplacement of ink

  • necrosis (death) of eyelid tissue

  • infection

Eyelash dyeing

  • allergic reaction to the dye both to the eyelid and the eye

Eyebrow tattooing

  • allergic reaction to ink

  • granulomatous reaction to ink

  • infection

Other complications

  • Dissatisfaction with results

  • Unnatural appearance


Dr. Tababa recommends looking for properly trained artists who practice clean and hygienic techniques during these procedures to avoid complications. Personally, I have not experienced any problems with the lash extension and lash perm services I’ve tried because I made sure to have them done at a reputable salon. 

It also pays to be aware of the technician’s techniques and practices while you are having the procedure; if you see something that you feel uncomfortable with, speak up and politely express your concern. It pays to be extra careful about your body, and reasonable to request for better service when warranted.


See a doctor ASAP if you notice any of the reactions on this list so you can get the proper treatment. Do not try to self-medicate. If you do end up with a negative reaction or are unhappy with the results of the procedure, inform the salon immediately and ask for options to remedy the situation. Make sure to stay calm and polite even while filing for a complaint. We also have tips for dealing with badly drawn brow tattoos to help you survive!

Have you ever experienced a botched beauty job? How did you resolve it? Let us know in the comments below!

Special thanks to Dr. Erin Tababa for helping us with this story!