The history of permanent cosmetics long and
fascinating. The mummies of Egyptian royalty and as well as
Neolithic cavemen were decorated with the ancient universal art of
Dating back to 12,000 years B.C., tattooing is
documented in ancient Chinese literature, and later, the writings of
Julius Caesar included references. Historically, tattoos have played
an important role in ritual and tradition, identifying clans in
northern Europe, indicating social status in Polynesia, advertising
skills such as weaving in Borneo, and warding off illness in China.
The English word “tattoo” comes from the Tahitian
“tatau” meaning “to mark or strike twice,” a reference to the
traditional method of application with sharpened sticks.
The popularity of tattoos in western culture has
waxed and waned. Widely popular in pre-Christian European cultures,
the Pope banned tattoos in 787 A.D. for their association with pagan
rites. Disappearing in the west between the 12th and 16th centuries,
the art form was revived in the late 1690s by sailors returning from
voyages in the South Seas. It fascinated the European upper class and
by 1898 nearly 1 in 5 members of the gentry wore tattoos!
The invention of the first electric tattooing machine in 1891 brought
tattoos within the financial means of the masses.
In America, Chatham Square in New York City was the
mecca of tattoo art. In the years just before World War I, cosmetic
tattooing became widely popular. Tattooed blush on cheeks, colored
lips and eyeliner were all the rage. Health regulations led to the
demise of NYC’s tattoo parlors and changing mores caused tattoos to
lose their social status. By the end of World War II tattoos were
largely associated with juvenile delinquents, criminals and seamen.
The free spirited 1960s brought resurgence in tattoo art.
Today, tattooing has gone mainstream with
everyone from movie stars to grandmothers dressing up with body art.
Its appeal crosses class and socioeconomic boundaries with tattooists
being recognized as fine artists. Cosmetic tattoos are hugely popular
with permanent eyeliner the most sought enhancement, followed
closely by eyebrows, lip liner and lip coloring.
The medical community has embraced cosmetic
tattooing, recognizing its benefits in camouflaging scars, burns, and
in breast reconstruction. Decorative tattoos can be an exhilarating
form of personal expression, but cosmetic tattoos can enhance your
natural features, correct cosmetic problems, and give your self-
esteem the boost that comes from knowing you look your best every
hour of the day.