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.