Did Tammy Faye really have her eyes tattooed?

Salon.com ran a story Wednesday in which Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato say Tammy Faye Bakker Messner had her eye makeup “tattooed” onto her face. Ordinarily, I would have dismissed this as journalistic metaphor. But the authors use the word “tattooed” twice, and in the second instance toss it off as if it were fact. If it isn’t fact, then it’s sloppy over-use of a metaphor.

I’ve searched all over the internet and can’t find any reference to the woman having her makeup tattoed to her face. Is this true or just lazy writing?

Yes. It’s called permanent cosmetics, and it’s nothing new — especially among cancer sufferers.

I do apologize – I had no idea that it was common among cancer patients. I am curious, though – why specifically cancer patients?

It isn’t that uncommon in general especially for older women, My wife’s aunt had permanent eyeliner tattooed on a few years ago. I believe it was a brief fad around that time but women still have it done.

And how do you tattoo eyelids?

It’s not only for cancer patients-my mom has ‘eyeliner’ tattooed around her eyes, her eyebrows filled-in and prefers it to be referred to as permanent cosmetics. I like to tease her about it. She is modest and also doesn’t like to take the time or like the effect of actual cosmetics. Hers is very natural looking. She’s considered her having her lips done, but doesn’t want an unnatural-looking color.

Cancer patients often do it because along with your head hair, you can lose your eyebrows and eyelashes. Considering her obvious penchant for dark mascara and thick eyeliner, this must have come as quite a blow. Tattooing eyeliner on gives some of that effect back.

Although I know many women who have had their eyes lined without cancer. It’s just…y’know, if you’re drawing circles around your lids 7 days a week, and dealing with the smudging and the flaking that always happens no matter how “smudgeproof” your makeup, why not drop a few bucks and have it done once, and never deal with it again?

Verrrrrry carefully. Seriously, you go to a professional trained in permanent cosmetics, not a regular tattoo artist (although some regular tattoo artists have additional training in permanent makeup). They usually use topical anesthetics, unlike other tattooing.

Here’s more info from a local spa that does it.

As WhyNot explained, people undergoing hair loss cancer treatments, like chemo and radiation, often lose their eyelashes and eyebrows as well. There are also medical conditions, like alopecia for example, that can cause the same thing. No need to apologize (though it was classy to do so in this instance). It’s a legitimate question.

My friend had it done in college. It’s a tempting thought - saves you some time in the mornings if you’re a gal who has to wear makeup.

What happens when styles change? I mean, imagine if you had 80s makeup tattooed on your face for the rest of time?

When styles change, you’re hosed. I can’t imagine having bright blue eye shadow and thick eyeliner of the 70’s on my eyes right now.

Another customer of permanent cosmetics is my naturally very blonde friend. She has virtually no visible eyebrows without makeup which makes it difficult for outdoor activities like swimming. Her tats are very real-looking and make a temendous difference in her facial features.

Yes, I was quite startled when my aunt was having chemo and radiation, and I visited her and her eyebrows and lashes were gone, also. I’d just never thought about losing anything but the hair on one’s head. I’ve idly wondered if one loses armpit hair, or leg hair, or pubic hair, but I’ve never felt like asking a cancer patient. Anyone know?

Had a professor in grad school with her eyebrows tattooed in. She simply though her natural eyebrows were too light and thin and wanted more substance behind them. This was a relatively young woman (late-30s) with no health problems.

It’s almost- but not quite- tattooing. My ex used to do this. It was mostly done for eyebrows and it could be removed slightly easier than a tattoo. I don’t remember exactly how. I think she said it was one skin layer more shallow that a “real tattoo”. :dubious:

Here’s the wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanent_cosmetics

My friend does cosmetic tattooing in her salon, along with eyelash extensions. Some of her eyelash customers are cancer survivors also. Although, it has to be done after the regrowth has started and it’s not permanent.