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Eyeliner Pigments

January 03, 2020 3 min read

Eyeliner Pigments

New to eyeliner?

If so, you've probably heard a lot of different information regarding eyeliner pigments and their safety. Do you understand why inorganic eyeliner pigments (iron oxides) are much safer for beginners?  We hope to offer you some insight. 

PIGMENT TYPES Although sometimes they are combined, the two main categories for black eyeliner pigments are:

1. Inorganic (Iron Oxide)

Iron oxides have been used for permanent makeup eyeliner for many years. Inorganic pigments were originally found naturally, but today are formulated in a laboratory ensure consistency and purity. As they once originated from the earth, inorganic pigment colours tend to be muted and less intense than organics.

Although in general they might be slightly more muted, inorganic pigments are very important in permanent makeup as their particle size is larger than that of organic carbon black. This makes them a much safer option for beginners as the pigment is more likely to stay where is it placed and less likely to migrate. 

There are many skilled artists able to achieve dark, long-lasting black eyeliner with 100% Inorganic Iron Oxide blacks.  

To see healed, inorganic black eyeliner please view the work of Teryn Darling or Amber Guthery at Girlz Ink,and Will Anthony at Will Anthony Studios.

2. Organic (Carbon)

In contrast to inorganic iron oxides, the carbon molecule is very dark and black and its particle size is very small. Because of the very tiny particle size, it implants into skin very easily, BUT it is also able to "migrate" much easier. Migration refers to the pigment particles spreading under the skin to where you don't want them to be.

Experienced artists that have perfected their depth and technique enjoy working with carbon because of the ease of applying it as well as its very strong dark black coverage.  

Before jumping in to carbon black, newer artists should consider layering their eyeliner pigments, beginning with an iron oxide. Application of the iron oxide first, allows the skin to be assessed. If determined that the first pass has gone well, a second pass of carbon black can be applied.

Note that pigments that combine organics and inorganics are NOT less likely to migrate.



LI Pigments offer several different options for eyeliner:

Black Magic - This is an inorganic Black/Brown ideal for any client that does not want too dark or harsh of a black. It's a beautiful lashline enhancement colour for those with a lighter skin tone or hair colour.

Onyx - This is a very popular inorganic black eyeliner colour. The key to achieving a nice, rich black with Onyx is to ensure to pack in lots of pigment without overworking the skin. If you are uncertain of your ability to pack in colour, a tiny dot of UN-Gray can be added to prevent Onyx from appearing grey. In dark skin, Caribbean Mod is also an option. 

Ultra Black - 50% Carbon, 50% Iron Oxide

Midnight BlackCarbon Black

Will Anthony Eyeliner Kit - Will's kit contains 4 eyeliner pigments formulated by the founder of "smoky lash enhancement" to achieve beautiful, dark and long-lasting eyeliner colour. Along with two other gorgeous eyeliner colours, the blacks included in the kit are:

Black Cocktail – Organic carbon mixed with inorganic iron oxide 

Secret Black – Organic carbon black. This can be used alone but will heal truer and blacker when layered on top of Black Cocktail or London Fog. 



Beginners: If you are new to eyeliner procedures, begin with inorganic Black Magic or Onyx. Ensure you have perfected your technique before moving on to carbon-based pigments. 

Experienced Eyeliner Artists: If you already use carbon-based blacks, give Will Anthony's Secret Black a try! Love him or hate him, we have found that, unlike other brands, Will's carbon black is exceptionally clean to work with and wipes away SO easily. 

Prevent Grey/Blue: Layer your blacks. Begin with a brown/black, such as Li Black Magic as your base layer and finish it off with a darker black, such as Li Onyx or Li Ultra Black. 

Using Carbon: Mixing iron oxides with carbon DOES NOT make working with carbon safer. The particle size remains the same and you still risk migration. If you choose to work with carbon blacks, here are some great tips from Terry Lively on how to prevent migration:

     1. Make sure you are very light handed 

     2. Always work at 90 degrees

     3. Start with your power supply or speed LOW 

     4. Use larger needle configurations and/or shader needles to not penetrate as deeply.


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