There are many great tools to use, but there is also a worrying trend of people suggesting you can use various cosmetics, including setting powder, concealer, and lip liner. Is this a good idea? Probably not. Why not? Well, let’s talk it through:

Cosmetics are for cosmetic use. Simple. That means they are intended to be used on the skin, not in it. If you perform cosmetic tattooing when a product is on the skin, it will be carried into the skin. You normally remove all make-up before cosmetic tattooing for good reason.

So, what could be the problems with using cosmetics?

Let's break down commonly used products! ↓

Setting powder

Typically, setting powder contains talc and silica. Talc is a naturally occurring mineral, and in nature talc is often laced with asbestos. No need for all the details here, but talc has been linked with cancer, and it may well be because of the asbestos. If you want more information, read this DrugWatch article. This is why you no longer find talcum powder on supermarket shelves. Silica is the cause of silicosis through inhalation, not dermal implantation, but still, there is reason for caution.


Concealer commonly contains all sorts of colour additives and chemicals. Kaolin is a typical ingredient. This is a type of clay, which absorbs water. Mineral and caster oil as ingredients will not help with pigment retention. Oh, and concealers often contain talc.

Lip Liner

Lip liners are composed of waxes, oils, and pigments. Will these help with pigment retention? Probably not. Will the pigments alter the healed cosmetic tattoo colour? Possibly.

Makeup being used during PMU markup, THink Tech Talk #32 | THink MBC Cosmetic Tattoo Supplies

Examples from Instagram posts of concealer, setting powder and lipliner being used before cosmetic tattooing procedures for marking up.

Some 'food' for extra thought!

Infection Control

The application of cosmetics compromises your infection control. Dipping into a product, touching the skin, repeatedly, with different clients, can transfer microorganisms every time.


Finally, there are no regulations for cosmetic product ingredients in Australia. None. Unless the product has an SPF rating, in which case it must be thoroughly tested and approved, to check the sun protection factor (only). In Europe and the USA, cosmetics are highly regulated.

To sum it up!

There is no reason to use cosmetics. There are plenty of products and tools specifically designed for properly and safely marking up your cosmetic tattoo designs; marker pens, marking pencils, mapping string, and so on. If you need some, take a look at our mapping products. They don’t cost much per treatment, your results will probably be better, and your clients will be safer.

April 09, 2024 — THink Aesthetics

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What is a 'tech talk'?

THink Tech Talks is our informative blog series that discusses technical industry news, training advise and more! Written in partnership with THink Aesthetics, an industry-leading training school that specialises in all things cosmetic tattooing.