Getting a Cosmetic Tattoo (アートメイク) in Tokyo - ASSU 銀座 - Vikingess Voyages

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Getting a Cosmetic Tattoo (アートメイク) in Tokyo - ASSU 銀座

Before & after
Have you ever thought about all the time you spend in a year putting on makeup? If, say, you spend just five minutes a day putting on makeup you would be using at least 30 hours a year. 
Although I generally skip doing my makeup simply because I'm lazy I also like to think that I'm doing myself a favour in terms of saved time. To be honest, when I wake up groggy on a Monday morning it's enough of a hassle to find time for breakfast (damn you, snooze button..). As an alternative to the annoying makeup routine I decided to go for a if not permanent than at least long-term alternative; getting a cosmetic tattoo (Artmake - アートメイク- in Japanese).

Update: I received a comment from another foreigner who recently visited this salon. You might want to take her feedback into consideration if you plan to use ASSU.

One wouldn't think Japan was the place to get this done, as anything related to tattoos usually are associated with the yakuza. However, it seems that in recent years it is getting more popular to get cosmetic tattoos, and if you find yourself in Tokyo there are a couple of alternative places where you can get the job done. After getting a recommendation from a friend I made an appointment at ASSU Ginza, an art makeup studio with many years experience with cosmetic tattoos.

I first tried to make a reservation through their homepage (Japanese only), but even though I provided a couple of alternative days I would be able to visit their studio they told me they were fully booked for the whole upcoming month. In the end I called them directly, and could finally get an appointment in the middle of the next month.

The entrance to the building where Assu has their studio

It was all done in Japanese, so I'm not quite sure about their English level. If you're uncertain you might want to get help from a Japanese speaking friend to make the appointment and perhaps join you for the short orientation before the actual procedure.

It was easy to find their studio; The building was situated a couple of minutes walk from Ginza Station's exit number A2 with the entrance right next to a cafe called Donpa (どんぱ). Their pink sign was easily discoverable, so fortunately I made it in time even though I had been running slightly late. From the entrance I passed through a corridor and took the elevator to the fourth floor where the studio was located.
The corridor to the elevator
Entrance to Assu
I was greeted by one of the makeup artists who first gave me a short information session about cosmetic tattoos. She told me that the biggest difference between a regular tattoo and a cosmetic tattoo is that for the cosmetic tattoo they insert the colour into a shallower layer of the skin. As a result the colour will naturally fade over time and eventually disappear. The time it takes for the cosmetic tattoo to disappear depends on the persons lifestyle, but she estimated that with one treatment it would take between half a year to a year.
Inside the studio
After the information session was over it was time to take a seat in the makeup chair.
 First she drew an eyeliner on me in order to figure out which style to use. After having agreed on the style it was time for the main procedure. She smeared an analgesic cream on the area around the eyes in order to alleviate the stinging sensation during the procedure. The whole thing lasted about one and a half - two hours.
Art makeup tattoo tools
One thing you should be aware of, is that the day after you get the makeup tattoo you will look like somebody just used your face as a punching bag. My upper eyelids were swollen to twice their normal size, and as you can see from the picture below it was not a pretty sight. In other words: whatever you do, don't get a cosmetic tattoo the day before an important event!!
Good thing it was a Sunday and I could stay at home for most of the day. Things were more or less back to normal by the second day though, as shown in my other pictures.
Check out that beauty!! Haha.. The morning after the procedure

You should also be aware that they advice you not to use the gym, hot spring or sauna for a week after the procedure. Showering is fine, but you should be careful when you wash the area around the eyes. In my case I just avoided makeup all together, even on business meetings with my clients, and thus avoided having to deal with that part. Some of the ink flake off during the first week, so you should have some cotton swabs ready to wipe away the flakes when necessary. 

As the color of the eyeliner fades slightly after the first week there are some people who choose to have a second procedure done about a month after the first one in order to enhance the color and increase the time span the cosmetic tattoo will last. Might be worth mentioning that you'll get 10% discount if you make a reservation for a second procedure conducted within a month after you got the cosmetic tattoo.
The final result
All in all I'm very satisfied with the result I got. It is a very natural look, so to get a more dramatic effect it would still be necessary to add more eyeliner (for parties or other big events). It is however perfect for my simple daily life, and now I literarily go to work without any makeup on at all. Which I used to do before the procedure too, to be honest. But at least I look more awake now. Haha..

Just so that is said, I'm the type of person who would never take any drastic measures for the sake of looks, so for me this tiny enhancement will probably be as far as I'll ever go when it comes to cosmetic procedures. For me makeup is also something that I normally reserve for important events when I want to shine a little extra, and not something to waste my time on on a daily basis.

As a final note, in my case I got an eyeliner tattoo for both upper and lower eyelid (out of personal preference the line on the lower eyelid is only half across the eyelid), but ASSU also specialize in eyebrow tattoos, eyelash extension & eyelash curling. For more information please check out their (Japanese only) website.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the post! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments in the comment section below.

Basic Info

Place ASSU Ginza (アートメイクサロンASSU(アスー)銀座
A couple of minutes walk from Ginza Station's exit number A2.
Entrance to the right of cafe 
Donpa (どんぱ).
Prices Eyeliner
(upper & lower)
30,000 yen
20,000 yen
15,000 yen
28,000 yen

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Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
- Anette

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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