Most PMU artists will tell you that the history of their profession is filled with giant holes and unknowns, and they’d be right. Tattooing as an art has been around for centuries, but the act of using the same techniques and tools to permanently tattoo eyelashes and lips saw a rise in popularity during the early part of the 20th century.
Early 1920s & 30s saw a rise of popularity in PMU procedures offered by tattoo artists and beauticians. The latter would tattoo women’s eyebrows without telling them and would sell it to them as a complexion treatment.
Here are some ads of the time offering those services.
The Washington times Jan. 1920
Charleston Daily Mail, Jan. 1923
Popular Mechanics Aug. 1927