Helpful Guidelines to use When Selecting a Permanent Makeup Practitioner

  1. How experienced is your technician?

    Don’t ever hesitate to ask your technician about her training and experience. This is key to a quality outcome and to avoiding potential serious complications. Many technicians complete only a 2 day seminar with no other instruction. In addition, they may perform other services and only see an occasional permanent makeup client. Remember to ask where they trained, what trade organizations they belong to and how many procedures they perform a week. In order to confidently and skillfully apply permanent makeup, one needs to have enough experience to have been exposed to the many different obstacles that may arise during and after a procedure. A skilled, experienced technician usually performs 10-25 cases a week and can address these challenges without difficulty. At NaturaLook, Jeanee Lusby has made the application of permanent cosmetics her sole specialty. As a proud member of The Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals and the American Academy of Micropigmentation, she has been trained by the most talented and experienced specialists in the country and has performed thousands of cases.

  2. Is your technician OSHA compliant?

    Although permanent makeup is not a sterile procedure, it is imperative that your technician’s procedure area be a safe, clean environment to reduce the risk of infection and cross contamination. Your technician should display a current certificate of compliance with OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Compliance Directive CPL 2-2.69 Standard #1910.1030. OSHA logo and be registered with their local Health Department. Permanent cosmetic procedures should not be performed in hair or nail salons. Hair clippings and fumes from hair and nail products may pose possible contamination and airborne pathogen problems. All procedures at NaturaLook are performed in a OSHA compliant, professional, medical office.

  3. What type of instrumentation and pigments does your technician use?

    Ask your technician to educate you on the type of instrument she will be using to implant your color as well as the products to be used. Digital machines are the most technologically advanced permanent makeup machines available and are the only modalities used at NaturaLook to implant color. They are the first “rotary/pen” machines that virtually eliminate the possibility of cross contamination and have a microchip in the pen itself which helps regulates speed and depth of pigment placement. Tattoo inks and dyes should never be used for permanent makeup procedures. These products have been known to migrate (move) under the skin over time. Your technician should be able to provide you with a comprehensive list of ingredients to the pigments the she recommends. She should also be aware of and explain to you any known allergic reactions specific to the pigments. At NaturaLook, all of our pigments are formulated in FDA approved labs and are MRI safe.

  4. Does your technician carry professional liability insurance?

    Very important…ASK! Most credible permanent makeup professionals, who take their business seriously, consider it reckless not to maintain liability coverage. For your protection, you should know that your technician is properly insured for coverage that specifically includes client dissatisfaction. Rest assured, NaturaLook carries full coverage through Professional Program Insurance.

Not all hair strokes are created equal, choose your artist carefully

Creating natural-looking hair strokes in the eyebrow with mircropigmention is truly an art It’s critical that if this is the desired look you are seeking, you first do the proper research. Permanent makeup artists today have many options available regarding the machines, needles, pigments, and techniques that they choose. These are all factors important to the outcome of the procedure, however; the most important element to consider is actually seeing the artist’s work. Be certain that the photos you are viewing are actual clients of the perspective artist. It is imperative to view pictures of brows in several different stages: before, immediately after and healed. This will give you a better perspective of the artistic ability of the artist.

There is no one way to produce a “hair stroked brow”. The artist must take into consideration the client’s existing brow and brow hair (or lack thereof ). At NaturaLook, each client is individually counseled and we discuss realistically her brow outcome options. Our goal is to create designs with movement and dimension that not only look natural, but complement and enhance her existing features and appearance. Below are a few examples of techniques used when designing a natural-looking hair stroked brow.

Technique and Design

If a client has absolutely no existing brow hair, one suggestion is to create a lightly colored powdered design as a background before implanting the hair strokes. In some cases, it is best to do dimensional work in stages, meaning tattoo a soft background color as a template then send the client home for 4-6 weeks. After the color has healed and dried in the skin, then add movement by implanting multi-colored and sized hair strokes, one hair at a time. This approach ensures that the skin is not overworked at the first visit and if more than one color (always recommended when creating natural designs) was used, they didn’t “muddy” together.

Think of it like if you were painting a stencil on a wall…you would first paint the wall, let it dry, and then paint on the decorative stencil. The same applies when implanting accents strokes to a powder filled eyebrow. Patience on the part of the client and the artist usually always produces the best work AND…you really do get what you pay for, this is the time to be looking for a bargain.

If the client has hair, but it is sparse, usually the entire hair stoked design can be completed at her initial visit but, a follow up “perfection” visit is essential to add accent strokes. Either way, the talent of the artist is paramount, so please… Do your home work and ask to see photos!

NUMB AND NUMBER… My thoughts on anesthesia

For years, my students and other artists have asked me about my perspective on the many different approaches to anesthetics in our industry. ..so here it is.  Safety should always be everyone’s main concern, next comes outcome, then comfort.  The truth is, beauty can be painful and anything worth having does not always come easily.  With all of the OTC products available to artists today, permanent makeup procedures should not be extremely painful.  And NEVER should an artist promise or advertise pain-free procedures.

Recently, I attended some classes and hands-on workshops that exposed me to a variety of different numbing products and techniques.  It was interesting, a good learning experience and inspired me to share my thoughts on this particular subject.

It’s true that administering pain control products is important, however, we all need to be cognizant of the effects that they may have on the pH of the skin, the concentration level of the pigments and the end healed result.

Of course we want our clients to be comfortable, but it’s easy to get side-tracked and lose focus of why they are in our office in the first place, and that is to have us implant beautiful, lasting color.  While attending this workshop, I witnessed technicians glob mass amounts of unnecessary numbing agents on to the lash lines of the clients all the way up to the brow.  It looked like white spackle or plain yogurt spread over the entire eye socket, which to me posed a bigger threat of melting into the eye and compromising the integrity of the corneal epithelial layer.   At this point, I was reminded that the person hosting the event also “sold” the numbing products, so the more used, the more sold.  Hey, I’m all for free enterprise, as long as it’s honest, safe and there are no victims or casualties.  As a matter of fact, if it were not for some of the very progressive and innovative entrepreneurs in our industry, we would still be rubbing ice cubes and dental hurricane on our clients.  On the other side of that argument, one could go broke just purchasing numbing agents if we are not careful.  Not to mention the safety threat.

That said, we need to remember that there is a cornea under the lid that we are working on.  The cornea is responsible for 30% of our vision.  Even our safest products can compromise the health and integrity of the corneal epithelial layer if overused.  In addition, an anesthetized cornea does not feel sensation when the client sits up and wipes a dry tissue across the surface causing a corneal abrasion.  This can be excruciatingly painful once the topical anesthetic wears off.    PROCEED WITH CAUTION … LESS IS MORE.

For an eyeliner procedure, I recommend that artists start by applying a moderate “bead” of an over-the-counter, cream based product at the base of the lash line. (Usually Lidocaine 3% & Tetracaine 2% combo).  Allow this first application to saturate and de-sensitize the clean lash line for approximately 10 minutes.  Then, using either a stippling, etching or rolling technique, make a delicate shallow pass across the lash line to disrupt the tissue enough to apply a layer of a lidocaine/epinephrine product.  Some products work best when the skin has been disrupted.  There are a few techniques to this approach.  When opening skin other than the lash line, some artists will use a skin buffer, their  needle (dry) and some will use a shallow derma roller.  All these techniques will disrupt the skin enough to allow for proper saturation of a pre-numbing agent that contains epinephrine.  After a 10 minute wait time, I then make a gentle 1st pass and apply a more aggressive anesthetic agent.

Another popular technique is to not pre-numb at all.  Once the design is created with the preferred drawing tool, many artists will trace the design with a delicate hash or stroked pass.  If the client can tolerate this and the artist is delicate enough, this is a great way to secure the drawn template with pigment before applying the numbing agent.  This is an effective way to recreate what we designed and what the client has approved before we begin to seriously implant color.  Also, this pass can be done with a dry needle creating a blood line if the artist so chooses.   The goals of this pass are to secure the drawn design and to disrupt tissue enough so that the skin will reciprocate and respond to the topical anesthetics.

Once this pass is completed, the artist can now apply the anesthetic product of choice and allow this mixture to saturate into the tissue for at least 5 minutes.  Remember, we have a limited window of time to get in and get out!  The skin can only be desensitized for a short period of time and it’s imperative that the color goes into the intended layer of skin before the histamines rise to the surface.  Working on a swollen lid, filled with fluid is a waste of time and is usually caused by overworking the tissue.  Try to make every pass count and don’t forget that your client trusts you with not only the permanent make up design, but with the health of the tissue you are working on.

Next, I’d like to address stretch and grip.  Body artists oftentimes will use Vaseline to help their needles glide over large areas and to ease in their shading techniques.  We work in small areas with different products, different machines, different needles and in most cases, on different areas of the body.  A slippery product is really not our friend as we must have a good, taut stretch to implant our products.  For these reasons, and more, I personally do not use any anesthetics with a petroleum base.

It is also not necessary to use an arsenal of products on one case.  I’ve observed trainers and artists use up to 5 different numbing agents during 1 procedure.  Their focus is more on keeping the client completely numb than doing their best work.  Clients usually expect to feel a little something, especially if you conducted an honest consultation prior to the procedure.

Tell yourself that you have a certain amount of time to complete the perfect task at hand.  Focus on creating your best possible work using only the necessary amount of numbing agents.  This means also that your working field and canvas must be free of fluids, numbing products and pigments to ensure that you are effectively implanting  a precise design.  Allow yourself to channel your energy into creating beautiful outcomes all while listening to and watching your client closely.

Pigments & Fading: How long will your color last?

That’s right, if you are one of the thousands of women who enjoy the benefits of permanent makeup, you may have noticed that your color is not as brilliant and intense today as it was when you initially had it applied. That’s because, the colors used in micropigmentation are cosmetic colorants, and, like all colors, they fade over time. Think about it…what happens if you put a red throw rug out in the sun for a week or two? How about curtains or drapes over time? Again…all color fades. For a realistic expectation, clients need to think of this as a “low maintenance”, not a “NO maintenance” procedure. Clients should plan to visit their artist once a year for a color boost or enhancement to restore their designs to the desired color and hue temperature.

NaturaLook Institute of Permanent Cosmetics is dedicated to the continuous education and innovation in the micropigmentation industry. We love what we do and do what we love. “I just adore my l clients. It seems like every time they come back to see me, we are changing colors, needles, products or techniques because the industry is continuously getting better and better”. ~J. Lusby For these reasons and more, it’s important that clients to return each year or two to refresh their color and/or design…it’s also youthful and progressive to explore and implement their new options. As an artist and business owner, it’s very easy to get left behind in this fast- paced profession.

Creating a natural looking brow with hair strokes

Creating a natural looking brow with hair strokes and movement through the art of permanent makeup requires skill and practice.

There are many different techniques and styles used today by artists in our industry to achieve beautiful healed results.

This said, there really is no one way or technique to accomplish this delicate outcome.  Most artists will explore many different styles and techniques before they become proficient in the skill set that works best for them.  And, most have mastered the skills to produce more than one style or design.

Bottom line is that, regardless of style, the end healed result must be pleasing to both the artist and the client.  It’s critical that the healed results are stunning and is what the artist and the client deems as beautiful.  Too many times, the outcomes of the procedures are judged prematurely.  Immediately after a tattoo, brow hair strokes are crisp, clean and perfectly placed.  Clients often learn that these perfect designs disappear, fade and appear flawed after just a few weeks of healing

To avoid this complication, the artist must invest in training, practice, and good pigments to ensure that they are producing beautiful, lasting brow stroke designs that the client will enjoy for a long time.

Again, there are many different philosophies, opinions and techniques embraced by artists today and it seems that EVERYONE is advertising “brow hair strokes” as a “must have” brow procedure lately.  With this influx in this style, we are seeing more and more stripes or barcodes on foreheads.  This will also translate into many more difficult correction cases.

It’s helpful to consider that not everyone needs or is a candidate for this procedure.  Some clients fare very well with a soft powdered fill and others may just need a few strokes in the bulb with a soft shaded fill throughout the rest of the brow.

Artists today need to offer a variety of options.  Each client should be individually counseled and her realistic brow outcome goals and options discussed.   Artist need to take into consideration the client’s existing hair (or lack of), its growth pattern, texture and the overall health of the skin.  The goal is to create designs with movement and dimension that not only look natural, but complement and enhance her existing features and appearance.

Perfecting your skills means that you can offer these options.  I feel that it is critical that all artists learn to lay down, or tattoo a beautiful, soft, shaded or powder filled eyebrow.  To do so, one must consider the following:

There are 3 important factors to consider when creating a soft shaded filled brow;

  1. Needle configurations
  2. Technique
  3. Pigment

Needles:  You must use a shader needle.  Make certain that you are not using sharp, steep tapered, liners or in-line needles.  The needle needs to give, be less rigid and have movement to delicately brush or sprinkle color into the upper portion of the dermis, not slice, drag or drill color in.

Technique:  Keep your needles moving at all times and at the same depth for even color distribution using a shading technique.  Consider shading, brushing, loose circles or stippling.  Remember that you are trying to softly “sprinkle” color just below the epidermis.  If you choose to stipple, think of it like you are “sponging” color into the skin not creating polka dots or deep puncture wounds.

Pigment: Powder fills are intended to look more natural.  It’s helpful to choose a color that is lighter in tone and concentration for the first application.  You can intensify the color/saturation or add dimension with strokes at the follow-up visit if necessary.  Many artists create their powder filled brows using a wash or dispersion products to help create a more diffused and transparent shaded fill.  I recommend that the artist include a cup of dispersion solution in their tray set up and cross dip in dispersion as opposed to diluting the intended color totally.  This allows the artist to have more control of the concentration levels of the pigment.  Dispersion allows the color to move more easily in the skin and the artist can create a more transparent result.

Options in Design:

If a client has absolutely no existing brow hair, one suggestion is to create a lightly colored shaded design as a background before implanting the hair strokes.  In some cases, it is best to do dimensional work in stages, meaning, tattoo a soft background color as a template and then ask the client to return in 4-6 weeks after the color has healed and dried in the skin.  Then add movement by implanting multi-colored and multi-sized hair strokes, one hair at a time.

This approach ensures that the hair strokes are not implanted into overworked tissue, which will result in chunky, “muddy” looking hash marks in the skin.

Think of it as if you were painting a stencil on a wall… you would first paint the wall, let it dry, and then paint on the decorative stencil.  The same applies when implanting accent strokes to a powder filled eyebrow.  Patience on the part of the client and the artist will usually produce the best work.  Remember that we “get what we pay for” so consider charging a higher fee for this design, an artist will charge what they think they are worth.

If the client has hair, but it is sparse, usually the entire hair stroked design can be completed at her initial visit but, a follow up “perfection” visit is essential to add accent strokes.  Either way, the talent of the artist is paramount.

As previously mentioned, this procedure has been rapidly gaining popularity.  And whether the artist is using a hand tool, a razor blade, embroidery technique, digital, coil, reverse strokes or something else, the proof is in the healed result.  So please do your homework, find the technique that works for you, hone your skills and advertise a variety of good healed, un-retouched photos for an honest, realistic perspective of the future design outcome.