Microblading, Tattoos and Permanent Makeup
Brows in the hair stroke style
A recent magazine article opened with this phrase… “Microblading, tattoos and permanent makeup are more popular than ever.” This reflects a new trend I see happening. Re-naming things to gain market share. And actually… it’s just history repeating itself.
A tattoo, by definition, is implanting pigment into the skin in a way it doesn’t exfoliate off as the skin heals. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s still a tattoo. Even skin coloration dots used for radiation are a tattoo.
Other names you will hear are:
· scalp micropigmentation,
· permanent cosmetics/ permanent makeup
Why all the names…
Blended stroke brows
The techniques vary slightly but they are all forms of tattooing used to create the look of makeup. To learn one technique, or perform one technique, limits the ability to meet diverse needs. Think of it this way… one size never fits all.
So why did people coin all these different terms? Marketing. Even just 20 years ago tattooing wasn’t mainstream. “Nice” people didn’t get a tattoo. So they came up with alternative terms to step away from being associated with tattooing.
All that has changed. Now 40% of millennials, 30% of gen-xers, and 13% of the boomers have at least one tattoo. Many have more. The stigma of a tattoo is gone. Alternative terms are used for marketing or to describe a “style” of eyebrow work.
The key difference among tattooing is its purpose, where it’s placed and the type of pigments used.
Artistic tattooing is decorative in purpose. It’s placed anywhere on the body. That said, most experienced tattooists don’t like to work below the wrist, below the ankle or on the head. They call those areas “trash skin” because they don’t take the color well and it tends to blur quickly.
Their pigments are classical in formula using a full range of colors. They tend to be bright, clear and are formulated to replicate the tones found in nature. Colors will fade over time with exposure to UV. Carbon Blacks can blur and spread into wider lines.
With permanent makeup, the work is on the face or after cancer on the breast. Its purpose is to create a makeup look or replace missing color. Pigments are formulated to meet this purpose.
Long-lasting power brows
They use an iron-oxide black formula to minimize the risk of migration over time. The pigments are creating the look of makeup. They are blends, not color-wheel tones.
Work on the face, it gets regular UV exposure. Traditionally, color re-enhancement is 2-5 years. Microblading techniques for the eyebrows put in less color. They will need re-enhancement every 8-12 months.
Whether you are seeking microblading, tattoos or permanent makeup there is something more important than the name associated with a style of work. That’s the amount of training and experience of the person performing the service.
Traditional tattooists may spend a year, or several, learning their craft. Unfortunately for the consumer, this isn’t true with permanent cosmetics.
Considering microblading, tattoos, and permanent makeup? Do your research…
Brows in the hair stroke style
In most states, the only regulation on tattooing is the minimum age of the client. Some have regulations regarding infection control. But only a very few states have regulations regarding technician education requirements. In most states, it’s legal for someone to offer permanent cosmetics with little to no training.
If you’re a consumer… do your research. Find someone who has had more one or two days of training and can offer you the style of work you are hoping to achieve. Explore your options and feel comfortable with your choice. If you are searching for a technician, visit the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (SPCP) website. They provide a list of technician members who meet national standards. https://www.spcp.org/thinking-of-getting-a-cosmetic-tattoo/find-a-technician/.
If you’re a technician or wanting to learn this art, invest the time and money to develop your skills. Look for a program that at least meets the SPCP training standards. They recommend all programs, even those teaching only one technique to be at least 100 hours. https://www.spcp.org/information-for-technicians/spcp-guidelines/.
Your reputation and your client’s face are in your hands.
Tattooing Freckles – don’t go there!
Every once in awhile I get a call about tattooing freckles. It seems there is a technician out there who is promoting this. They are probably pretty new to the industry and need guidance from an experienced mentor. Sometimes in our rush to make clients happy, we make poor decisions that can lead to long term issues.
Your face is constantly exposed to UVA rays even wearing SPF. This causes pigment – especially brown colors to fade. Even if your technician can initially get a close color to the freckles you have, it won’t hold. The only way to protect the color would be to wear a bag over your head… a look most of us wouldn’t consider.
Won’t it fade if I don’t like it?
So you say, well let’s try it and it’s okay if it fades off. Tattoos take years or even decades to completely fade away. Once done, you are stuck with it. Attempts at removal can leave you with pale or even white spots on your skin. This is due to the destruction of melanocytes in the process of the removal.
Also, keep in mind freckles are sun damage. They might be cute on a kid, but they age the adult. They also increase your risks of them becoming an unsightly skin lesion.If tattooed, they may make it more difficult for a physician to identify a possible cancer.
Use cosmetics to create or darken freckles
There are some nice semi-permanent – last all day, makeup pens that you can much more safely use to darken freckles if you like that look. Go with one of these to prevent your self a problem down the road.
Lip color should not be considered semi-permanent
How can I get semi-permanent makeup?
I routinely get questions about semi-permanent makeup. Women like the idea as it sounds less committed. But there are some illusions here. Let’s explore them.
Definition of a tattoo:
Pigment implanted into the skin creates a tattoo. The needle goes through the epidermis (the part of the skin we see) into the dermis which is underneath it. As it heals, any pigment in the epidermis exfoliates off. The pigment in the dermis stays there. The color can fade but the molecule remains.
Some countries feel that because the color does fade with exposure to UV it doesn’t last a lifetime. Since it fades they classify it as semi-permanent. In the USA the thought is a little different. Think of hair color for a minute. A rinse is a temporary color that washes out with the next shampoo or two. Semi-permanent color fades out over several weeks or a couple of months. Permanent hair color has to grow out. This situation doesn’t exist for a cosmetic tattoo.
Cosmetic tattoos stay in the skin
Once it is in the dermal tissue, the molecule of color stays there. Pigment molecules were identified via biopsy in tattoos where they color is gone. The color will eventually fade and need re-enhancement. How quickly it fades depends on the volume of color implanted. With microblading, the technician only makes a single stroke of color application. This means there will be significant fade in just a few months. Other techniques reinforce the color stroke making it last much longer. A solid fill power brow can last for years with good sun protection.
Microblading only works for eyebrow hair strokes. Never eyeliner or lip color due to scarring. The only way to get less color in lips would be to apply less. But without reinforcement, the color has a higher risk of fading unevenly.
Can’t I just let it fade away?
Absolutely. Without re-enhancement the color will continue to fade. But it doesn’t always fade evenly. It may fade with lighter and darker areas. This isn’t technician error, it’s rather caused by the physical structure of the epidermal-dermal junction with thicker and thinner areas. To keep your work looking fresh and color-true, a re-enhancement every two to five years is best. Lipcolor may be longer.
With a cosmetic or any other tattoo, it’s always best to approach it as permanent. Avoid fad styles and go with a more conservative, classical approach. Something that will enhance your natural looks and make you feel good about yourself for years to come.
Rosacea is a chronic condition that cannot be cured. But treatments can keep the symptoms under control. It most commonly starts as rosy cheeks and nose. Sometimes there are tiny vesicles that should not be extracted. While it can appear at any point in life, it often first shows up in the 30s.
To know if your rosy cheeks are rosacea, you should have it diagnosed by a doctor. Estheticians can help you keep it under control, but diagnosis is the scope of the physician. Sometimes the doctor will prescribe an oral product. Be sure to let him know of any side effects. Pair this with good professional skin care treatments.
There are several different levels of rosacea. If it is ignored, rosacea can worsen. Rosy flushed cheeks with some tiny vesicles is the mildest form. Papules and nodules along with the redness is more severe. Occasionally, it can affect an eye. The most severe form causes reddening and enlarging of the nose.
Once you know you have rosacea the best way to control it is to learn what your triggers are. Triggers are the things that cause it to flare up. It could be stress, heat, spicy or hot foods and many other things.
A journal can be your friend. If you note your face feels hotter, redder or breaks out pause. Think about what you have done in the last few hours or previous day. Note this in your journal.
- If you had four cups of coffee instead of your normal two and you are more flushed… that could be a trigger.
- Spent the day on the mountains or at the beach… sun/heat could be a trigger.
- More problems in the summer? Heat could be a trigger.
There are an almost endless list of possible triggers, so learning what yours are can be invaluable.
Scientists are still debating the causes behind rosacea. Bacteria, skin inflammation, vaso-dilation, fair skin and genetics are all contributing factors.
Look for skin care for chronically sensitive skins. Avoid perfumes, harsh stripping ingredients strong chemical peels or abrasive treatments.
Think calm, sooth, heal.
- Anti-inflammatories or anti-redness formulas help reduce the red appearance.
- Calming and soothing ingredients help make your skin more comfortable.
- Anti-bacterial ingredients help those with combination or oilier skins.
- Studies have shown rosemary helps control the demodex mite.
- Hot humid climates can worsen the condition. Be sure to have those calming soothing products on hand.
- Treat your skin gently.
- Avoid extreme heat, showers or saunas.
- Learn your triggers and avoid them.
- Learn stress management techniques to keep stress levels down.
- Work with a skin professional experienced with rosacea to find what works for you.
It may take a little practice but those symptoms can be kept at bay and your skin look and feel its best.
Want great brows? Here are some secrets to help you get the brows you’ve wanted so long.
Each of us has our own unique vision of what eyebrows should look like. Others have said to me, “I don’t know what they really should look like. It’s confusing.” I help them discover their perfect brow.
And then there are the fashion fads. Right now big bold brows that almost meet in the center of the nose and extend out beyond a normal brow are popular. These might look well on a tall statuesque model. On a smaller person, they look over done.
Your face, your bones, dictate the best brow shape and placement for you. Ignore this, and you will never be completely happy with the result. If you want fashion trendy brows – use cosmetics. Don’t have them tattooed this way. It is a recipe for unhappiness.
Keep in mind that while permanent cosmetics do fade, it can take 20 years or more for all the color to disappear. A shadow of color can last even longer. Get it done right in the first place. Once done, there are limitations to what change or “fixes” work.
Here are some tips skilled professionals wish every potential client knew.
1. Everyone’s brows are asymetrical. The two sides of our face are not the same. You will always have a favorite brow. Your technician can help make them look closer to the same, but they will never be identical. One eyebrow bone is naturally higher. That is the way we are. Skilled technicians have ways to minimize this but they can’t eliminate it.
2. Your technician should measure and mark the plan for your eyebrows. Freehand work is not the way to get the most symetrical brows.
3. There is no one right style of cosmetic tattooed eyebrow for everyone. Not everyone looks good with the same haircut. It’s the same with your brows. You need a technician skilled in a variety of styles to best help you.
If you have been filling in your brows with a pencil or powder, a powder fill, or ombre technique may be best for you. From arm’s length away, you will look very natural, just like you have a bit of makeup in your brows. Those used to this look find the hair strokes or microblading look like there are bare spots.
4. Different techniques need different re-enhancement. Microblading needs a re-enhance every 8-12 months. It is best for those who want individual hairs to show and don’t mind the extra expense.
Powder fill or ombre (shaded) brows can last 2-5 years before they need re-enhanced.
5. Your medications and lifestyle can affect color retention. Your eyebrows will need daily SPF for longer lasting results.
Experienced technicians know that if it has been more than 5 years clients need a “new” brow. Re-enhancement perks up the exisiting color. More faded work needs a follow up visit to bring back the brow the client wants.
That means they need a new brow procedure which includes the needed second visit.
Do your research. Go in for a consultation. If you and the technician are of the same mindset, go for it. Enjoy those brows.
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Each client has their own unique vision of what eyebrows should look like. Selecting an eyebrow style or technique must be matched to the individual client, their goals, their needs. I never do a “cookie cutter” approach. There is no one right or best style except the one that is best for YOU!
Sometimes eyebrows suffer from fads. Skinny little lines or big fat brows that nearly meet in the middle of the nose. Neither is a great choice for permanent cosmetics. Yes, permanent makeup fades, but it takes a long time, years to completely go away. In the mean time you are stuck. Changing brows once they are in place is very difficult. The end result will be better, but not as good as it could have been if done right the first time.
Your face, your bones dictate the best brow shape and placement for you. If we don’t respect the bones, the brows don’t age as well. You want them to look fabulous today, next month and years from now. I always take before and after photos so we can see you in your current makeup, without makeup, and the finished result. I measure and mark, with your input. We design them together.
Brows should always be measured and marked – not done freehand. You get a much better outcome. Why? Because everyone’s face is asymmetrical. We want to give the illusion of them looking more alike but respecting the bones. Together we evaluate your goals, your skin and come up with a plan to get your look.
Microblading is a current marketing style. It is individual hair strokes which has been done for over 20 years. The key difference is it is done with what they call a blade. But is is not really a blade. It is a manual tool with a single row of needles. The skin is stretched taunt and the blade drawn across the skin in a slicing action. Done too superficially, it fades away in 4-6 weeks. Done too deeply, it can scar. Each hair is applied in a single stroke, not reinforced. The finished look is individual hairs with skin showing through between. Because the strokes are not reinforced this technique requires at least annual re-enhancement.
Hair strokes: This technique can be done with a manual, or motor driven device. It uses a single row of needles like microblading. Hair strokes are implanted one at a time. Some may be reinforced for better hold. For a natural look strokes may be done in different directions. This technique needs re-enhancement every 18-24 months.
The Blend: This technique is done either with a manual or motor driven device. Needle choices are slightly broader. Hair strokes are implanted and then portions of the brow, where hair naturally grows more dense are reinforced so the end effect is natural looking, with some hair strokes showing and some blended. Typically re-enhancement is 2-3 years.
Powder fill: If you are used to seeing yourself wearing pencil filled brows, this may be the look you really want. While the pigment is still implanted in hair strokes, they are closer together. Healed, the finished look is you in well designed, makeup. Skin does not show between the strokes. Some clients think they want the hair strokes, but don’t like the “holes” between them where skin shows through. Re-enhancement varies from 2-5 years depending on many factors.
Shaded: This can be done with any of the other techniques. It uses multiple shades of color to create highlighting along the top of the brow and shading along the bottom to give it more three dimensional feel.
Want to know more about your very best brows? Call today: 541-344-7789.
Recently I have seen the term microbiome pop up in blogs, articles and discussions. Slightly skeptical after 35 years, I wanted to know what it was all about and what its real importance is to us in the spa and permanent cosmetic industries.
Time for research – my favorite pastime…
Definition: microbiome is defined as “the microorganisms in a particular environment (including the body or a part of the body).”
We knew that the human body was covered in microorganisms but that the stratum corneum did a great job of keeping them on the outside. We also knew that our gut had to have microorganisms to digest food. Now we have a new name for these groups of workers – microbiomes.
Internally, if the microbiome group is out of balance we have digestive disorders or even disease. Each of us has 10 – 100 TRILLION microbiotic cells in our bodies. These are found in the greatest numbers in our gut and allow for the proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. When the microbiome is out of balance disease, obesity, personality disorders and many other problems occur. When microbiomes are in balance we “live long and prosper.”
With new technology, microbiome studies have blossomed all over the world. Study of the human microbiome date back to the late 1600s but the human geome project completion, and expanded abilities of computers, has launched us into far greater understanding. It has also created even more questions.
Of greatest interest to those who have direct physical contact with clients is understanding the microbiome of human skin. The surface of the skin has 100 trillion microorganisms living on it. That is 10 times the number of skin cells. Hand hygiene is of crucial importance to reducing transfer of microbiome from one person to another.
In our industry practicing good hand hygiene and regular hand washing are the best defense to prevent contracting or sharing of disease. Routine use of gloves when there is the risk of exposure or transfer of OPIM (other potentially infectious materials), is the best practice. If we need to touch something and there is a risk our gloves may be contaminated – change gloves! Wash hands before work, between clients, before eating, after using the restroom and before going home.
Scientists are just learning about the hand microbiome and its relationship to health outcomes. Better control and studies will expand our knowledge. In the meantime, keep practicing good hand hygiene.
Sore wrists? Tingly fingers? Little electrical sparks in wrists, arms, fingers?
Any or all of these and you may be developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). A buildup of pressure in the wrist, it can also extend to the elbow or even the shoulder. Carpal Tunnel used to be a problem typically found in the elderly, worn out wrists. Today it is showing up in Generation X, the Milennials and more. Why? Repetitive motion of the wrist or hand. Texting, gaming, twisting of the wrist can all contribute.
Its not uncommon for the first symptoms to be a tingly sensation in the fingers. Maybe it wakes you up at night. Maybe you notice it when using your gaming control. Maybe when driving long distances or gripping something firmly. Massaging or shaking your fingers may help, temporarily.
Ignore the symptoms and it will get worse. You will feel more pain, tingling, numbness, sparking. You might start dropping things. The good news – there are treatments and preventative measures. The sooner you take action, the less risk of permanent nerve damage or disability. Early diagnosis is key.
Often the first treatment will be wrist braces that you can wear at night. When we sleep we curl our hands and wrists into odd angles as we snuggle into our favorite fetal curl. While everyone is different, I found the braces eliminated over 80% of the symptoms.
Did you know that if you have these symptoms and they are potentially work related in Colorado you will be referred to see someone who practices Active Release Tecniques (ART) before you see a doctor. Typically ART is performed by a specially trained provider, often a Chiropractor. ART is so unique it has been granted a medical patent.
Who likes surgery? If you are like me, you don’t. If I can find a good way around it I will. On the suggestion of a great friend, I decided to try ART before undergoing the surgery route. No down time! Its like other chiropractic treatments. Quick and back on the road. My first time following the ART they hooked me to an EMS machine to stimulate nerve repair. It was odd but certainly not painful.
Your wrists may be a little tender where the doctor broke up the build-up of crunchy bits. This goes away in a day or so and they will generally follow up with you a few days later. Based on how your symptoms are they will repeat the ART. Everyone is different but its common for 3-4 visits over about 3 weeks. For most people they are back on the road. You may need a follow up treatment every few months.
Surgery is always there as an option. It comes with a much higher price tag, downtime and rehab time. If you are prone to keloid scarring, this can affect your outcome.
Next time – tips for preventing CTS.
My recent post on wearing gloves got positive support from many, thank you. I did find it sad that one spa said they got a negative review for their technicians wearing gloves. This shows the need for consumer education. Maybe a little flyer or insert on your web page that explains how you are protecting clients by wearing gloves. Feel free to use the following to promote client safety and help consumers understand why more and more estheticians are wearing gloves during services.
Gloves are often used in esthetic services to protect the client, and the technician from transmission of potentially infectious microbes (OPIM). These tiny organisms cannot be seen by the human eye, or even with the magnifying glasses commonly found in a treatment room. If you have ever had a manicure and noticed an irritated cuticle the next day, or had a waxing done and then experienced tiny red papules in the area, this is likely caused by those microbes.
Today’s technicians are taught to practice infection control and the prevention of cross contamination. During a wax procedure this would include wearing gloves, disinfecting the area, remove the hair and then disinfect the skin again. Each step is an important link it preventing irritation or infection.
Any time your esthetician performs an exfoliation treatment; microdermabrasion, scrubs, galvanic, chemical peels, or ultrasonic, it can allow tiny portals in the skin to let bacteria in or out. The same is true for extraction. To protect both the client and the technician, gloves may be worn for the duration of the treatment. It is that extra step to protect you that is important to us, your professional estheticians. Even if there is no visible openings in the skin, we do not want to risk transmitting a microbe from ourselves or any other object in the treatment room onto a “potentially” open surface.
Some states now require all technicians to wear gloves for all treatments. They are taking a pro-active stance to prevent any possible problem. The good news? Today’s gloves are thin, protective and have great tactile feel. You probably won’t even know your esthetician is wearing them.
Most estheticians no longer use latex gloves, but if you have a latex allergy please do bring it to their attention. Today’s gloves are generally vinyl or nytrile. They should be exam glove quality. In the future you can expect to see more nytrile gloves in use as they are much more environmentally friendly, even though the cost of use is still more than vinyl.
Permanent Cosmetics NW
81 Centennial Loop, Suite 3
Eugene, OR 97401
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Phone: (541) 344-7789