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.
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.
Permanent eyeliner is the process of implanting pigment into the skin. It is a form of tattooing. While it is permanent, it does require the color be refreshed periodically. Frequency of re-enhancements depends on the technician’s skill with their device, but also it depends a lot on the client. Certain medications and/or medical conditions seem to cause more color loss or quicker fade. The more medications the client is taking the odds are the color won’t hold quiet as long before needing refreshed. I typically see my clients every 2-5 years. The eye is a sensitive area but because of the thinness of the skin, the area responds very well to
During an initial consultation always wear your eyeliner so your technician can see what your style and goals are. Very wide eyeliner, tails and wings are a bad idea with cosmetic tattooing because the tattoo does not age well. And what looks good on us in our 30’s or 40’s may not look so good in our 60’s, 70’s or 80’s. Why? Because when we apply cosmetics topically we automatically make adjustments as our face changes with time. The tattoo in the skin can’t do this. So we need to take a more classical approach and add the fashion look with cosmetics when it is appropriate.
People who are sporty naturals and don’t want a “made up” look, love lash enhancement. With lash enhancement tiny dots of pigment are placed in between the lashes. The healed result is the appearance of thicker lashes. This works well for both women and men. I have found it works best for clients who have darker lashes. For those with blond lashes, the dots don’t blend in as well. For those with blond eyelashes, go for a very thin line. Anyone can wear a thin natural look eyeliner.
A classical eyeliner starts with a natural eyeliner but then widens it out a bit. For safety reasons, eyeliner should not go closer to the tear duct than the last eyelash, nor should it extend beyond the last eyelash at the outer corner. The structure of the skin changes at that point and there is a high risk of migration which is not correctable. If you want it to extend farther or you like to have the outer corner upper connect to the outer corner lower, this is better done with makeup. Classical eyeliner can be applied either narrower on the inner corner and wider as it moves to the outer corner or in a dome where the widest part is directly over the iris.
If you like a slightly more smudgy look, this can be achieved with a halo color. A halo color is an additional line placed just above the upper eyeliner. It is designed to disperse more and give a soft halo to the eyeliner. Halo colors are lighter and softer than the black or off-black eyeliner colors. Most pigment manufacturers have moved away from the dated green, violet and navy eyeliners, opting instead to recommend dark brown, brown black or black. While I used to do dark brown or brown black, I now avoid this whenever possible. Browns are a much weaker color and fade faster. Black goes into the skin better and stays much longer. For clients that feel black is too harsh for them, a deep moss or charcoal color is a good alternative.
Many ophthalmologists recommend permanent eyeliner for their clients who have a lot of allergies or sensitive eyes. Its also great for people who have lost their close up vision or struggle with dexterity. Permanent makeup does not smear, smudge, or bother your contact lenses. It stays on right through whatever your busy lifestyle may encounter. To help it last the longest, wear dark glasses when you are exposed to UV light.
Oregon is one of, if not THE strictest in their training requirements for cosmetic and artistic tattoo technicians. There are strict requirements for training, which is actually outlined in the rules and must be followed by all schools. It requires all schools to teach 210 hours of theory and practice before allowing students to work on the public. Then they must complete 160 hours of supervised hands on training on live models including at least 50 completed procedures.
After this they must take a state administered exam to get their certificate that allows them to work. But it doesn’t stop here. They are required to take 10 hours of continuing education every year PLUS they must keep up annual training in blood borne pathogens and maintain their First Aid, CPR/AED certifications.
Judith maintains all of this including attending national or international conferences 3-5 days per year to stay up with current industry changes and modifications. This allows her to bring the very best experiences to her clients both in Portland at Red Lotus Skin Care and at her clinic in Eugene, Esthetics NW.
Permanent Cosmetics NW
81 Centennial Loop, Suite 3
Eugene, OR 97401
A division of Culp Enterprises, Inc.
Call to Schedule an appointment
Phone: (541) 344-7789