Who wouldn’t love to save time every day? This is just one of the reasons women opt for permanent makeup — swapping eyeliner application for an extra 10 minutes of sleep in the morning is a win-win. Those with disabilities, such as the visually impaired or those with Parkinson’s disease, can greatly benefit from the convenience of permanent makeup, and it’s often used to enhance appearance after reconstructive surgery on the face or breasts. Some people permanently lose eyebrows after chemotherapy and feel more confident and beautiful when their brows are restored via permanent cosmetics. If you have a steady hand, a good eye, and a desire to help people to look their best, permanent cosmetics can be a great addition to your service menu.
Permanent Makeup 101
Permanent makeup, also known as micropigmentation or cosmetic tattooing, is applied via a handheld device that punctures the skin many times per minute with a tiny needle to embed permanent pigment in the dermal layers. The technician will usually first apply a topical anesthetic to the client’s skin; procedures generally take an hour or two, depending on the area being enhanced. Though the client may experience some swelling or redness, there is no downtime, and normal activities may be resumed immediately.
Athena Karsant, master cosmetic and corrective tattoo specialist and founder of www.foolingmothernature.com, always provides an initial complimentary consultation. “I study my client’s face, bone, and muscle structure, and learn her undertones and lifestyle,” says Karsant. “Before even picking up a tattoo hand-piece, I have the client fill out required medical history forms and a consent form. Then I pencil in her eyeliner, eyebrows, or lips with conventional makeup pencils and include the client’s ideas and opinion so she can get a general sense of what we will be doing, how it will look, etc.”
Karsant says there are many wonderful micropigmentation trainers around the country and around the world, and suggests looking on SPCP.org (The Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals) for good quality places to train. Cammy Nguyen of Blossom Beauty Lounge in Redondo Beach, Calif., has been doing permanent makeup in addition to nails for more than 17 years. “The art of permanent makeup was not difficult to learn,” says Nguyen. “However, as an artist I like to perfect everything I do, which takes time and a lot of patience and practice. “The first year after getting my certification I specifically kept permanent make up off the menu. Since the face is such a delicate structure, I wanted to ensure I perfected my skills before I offered it to my clientele.”
Although permanent makeup is essentially the same as a tattoo and permanent, some clients need to be touched up within about three years. Drawbacks can include possible allergic reactions or scar formation, but it is essentially safe as long as strict hygiene and sterilization procedures that conform to OSHA and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines are adhered to. Only disposable needles should be used.
Karsant warns that undertaking permanent makeup application is not for everyone. “You should not jump in this industry if you really aren’t an artist,” she says. “Permanent makeup is permanent — if you do not know what you are doing you can really hurt someone. I have spent countless hours of correcting other untrained technicians’ ‘work’ and, sadly, sometimes it cannot be fixed.”
For those up to the challenge, Karsant recommends an initial investment in only the best of everything. “With training, good quality equipment, lighting (natural light is recommended), supplies, pigments, a good chair, licenses, certifications, and products, it would cost between $15,000 and $20,000 or even more,” she says. “You could possibly do it for much cheaper, but if you want quality then you will want to spend more.”
License Required: Each state and county has its own rules. In California, a body art license is required, as well as certification from the County Health Department.
Startup cost: Including training, equipment, and products, the startup cost can run $15,000 to $20,000 or possibly more.
Average price charged: The average price charged per procedure is $50 to $800, depending on the procedure. Brows for example, cost an average of $400 to $600. Some procedures may require touch-ups, which typically run $100 to $250.
Logistics: A separate room with a window or natural lighting is ideal. You will also need an esthetics chair or bed, a certified sharps container for the proper disposal of needles, an area designated for pigments, topical anesthetics, and supplies, a sink with immediate hot and cold water, and a sterilizer for hand pieces.
Purebeau manufactures everything from pigments to equipment and runs its own permanent makeup academy. Shown here, the new Mobile One Permanent Makeup Machine provides total precision while you’re pigmenting. Using its touch screen, you can activate any of Purebeau’s permanent make up application programs, which allow the needle speeds to be perfectly tuned to the relevant task. The device features an additional laser that can be used to soothe the skin and support the healing process. www.purebeau-us.com
The UltraEssence micropigmentatuion device by PMT/Permark provides precise digital needle speed for uniform pigment application. The straight design precision hand piece accommodates all 53 shades of Permark pigments as well as all 12 needle variations. pigments. www.permark.com
K.P. Beauty Products manufactures permanent makeup machines, more than 50 customized pigments, and a variety of accessories. The Midas shown here is great for full lip, camouflage, and areola procedures. www.kpmakeup.com
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