permanent cosmetics

The field of Permanent Cosmetics (Cosmetic Tattooing) is rapidly expanding in popularity. Women all over the country are learning of the benefits of having Permanent eyeliner, eyebrow coloring, lip color or lipliner. What could be better than to wake up looking as good in the morning as you did in the evening? Think of the time you could save putting on your makeup.

The benefits of Permanent Cosmetics are being discovered by people from all walks of life including professional women, athletes, those with poor eyesight or unsteady hands, those with sensitivities to traditional cosmetics and those whose work precludes wearing makeup. Properly applied Permanent Cosmetics are so natural your neighbor will never know you are wearing them.

Once you have made the decision to have Permanent Cosmetics applied you have the important task of finding a qualified technician to do the work for you. This is a critical decision. Locate a technician in the same manner you would a doctor, dentist, etc. Since there are no uniform regulations in the country, it is mandatory you learn as much as possible about the industry so you can determine who is a qualified professional in this field. Remember you are altering your appearance permanently so it is important you make your decision carefully.

  • It is important you visit the site where the work will be done. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set standards for physical cleanliness and a sanitary working environment. Does the location you are visiting meet this outward criteria? Is there hot and cold running water on the premises other than in a rest-room? Is the work being done in a private room where other contaminants, such as acrylic nail dust, cannot circulate in the air?
  • Is the technician registered with the county Health Department? Do they have their Body Art technician registration certificate on display in the work area? Remember that Body Art licensing is different from Cosmetology and Skin Care licensing, and just because someone is a licensed Hair Stylist or Esthetician under the CA State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology it does not mean that they have been properly licensed under the county Health Department for Permanent Cosmetics/Body Art! Health Department registration is a requirement under California state law.
  • Is the facility or shop registered with the county Health Department? Is the facility registration certificate on display?
  • Is the technician clean and neat? Do they use new gloves for every client? Do they use clean sheets on your chair/bed? Are surfaces to be touched during the procedure wrapped in barrier film to prevent contamination? Are the technician’s nails clean and short?
  • Most importantly, do they use new sterile needles and equipment with each client? Are needles and equipment fully disposable? Are any metal handles Autoclaved or disposed of after use?
  • Ask about the technician’s background. How long have they been in the industry and how many procedures have they done? Ask about certificates of training and continuing education. Since this field is rapidly evolving, regular continuing education is a must. For someone relatively new to the industry, ask how many hours of training they have had. How many hands-on procedures did they perform during training class? A one day or two-day training course, or training done remotely where practice is done on paper or latex and not real people is not enough and should disqualify the technician.
  • Look at the technician’s portfolio and inquire if this is their own work (and not stock pictures from their training school or pictures of work done by their instructor). Does their work match your own personal style as it relates or relative to how intense the finished work is, how wide the eyeliner, how red the lips or lip liner.
  • What does their healed work look like?

If you desire permanent lip color, find a technician who is experienced in this procedure. Lip work is more advanced than eyeliner and eyebrows and should only be entered into after consultation with the technician and a review of their picture portfolio. If you are considering cheek blush or eyeshadow, select a technician that has been in the field for many years. These procedures the most difficult of all and should not be considered unless you have seen other acceptable work from the technician and have reviewed their qualifications.

The same cautionary approach should be used toward any camouflage work.

As you do your research into this industry, bear in mind Permanent Cosmetics are a form of tattooing and must be thought of as lifelong. It is important you be comfortable with your technician before you start. You will have a special relationship with your technician. You must be confident he/she will give you a look you will be comfortable wearing for many years.

(from the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals

Many people are price conscious when purchasing anything from groceries to homes. It’s normally prudent to be so. After all, why spend money you don’t have to? Competition is good; it keeps services from being available to only those in a particular income bracket. On the other hand, there are certain aspects of doing business that are more costly than others and that also supports many product prices. The lowest price is not always the same quality, or provided under the same controlled conditions as a price that has legal requirements, and/or health and safety elements factored in.

When looking for a permanent cosmetic artist, the consumer has a greater bit of homework to do than, for instance, looking at several dealers who offer the same automobile. This is your appearance, and some artist’s work will appeal to what you may be interested in more than others. You will also want to feel comfortable and assured that your health is not at risk. Needles and cross contamination of products and body fluids spread diseases if not handled in accordance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or similar Bloodborne Pathogens mandates.

From a legislative perspective, the general public has come to assume or depend on the government to require licensing or permitting (this language will vary per locale) for almost all consumer services. That is not necessarily a good position to take. There are many places that do indeed legislate permanent cosmetics, but some do so only from a health and safety perspective; technical training is not called out as a requirement in the law. While a few regions have legislation that include a technical training program curriculum, others do not. In other words, “Assume nothing”.

Body Art laws in the state of California do not require proof of technical training, a required training curriculum to be met or a minimum number of training hours to be completed. As a consumer it is important that you research and seek out technicians who have completed at least 100hrs minimum of technical training. Beware of technicians who only offer Microblading Eyebrows after a two or three day class!

As an example of inconsistencies, the latest Microblading technique that has enjoyed widespread media exposure (Television, magazines, social media), many regions have not included Microblading in the language of their tattooing and permanent cosmetic laws. As a result, a person with literally no or little training (two-day classes are advertised frequently) can legally, in the absence of legislative language that includes Microblading, offer services under conditions not consistent with the requirements of traditional tattoo and non-Microblading permanent cosmetic artists in the same locale. One would wonder why? Good question, and this same question would apply to any region where permanent cosmetics are offered without legal oversight, regardless of the technique.

All tattooing compromises the skin by pricking it with a needle grouping to deposit pigment. So why not legally recognize Microblading as tattooing? Words such as semi-permanent, temporary, not as deep, not a tattoo, etc., all of which are confusing to the general public, have thrown some lawmakers off their game, so to speak. Currently, there are efforts to enlighten legislators who make these legal decisions, but the process is slow.

Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange County, California, are counties that do recognize Microblading as a form of Permanent Cosmetics/Tattooing and regulate technicians accordingly. It is critical that you ask if the technician is licensed as a Permanent Cosmetics/Body Art Practitioner with the county’s Health Department! Licenses should be on display at the shop or studio.

How does all this affect the average person looking for permanent cosmetic services? The price of the service, although important, should be secondary to other more important issues. The following is a list of considerations:

If your municipality has laws pertaining to permanent cosmetics, does the artist have evidence of compliance?
After scheduling a consultation with the artist:
Does she or he share your vision of what you expect from the service?
Were you able to effectively communicate with the artist?
Does the artist’s makeup appear nice to you?
Was the studio where the procedure will be conducted clean and esthetically pleasing?
Were you offered a form to review your medical profile to ensure you are a good candidate for the service?
Were you offered an informed consent form detailing out the service, the prices, the number of appointments that charge includes, and any possible side effects, and what to do in case of a medical problem?
During the consultation were you offered a review of the artist’s portfolio to determine how their work appears immediately after the procedure and then after healing?

Pricing of any product or service on the market is often overhead-driven, and for a service offering, it is definitely price supported by a time-based consideration. Consider beginning with the SPCP Industry Study Vision 2015 for a general idea of what professionals have responded to what they are charging for different services. This is a good place to start.

Prices will indeed, as they should and do for all products and services, vary from artist to artist and from location to location. Some work in a medical office and commissions may be required. Some artists have lower, and some have higher, overhead expenses. Some artists have extensive fundamental and continuing educational costs.

What the consumer should consider is 1. Can I afford a well-trained artist who meets legislative oversight mandates, and one I feel comfortable will meet my expectations? 2. If I look to doing business with a person who either has no location mandates for their service, and who has little or no training evidence (typically in the form of certificates of training documents), am I at risk for not having my expectations met, or worse, risking a resulting health condition? 3. What are the ramifications of and options for poor permanent cosmetic work?

Much like everything in life, good decisions are required to expect good results. Most importantly when it comes to permanent cosmetics, the consumer should factor in a “no regrets” accommodation and be insightful and reasonable when choosing an artist for their work.

Under the right conditions, permanent cosmetics are the best thing a person could decide to do for themselves. Under the wrong conditions, the opposite is true.