Frequently Asked Questions

 

Microblading Eyebrows

(from the Society for Permanent Cosmetics Professionals at http://www.spcp.org/3213-2/)

What is this Microblading I keep hearing about?
Microblading, also known as Eyebrow Embroidery, Microstroke or 3d Hair Stroke brows is an advanced method of Permanent Makeup. Using a manual tool, which is a tiny row of needles (and not a blade as the name would imply), delicate, hair-like strokes of pigment are created in the skin to replicate natural brow hairs.
Is Microblading a tattoo?
With the sudden popularity and media attention to the term microblading, many are led to believe microblading is not a tattoo process. Permanent cosmetics, micropigmentation, dermal implantation, microblading/microstroking, eyebrow embroidery, and long-time/long-lasting makeup, are all different names for the same procedure – cosmetic tattooing. Any time color is placed into the skin with any device, it is a tattoo process as defined by many well-informed regulators, the medical community, and dictionary sources. Denying this process is a tattoo can be problematic for those who would, for religious or other personal reasons, normally refuse to have a tattoo.
Is a blade being used to perform the microblading tattoo procedure?
Absolutely not! Microblading is performed with a grouping or configuration of needles affixed to a handle to manually create lines that resemble eyebrow hairs. Manual methods of tattooing have been used through the ages, and the tools have gone through changes over time from pre-historic sharpened stones to the hand tool devices currently being used. An actual scalpel or cutting-type blade is NOT used under any circumstances as these are considered medical devices and cannot legitimately be used for this process. Any hand tool device (i.e., both handle and attached needles) used for microblading should be pre-sterilized and fully disposable. Check with any artist you’re considering that they are also disposing of the handles after every procedure!
Is Microblading really Semi-Permanent?
Some are promoting Microblading or eyebrow embroidery as a semi-permanent process; and that the color only reaches the epidermal (outer) layer of the skin. A careful review of basic skin anatomy and physiology would reveal this is not true. By definition and tattoo industry standards, color is tattooed/implanted into the dermis of the skin. If pigment particles do not reach the dermis, they will disappear during the healing phase of the skin, during normal regeneration of cells at the epidermal level. Pigments do fade in the skin over time, but that does not make the process semi-permanent. It is impossible to predict how much pigment will fade away and how long it will take to do so with any measure of consistency or reliability.
Why does Microblading not last as long as other eyebrow tattooing techniques?
This is simply because a much smaller amount of pigment is inserted (tattooed) into the skin as compared to fully or solidly filled eyebrow tattoos. Microblading has a shorter lifespan than solid powder-fill eyebrows, and depending on factors such as chosen pigment (lighter pigments require more maintenance), your unique skin’s biology and lifestyle factors (such as sun exposure, medications, tinting the brows with peroxide-based hair color, the use of anti-aging skin care ingredients and treatments such as peels or lasers), you may need a color boost as early as six to ten months after the procedure. Permanent cosmetics is LOW maintenance, but not NO maintenance. IF YOU DO NOT TOUCH IT UP in one to three years it may be faded, and it has the potential to turn different warm or cool colors, it may be blurred out or uneven looking as it fades. This happens and this is normal! This is why periodic touch-ups are done to make sure that this does not happen. PLEASE BE AWARE OF THIS. This is not something that any technician has control over. 
Be aware: The Microblading/Hairstroke technique will not work for everyone
  • If you have combination to oily or very oily skin, the hair strokes will often times heal to a blurred, almost powdery look. Crisp, defined hair strokes are not guaranteed on this type of skin.
  • If your brows have been tattooed previously, because of color saturation and scar tissue, hair strokes may not be able to be obtained. The old pigment should be almost completely faded away. Please schedule a consultation FIRST and Tara will be able to tell you whether or not you are a candidate for the Microblading hair stroke technique.
  • If you are a Fitzpatrick scale 3-6 (usually medium to dark skinned Hispanic or African American), the hair strokes may not be as visible as they are on lighter skin tones and another technique may better suit you.
Microblading can look TOO natural!
If you are expecting the result of Microblading to look like you filled your eyebrows in with powder or pencil and to have the same crisp edges that makeup provides – you may be disappointed. Microblading is meant to emulate the look of real, natural brow hairs. If you don’t like the look of a natural, makeup-free eyebrow, you may find Microblading is too natural in appearance for you. Tara has other options such as a combination technique of Microblading with a soft, powder background, or a powder fill that will look more defined. It’s important to know that not every technique will suit every person.
What else should I know about Microblading?
It is a fact that, over the years of receiving color boost touch-ups, that hair strokes tend to blur and become a more solid, powdery look. This is the nature of human skin itself and cannot be avoided. You’ll still have a beautiful brow, just not as crisp as the first time. Any technician who claims it’ll stay exactly the same over the years is simply selling you something and not being honest, or doesn’t have the experience to see what hair strokes look like five years down the road.
FAQs for ALL procedures:
What do I look for when I'm choosing a technician?
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 disposable coverings on the bed or chair and are they replaced after every client? 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 internet training done remotely where practice is done on paper or latex and not real people is not enough and should disqualify the technician. Your prospective technician should have at least 100hrs spent in a Permanent Cosmetics Fundamentals course.
    • 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? Ask for photos. A red flag is when they have NO healed photos of their own work to show you. Fresh procedures and healed procedures (especially with Microblading/Hair Strokes) can look very different.

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. You will need regular color boost touch-ups over the years. 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.

Medical conditions that prevent you from getting Permanent Makeup
Some medical conditions and treatments are contraindications and clients who have any of the below are not candidates for Permanent Makeup procedures.

      • Heart problems such as Mitral Valve Prolapse
      • Bleeding disorders (platelet, hemophilia, sickle cell)
      • Uncontrolled Diabetes or insulin dependent Diabetics (subject to infections and delayed healing)
      • Active cancer being treated with Chemotherapy or Radiation
      • Chemotherapy or Radiation in the past 12 months (may require doctor’s clearance letter)
      • Some Autoimmune disorders (may require doctor’s clearance letter)
      • Regular use of blood thinning medications or steroids
      • Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
      • Ocular issues such as Glaucoma or eye pressure, ocular herpes simplex, ocular rosacea (for Eyeliner procedures only)
      • Any treatment, medication, or illness that compromises the immune system / healing
      • Pregnant or Breastfeeding (increased chance of infection and complications due to hormonal changes in the skin – wait until finished)
Other considerations, and reasons you may need to delay getting Permanent Makeup
Contact your Doctor prior to discontinuing any prescribed medications or supplements.

      • Pregnant or Breastfeeding (increased chance of infection and complications due to hormonal changes in the skin – wait until finished)
      • Upcoming vacations or major events (right before your wedding, family photos or plans to go snorkeling in Hawaii a week after your appointment, for example. Wait until after!)
      • Current or recent Steroid usage (wait until 6 weeks after last dose)
      • Antibiotic usage (wait until 2 weeks after last dose)
      • If you are required to be on a prophylactic antibiotic before any procedures, such as dental work, you will need a letter of clearance from your doctor.
      • Accutane (Isotretinoin – also known under brands such as Sotret, Myorisan, Amnesteem, Claravis, and Absorica). You must wait a full 12 months after the last dose before you can receive any Permanent Cosmetics.
      • For Lip procedures, if you have ever experienced a cold sore or fever blisters (even in childhood) it will be required to obtain an anti-viral prescription PRIOR to the appointment to be taken at least one week before and one week after the procedure to help prevent viral outbreaks which can impact how your lip color heals.
      • For Eyebrow procedures – If your brows have been tattooed previously, please schedule a consultation FIRST and Tara will be able to tell you whether or not you are a candidate because of color saturation and scar tissue, Microblading hair strokes may not be able to be obtained. Some clients may need to opt for Removal of the old pigment to lighten the pigment and improve the outcome. Some clients may not be able to obtain the hair stroke look at all and may need a color refresher as a powder style.
      • For Eyeliner procedures –  You must NOT have eyelash extensions on when you arrive to your procedure appointment. They must be removed by your extension technician PRIOR to the procedure appointment. Your eyelash extensions can be reapplied after you are healed from your six-week Touch Up visit.
      • Unsure about the maintenance involved in getting regular color boost touch-ups over the years. Just like you can’t color your hair only once, you can’t expect to get permanent cosmetics and not have the needed future  touch-ups. Colors WILL shift and fade and require maintenance, that is the nature of the procedure.
How much does it cost?
Current prices are listed on the online scheduling system, which can be viewed at the bottom of the Book an Appointment page. Pricing is subject to change without notice.
How many appointments are included in the New Procedure cost?
All of the listed procedure prices include two appointments (initial appointment and one touch-up appointment within 6 to 8 weeks).

Micropigmention is a process and always requires multiple visits to achieve the final result. The second ‘touch-up’ appointment must be scheduled within the first 8 weeks from the first appointment. The procedure work is not considered complete without this second visit. No credit is issued for missed or non-scheduled 2nd appointments.

If you fail to schedule this appointment or cancel your scheduled appointment with less than 48 hours notice or you do not arrive to your scheduled appointment, there is a $75 dollar charge to reschedule. You will forfeit the second appointment if not scheduled and completed within the first 12 weeks.

What if I feel that I need a third appointment?
Third appointment during first 12 weeks unless included in price – $100.00

Sometimes a 3rd appointment is required to complete the work. This can not be predicted in advance.

There are many reasons for this and include poor retention of pigment for any reason. This can be because of skin texture, age, skin condition, the picking of the tattoo during healing, rubbing during healing, sleeping with face in a pillow and rubbing out the healing pigment, improper post-care, medications, age, bleeding during the procedure, sweating, exercising, skin’s rejection of pigment, health issues, accidental picking off the healing tattoo, etc.

The reason does not matter, it happens sometimes.
No two persons’ skin is the same.
All third appointments are charged regardless of the cause or reason for retention loss without exception.
This covers the cost of supplies and operating costs. The technician’s time is minimally charged.

Does it hurt?
The first question that people ask is, “Does it hurt?”. Topical anesthetics are applied before and during the procedure for comfort. Some people are more sensitive than others, and it varies depending on your individual pain tolerance. The most common answers are, “It wasn’t bad at all”, “I fell asleep”, “Tweezing hurts more”, and “I’m going back to get everything else done!”.
Does it look natural?
Yes, with the SofTap® method, you can have natural looking makeup, 24/7. Because this process is done by hand, it is easy to avoid harsh, dark, and unnatural permanent makeup. Tara’s goal is to enhance your natural features and will work with you to choose colors that flatter your skin tone and eye color.
How long does it last?
Though it’s called “Permanent makeup”, it is a fact that it does fade over time. This varies with each individual person. You should think of permanent makeup as LOW maintenance and not NO maintenance. Your permanent makeup can be affected by sun exposure (#1 enemy), health conditions, medication, and the natural aging process. The color can last anywhere from 1-5 years, however, it is recommended that you return for a color boost or touch-up every 1-2 years to keep your permanent makeup looking fresh.
Why do I need a touch up if this is permanent?
Because color is implanted in the facial area there tends to be more fluid circulation than other parts of the body. Your face sees the most wear of any piece of you—exposure to the sun, food, facial products and cosmetic procedures — the list goes on and on. All of these things cause permanent color to fade, this is why you need a periodic touch up to freshen up the color.
What can I expect during the procedure appointment?
      1. When you book your appointment, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a link to download, print and fill out the necessary client intake questionnaire and forms. If you don’t have access to a printer you can complete the forms when you arrive which takes 5-10 minutes.
      2. You’ll talk with Tara about how you normally wear your makeup, the look you’re going for (size, shape, color) and review any pictures you may have brought or browse through Tara’s gallery for examples.
      3. ‘Before’ pictures will be taken for your file.
      4. Your skin will be cleansed in the area receiving Permanent Makeup and a topical anesthetic will be applied. During this time you can relax on Tara’s comfy treatment bed, play on your phone, ask questions about the procedure or just chat about life and the weather!
      5. The topical anesthetic is removed and Tara can begin to measure out the design and placement of where your Permanent Makeup will be applied. This is done with temporary markings and the size and shape is adjusted based on your feedback. Tara will swatch several pigment colors on your skin to custom blend a color that suits your skin tone and desired result.
      6. Once you OK the design the procedure will begin. Tara will check with you to ensure that you’re comfortable during the procedure, and a second application of topical anesthetic is applied throughout as she works.
      7. Once the procedure is completed, you’re able to take a look at your beautiful new Permanent Makeup! Tara will take some ‘After’ photos and discuss in detail the After-Care instructions on how to care for your procedure as it heals and what to expect from the healing process.
      8. You’ll schedule your 6 week “First touch-up” appointment before you leave. This is included in the cost of your procedure.
      9. Do a happy dance!
How do I prepare for my appointment?
      • If you are sensitive, you may take an over the counter pain reliever approximately one hour prior to your procedure. Do not take aspirin or any other blood thinners (including herbs and supplements such as Vitamin E, Fish Oil, St John’s Wort) as these can promote bleeding.
      • Do not consume alcohol 24hrs before the procedure.
      • Do not consume caffeine the day of the procedure (coffee, energy drinks or even Excedrin for migraines).
      • It is recommended to discontinue to the use of Retin-A or retinol containing skincare products two weeks prior to the procedure and during healing.
      • Avoid getting a Sunburn or tanning outdoors or a tanning bed for a least two weeks prior to the procedure.
      • For Eyeliner procedures, remove your contact lenses (bring your glasses with you!) and eye makeup before the appointment, as conventional eye makeup may leave residue and make the procedure more difficult. Eyelash extensions MUST be removed by your extension technician prior to your appointment, and can be reapplied after you are healed from your six-week Touch Up visit.
      • For Lip procedures, if you have ever experienced a cold sore or fever blisters it will be required to obtain an anti-viral prescription PRIOR to the appointment to be taken at least one week before and one week after the procedure to help prevent viral outbreaks which can impact how your lip color heals. 
How do I show Tara what I want?
You may bring a picture of brows, eyes, or lips that you love—magazine cutouts, saved pictures or Pinterest examples are great. For eyebrows, if you arrive with them drawn just how you like them, Tara can create an outline, thoroughly cleanse your skin and get right to work. If you’re not sure, she will create measurements according to your bone structure and unique facial anatomy and make recommendations on the shape and placement that may best suit you. Show or tell Tara what your goals are for the final result, and she will do her utmost to help you achieve your desired look. You will always have the final say in your design.
How long does the procedure take?
This will vary with the type of work you are having done and your sensitivity. Generally speaking, basic powder eyebrow fills, eyelash enhancements, and straightforward lip liner each take a little under an hour. More complicated work such as thick eyeliner, Microblade eyebrows with hair strokes, and full lips take about two hours. Extremely difficult procedures will probably take more time and be broken up into several appointments (scar camouflage, correction etc.)
Is there any reason why I shouldn't get it done?
There are a few cases (medical conditions, medications etc) where permanent makeup may not be right or possible for you. If you know that you may fall into this category, call or email Tara to review your history and options. Health history will be requested and reviewed prior to each procedure to ensure your safety and the best result possible.
Permanent Makeup is not recommended for people:

      • Pregnant or Nursing (schedule after you’re done with this)
      • Major heart problems or a pacemaker
      • Hemophilia/Bleeding disorders
      • Epilepsy or Seizures (Doctor’s clearance/note may be required)
      • Autoimmune disorders (Doctor’s clearance/note may be required)
      • Uncontrolled Diabetes (Controlled Diabetes may be OK – Doctor’s clearance/note may be required)
      • Skin conditions in the treatment area – such as Psoriasis, Eczema, Rosacea, rashes, severe acne
      • Known allergies to anesthetic products containing “Caine” – Microcaine, Lidocaine, Tetracaine
      • Currently using Accutane or discontinued Accutane  (Isotretinoin – also known under brands such as Sotret, Myorisan, Amnesteem, Claravis, and Absorica). You must wait a full 12 months after the last dose before you can receive any Permanent Cosmetics.
      • Received Botox in the treatment area within the past month (schedule after a month)
      • Recently sunburned or actively tanning (indoor or outdoor – schedule two weeks after)
      • Antibiotic use in the past two weeks (schedule at least two weeks after last dose)
      • Flu, colds, generally not feeling well (schedule two weeks after you’re feeling better)
      • Unsure about any of the above? Call or email Tara.
I'm pregnant or nursing, can I get permanent makeup?
If you are pregnant or nursing, your body and your baby are more susceptible to any kind of infection. Wait until you are finished nursing before you get permanent makeup done. Alternatively, if you are not pregnant, but may be in the near future, come in for a consultation—it can be a real relief to know that you look great at any time of your pregnancy.
How old do I have to be to get permanent makeup?
As permanent makeup is indeed a tattoo, and is regulated by the body art laws of the state of California, you must be 18 and over with a valid form of identification. It is not recommended that people under 25 have permanent makeup done (unless a case like Alopecia) as getting permanent makeup means making a commitment to regular touch-ups that may not be possible due to life changes (going away to college, income considerations that make it hard to pay for future appointments).
How soon can I resume normal activity, exercising, gardening, etc?
Most normal activities can be resumed right away. Heavy exercise should be avoided for at least a week for best results—any sweat formed on your brows can impact your healing color. Swimming should be on hold for at least a week, pool chemicals and ocean sea salt could erode your healing color and expose your fresh tattoo to potentially dangerous bacteria as well. Outdoors activities such as gardening or golf can be resumed as long as your treatment area remains clean, dry, and out of the sun. For best results do not expose your healing procedure to any unnecessary wear.
Will I be swollen?
Eyebrows swell slightly. Swelling is normal and expected for lip and eyeliner procedures. Swelling may occur the same day or even a day or two after the procedure as healing begins. We recommend ice packs ten minutes each hour for the first three hours after these procedures to minimize swelling.
Will I have to hide from my friends or coworkers?
No! You can go out that night if you want to. Ice your procedure, apply your RecoverAll ointment, and have a ball!
Can I get an MRI?
Many people safely have had MRI scans performed after getting SofTap®. Inform your doctor or MRI technician that you have permanent makeup so that they can take the appropriate measures when performing your scan. You can also visit http://www.MRIsafety.com or http://www.fda.gov for more information.
How can I extend the life of my procedure?
Your permanent makeup will last longer if you apply sun block daily and avoid abrasive or heavy exfoliating facial treatments and skin care products in the area. This includes laser treatments, chemical peels, lightening agents, glycolic acids and AHAs and prescription/OTC retinols and Retin-A or Tretinoin. Inform your Skin Care and Laser professionals that you have permanent makeup so they can avoid products in that area.
Can it be removed?
Small exfoliations and corrections may be possible depending on the color, depth and overall severity. Some people aren’t candidates for this type of removal and Laser removal may be needed.
I already have permanent makeup and I want to change the shape or color, can you help?
Yes, changes to your old design and/or color can be made by an experienced SofTap® professional, schedule an appointment with Tara for a personal consultation. Tara does not accept all correction work, and acceptance is based on the severity of the correction needed and if she thinks she can provide a good outcome.