semi permanent make up hertfordshire pigments and patch testing

Why is patch testing for semi permanent make up…

…so important?

Well, earlier this week, a client who I had booked an appointment for, arrived at my Hemel Hempstead clinic ready for a new set of eyebrows.

Nothing unusual there you might think, and you’d be quite right, under usual circumstances. However, this particular client mentioned that after her patch test, she had experienced some mild stinging and redness at the site where the pigment had been applied behind her ear.

We discussed the reasons why I may not be able to treat her and she was very understanding. We decided to try patch testing with a different pigment as sometimes this can make a difference to the outcome. Sadly, she reacted to the new pigment too and once we’d had a chat and decided not to proceed, I refunded her deposit and we parted company, both of us happy with the decision and outcome.

The long and the short of it is that this is why we carry out patch testing for semi permanent make up. This is why it is so important. And this is why you should always, always, always agree to a patch test if it is offered and why you should ask for one if it is not.

If your semi permanent make up technician doesn’t offer a patch test, you should question why.

It doesn’t mean that they are necessarily a poor technician, or that their insurance won’t be valid should there be a problem. Many of my SPMU colleagues do not routinely carry out patch testing for semi permanent make up, and that is their choice.

We talk a lot about the technician’s responsibility to their client. I wholeheartedly agree that it is my responsibility to ensure my clients understand fully their chosen treatment, what is involved and what the risks are. However, it is your responsibility as the client to ensure you are 100% happy to go ahead with a treatment and also to ensure you understand your options and the problems that might occur.

Patch testing for semi permanent make up is a simple way to eliminate one of the major issues, being stuck with semi permanent make up which is sore, uncomfortable and unsightly during the healing process.

And it’s not just the look and feel that can be affected in the short-term. If you have an allergy to a product, whether it be hair dye, moisturising cream or semi permanent pigments, it can cause long-term health issues which will never go away.

Is this really the price you want to pay for beauty?

So, as a public service to my clients, here are a few images of what a negative patch test can look like… (they’re not too icky, promise!)

Semi permanent make up Hertfordshire patch test

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Comments (14)

  • susan qadan

    Hi…i think im having an allergic reaction to SPM on my lips. I got it done almost 4 weeks ago and still im having a pain and thick scabbing. Ive been to doctors and talked to the salon for help but they are not sure what to do…right now im taking hydocorosoine ointment as they said it looks very bad but not an infection per say. If its an allergic reaction to the pigment what will happen or how should i go about treating it? Will i be stuck this way until iteventually makes its way out of my system? :( its been a nightmare. I had my eyebrows done and i love them so i was excited to do my lips. Now im regretting it completely.

    • Lisa

      Hi Susan,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am really sorry you have had this experience. Did you have a patch test done before you had your lips done? Even though you’d previously had a SPMU treatment without issue, the technician may have used a different pigment range for your lips.

      You have done all the right things by keeping in touch with the salon and visiting your Dr. I am afraid that I can’t comment on whether you will heal eventually as I am not a medic and have not met you in person. Comments like yours do highlight the problems that can occur though.

      I hope you are better soon and your lip treatment looks as beautiful as you wanted it to.


      • susan qadan


        I’m still dealing with the reaction over 2 months later. Im basically just being given cortisone topically and pills which is in turn swelling my fave as a side effect. And I still don’t know when it willl be solved as I can still see plenty of pigment. The burning and blistering/scabs are still present and ive seen so many doctors.

  • Lynn

    Hi, would you please show me how to do the patch test and what I need to have in order to perform it. Unfortunately where I got the training they don’t show me how. Please help!! Thanks you!!

    • Lisa

      Hi, Thanks for your comment. I am really sorry but I’m not a trainer so I can’t show you how to patch test, it wouldn’t be right if I did this. It is very worrying that your training company hasn’t shown you how to do this. It is a critical aspect of performing SPMU safely and it will be a condition of your insurance that you carry out a patch test on every client. I would call your training company and ask for some support and help :)

  • Ruby

    I agree about the patch test from my own experience. I had my hair dyed for over 40 years then I became allergic to hair dyes, it is a serious matter and you should be appreciated for doing this as an allergy can happen at anytime.

    • Lisa

      Thanks so much for commenting Ruby, you’re right, patch testing is incredibly important!

  • Tracy

    Hi. I had semi permanent eyebrows done on Tuesday. No problems with patch test which was done on thigh however have had an allergic reaction to something. Very swollen sore black eyes and on way to GP now. Can patch test be ok yet you still have a reaction? Should the test have been done behind ear as Ive had in the past? Thanks

    • Lisa

      Hi Tracy, thanks for getting in touch with your story, I am really sorry you’re having difficulties. I’m not medically trained and therefore am not able to comment on what might have caused your specific reaction. The technician you use has done the right thing by patch testing you. Although I personally would always test behind the ear as this is how I was trained, it may not make a difference. I really hope the Dr is able to help and you’re feeling better soon.

  • Shireen

    Can you explain the mild photo? Would this just mean it could cause some redness? My friends patch test looked like the mild photo, no irritation, pain, swelling but she’s not sure what the redness means exactly.

    • Lisa

      Hi Shireen, the basic rule of thumb is that if a patch test causes ANY reaction, the products used for the patch test should not be used during the treatment. If my clients experience any reaction at all, I re-patch test with different products. Only when there is no reaction would I go ahead and do the treatment. This is because, although a mild reaction might not cause issues at patch test stage, the body is clearly sensitive to the product in some way. Any future reactions are likely to become more severe over time and could eventually result in Anaphylaxis. ( Not worth the risk in my opinion.

      • Shireen

        Her redness went away within 10 min or so, she turns red even just by rubbing her arm without anything on it so we were confused if it’s really a reaction to warrant avoiding the procedure.

        • Lisa

          Hi Shireen, the difficulty is that most SPMU techs are not medically trained and therefore unqualified to decide whether its safe to proceed. Are you the SPMU tech hoping to carry out the treatment?

          Personally I’d be re-patch testing and then asking for a GP’s letter to confirm it is safe to go ahead.

          • Shireen

            No I’m not, this was from a friend who was going to have it done. Her skin turned red with just plain ink (no scratching) but didn’t have any reaction on the 24 scratched ink test. It’s so odd.

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