Myth Busting - 5 things you need to know about Semi Permanent Make Up

Busting myths… What exactly is Semi Permanent Make Up?

Ok, for those in the know, this probably seems like a crazy thing to write about.

However, I am often asked the same questions so I thought I’d give you a blog which busts some myths!

Myth #1 – Semi Permanent Make Up uses the same ink as normal tattooing

False – Semi permanent makeup involves breaking the skin with a sterile needle and implanting tiny molecules of pigment into the dermal layer of the skin. This hypoallergenic pigment consists of natural iron oxide and some residue can remain in the skin up to 5 years later.

Myth #2 – The effects of semi permanent make up will last for many years

Partly true – The longevity of Semi Permanent Make Up depends on many factors, skin type, skin care products, lifestyle and sun exposure all play a big part in how long your SPMU treatment will last. As a general rule of thumb, you should expect to have a top-up or colour boost every 9 to 18 months to keep your eyebrows, lips or eyeliner looking fresh.

Myth #3 – Anyone can have SPMU, it is suitable for all skin types and tones.

False – Sadly not every skin type is suitable to receive a Semi Permanent Make Up treatment. Oily skin will hold pigment less strongly. Younger clients will need more regular top ups, clients who take medication may find their SPMU fades more quickly and those of us with a darker skin tone may end up with hyper pigmented areas, especially on lips.

It is critical that you research your technician fully to ensure they are well trained and able to give appropriate advice on how a SPMU treatment may react on your individual skin tone and type.

SPMU treatments are an expensive treatment to have and you should have all the facts about whether your expectations are likely to be met before you part with your cash.

Myth #4 – People with allergies cannot have Semi Permanent Make Up.

False – As long as a patch test is applied and causes no reaction, there is no reason not to proceed with a treatment. In fact, SPMU can be a fantastic solution for clients who suffer from hayfever and other allergies. No more smudged eyeliner every time you sneeze!

Myth #5 – Having Semi Permanent Make Up applied hurts!

Partly true – I’m nothing if not honest and I have to say this one is sometimes true to an extent. It depends very much on a clients natural pain threshold. We do use topical anaesthetics to ensure the client is as comfortable as possible and the treatments are generally quite quick!

Semi permanent makeup can be a fantastic way to enhance your natural features and the benefits far outweigh any discomfort felt. A good technician will allow enough time during a procedure to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible and they will work with you to make the treatment as pleasant as possible.

So there you have it, five common myths well and truly busted! Have I missed anything out? Please leave me a comment if you want to know more…


microblading hemel hempstead

Microblading, eyebrow embroidery and advances in needle technology


…is the new buzz-word on the lips of anyone interested in having beautiful hair stroke eyebrows. But, I won’t be microblading any time soon and I’ll tell you why not.

Firstly, its important to understand the difference between microblading and the machine method of implanting semi permanent make up.

There are, in fact, quite a few similarities. Both methods give the client semi permanent eyebrows. Both methods use pigments rather than ink. Both methods allow the pigment to fade slowly over a period of time. Both methods should be subjected to the same rigorous health and safety standards.

However, the method of implanting the semi permanent pigment and the final finished treatment differ hugely in several ways.

Microbladed Eyebrows or Eyebrow Embroidery
Microblading originated in China and the technique involves using uses a small, very sharp scalpel, which is actually made up of between 10 and 16 very fine needles configured into a blade shape, to deposit the pigment into the skin. Some, but not all technicians use anaesthetic to numb the area before they begin. If anaesthesia is not used, this can be distressing for the client, especially if they have sensitive skin or a low pain tolerance. Some clients find the sound and feel of microblading a little distasteful since small cuts are made slowly in the skin.

Microblading tool for semi permenant make up hertfordshire

Using the scalpel method can be rather hit and miss. Depending on the pressure used, the pigment can be implanted too deeply which means the colour will fade very quickly or even appear grey-ish in the skin. This can be unsightly. If the pressure applied is not great enough, the hairstrokes will fail to hold at all meaning the possibility of up to three treatments to get the finished result. When the pressure used is correct, the implanted hairstrokes appear incredibly crisp and sharp and are almost indistinguishable from natural hairs.

The method of implanting the pigment with microblading is to make the cuts with the blade which is dipped in the pigment. Once this is completed, pigment is liberally smeared over the treated area and left to dry for several minutes. At this point, anaesthetic is usually applied which is easily absorbed into the broken skin and makes the rest of the treatment virtually painless.

Once the treatment is completed, the implanted strokes do indeed appear extremely fine and realistic, they do however have a shorter period of staying put and microbladed brows will need more regular top-up’s, around every 9 months.

Semi Permanent Eyebrows, Micropigmentation or Cosmetic Tattooing
In comparison, eyebrows created with a machine and needle have traditionally had minutely thicker hairstrokes. Anaesthetic is applied prior to the first pass with the needle and during the procedure to ensure client comfort.

It is marginally more simple to apply the correct pressure to implant the pigment to the correct depth, especially as the needle can be adjusted to sit only 0.75mm outside the cartridge. This makes it impossible to implant pigment to more than the correct depth. It is of course possible to implant the strokes at to shallow a depth which means the strokes will be at risk of fading.

Nano needle from Finishing Touches for hair stroke eyebrows in hertfordshire

The method of implanting pigment with a machine is a much cleaner process than microblading. The very tip of the needle is dipped into the pigment and the vibration pulls the pigment into the cartridge. It is then dispensed gradually down the needle and into the skin. The excess is wiped from the skin and the area is kept clean and sterile during the procedure.

Hairstrokes implaned with a needle last a little longer and should only require a colour boost after 12 months.

There is no doubt that, currently, the fashion is for extremely life-like brows and microblading certainly offers this.

However… the reason I won’t be microblading is that there are advances being made in needle technology and I plan to be right on top of the game! Finishing Touches, the semi permanent make up company I trained with, are launching their new Nano needle in March.

It’s super fine and very flexible and will allow me to create hairstrokes which are as fine, as crisp, as lifelike as microbladed brows and, best of all, they’ll stay in place!

Finishing Touches highly experienced trainer and all-round mistress of the eyebrow, Susie Bavister, has been trying out the new Nano needle and I defy anyone to look at the results and see a huge difference between microbladed brows and brows created with the new Nano needle.

Take a look at these beautiful eyebrows below and let me know what you think?

Nano needle Microblading eyebrows

And if you want to be kept up to date with when I’ll be offering these beautiful brows, why not follow my Facebook page?

Nano needle for hair stroke eyebrows hemel hempstead

Susie Bavister
Alina Soloveva
Finishing Touches

semi permanent make up hertfordshire pigments and patch testing

The importance of patch testing for semi permanent make up

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

If you’d like to see regular updates on the beautiful semi permanent make up which we create in the clinic, why not follow us on Facebook ?

The Finest Line welcomes clients from Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, London and beyond!

Semi Permanent Make Up For Men

I’ve been pondering

over the emerging market of semi permanent make up for men. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it.

We all know that women spend a small fortune every year on beauty products, make up, treatments and all manner of things to make themselves look younger and more beautiful. However, men are definitely getting in on the act.

In 2014, the hair and beauty industry was worth £7.1 billion to the UK economy and it’s not just the girls who are spending their cash on looking good.

This is why it perhaps isn’t a huge surprise to learn that semi permanent make up treatments are being developed for men who are just as keen as women to look good all the time.

The application of tattooed hair strokes to the head, which started as a medical treatment offered to men who had lost their hair through chemotherapy or alopecia, is now readily available for anyone who wishes to disguise male pattern baldness. A very natural result can be achieved by a skilled semi permanent make-up artist.

It is clearly a natural next step for men to ask their technician to take a look at their eyebrows too. A traditional plucking or waxing technique applied to a man’s brow can look a little, well… obvious for the want of a better word. However, a few well placed hair strokes through the brow can give the illusion of fullness without making the client look as if they have been playing about in someone’s make up case!

And now, men have started to ask for other treatments, such as eyelash enhancements. Eyelash tinting is becoming an accepted practice among men so why not a subtle line placed in the lashes to make the eyes really stand out.

So, is this really the next step for men to take, and more importantly, wouldn’t it be great to know they were getting such subtle work done that none of us would ever really know?

Beautiful Brows

Oh I do love the opportunity to design a new set of eyebrows!

My client has very pale natural eyebrow hair and over the years has spent a small fortune on tinting and shaping. Each time the result has been a little different, sometimes she loves her brows and sometimes… well, not so much.

But now, she has a permanent template for her eyebrow lady to work with. All that is needed is the odd hair plucking away with tweezers and she is good to go!

Oh… and as an extra added bonus, we lifted the tails of her brows to give her a youthful appearance.


The Hairstroke Brow – Pro’s and Con’s

Without doubt, the Hairstroke Brow is the type I am most often asked to create.

But what exactly is it?

A good hairstroke brow will mimic the natural hairs in your eyebrow so that they’re almost impossible to distinguish. A hairstroke eyebrow does look very natural, like real hair, especially when the pigment is mixed to be bespoke to your skin tone.

If you have good  hair coverage already and simply want to fill in any gaps or scars in your eyebrows where hair is missing, the strokes can be made to mimic the natural hair in colour, thickness and angle.

The downside to such a delicate treatment is that, sometimes the effect can disappear more quickly and the strokes can become too soft meaning more regular top-ups are required.

A good compromise to achieve a soft, natural brow which lasts is to have an initial powder brow treatment which is a more solid colour implanted at your first treatment. This initial technique is carried out using a slightly lighter pigment. This is then perfected at your second treatment where a slightly darker hair stroke is applied over the top.

The two techniques combine to give a natural looking brow which has both beauty and longevity as well as looking very natural.