The other day…
…I took a call from a lovely lady, let’s call her Marie. She explained that she’d found me online and wanted her eyebrows tattooing. Today. Like… Now.
She really didn’t want to wait.
Now, I’m not adverse to taking last minute appointments, I’m very happy to do this if I have availability in my diary, I’ve previously spoken to my client and patch tested her. On this occasion, since this was the first time we had spoken, I felt that I had to advise Marie that she would need to wait until Friday when I could fit her in. She didn’t want to wait and went on with her search.
I should imagine that Marie found a good technician who had availability and could see her quickly, there are lots of really good technicians out there. But I did worry because I know that there are some unqualified people out there who wouldn’t think twice about taking Marie’s money and possibly putting her at risk.
It has really got me thinking. I wondered how much research Marie had actually done in finding a semi permanent make up technician and how she had come to the decision to call me?
I mean, if I was to have semi permanent make up I’d want to know who it was that was coming at my face with their cosmetic tattooing machine. I’d want to know what the likely outcome was going to be, what their qualifications were, whether the tools and products they were using were safe, who had trained them, what their style was and whether I might trust them to tattoo my face.
Personally, I couldn’t just pick a name off the internet and put myself under their needle that very same day without learning a bit more about them. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen what can go wrong.
Semi permanent make up isn’t the same as having your eyebrows waxed, that hair is going to grow back to some extent. If you get a bad eyebrow wax, you’ll be able to pencil the area in and go on with your day. It’s a bit of an inconvenience but it’s not permanent.
A bad cosmetic tattoo is a completely different kettle of fish.
For a start, if an unqualified or untrained technician implants pigment into your skin, the first thing you risk is infection. An infected eyebrow, eyeliner or lip is not a pretty thing in itself but there are wider implications.
An infection can lead to scar tissue forming. Scar tissue is much more difficult to implant colour into. You can be left with an area of skin on your face which will never accept colour and the treated area will be left patchy, not to mention sore and unsightly until it heals.
And then there is the look of the thing. Unless your technician knows what they’re doing, it is a very easy thing to make a mistake, to place a line where you don’t intend to place a line. The truth is, anyone can make a mistake, but a trained technician will be far less likely to make that mistake in the first place and if the worst happens, they will know what to do to fix that mistake quickly, painlessly and probably without you even knowing!
As an example, did you know that if pigment is placed too close to the inner corner of your eye, where your tear duct is, the colour can track down into the delicate area under your eye and it is impossible to remove? No, I didn’t know that either until I did my training. It ends up looking like this…
Nope… I wouldn’t want that either.
So what should you do to find a great semi permanent make up technician?
- The first and most important thing is to research.
- The second most important thing is research.
- The third most important thing is… yep, you’ve guessed it… Research!
Most technicians will have a portfolio of images, many have facebook pages and websites on which you can view their work. But bear in mind, images can be manipulated. If you are able to speak to past clients to hear their experiences, that is even better than looking at pictures.
Unbiased reviews are an important source of information. There is nothing better than hearing what someone else has to say about their experience. Talking to your technician and making sure you are comfortable with what they suggest is also key. A good technician will be happy to spend plenty of time on a telephone or face to face consultation with you before they take your deposit or book you into their diary.
Check your technicians qualifications and insurances. Any technician worth their salt will be happy to show you their Diploma and evidence of their insurance cover. Some technicians are required by their councils to be licensed to practice. Many of my colleagues are, my local Council don’t require me to hold a licence but I can show evidence of this too. If someone tells you they don’t have to have a licence, insurance or training to practice, ask to see the paperwork to prove this. If they can’t or won’t show it, walk away.
Check which pigments, anaesthetics needles and machines they use. There are EU regulations on the type of pigments and anaesthetics which can be safely used, you should ask about the origin of the painkillers and pigments which are used. Every product used should have an information leaflet which lists ingredients, if it doesn’t then you should question why and if you’re not happy with the answer, don’t take the risk.
Check the source. Pigments should be purchased from well known and respected suppliers, BioTouch, Precious Pigments, Li Pigments, Golden Eye and Amiea Pigments are all names which you can trust. Each needle should come in it’s own sterile blister pack with a Lot and Expiry number.
You should always be offered a patch test, taken at least 24 hours before any treatment takes place. It is wise to accept the offer of a patch test, even if you’ve had a tattoo before or feel that you don’t have sensitive skin.
I have patch tested clients before and they have experienced a reaction. It didn’t mean they couldn’t have a treatment, I simply changed the product I intended to use and re-tested them.
Before any tattooing takes place, your medical history should be taken and discussed. A treatment plan should be created which lists the outcome you require, the colours used and the needle lot and expiry details. You should have before and after photo’s taken too in order to keep a visual record of the course of the treatment.
Never forget, this is your face you are working with and it just doesn’t make sense to take risks. If you’re interested to see what I do before, during and after a treatment, you can read my treatment advice page here.
The place your technician works from is also important to take a look at. There are strict rules, laid down by insurance companies and Environmental Health Departments, as to where semi permanent make up treatments can be safely carried out. My insurance company will not cover me for carrying out home treatments. This is because I would need a licence to carry the waste products and used needles created during a treatment. I don’t have such a licence and therefore I work from clinics and appropriately equipped beauty salon rooms. They are clean and allow me to maintain a sterile environment.
Some of my colleagues have home salons which are especially kitted out for semi permanent make up treatments. They have washable floors, walls and couches to minimize the risk of blood and associated blood-borne infections being allowed to remain on surfaces which are used by many different clients. It’s just common sense really.
So there you have it, all the information you need to help you make an informed decision on how to choose a fantastic semi permanent make up technician. I really believe it is worth spending a good while researching when you are thinking about having this type of treatment.
After all, they cost a fair bit of money and you want to receive a treatment which will heal well and look beautiful for many years to come.