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…


Semi Permanent eyebrows Hemel Hempstead

Wow, what a Deal?!… Or is it?

I have really worried lately about semi permanent make up treatments available from voucher deal websites…

… I keep seeing super-cheap offers on Groupon, Wowcher and the like for Semi Permanent Make Up. While I completely believe in these deal websites as a marketing tool, I know what their fees are like. I can’t imagine how a technician can offer a SPMU treatment for as little as £59.

Carrying out a SPMU treatment using regulated products, having undertaken proper training by qualified trainers and having all the correct insurances in place costs a lot of money.

A needle and sterile set-up alone costs at least £30 (including the VAT and associated charges) Groupon take 62% of the price you see when you buy a deal. On a fee of £59, that amounts to £36.58.

This is a total of £66.58 for the two treatments required to make sure your semi permanent make up is the best it can be.

Add on the insurance and training costs, operating costs such as electricity, water, consumables, paperwork printing, gloves, pigments, (around £45 a bottle by the way!) and wound care packs, £59 doesn’t even cover the cost of delivering one treatment, let alone the second top-up treatment which is required.

The total for two safe treatments will be at least £96.58. Using the figues above, this represents a loss of £37.58 which will be funded from the technicians own pocket. Would you be able to do a job where each client COST you almost £40? Nope? Me either!

Now, I like a deal as much as the next girl but I would never buy a treatment which had as much potential to cause irreversible damage as SPMU through a deal website such as Groupon and Wowcher. Incorrectly applied SPMU can scar you at best, at worst it can blind you. Even if you don’t mind having dodgy eyebrows, black pools of pigment under your eyes or wonky lips, a scarred face or having the ability to see taken away from you is a whole different kettle of fish!

This is because those websites are money making businesses first and foremost. They exist to make a profit and I do not believe they have adequate systems in place to question a technician who says they can deliver a proper, safe, regulated treatment for at least £175. Those are the costs for product and operating costs alone.

I’m not suggesting people are doing anything wrong by advertising through deal websites. I am suggesting that safe, qualified and insured SPMU technicians should be aware of what it COSTS to deliver a safe treatment and then base their discounts and special offers around that.

It’s fine to not take a profit by charging for their time and expertise, that is down to the individual technician. I have in the past offered SPMU treatments at a discount for many reasons. The last time I trained in the usage of a new type of needle, I asked for models to allow me to practice.

I offered these treatments at a large discount as it benefitted me and allows me to become a better technician.

Sometimes I want to carry out a specific treatment to enhance my portfolio or to try a new technique or pigment. It is then I will discount, but I never reduce the price so far down that I am losing money on a treatment. Mainly because that would be crazy, but also because I value the treatments I deliver and know they are safe and worth the money to my valuable clients.

After all, as much as I love my job, I still need to pay my bills and feed my kids (and the cats…!)

If you do choose to buy a voucher through a deal website, please do your research on your chosen technician.

  • Ask for pictures – before, after and healed.
  • Enquire as to what pigments your technician uses? Where do they purchase them from? Are they a well known, tested and regulated brand?
  • Check that they have insurance and they are trained? (ask to see a copy of their policy and diploma)
  • Research the training company they claim to have trained with. If in doubt, call the company! They will be able to confirm the technician is being truthful. Finishing Touches, who I trained with and receive ongoing support from, publish a list of their trained technicians on their website. Many other reputable training companies do this also.
  • Watch to make sure they wash their hands before they start. Do they wear gloves? Are their needles contained in sterile packaging?
  • Insist on a patch test!!!

No good technician who is properly trained and insured will ever mind you asking these questions. In fact, they expect and welcome it when it happens!

I am always happy to offer free and no-obligation advice. if you are unsure about a technician, call me! I won’t try and lure you away from a good technician, we are a close knit bunch and celebrate each others work! But I can and will be able to tell you whether their answers seem truthful.

And now for the nasty bit.

The lady offering the deal on Groupon in the image above has had so many complaints about her work that Groupon are closing her account and blocking her from trading with them. I know this as I have spoken to the management team at Groupon, I felt so strongly about this particular case I wanted to do my own research. The images below are of her work. I have also posted some snippets of the complaints which have been received about her working practices. I will leave it up to you to decide whether you’d be happy with that work on your face… Forever!

She has now been reported to The Safety in Beauty Campaign too in the hope they can speak to her to help her get the training and support she needs to practice. If you want to know which salon I am referring to, please contact me directly. Although the purpose of this blog is to inform, I am not in the business of naming and shaming publicly!

Semi Permanent make up Hetfordshire

Semi Permanent make up herts

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!

Botox Fillers Semi Permanent Make up Hemel Hempstead

Botox, fillers and semi permanent make up – The low down

On Tuesday, I had an interesting chat with a new client…

…She was interested to know about the affects of fillers and Botox on semi permanent make up.

I thought it made a great blog topic so here it is Kim, just for you and your friend who was asking… The low down on Botox, fillers and how these  treatments can work alongside semi permanent make up.

You might be surprised by the amount of people you know who secretly have this type of anti aging treatment, even in good old Hemel Hempstead where I run my clinic from.

But let me tell you, there are a huge amount of people now having a sneaky injection of Botox or a tiny touch of lip filler and you’d never know unless they told you.

It is possible to use both Botox and/or fillers alongside semi permanent make up treatments to achieve a very effective finished look but it is worth bearing a few things in mind.

Botox and Semi Permanent Make Up

It is generally a good idea to have your semi permanent make up applied before you have Botox for the first time. Or at the very least, wait until it requires topping up to have your SPMU treatment carried out.

The reason for this is that semi permanent make up pigments remain in the skin for far longer than any injectable anti-aging treatment.

If a technician carries out a SPMU treatment without being told that the client has had Botox, it can seriously affect the placement of the pigment. This could mean that as the Botox wears off, you are left with brows that are incorrectly placed or eyeliner that droops.

This is manageable if you keep having Botox top-ups, but if you become immune (which does occasionally happen) or simply choose to stop topping your Botox up, it can be a big problem.

The clinic in which I work also has a visiting aesthetic Doctor who is qualified to carry out various non surgical aesthetic procedures.

If you think you might want both semi permanent make up and Botox, we can work together to define a treatment plan for you to ensure you are able to have both, and achieve great results.

At the very least, you should always wait for 21 days either before or after having injectable anti-aging treatments to have a semi permanent makeup treatment carried out.

If you do choose to have both cosmetically enhanced eyebrows and Botox, ask your aesthetic Doctor or Botox nurse (props to the lovely Lucy – my own Botox angel!) about a non-surgical eyebrow lift.

Here, Botox is used to freeze the muscles in the forehead in a very precise way which lifts the brow.

The result is sometimes called ‘The Diablo Effect’ or, as I prefer to call my very own non surgical eyebrow treatment on my tattooed brows ‘The Jack Nicholson Eyebrow’!

I speak from experience when I say it is a highly effective way of expressing your dissatisfaction in a non-verbal way when your child spills their breakfast on the floor and you are due in the clinic in 20 minutes…!

Fillers and Semi Permanent Make Up

Fillers, such as Restylane are a fantastic anti-aging product. They generally contain hyaluronic acid, a substance which naturally occurs in our bodies.

Often it is used in the lip to create fullness and tackle asymmetry. Most of us have slightly uneven lips and this can become more prominent as we age.

While semi permanent lip liner and blush can deal with small imperfections, sometimes a little extra help is required to really smooth things out.

It is important to carry out semi permanent lip treatments on ‘virgin’ skin (or just before your top-up is due if you already have fillers) and then have the filler implanted afterwards to deal with any areas where it is not possible to improve with pigment.

Carried out together as part of a careful treatment plan, the results can be absolutely stunning.

So again, if you have lip filler and want a semi permanent make up treatment, its best to have the SPMU done first and the filler no less than 21 days afterwards.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that having SPMU on recently filled lips can make the treatment more painful which of course is something I like to avoid where possible!

One key thing to remember when it comes to fillers is that it is possible to correct misplacement with an enzyme injection which dissolves the hyaluronic acid over a day or two. So, if a mistake does occur, it can be reasonably simple, although still costly, to rectify.

This is less possible if SPMU is incorrectly applied over filled lips. Generally, as the filler dissolves and it becomes apparent that the lip liner or blush has been incorrectly placed, laser or Rejuvi removal will be required for correction.

So there you have it. The low down on Botox and fillers and how they can work alongside semi permanent make up to give you that youthful look desired by so many people.

And if you decide (like some of my clients do) that Botox isn’t for you, then you can always opt for a Meso Vytal treatment which plumps and smooths the skin beautifully.

It’s not as invasive as fillers or Botox if you don’t like the finished look, but still gives stunning results. Have a look at my special offer page for money off your next facial!

Semi permanent make up healed lip liner and blush

Semi Permanent Lip Liner – Smudge free lips… forever.

Semi permanent lip liner is certainly growing in popularity…

…and while it can be a good alternative to having fillers injected, it can also be a fantastic complimentary treatment.

Although many of the clients I see in the Hemel Hempstead based clinic I work from express an interest in having semi permanent lip liner applied, a much smaller proportion of them actually book the treatment when compared to semi permanent eyebrows.

Personally, I think this is because they assume it is going to be quite painful. Having had my own lips treated recently by my fellow SPMU technician Sophie D I can assure any nervous prospective clients that it really isn’t!

Semi permanent make up technicians are trained extensively in the use of topical anaesthetics to help minimise any discomfort and while the first pass of the needle can be a little uncomfortable, once the skin is broken and more of the good stuff is applied, the pain is quite literally non existent… And I am a MASSIVE wimp!

The second reason I believe clients hesitate is that they are worried they are going to be left with lips that are a single colour forever. Or that they won’t be able to change their lip colour depending on their mood.

This is simply not true. Your lips, like the rest of your skin, has its own natural colour and this influences how the pigment appears once it is cosmetically tattooed into the epidermis.

Even a semi permanent lip liner pigment which is a deep dark red in the bottle will fade by up to 50% as it heals. It will also appear almost opaque once it is healed under the top layer of skin.

While a semi permanent lip line will help to stop your traditional lipstick migrating, it is possible to cover it with a different shade which still gives you plenty of options. The over-all benefit of a semi permanent lip liner is that, as your lipstick wears off throughout the day, you will still be left with defined lips with a crisp, sharp line.

And of course, should you choose to not wear lipstick at all, the semi permanent make up pigment will ensure your lips still stand out beautifully.

You can have a look at my own semi permanent lip liner healing journey right here as I created a montage to share with prospective clients.

Semi Permanent Lip Liner in Hemel Hempstead

Finally, I wanted to address the different types of Semi Permanent make up which can be chosen. Generally, you have a choice of three types.

Lip Liner

We outline the lip completely with a strong line, a little like you would do yourself with a lip liner pencil. Imperfections in the lip line can be corrected and the cupids bow, sharply defined. Clients who opt for this treatment usually wear lipstick daily but have an uneven lip line meaning they are given freedom from carrying a lip pencil with them and re-applying often.

Lip Liner and Blush

We outline the lip as described above and blush the semi permanent pigment through the lip, about 3mm to 5mm towards the centre of the mouth depending on the clients natural lip fullness. This gives a softer result. A lip liner and blush is suitable to be worn without any other temporary colour on the lip.

Full Lip

The Lip is outlined as described above and the colour is impanted through the whole lip, well into the center of the mouth. Sometimes a small area right in the middle of the top and bottom lips is left without colour to give the illusion of fullness. A full lip semi permanent make up treatment is most requested by clients who have lost natural colour in their lip. For those people who swim or go to the gym often, this too can be the perfect choice.

I hope this blog has helped you decide whether a semi permanent lip liner treatment is right for you. I’ve added a little video clip of how the procedure is actually carried out for those people who like to research fully what is involved before committing to a treatment!

Of course, if you want to keep up to date on the latest treatments that I carry out in the clinic, then please do follow my Facebook page. You can comment on the images I post and let me know what you think. See you there!

Semi permanent make up mistakes

How to find a great semi permanent make up technician

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…

Semi Permanent eyeliner in teat duct
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.

SPMU Pigments and needles

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.


Semi permanent make up lip liner and blush

Lipstick Tattoo = Luscious Lips!

Hello! I really had to take a few moments to show you the latest lipstick tattoo I created.

My client came to me wanting a natural looking semi permanent lipstick tattoo with a slight blush. She has the most beautiful lips to begin with so a little enhancement is all they really needed.

We chose a pigment which I know will fade to a pale pinkish tone, it will make her lips stand out a little more and if she wants to simply wear a little bit of gloss, they won’t look obvious.

Semi Permanent Lipstick Tattoo

Once I’d finished and my client looked in the mirror, it was clear that she was worried about the depth of colour. I reassured her and away she went. Later that day I received a message…

Semi Permanent Lipstick Tattoo text one

A few days later, I received another message with a picture of the healing lipstick tattoo this time…

Semi Permanent Lipstick Tattoo two days healed

I’ve since seen my client and her lips have faded even further to a beautiful soft and neutral finish, exactly what she asked for. At her second treatment we will make slight adjustments to the line and colour to give the final finish which will last for around 12 to 18 months before it needs topping up again.

Lipstick tattoos behave quite differently depending on the client. In some cases the pigment can fade to such an extent it looks as though there is no colour left. Where the client has asked for a very natural look they might decide they don’t want to have any more work done. However, it is really important to come back for the second appointment, even if the colour looks ok. It is still possible to achieve a natural look when applying more colour.

Failing to have the second treatment can mean the treated area fades much more quickly. Also, although its hard to see, often the line will be slightly ‘broken’ in places. This can be due to how the clients skin has held the pigment and even that the technician has missed a bit… yes, it does happen!

The healing process for lipstick tattoo’s is the same as for eyeliner and eyebrows. It is important to keep the area as dry as possible for 48 hours. Some clients report that their lips feel slightly chapped during this time so I always give them a little sachet of Vitamin A & D cream which helps.

On a final note, I love doing a lipstick tattoo, its so satisfying to see a clients lips beautifully defined when they’re healed. And… no more lipstick smudges on your wine glass… who could ask for more?!