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…


Five top tips to think about before getting semi permanent make up

Semi permanent make up is increasing in popularity at an alarming rate.

Many people are realising that it is now possible to look as polished as those A-list celebrities we see on the red carpet, and at a price which is affordable.

But the simple fact is that having SPMU applied is an invasive procedure which carries risks as well as benefits. Our industry remains largely unregulated and this means it is imperative to do your research before booking a treatment.

Today’s blog gives you five top tips to make choosing your SPMU technician a simple task. These tips are based on the questions I receive most often in my clinic in Hertfordshire.

Top Tips #1 – Safety and Hygiene

The first thing to bear in mind is that whenever the skin is opened, there is a risk of infection.

Infection can costerile SPMU needle cartridgesme from many sources and that’s why any SPMU technician who has been properly trained and is insured will stick to the following rules, every time, without question.

Sterile, single use needle cartridges, supplied in individual packaging.

Each cartridge should have a Lot number and expiry date.

Recognised, branded pigments which are hypoallergenic and contain completely natural minerals. Pigment bottles should also be printed with a Lot number and expiry date.

A fully clean and sterile set-up. Barrier film should be present on the machine and wire used to connect the hand-piece. The technician should wear gloves and a face mask.

Patch testing. You should always be offered a patch test prior to any treatment taking place. Even if you’ve had tattoo’s or SPMU treatments previously.

Insurance companies have recognised the importance of this and many warn that the technician will not be covered if they neglect to provide a patch test. This is why most SPMU technicians will insist on giving you a patch test, even if you don’t want one!

Top Tips #2 – Skin type and pigments

While most people can happily have an SPMU treatment, there are some things which should be considered.

It is not possible for a darker natural skin tone to be lightened with SPMU treatments

If a client has a lot of blue tones in their lip (for example, a client who has Indian heritage) the choice of lip colour will be limited to coral shades which contain lots of warm toned pigment. This is because, as the pigment fades over time, the cool tones remain in the skin and can give a blue-toned lip-line.

The colour you see in the pigment bottle is not necessarily the colour which shows in your skin.
All pigments, once implanted, are affected by the skin’s natural tone. This means that the final colour which remains after the healing process has taken place will pick up elements from your own skin tone.

SPMU will fade by up to 40% after the first and second treatments
Your technician should have experience of choosing the right shade for you to ensure the healed colour is what you’ve asked for. In general there are such a wide range of pigments and ranges that there is likely to be a shade which is right for you. Do ask your chosen technician whether they’ve worked on clients with similar skin tones and requests as experience is very important when dealing with complex requests.

Top Tips #3 – Lasting effects

While the general rule of thumb is that SPMU treatments last between 9 to 18 months, this varies hugely between clients. There are so many things which can affect the permanency of SPMU treatments. These include;

  • Age
  • Lifestyle
  • Sun exposure
  • Medication
  • Skin type

SPMU hertfordshireIn general, an older client will need less regular colour boosts. If you protect the treated area from sun exposure by applying total sun-block or wearing a hat, your colour will last longer. Medication can have an effect on pigment retention and adhering to the after-care advice your technician gives you will help the healing process complete correctly.

The main thing to remember is that, although all SPMU will fade over time, you will be left with pigment residue in the skin for many, many years.

Top Tips #4 – Cost

(Or… ‘buy cheap, buy twice’!)
Most SPMU treatments should cost at least £200. If you are offered SPMU or microblading for a cheaper price, please, please, please ask why it’s so cheap.

A safe treatment that lasts and looks beautiful will cost the technician almost this much to deliver. If they say they can do it cheaper, they are likely to be cutting corners somewhere and that puts your safety and appearance at risk.

You may end up with a costly removal or correction bill or even worse, a serious health issue which you didn’t have before.

If you want to know more about the actual costs involved in delivering a safe and well-executed SPMU procedure, have a read of this blog!

Of course, you will always pay more for expertise and a highly experienced technician could cost up to £600 or even more. If you’ve done your research and you love the technician’s work, believe me, it’s worth every single penny!

Top Tips #5 – Experience and expertise

Finally, please research your chosen technician fully. A good technician should be able to share plenty of before and after images with you and will always be happy to answer as many questions as it takes for you to part with your hard earned cash!

The best way to be completely comfortable is to get recommendations from people you know and trust who have been treated by the technician you’re interested in.

Some questions to ask would be:

      • Who did you train with and how long ago?
      • Where do you buy your pigments and needles from?
      • What happens if I am not happy with the results?
      • Are you insured? (And can I see your paperwork please!)

A good technician will never mind you asking these things and most will welcome the opportunity to talk through your chosen treatment fully.

I am always happy to offer advice if you’ve come up against something you don’t understand or want to check, please comment below if you think I can help.

Colour theory and pigments used in semi permanent make up

Understanding pigments and colour theory…

… is a huge part of a semi permanent technicians life. It is impossible to create beautiful semi permanent make up which suits the clients colouring perfectly without having a well rounded understanding of the range of individual skin tones and how the pigments we implant will look once they are healed.

Humans have used colour to decorate their bodies since time began. In order to create vibrant colours, pigments were dug up from the earth in sand and rock or sourced from berries and even insects. These compounds were mixed with water to create paint. We still use these pigments in semi permanent make up today although you won’t find me grinding up charcoal to create a black eyeliner!

A good semi permanent make up technician will only use pigments from well known companies such as Precious Pigments, Golden Eye, Bio Touch and Amiea for example. These pigments are all organic, hypo-allergenic and derived from natural sources and it is worth checking with your technician where they have sourced their pigments from.

There are plenty of fake pigments on the market, especially for sale on eBay and if a technician has sourced their pigments from there, it is worth considering whether to go ahead with your treatment. No technician worth their salt will mind disclosing where their products come from if they are using a well known and respected brand.

Semi Permanent make up pigment

It might not seem to matter if the technician has a beautiful colour that you want implanted, but when it causes a reaction in your skin, migrates beyond the area you originally wanted it implanted into or fails to hold properly, you will have wasted an awful lot of money on an unwanted result.

When it comes to deciding on a colour for your eyebrows, lips or eyeliner, your semi permanent make up technician should discuss your options fully. This is where colour theory comes in.

Conventional make up is applied onto the skin and covers the skin tone. Semi permanent make up is applied under the skin so the final result is a combination of pigment and skin tone.

So, if you particularly want a very red, blue based lip colour but you have a lot of natural cool tones in your skin, you may find your technician steers you towards a warmer, even orange based pigment mix which will avoid the final colour fading to blue.

Semi permanent make up colour theory

You will generally find that during a consultation, your technician will spend a lot of time staring at your face. While this can be a bit uncomfortable, it is a very necessary part of the process to ensure the correct pigment mix is chosen. Your technician will be assessing lots of elements of your skin tone. They will consider the colour of your eyes and look for underlying colour tones, such as red or blues or yellows They may ask what colours you think suit you the best and what colour clothes are most prevalent in your wardrobe.

It is quite usual for a technician skilled in colour theory to mix a rather unusual colour into the final pigment choice. This can sometimes be a strong green or orange which might well look rather scary in the bottle, especially if you need existing semi permanent make up correcting. This is why it is important to research your technician thoroughly, trust is a huge part of the consultation process and you should be comfortable that your technician knows what they are doing.
It is always a great idea to take along your favourite pieces of make up to a semi permanent make up consultation. These favoured colours are usually most loved for a reason. They will have been complimented on the colour many times before and this is generally because they are the ‘right’ colours for the clients skin tone.

Whichever pigments are finally used, it will most likely be a custom blend, created especially for you.

This is why so much semi permanent make up is referred to as ‘bespoke’… because when it comes to semi permanent make up it really is not the case that one size fits all.

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.