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.

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!

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!

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 eyeliner hemel hempstead

Semi Permanent Eyeliner – How it’s done

If you would like semi permanent eyeliner to highlight your eyes beautifully…

…but are a little nervous about the process, today’s blog should help put your fears to rest.

The application of semi permanent eyeliner is actually a fairly simple task. It is one of the fastest treatments which you can have done, a top liner usually takes just 20 minutes and if you’re having the bottom liner done too, you’re usually ready to go in about 40 minutes.

Semi permanent eyeliner is a fantastic choice for those of us with busy lifestyles. Being able to swim or go to the gym without the fear of smudging your liner is great, especially if you like to do those activities before work or in your lunch break.

Being ready to head straight back to your desk with just a quick sweep of your powder brush is certainly a plus point.

Correctly applied semi permanent eyeliner really helps to define the eyes. In addition, it usually resists fading the best of all semi permanent make up treatments.

However, many of my clients tell me that, while they do want the procedure done, they are nervous about what happens and how much it might hurt.

Most people know that we use topical anaesthetics to numb the area which is to be cosmetically tattooed, pain isn’t really the issue here.

It’s the sensation of the needle vibrating close to the eye and the way in which your skin must be stretched during the treatment which is sometimes a little difficult to get use to.

Having carried out many semi permanent eyeliner treatments, I am aware of these two facts. I always explain to my clients what I’m doing, well before I actually do it. I know that lying on the couch with your eyes closed can make you feel a bit vulnerable and my aim is always to make the treatments as relaxing as possible.

Once my client has had their eye drops administered, I ask them to close their eyes. They then keep them closed for the duration of the treatment. I apply anaesthetic to the lid and under eye area and allow several minutes for it to begin to work.

During this time I usually chat to my client and tell them what I am doing. When I begin the treatment, and before I touch the skin with the needle, I explain that I will place pigment in the first lash or two so that my client can feel the sensation before I get going properly.

I encourage my client to tell me if they’re uncomfortable, have any concerns or if they need a break. I find this approach means my client is as relaxed as possible and I can complete the application of the semi permanent eyeliner more quickly.

Of course, there is no substitute for actually seeing how semi permanent eyeliner is applied so I’ve added a short video to this blog so you can see for yourself exactly what happens!

You will notice the technician uses a combination of side to side and tapping motions to implant the coloured pigment into the lash line. The lid is stretched and held taut to help keep the line straight and occasionally the client is asked to open her eye during the procedure. All these techniques are completely normal and are necessary to ensure a nice crisp, symmetrical liner.

I hope you enjoy the video :)

Semi Permanent Eyeliner

Semi permanent eyeliner – A world of possibilities

It goes without saying that having semi permanent eyeliner applied means…

…no more smudged lines or make up that rubs off during the day. Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and having your eyeliner still looking as crisp and freshly applied as when it was first implanted!

However, one of the best things about having semi permanent eyeliner applied is the sheer number of possibilities open to the client when choosing the final look. In today’s blog, I’m going to take a look at the different types of liner you can have applied and the pro’s and con’s of each.

Lash Enhancement

Semi permanent eyeliner - eyelash enhancement








Many of my clients are looking for a simple enhancement to their lashes. This is a thin line added at the base of the lash-line on the top and/or bottom of the lids. It looks very subtle and is barely noticeable. In fact, it simply looks as though the natural lashes are thicker and darker. The pigment line starts at the first outer lash and ends at the last inner lash.

The Pro’s

  • Very natural and subtle
  • Enhances the natural lash line meaning daily mascara application is unnecessary
  • A great choice for clients who want to try semi permanent eyeliner for the first time, it can be made more dramatic in the future

The Con’s

  • Not particularly dramatic
  • Limited colour choice – usually matte black is the way to go

Thick or Latino 

Latino semi permanent eyeliner








The next step up from a simple lash enhancement is a thicker liner, sometimes called a Latino semi permanent eyeliner. A thicker line is implanted in the same place as a lash enhancement, but the line is made thicker and extends more deeply onto the top lid.  It is possible to extend the tail of the liner beyond the final outer lash but this must be done with care and consideration as it can look a little too dramatic for daytime wear.

The bottom liner is usually kept simple and fine to provide balance and symmetry.

The Pro’s

  • Gives a more dramatic look
  • Only requires a simple eye shadow application to change the look from day to night time wear
  • Extends the size of the eye, great for smaller or deep set eyes when applied to the top only

The Con’s

  • Best suited to daily make-up wearers
  • More maintenance required, regular top-ups are needed to keep the top line crisp
  • Colour can migrate further into the top lid giving a smoky finish


Colour semi permanent eyeliner








Coloured eyeliner is a pretty big step to commit to when considering to have semi permanent eyeliner implanted, but it can be the perfect choice to really make your eyes pop. For those of us who prefer a more subtle look, choosing a dark liner with a hint of colour can be a good compromise. It is possible to add a drop or two of complimentary colour to a black base to give just a hint of your chosen shade.

Brown eyes look stunning with a navy blue liner while green eyeliner can make green or blue eyes stand out. If you do choose a black liner, there are choices to make here too. If you are you looking for a soft smoky look or a glossy black liner, both of these effects are possible if the correct pigment is selected.

In general, try and steer clear of brown semi permanent eyeliner as this can fade to red which can make eyes appear tired, a look which is best avoided!

The Pro’s

  • Coloured eyeliner can really make your eyes stand out
  • Very suitable for day time wear, the colour can be highlighted with a liquid liner applied just above the tattoo
  • Is very good for opening up a smaller or more deepset eye

The Con’s

  • Not great if you like to change your make-up look regularly
  • Best to avoid fashion shades, choose a colour which will always compliment your natural eye colour
  • Can fade more quickly and require more regular top-ups than black liner

And finally…

Whatever look you choose, make sure you research your procedure fully before you commit. Take plenty of time to discuss things with your semi permanent make up technician who should be able to answer any questions you have before you begin.

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Meso Vytal before and after

Meso Vytal – Cell Boost Concept

This week I’ve added a new treatment to my portfolio, Meso Vytal.

On Wednesday I learned all about this clever Cell Boosting Concept and I took a little video while I was on the course so you can see what to expect from this fabulous treatment.

First of all though, what exactly is Meso Vytal and why is it so great?

There are so many treatments and facials available now which claim to combat ageing, get rid of wrinkles and moisturise the skin but many are invasive and expensive.

Meso Vytal is a new treatment which is none of these yet remains very effective and as an added bonus, the results are noticeable after just one treatment.

So what does it actually involve?

The treatment starts with a gentle chemical peel which removes dead skin and brightens the complexion.

Once the skin is cleansed, a light serum is applied to the skin, this is pushed into the intersection between the epidermis and dermis with tiny needles where the products work to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines and fight dehydration. Meso Vytal works below the surface of the skin and encourages the body to produce natural collagen which plumps from the inside.

The process is more gentle than other skin needling treatments such as microdermabrasion as they do not penetrate as deeply.

This means that there is far less downtime. Although the skin will be slightly red immediately after the treatment, this disappears quickly and make-up can be applied and the client can go on with their daily routine.

To finish the facial, an after care product is applied. This is packed full of delicious goodies which your skin will love. The result? Your skin feels clean, fresh and smooth!

The effects can be seen almost immediately and this makes a Meso Vytal facial suitable to have before a big event to brighten and tighten the skin.

Long lasting results can be achieved with a course of treatments and the treatments are suitable for clients of all ages.

So, there you go… Meso Vytal in a nutshell!

Enjoy the video where you can see an actual treatment in progress.