A Place for Permanent Cosmetics

The practice of tattooing has been traced as far back as pre-historic man.  It has been used as tribal identification, status among warring dynasties, reward, punishment, and decoration.  Today, more than ever, tattooing is considered a physical art form.  Many of us would be surprised to find that our doctor, dentist, or banker may be sporting a tattoo under their designer shirt.    Many women have small tattoos on their shoulders, ankles, and other places that can be covered when desired.

A recent extension of this physical art form is cosmetic tattooing.  It is not a far stretch to go from a permanent heart on the shoulder to permanent eyebrows on the face.  Many traditional tattoo artists have crossed over into permanent cosmetics and brought with them their skills in color and color placement.   Today’s permanent cosmetic technicians train in a specific field of tattooing that calls for in depth training with pigment, tools, skin tones, and color placement.

What type of person seeks this procedure?  What are the benefits?  Anyone desiring to save time applying make-up; allergic to traditional cosmetics; active in sports; manually, physically, or visually impaired can benefit from permanent cosmetics.  For the woman that has little or no eyebrows, permanent cosmetics frees them from constantly drawing them on.  Permanent cosmetics does not sweat, cry, or wear off.  Properly applied, the colors should appear natural and subtle.  The most common applications are for eyebrows, eyeliner, and lipliner.   Although this is not considered a medical procedure, many physicians employ technicians to aid their patients with skin camouflage such as nipple coloration after mastectomies, scarring, and other corrections.

Deciding to have permanent cosmetics applied may be easy.   Finding a technician may not be as easy.  Because there is presently no group or agency that oversees this industry, it is up to the consumer to be the detective.   Most potential clients assume that the training and application techniques are standard but that is not the case.  There are no certifications or licensing required.  If a person has a machine, pigment, and a chair, they can go into business.

What does the consumer look for?  What questions do they ask?  How does one decide?  First, ask where and how long they trained.  A few hours or a few days is not enough time to achieve the proper training.  Most good technicians have received weeks of training and participate in continuing education.   Ask how long they have been doing permanent cosmetics.  Do they belong to any organizations such as the Society of Permanent Cosmetics Professionals (SPCP) or other special groups?  Ask if they will furnish pictures and references.  Do they keep detailed records?  Ask to see where the procedures are performed.  Does the area look clean and comfortable?  What types of numbing agents do they use? Decide if you would rather go to a salon, spa, or physician’s office.  Ask price.  What can you expect for that price?  Ask about their touch-up policy.  Permanent cosmetics prices are set by each technician and can vary greatly for the same procedure; however, price should not be the main concern.

For the most part, permanent cosmetics are just that…permanent.  Some individuals experience more fading than others and choose to have the procedure repeated again after several years.   There is a place in today’s busy lifestyle for permanent cosmetics so if you decide this type of procedure is what you want, have it done.  Ask questions, get references, look at pictures.  Permanent cosmetics is here to stay so take advantage of the many benefits and enjoy the freedom of looking your best all day…everyday!

by Emily Marshall Northwest Dermacolor Center