Monthly Archives: May 2016

When to Correct a Color Residual and When NOT to!

When to Correct a Color Residual and When NOT to!

I have wanted to share my opinions regarding discolored eyebrows for some time. I am basing these opinions on my more than 25 years of experience, using many different pigment companies and analyzing how they heal in the skin.

We receive calls almost daily with questions regarding residuals left from previous procedures. What does one do with this stain or leftover color?

I first want to say that permanent makeup pigment colors, after several years, will leave some stain or residual. A great metaphor I use is, imagine you colored your hair just once, one single time. It would first begin to fade and then the color would continue to change over time until it no longer resembled the original color that was used. It would be unrecognizable and this process is called oxidation. The base color of the hair dye, your climate, your lifestyle and your hair products will affect how this one-time hair color faded and also how it would oxidize.

Permanent Makeup colors will eventually behave in this same manner after years, if not touched up. There will be some residual color remaining that may not even resemble the original color that was tattooed.

There are some residuals that are of concern and some that are not. The residuals that hold no concern for me are: shades of red, orange, coral and pink. In other words, warm residuals.

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I do not see these residuals as an issue. I either utilize the warm residual or simply do a cover-up with a taupe shade. I utilize it by adding a taupe shade of hair strokes and allow the warmth to remain in between them. This technique heals out beautifully. If it is a powder brow, I may not add warmth to my selection. This would depend on the amount of warmth I am working over and if there is enough residual to warm my pigment selection.

If we receive a call from a client, regardless of where she had her procedure done and she says her brows are turning orangey, we just tell her it’s time for a color touch-up. We do not make a big deal out of this since it is anything but a big deal!

We are often asked by practitioners if our Face Inks pigments heal red. If you choose a warm base that is too warm, this will occur with any and all pigments. Light gray residuals can often be ignored, as well, if you are tattooing a darker color than the light gray residual over it.

The more difficult residuals are the darker gray, darker blue, blackish tones and purple. These are not a cover-up. I consider these a color correction and they generally take a minimum of 2 visits. I make no commitment of how many return visits will be required with these types of corrections, although it is rarely more than 2.

Face Inks Goldfinch is a fabulous purple corrector. I will often addsome Milk Chocolate to it, since it has a golden brown base.

For the darker grays and blues, I use Henna and Butterscotch.


Turquoise and shades of green simply need red. Adding Henna or Cocoa to your selected brown will help stamp this out. However, if migration has occurred, it may require a salt removal in addition to the color correction.

For correcting color, I always use a 5-round and do not travel nearly as deeply in the skin as I would a regular procedure. My goal and my visual is to place the color on top of the color to be corrected and not place it as deeply as it was initially placed.

We must keep in mind there are many factors that affect how a pigment color wears or fades in the skin. What is their overall complexion? Some very fair people can heal on the cool side while some hold onto the warmth in a color. Ruddy complexions can heal with cool tones, as well, since the pink or redness translates and adds blue to the healed color.

Where are they on the Fitzpatrick Scale? The more color in the skin, the more blue. Deeper skin tones and higher on the Fitzpatrick Scale can tend to heal cool if some warmth is not added to balance the blue in these higher numbers.

What is their skin undertone? The undertone of the skin also affects how color will heal over the years. Warmer undertones often hold onto the warmth in a brow shade while olive tones can eventually oxidize with a cooler tone.

What is their lifestyle and where do they live? Those that spend a great deal of time outdoors will fade more quickly and you will see your pigment residual sooner than those that do not spend time outdoors. Warmer or tropical climates will often tend to pull warm tones.

What skin care products are they using? Retinols and Glycolic Acids can affect the way color ages, matures or oxidizes in one’s skin.

So, all of the above can and will affect the amount of time color will last in the skin and how it will fade out. Do not allow anyone to tell you differently about their pigments!!! Skin is a live organ and is always changing and moving. Skin exfoliates, tans, peels and we expose it to various conditions and chemicals.

So, in conclusion, keep your words sweet, since you never know when you will have to eat them! In other words, be careful not to criticize someone else’s residuals, especially if they are the typical warm or cool residuals, since you will one day be touching up your own!

Beware… White is Your Enemy!!!


image001While flying out to Las Vegas for the SPCP Conference, I had begun to write this article regarding the abuse of white pigment in the skin.  Low and behold, Pat Gaultier presented at the conference and her topic was Black and White and it was as though she was finishing my sentences. Pat was simply wonderful in presenting both the verbal and visual ramifications of using white to attempt corrections, cover-ups or to highlight particular areas (other than Montgomery Glands on areola).


On behalf of those who did not get to attend, especially if you are fairly new to the profession, my suggestion is you think of white pigment as your enemy and not your new best friend. 


There are many practitioners new to this profession and although extremely talented, do not fully understand the downside of attempting to cover up a mistake with white or beige or highlighting a lip with white or beige. They are not in this profession long enough to see this downside of using white in these instances and it won’t be pretty. 


White is titanium dioxide and the only color in our spectrum that is opaque. This is why many believe they can use it to cover something up. It is not sheer and translucent like all the rest of our pigments. It is dense and quite heavy in weight and never, ever leaves the skin. It will simply outlast any color it is mixed with because it is heavier and it will eventually float to the top like sour cream.  


To appreciate the density, picture the lifeguards at the beach. They often apply zinc oxide, which is mostly titanium dioxide, across their noses in a big white strip to deflect the sun. It is quite dense. If they were to place a stripe of any of our other colors across their noses, they would be sheer. None of our other colors would provide protection to their noses since they do not have the same density or weight that titanium dioxide has. 


image003 (1)Light skin tone pigment or camouflage colors that would match a Fitzpatrick 1-3 will contain titanium dioxide which is white.  Attempting to cover up a mistake with a light skin tone pigment may first appear to be effective but it will be short lived. Sooner, as opposed to later, the pigment particles of the beige in this camouflage color will vacate and all that will remain is a yellowy white. It may even appear to be raised and sit on top of the skin surface. It is unsightly! I have even seen white or the yellowish white appear 3-dimensional.


We see these attempts all the time. They are generally made around the eyes, especially on the outer canthus where the top eyeliner was extended too far into the outer corner of the eye, bottom eye lids where the liner was crooked or uneven, eyebrows that have been make too long or low or uneven in the front (both medially and laterally) and around the lips.



Let’s first take a step back and ask why these attempted cover ups are necessary? Why these mistakes? If practitioners took the time to draw on these procedures prior to tattooing, these mistakes would have been avoided. Yes, even a lash enhancement should be drawn on to see how the lashes are seated and the eyelids are shaped. Only then can you identify the subtleties for the most flattering and perfect placement of color.



Lips must be drawn on as well and certainly eyebrows. If measuring tools are used on eyebrows and you check them for evenness before tattooing, there would be no reason for attempting a cover up. Drawing on your procedures is critical to insure you never have to do a cover up.



The latest trend is using white around the lips as a highlighter or to create the illusion of fullness and a vermillion border. This is a dangerous practice since the white will remain forever and possibly yellow, while the lip color will eventually fade. In a few years this will not be attractive. It is not over the counter makeup! White never leaves the skin and eventually yellows so imagine this client up the road. Ask any tattoo artist! If the white of a tiger’s eye is tattooed, it will eventually yellow and have to be tattooed again to whiten it.


This is not the first time practitioners have abused the use of white. Years back, some were attempting filling in wrinkles with white, tattooing the darkness under the eyes with white and tattooing it on the wet line. All of these proved to be great disasters. The under eye areas clumped with whitish yellow and could not be laser removed since white will turn back on contact with a light source. These women were maimed.  My late and dear friend, Patti Pavlik, wrote an article, “I Have this Needle Now What Else Can I Do With It”? We addressed these issues of white being used wrongly and the ramifications of doing so. Here we are a decade later addressing these very topics. 
How do you rid the skin of white when laser is not an option? Salt removal has proven to be the best solution in my practice. Crooked French Eyeliner procedures where the white was uneven next to the black eyeliner, I did a salt removal and it worked perfectly. Clumps of white that turned yellow used in attempted cover-ups were also removed with salt solution. Salt solution has never let me down! It is the safest and most effective pigment removal system ever discovered.


Email us at for our salt removal instructions and post care. • 888-763-2328


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