Micropigmentation, also referred to as permanent makeup or cosmetic tattooing, is more popular today, than ever. Interestingly, the term, Micropigmentation was commonly used in the medical community and this very formal term avoided the “T” word, (Tattoo). When permanent makeup came into the general population, in the late 80’s and early 90’s, women were alarmed, frightened or offended by the word, tattoo. Yes, tattooing carried a stigma in those early years and women were actually offended by the word. Referring to permanent makeup with the term Micropigmentation, made it sound somewhat medical. When I began my practice in early 1990, women would ask if their permanent makeup was going to be a tattoo. Of course, I had to explain that all color placed under the skin is considered a tattoo, regardless of how it got there.
Also, Micropigmentation lent a great visual to permanent makeup procedures. It implied a conservative approach to selecting permanent eyebrows, eyeliner or lip color. The mere term sounded safer and more tolerable. At that time, the application was inserting pigment in small amounts or micro amounts, in a soft, pointillistic method. It didn’t sound frightening like body art, where larger images were drawn and tattooed. So, initially, the term, Micropigmentation was used to distinguish permanent makeup from tattooing.
Today, Micropigmentation has taken on a new reference and that is for scalp tattooing. Micro-insertions of pigment or ink are placed into the scalp and appear like a hair-stubble, as though a man had shaved his head and now has just a day or two of growth. Although, more popular in men, it is performed on women, as well, to shade in thinning areas of their scalps. This procedure is growing, rapidly in every community.
These Micro-insertions are applied to create a new hairline or fill in areas that are lacking hair. When done, correctly, it is magnificent and requires a highly specialized training course! Micropigmentation is convincing and incredibly realistic. One example of this application is on African-American men and women that have worn heavy dreads or extensions and lose their hair in spots or around their hairline from the sheer weight of them. Micropigmentation can be skillfully applied to fill in these areas. Balding men can have a new hairline tattooed, making them appear younger. Women suffering from female pattern baldness can have their scalps tattooed to make their remaining hair appear fuller.
The training is quite different from permanent makeup to what is now referred to as Micropigmentation. Each are very specific training courses. We recommend a Primary Training Course as a pre-requisite. Cross contamination, color theory, needle selection and basically tattooing into various types of skin on the face and on individuals is something you learn in a Primary Training Course. Researching these training courses and asking for referrals is critical! Be sure to do your homework. We receive calls, every day, regarding training courses that did not deliver, where the trainer disappears following a training and left their graduates uniformed and basically armed and dangerous. Be sure your selection for training offers unlimited support. Beau Institute prides themselves with exactly this and has built our reputation on these principals.
Join us in launching this exciting and most rewarding career. We are here for you!!!!
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Women requesting jet-black eyeliner may be in for a disappointment if we, as practitioners, are not honest with them.
When I get this request from a woman sitting in front of me expecting the same black as her black liquid eyeliner she painted on, I explain that this depth of black is not guaranteed and more than likely, although black, her tattooed eyeliner will be a softer shade of black.
I explain what she is wearing is painted on TOP of her skin and isn’t altered by her complexion like the pigment is when it’s placed INTO her skin. I explain that her complexion will play its part in how black her eyeliner heals.
I tell my clients to picture a professional basketball court. Most of the men have tattoos and you can see on the various complexions, the many shades of black. Some tattoos appear quite black, some are more blue, and some even black-gray.
Then, I explain how Face Inks, Black Noir, has a warm base which is great for preventing bluing. However, each complexion will affect the depth of black, differently.
Yes, I have many clients that return, and their eyeliner is quite black, but I do not make this guarantee. But, I do know this client will be very happy for many years to come but I am honest about how black she may heal.
When I want to intensify my Black Noir I add a few drops of Onyx Black C, Face Inks carbon ink, to my Black Noir. This works beautifully on thicker or more olive tones, but I hesitate to add carbon for elderly or extremely fair complexions, since they typically run more risk of migration.
Straight Onyx Black C can be used ONLY between the TOP eyelashes and NEVER up on the eyelid or on the bottom eyelashes. It is carbon ink and you are playing Russian roulette. You may or may not see a migration but why would you gamble? Just add your few drops to Black Noir for the actual eyeliner on the eyelid and for the bottom eyeliner. Now, your frame will be really deep and will look amazing.
Face Inks has several shades of blacks. Elderly women or very fair women may not want or need the intensity of adding the carbon.
Face Inks also has a color called, Onyx Black …just Onyx Black. Onyx Black is deliberately formulated to have a blue base and is gorgeous on fair, blue-eyed blondes or fair women with silver hair.
Onyx Black CI is half and half, iron oxide and carbon. It heals soft and leans more toward grayish black.
Black Noir is our blackest black and then I add the 2-drops Onyx Black C. Another favorite, of our trainers, a few drops of Onyx Black C with Almost Black.
I feel compelled to educate my clients, so they don’t go elsewhere and experience a migration from someone deciding to gamble with straight carbon up on their eyelids. I explain the black tribal tattoos they see are inks that cannot be used around the eyes, EVER!
I have always found honesty was the best policy when discussing eyeliner, too. Your clients will appreciate it and stay with you for the long-term. We welcome any questions or comments on this article.
Rose Marie Beauchemin-Verzella
Color corrections have become a huge part of our practices, especially with the increase of 2-day classes in permanent makeup. This is not enough time to learn and understand how colors heal in the skin.
The book Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green, by Michael Wilcox, was first published in 1987. He was far ahead of his time. Little did he know it would become our greatest resource for understanding the intra-dermal color theory of permanent makeup. Although, there was no reference to permanent makeup, Mr. Wilcox clearly points out that knowing the base of a color is critical when attempting to identify, create, or correct a color. If we attempt a correction using what we believe is a corrective color, but it has the wrong base, we will not get the color result we were looking for, thus the title of Mr. Wilcox’s book. If we take a blue eyebrow and attempt to correct it with a green based yellow as opposed to a warm based yellow, we will not see the expected result.
Let’s first touch on how and why some eyebrows change color. What happens to the initial color we tattooed into them?
I use hair color as a metaphor. Skin is not much different than hair when it comes to color fading out. If we were to color our hair, just once, and allow it to fade out, it would change color several times. Initially, the cuticle layers of the hairs would hold the color, then they would begin to let it go and it would eventually wear off. The initial color would morph into various shades, unrecognizable from the original color, if not touched-up.The same process happens when tattooing the face. Some of the color is carried away from the bottom of the tattoo by the lymphatic system and some fades and exfoliates from the surface. If the color is not touched-up, it can often morph into a very different color than we initially tattooed.
Why doesn’t this occur with body art tattoos? The face is a very different cellular composition or canvas than the rest of the body. The sebaceous activity is tremendous, and the regeneration of cells is, as well. The face is the most unforgiving area of the body when it comes to removing layers of skin via lasers, dermabrasion, etc. When it comes to resurfacing this canvas ends right at the jaw line. Therefore, we often see women whose faces appear years younger than their necks and décolletage. The skin on the entire rest of the body is a very different cellular structure than the face. Also, with body art, primary ink colors are generally used and simply fade out a lighter version of themselves. Browns, taupe and blonde shades are not typically used in body art.
There are many factors that can alter the initial color. Most importantly, the degree of melanin in the skin and the undertone of the skin.
Additional factors that create residual colors may be the result of:
- Simply having the wrong color tattooed, initially.
- Your client’s ethnicity (yes, even the ethnicity you can’t see in your client can affect their healed result as well as their residuals)
- Climate– how much sun exposure they experience throughout the year.
- Medications– some medications may not have initial color distortion, but their residual color may be impacted.
- Skin-care products– especially anti-aging which can grossly affect color, either immediately and often further out. Sun screens, Retinols, glycolic & hyaluronic acids, salicylic, and lactic products are now in every major brand, which is wonderful for anti-aging. However, they may affect our pigments.
- Skin conditions– such as rosacea and eczema leave skin red which affect the color.
The most important pieces of information are to understand the base or undertone of the pigment color we are using as well as undertone of one’s skin.
To determine the undertone of the pigment, apply the pigment or formula you have selected onto white paper and run it under water. The pigment will wash away and there, you will see the stain or undertone of the pigment color.
To determine the undertone of one’s skin, it is best to purchase some pieces of fabric in both cool and warm tones and cut them into approximately 12”x25”. I often purchase suit lining since it is inexpensive and comes in several shades.
Cool Tone Fabric Warm Tone Fabric
Silver vs Gold (or you can use Steel Gray vs Gold)
Black vs Warm Chocolate Brown
Bright White vs Ivory (or Straw Color)
Pink vs Peach
Fuchsia vs Pumpkin Orange
Burgundy vs Rust
Forest Green vs Granny Apple Green
Select at least 6 of these pairs (you can attach them if it’s easier to handle them) and place them across your client’s chest, right under their chin, one pair at a time. You will be able to see if they are responding to the cool color (on the left) or the warm color (on the right). There will always be one dominant side. No one is both! Sometimes, it shows up quickly and sometimes, you will repeat the process until the dominant side shows up. Just trust that it will show up.
What do you look for? Working as a make-over artist, for several years, I always found myself intrigued by the power of color. The right color will appear to be harmonious with their SKIN and the wrong or dissonant color will cast shadows, separate features, and ultimately bring forward any imperfections, such as sun spots, etc. In the right color, your eyes will go directly to their eyes, although the right color has nothing to do with their eye color. Their eyes will brighten and the whites of their eyes will become whiter while their complexion will take on an overall creamy appearance. The right colors will appear elegant and the wrong colors will appear garish.
Your clients will love this! It will answer so many of their questions about themselves and not trying to mimic the person in the magazine whose lipstick they are admiring. Knowing if they are warm or cool tone, allows them to clean out their makeup bags and sets them on an entirely new path with shopping for their wardrobes and this doesn’t take much longer than 10-minutes.
Now, let’s look at the colors we typically see that require correction.
Remember, smear the formula over the brow, allow it to dry and wipe lightly with a dry Q-tip. Look to see if this is the color you are trying to achieve. Adjust if necessary, smear again and wipe until you see the color you want to achieve.
I always use a 5-Round needle for color corrections and move more quickly than if I were doing hair strokes or placing color in initially. Do not place color too deeply or you will not see the benefit of the color correction.
- Steel Gray
- Light Gray
- Purple/Shades of Mauve
- Occasional Green
Black to Dark Brown
Face Inks Blue/Black Corrector (warm base) and if needed lighter, add New Pumpkin (warm base).
I generally begin with a ½ and ½ formula so I can repeat it, easily, if necessary.
Black to Medium Brown
Face Inks Blue/Black Corrector (warm base) and Henna (warm base)
Steel Blue/Gray to Dark-Warm Brown
Face Inks Henna (warm base) and Butterscotch (warm base)
Steel Blue/Gray to Medium, Warm Brown
Face Inks Butterscotch (warm base) and Butternut (warm base) with more Butterscotch. If more red is needed add a drop or more of Henna.
Steel Blue/Gray to Light Brown or Dark Blonde
Face Inks Butternut (warm base) and a little Butterscotch (warm base)
Light Gray to Blonde
Face Inks Butternut and very little Butterscotch
Light Gray to Brown
If the gray tone is mostly faded, I would just add more Butterscotch (warm base) or Sunflower (warm base) to the formula I choose.
Purple/Shades of Mauve
Face Inks Purple Corrector will squelch purple and add Goldfinch (cool base) if you wish to lighten it, even more. Reddish, oily complexions with large pores can tend to pull mauve tones. We add Goldfinch (cool base) to our browns for these clients.
Yes, it happens, from turquoise to shamrock. Face Inks Henna (warm base) is a great corrector for green. Depending on how intense the green is, Henna can either be added to your formula if the green is faded or used straight if the green is intense. Do not attempt this correction with a red lip pigment as it will not be effective.
Pink, Red, Salmon and Coral
These residuals are merely a cover-up in my practice. Pigment colors like, Face Inks Bamboo Blonde (cool base), Soft Ash (cool base), Milk Chocolate (neutral base) and Chocolate Fudge (cool base) are great to use over any warm tone.
I do not perform pigment removal if the color is within the design of the new eyebrow. I will ONLY remove what is outside that design. Color correction is much less traumatic than color removal. It is a quick deposit of color with a larger needle configuration that keeps the skin in a much more receptive state than skin that has been through a removal. This is just my experience and I can tell you, first hand, that color correction works!
Color correction for me, 28 years ago, was the most frightening thing I had ever done. Colors that had the ability to correct had to be mixed from what we had at that time. There was much more to this than merely understanding a color wheel. The right pigment formulas were not developed at this time. I remember practitioners experimenting with corrections using primary colors that mimicked the exact colors in a color wheel and created horrid results. Then, of course, we had and still have the attempts to correct and cover with white or light skin tones containing titanium dioxide. To correct color in permanent makeup, it requires a much more refined pigment application and today, we have it. Corrective colors are at your fingertips. They are merely a phone call or an email away from Face Inks.
you don’t have to allow your client to leave your office with a corrective color sitting on the surface of her eyebrows. Select a pigment shade that you want her to have following her correction and place it on top with a Q-tip. It will dry and can remain there for a few days while her corrective color is healing, assuming you can allow her to heal dry.
I just returned from a wonderful AAM Convention. Conversations always seem to lead to color corrections and asking how I would correct certain residuals. Every practitioner is faced with corrections, since there is so much work out there that requires it, today. We actually teach this in our Primary Training at Beau, for this very reason.
Black brows that need to be corrected to brown, gray brows that need to be corrected to a mid-range, warm brown, blondes that have dark brows that need to be made lighter and warmer, purple brows and even several shades of pink and coral are common. Although, green and turquoise eyebrows are rare, they may still present themselves to you.
Although correction may seem overwhelming, let’s break it into 3 categories to correct: Warm, Cool or Purple.
In my mind, warm is not a correction. To me, it’s a simple cover-up with a cool or taupe shade. I refer to taupes as being cool shades that range from light blondes, such as Face Inks Sandy Blonde to dark brunettes, such as Coffee Bean. Taupe has no warmth in it…no red or orange and may range from light to dark beiges through brows. It is safe to consider all taupe shades as being cool.
To cool down a warm shade, take a cool color and tattoo over the warmth. I generally use a 3-Slope or 3-Micro and with this cooler or taupe shade, I will create hair strokes through the warmth. If I see too much warmth showing through, I will shade in between the hair strokes with either the same color or a lighter version of it. I generally use the same color with a dilution and swipe the 3-Slope side to side to shade between the hairs. If you don’t use a Slope, use a 5 or 7 round or a 5-Magnum to shade. Move quickly, to avoid a solid eyebrow unless that is what your client is looking for. It’s that easy!
Now, let’s discuss the intensity of the orange or warm residual. If it is just a hint of warmth that may present itself due to a long overdue touch-up, I will ignore it. I will still add a small drop of warmth the taupe, especially, if I am using Face Inks Soft Ash. I may choose Butternut or Butterscotch for this small drop for my light to medium brunettes. I like to see a little gold in my taupes when they heal as opposed to tones that are too cool.
If the warm residual is very orange, red, pink or coral, I may choose to leave out any additional warmth. I let the residual work for me.
If I am using a darker brunette shade, I will warm it up since the darker taupe shades tend to be much cooler. I may choose a drop or two of henna or cocoa.
~ With all corrections….Smear your correcting color over the area you intend to correct. Allow it to dry! You should be able to see a preview of your outcome right then and there. If you cannot, adjust your formula until you do.
As I said, above, I don’t see warm residuals as a correction. They are a cover-up. However, cool tones are a different story. They must be corrected.
Let’s start with blondes with gray eyebrows. This cool residual appears harsh and lacking harmony with their skin tones and you will find that your eyes will continue to bounce back to these disturbing brows as much as you wish they wouldn’t. All they need is some warmth and voilà…you will suddenly see this person’s eyes and no longer see her brows first.
I generally correct them with Face Inks Butternut and Butterscotch, starting with half and half for simplicity, in the event I need to repeat this process. I smear it over, allow it to dry to see if it dries to my desired color, stamping out the gray.
If not, I will adjust it. Perhaps, I need more Butterscotch for more orange or more Butternut to lighten and warm. Once I see the correction I am looking for, I proceed with a 5-round and lightly go over just the area I wish to correct. If this client wants a fuller brow, I will add once I get her color corrected and not before. If she has areas of her eyebrow that are unflattering, such as; a low tail or a low front, I will perform a salt removal at the same time on these areas.
I do not apply the same pressure on a correction as I would an initial procedure. This would make the correction less effective. The idea is to place the corrective color over the color to be corrected and not get down into it.
The salt removal is the opposite. You want to get under the color you wish to lift out so there is more depth required for this procedure.
Brunettes that present gray eyebrows may need gold if they have medium brown hair or they may want or need red tones if they are more auburn.
For the gold, I will use Butterscotch and a small amount of Butternut. For Auburn or warmer hair that is naturally warm, I will choose, Cocoa and Butterscotch, or Henna and Butterscotch. I recommend trying them both to see the effect you are looking for.
To correct black eyebrows, I generally select Pumpkin and Henna and sometimes a drop of New Pumpkin. This eradicates the black and you will see this as you allow it to dry over the black area.
This is easy! Goldfinch straight or mixed with Milk Chocolate or try our new Purple Corrector. The difference in correcting purple tones as opposed to gray tones is purple already has red in it. Red and blue make purple. Avoid any corrector with red. It must be a green-yellow and not an orange yellow since orange is red and yellow. Our Purple Corrector has the green-yellow in it for an effective correction or use the goldfinch and a brown with no red. Soft ash and Goldfinch is another great purple corrector.
Correcting the Occasional Turquoise or Green
The opposite of green is red so although this is shocking when it presents itself, it is not difficult to correct. Adding Face Inks Henna to a warm brown generally does the trick. Do not use Taupe shades as this may bring you a deeper green tone. Be sure your selection is warm and smear it over the area and allow it to dry. It may not be as intense as you think and you don’t want to over-compensate the red tones. You surely don’t want to give her red brows if she needs a neutral shade.
It is disturbing to see how many permanent makeup educators are still teaching mucosal tattooing or wet-line tattooing. I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Charles Zwerling, an ophthalmic surgeon, as my mentor when I began my career in permanent makeup. He warned the American Academy members of the dangers and contraindications of performing this procedure. He explained that each blink that we blink is assisted by a lacrimal system, which is our tears and a sebaceous system which is provided by the Meibomian Glands that line this mucosa or wet-line.
There are approximately 35 Meibomian Glands that line each eyelid. They spread a sheath of oil across the globe of the eye with each blink. Once tattooed, they are scarred over and ultimately can produce dry eyes. They will never recover. As women mature, oils lessen, overall, especially in the eyes. The Meibomian Glands tend to dry up so any production of these precious oils become more necessary.
I urge my fellow practitioners and my fellow trainers not to perform or teach this. Once I explain to my clients that request this procedure what can and will occur, they are over it. Sometimes, women want what they want and I find I must place some degree of fear in them and I do. I explain how necessary these glands are and how miserable women are that can no longer wear contact lenses or watch a movie without requiring eye drops. I tell them how dry eyes itch and burn and the discomfort is constant.