Helpful tips for choosing a Permanent Makeup / Microblading Artist who’s right for you:
CHOOSE HEALTH & SAFETY FIRST
-There is no governing / licensing board for Permanent Makeup - this means that there is no standard for training and education requirements. There are many people who are ‘certified’ microblading / PMU artists - but because there is no standard for education this means there is a significant disparity in courses. Courses range from online only, to 5 hours with no hands on training to a full course of 100 hours including textbook work, every one of these courses will tell the student they are a ‘certified’ microblading/PMU artist, despite some courses being very inadequate to do this work. A 100 Hour course is considered an adequate course among professionals in the industry.
-Ask your potential Artist where they did their training and how long it was - with minimal requirements to enter this industry, it’s up to you as a consumer to truly do your research on your potential artists. Ask them about their training and even look into their trainer if you want to. This is a tattoo on one of the key features of your face - be your own advocate and ask important questions.
-In California every PMU/Microblading Artist must hold valid permits from the County Health Department - The CA Safe Body Art Act (AB 300) was enacted in 2011, this bill helps us keep our shops and shop practices safe for every client. When PMU is done in a safe environment, health risks are minimal to non-existent, but when safe practices are not in place this risk rises exponentially. Because of the disparity in training requirements, many artists are not taught about safe shop practices at all and this presents a very serious public health risk to clients who are going to those under-trained and un-permitted artists.
-Ask to see your artist’s Health Permits and call the Health Department to verify them - This step is crucial to ensuring you are accessing a safe artist. Health Permits are public record and should be presented to you without hesitation. There are 2 permits required to be a legal PMU establishment and artist - one for the location and one for every artist working in that location. Contact the county Health Department where the artist is located to verify they have proper permits. Keep in mind a Business License is NOT a health permit, a Microblading Certification is NOT a health permit - nor is it a ‘license’ to practice permanent makeup - there is NO licensing board for PMU therefore a ‘licensed permanent makeup artist’ is actually not a real thing!
-Why do I need to worry about Health Permits? How could anyone open a business without them? Unfortunately, most county Health Departments are very understaffed, the result is that PMU establishments are only looked into when they apply for a permit or when someone calls to complain about an artist or business. The Health Department often does not seek out and investigate studios without a complaint to drive the process. As a result many (if not most) PMU / Microblading studios go unpermitted and unnoticed. This is why it is extremely important for you to ask to verify their permits and call the health department if they don’t have them. Illegally operating a PMU studio is a danger to public health and safety - communicable diseases like HIV and Hepatitis are risk factors in any procedure where the skin is broken, by holding your artists to the standards of CA State Laws you are ensuring your safety and the safety of others.
-Look at the Artist’s portfolio and look for Healed results - It’s utterly important you know exactly who you’re going to see for any PMU procedure, you want to be sure they can create great work, but more importantly you want to be sure they create great work that looks great HEALED. You live with the healed result - ask to see it. Getting PMU - especially Microblading - to heal a desirable color is actually more difficult than one would think - with many trainings being incredibly inadequate, some artists never learn in depth color theory and this results in tattoos healing with tints of purple, grey, green and blue.
-Lastly - Factor in Cost - All PMU / Microblading procedures are a TWO-PART process. This means that you will come in for your first session and 96% of the time need to come in for a touch up to follow up. A touch up guarantees you the best result - some people may not have good retention on their first pass, color may be too light, or the shape may need some adjustments. When you are searching for an artist - base their cost on the cost of the INITIAL PROCEDURE + TOUCH UP = TRUE COST, some artists will include the touch up in their prices and others do not. Don’t be fooled into thinking you may not need that touch up - in all likelihood you absolutely will.
-It is cheaper and easier to spend a bit more money, or drive a bit farther to see a GOOD, PERMITTED and TRAINED Artist in the first place than it is to fix or remove poorly done PMU. - Fixing poorly done PMU / Microblading is costly and time consuming - this process takes months to complete and will cost a significant amount of money. Contracting an incurable disease from an un-permitted PMU artist who works out of their home (illegally) will be a lifelong battle and also very costly. Waiting a bit longer, spending a bit more and driving a bit farther for a good, safe, trained, permitted artist is 110% worth it.
Kim Peirano, LAc is the Owner, Acupuncturist & Artist behind San Francisco's #1 Cosmetic Acupuncture and Microblading Salon - Lion's Heart.