Tattoo Makeup: The Beauty Secret of the Stars
Permanent cosmetics, a procedure also known as permanent makeup or tattoo makeup, has long been popular in Europe and on the East and West Coasts in US. Now it is rapidly gaining popularity in the Chicago area. Applied by a gifted practitioner, permanent cosmetics can give you the polished glamour of professionally applied makeup that will never flake, smudge or run, stay with you day and night and last for years. At a fraction of the cost of plastic surgery, permanent tattoo makeup can instantly take years off your appearance, bring out and enhance your best features and correct minor and not so minor flaws and skin imperfections. Many entertainers, actresses and models, - such as Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Dolly Parton, Raquel Welch, Cher and others, - have used it to maintain their polished, seemingly flawless appearance. And yet, there still is a considerable amount of confusion and misconception about this exciting new cosmetic enhancement technique.
Hello and Welcome. My name is Elena Astor. I have started in cosmetics in 1991 as a makeup artist for Chanel and Guerlain in exclusive New York City boutiques. Since then, I have done thousands of permanent makeup procedures on every type of skin: White, Black, Oriental, Indian, Mediterranean and Latino. I have trained and mentored many new permanent makeup technicians, some of whom are now running their own successful permanent makeup practices in Chicago area. All of these experiences gave me a unique perspective on the art of permanent makeup that I would like to share with you on this page and other pages of this site. I will describe the benefits of the most popular permanent makeup procedures, provide many permanent makeup pictures of people just like you, before and after they had permanent makeup done.I will also explain how to select a competent practitioner. I hope these pages will help you decide if permanent cosmetics can help you achieve the appearance that you want.
What Is Permanent Cosmetics?
Similar to tattoo, permanent cosmetics is a non-surgical technique in which a tiny quantity of pigment is placed under the top layer of the skin. However, unlike tattoo, the objective is a very subtle enhancement of facial features that looks as natural as possible. If done properly, the end result of permanent cosmetics should be similar to the professionally applied makeup, except it will stay on permanently, day and night. Permanent makeup procedures are done under topical anesthesia, the recovery time is typically minimal and the results are visible nearly instantly. Once the skin heals over the inserted pigment, it seals the makeup inside. Protected by the skin, the makeup is care free, waterproof, will not smudge or run and can last for years. Sometimes touch-ups are needed to maintain the vibrancy of the color.
Typically, permanent cosmetics procedures are done on the eyebrows, eyes and lips. Changing the shape, fullness and definition of the eyebrows emphasizes and lifts the eyes, frames the face, and adds balance and symmetry. Adding a permanent eyeliner makes lashes appear fuller and thicker. Subtle definition can be added to the eyes, making eyes appear larger and more striking. Accent colors may be used to match, contrast or deepen the color of the eyes. Lips can be made to appear fuller and more defined, adding youth and sensuality. Cheek contouring with blush can add color and emphasis to the cheekbones.
Hair stroke or Solid eyebrow tattoo?
There are two types of permanent eyebrows: solid line and hair stroke. Solid line eyebrows simulate eyebrow pencil and are relatively simple to create, even for a relatively inexperienced technician. Solid line eyebrows look good when the eyebrows naturally have a lot of hair. Hair stroke eyebrows simulate the appearance of real hair and require considerable artistic skill from the technician. However, when done properly, hair stroke eyebrows are almost indistinguishable from the natural eyebrows. Hair stroke eyebrows are preferable when the natural eyebrows are sparse or missing as a result of injury, overplucking or alopecia. Hair stroke eyebrow tattoo is by far one of our most popular procedures.
How Long Does a Permanent Makeup Procedure Take?
Just as with any other profession, the time needed for a permanent makeup procedure depends on the ability and the experience of technician. Typical time for a permanent makeup procedure done by a skilled, experienced technician using high-speed modern digital equipment is between one and three hours, depending on the procedure. Less able or inexperienced technicians may spend four or more hours trying to find by trial and error the best colors and shapes for their clients.
What Is Tattoo Hair Restoration / Scalp Micropigmentation?
Scalp micropigmentation, also known as cosmetic tattoo hair restoration, is a permanent makeup procedure which has gained popularity among men with hair loss as an alternative to hair transplant treatment. In this procedure, cosmetic tattoo covers bald areas with immitation of hair stubble. This creates a much more youthful appearance of full head of hair with fashionable "shaved" haircut. Some patients combine tatto hair restoration with hair transplant. That creates the appearance of hair density far greater than that possible with the hair transplant alone. That is particularly important in cases when the number of hair follicles available for transplantation is very limited.
Areola, Scar and Stretch Mark Camouflage and Revision
Paramedical permanent makeup procedures include scar camouflage as well as non-surgical scar and stretch mark removal, where the top layers of the scar are progressively removed until the scar is either gone or significantly diminished.
Vitiligo is a disfiguring loss of skin color. Michael Jackson is the best known celebrity who had such condition. When the affected areas are relatively small, permanent makeup can offer a solution.
Acne Scars, Wrinkles, Skin Tone
One of the newest procedures is Skin Needling, also known as Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT), a new medical breakthrough in permanent cosmetics and skin rejuvenation. It improves a wide variety of skin conditions, such as: skin texture, large pores, sun damage, wrinkles, and scarring (acne, chicken pox, surgical). Skin needling enhances skin penetration of vitamins (A & C) and effectively increases new collagen production without damaging the skin. It focuses on your natural cell regeneration, not fibrosis (scar tissue), which is common in laser treatments and microdermabrasion. This procedure works from within - not just the surface, to create your own collagen naturally and without the risks of lasers
Questions Everyone Asks about Permanent Makeup Procedures?
The three questions I get asked most often are: "Will it hurt?", "Will it look natural?" and "What is the recovery time after the procedure?". Since we use surgical strength topical anesthetic, most people are quite comfortable during the procedure. Special techniques, such as "hairstroke" eyebrow immitation, have been develped to make permanent makeup appear as natural as possible. During the procedures, the bleeding and swelling is controlled by epinephrine, so there is no down time - in most cases you can go out right away!
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are "Before" and "After" pictures of some of my clients, taken immediately before and within minutes after the procedure. You can be the judge if it looks natural and if any additional recovery time is needed. To pause the slide show, just put your cursor over the picture. Move cursor off the picture to resume the slide show.
Darker skin, containing large amounts of melanin, presents a challenge even for the experienced permanent makeup technicians. This is particularly the case for African and East Asian skin. If overworked, such skin is prone to hypo- or hyper-pigmentation.
Especially difficult are tattoo lip procedures. Most pigments implanted into darker lips will either not be visible or result in unexpected and unflattering coloration.
However, as these "before and after" pictures illustrate, excellent results can be achieved with careful consideration of color interactions. Here, lips with natural dark bluish tint and hypo-pigmentation blotches have been transformed by permanent makeup to a warm, even-colored tint.
Yes! I often receive inquiries about permanent makeup removal. I do not advise this except in the most extreme cases.
Despite the name "permanent", permanent makeup can often be corrected and restored faster, at a lower cost and with better results than with the removal.
A very typical case may involve permanent makeup done with cheap, low-quality pigments, which changed color with time. As the picture to the right illustrates, even blue eyebrows can be corrected into a flattering, natural color.
Additional examples are posted on the permanent makeup corrections page on this site.
Popularity of permanent cosmetics procedures has attracted not only highly skilled professional make-up artists
but also many opportunistic practitioners without any background in make-up or much formal training in permanent cosmetic techniques. Armed with a cheap machine, a set of "one-size-fits-all" stencils and a limited choice of pigment shades, such hacks often crank out work that does not compliment client's face and may look totally out of place. Although the hack's prices are frequently cheap, the correction of their embarassing results is neither cheap nor easy.
Many of my clients come for a correction of such substandard work done elsewhere. Picture on the right is one example of such "cheap" work. Additional examples are posted on the permanent makeup corrections page on this site.
How can you tell if your permanent cosmetics technician is a qualified professional or a hack?
Ethics of your technician should be one of your most important considerations. Why? Because unethical technician can and will lie about her credentials, experience and sterility of her procedure room. Unethical technician may present as her own pictures of work done by other technicians or use Photoshop to make pictures of her own shoddy work look spectacular. Unethical technician may write herself or have an acquaintance write false testimonials and post them on the web or she may write disparaging reviews about competitors or make other misrepresentations. Unfortunately, most of the time a client is not in a position to evaluate technician's ethics. However, sometimes there are indirect clues. Here, in Chicago area, I could not help but notice how a relatively new technician, Chicago Permanent Makeup by Lana Schluter, has imitated the content of my site. While such imitation is the highest form of flattery, posting photos of my work on her site without giving me credit for my work is unethical and misleading. One day after I contacted her about copyright infringement, a slew of anonymous reviews appeared on the web disparaging my work. None of the "reviewers" were my clients. Coincidence? You decide.
2. Total Commitment to Medical Grade Sterility
I can not emphasize this enough! The most important consideration is permanent makeup technician's total commitment to maintain medical grade sterility of the operating environment. The procedures require puncturing client's skin. Infection, caused by unsanitary or non-sterile equipment, can cause disfiguring scars or worse. Hepatitis and HIV can be transmitted if needles are re-used. Unfortunately, strict compliance with the health code regulations is often missing among shadier operators, for whom permanent cosmetics is frequently just a sideline business. Lack of required license from the Illinois Department of Public Health is a good indication that the establishment does not follow the sanitary codes.
In my practice, located within the surgeon's office and licensed by the Illinois Departement of Public Health, I use only single-use disposable needles. All other equipment used during the procedures is sterile and disinfected between each client. Only MRI-safe pigments with FDA-approved components are used.
3. Professional Level Skills Both, as a Make-Up Artist and as a Micropigmentologist.
Permanent makeup is still, well.., a make-up. "Beware when cobbler bakes your pies and baker cobbles your shoes", observed once Ivan Krylov, a famous 19th century Russian poet. Unless you are the type of person who goes to a dentist for an eye exam, you probably should consider whether a nail salon is the best choice for a permanent makeup. A skilled manicurist, electrologist or a tattoo artist is not necessarily a skilled make-up artist. If you would not trust her to do your conventional, temporary make-up, you definitely should not trust her to do your permanent one, which will be a part of your face for a much, much longer time.
Permanent cosmetics is not just a technique, it is an art where client's face is painter's canvas. Artist's ability to draw free hand, keen eye for color and facial symmetry as well as thorough knowledge of conventional make-up techniques and its uses in altering the overall appearance is what distinguishes the professional from a hack.
In addition to skills as a professional make-up artist, your practitioner must be thoroughly trained in the latest micropigmentation techniques, tools and procedures. A well-trained technician should be able to recreate individual hairstrokes and match natural colors and shading variations. To avoid unexpected shading, she must be able to anticipate interactions of pigment color with skin color and avoid such known problems as pigment migration, which can lead to "smudged" appearance. Permanent cosmetics is a rapidly evolving field. New pigments, techniques and procedures are continually developed and continuing education at the professional conferences and seminars is a must.
4. Investment in Quality Equipment and Broad Range of Pigment Shades.
To better accomodate client's preferences and in order to achieve the most natural looking results, reputable practitioners will maintain a large selection of high quality, expensive pigment colors and tints. Less reputable practitioners are often reluctant to make such investment and try to cut costs by using a few popular pigment shades for all skin and hair colors.
I hope you will find the information about permanent makeup on these pages helpful in deciding if this exciting procedure is right for you and look forward to being of service!
Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT) has been developed and used by plastic surgeons since 1990s for skin rejuvenation and resurfacing.
Its effectiveness has been confirmed by quite a number of clinical studies. CIT is the most effective way to treat such conditions as acne scars and stretch marks.
The mechanism of CIT action is similar to that of the more widely known IPL and Laser Resurfacing: diffuse trauma induced in deep layers of the skin stimulates skin to regenerate and repair itself. In the process, the blemishes present on the skin surface get replaced by healthy skin cells.
Laws of physics make CIT both, safer and much more effective than the laser or IPL in stimulating the deep skin layers. However, - unlike expensive lasers and IPL machines, which are promoted by the equipment manufacturers, - CIT remains one of the least known treatments confined to the offices of very few providers. For more information on this procedure visit our Collagen Induction Therapy page. For more information on skin rejuvenation, visit our Skin page for the information on the latest skin care treatments today!
Caroline Kim heard about it from her hairstylist. A different woman was tipped off by her facialist. Cosmetic tattooing-inked-on brows, eye - and lipliner heretofore associated with sun-dried retirees and Michael Jackson - is becoming a time-saver as indispensable to young female power brokers as international roaming on their mobile phones.
Call the procedure what you will (and many do, dubbing it everything from "permanent makeup" to "micro-pigmentation"), going under the needle means not worrying about smudged eyeliner at a last-minute presentation - among other benefits.