How Deep Do We Really Go?
by Elaine Pichet, CPCP

First, I want to thank the SPCP for this opportunity to share with all of my peers my thoughts for this article.

We are so blessed to be in this industry; every single day, when I drive to work, I have to remind myself how infinitely fortunate I am to do what I do for a living. Having done permanent cosmetics for more than eighteen years, I yearn every day to meet new clients and work with the ones that return for maintenance. When I was approached about writing an article, I wanted to write about a subject that could possibly enhance your techniques, color choices, and corrective work, although my heart told me to write about the depth of our tattoos!

Being in the beauty industry is often a double edge sword; running after the aging clock and trying to turn back the hands of time is often an impossible feat but we, as artists, have the tools to create such illusions and magic for our clients. These beautiful clients come to us for guidance; and they trust our artistic eye and expertise in the battle against the aging process. Our responsibility to be the best and being absolutely stellar in our field is paramount.

I cannot stress how important continuing education is; even though times can be hard financially, we owe it to our trusted clients to keep up our skills and knowledge through continuing education and training. As far as I am concerned, you owe it to yourself as well; education is simply a form of growth and it can be incredibly enlightening and beneficial. Not keeping up amounts to taking away tools from yourself, and can result in becoming stagnant in your profession and in your business. Not investing in continuing education or training might also change your work from a passion into a mere habitude. There is not a day that I don't learn something new; and I feel so wonderful when I drive back home feeling so blessed.

The other side of this work is the fortitude it has given me when I deal with challenging cases and corrective work. The challenging cases are in fact a testimony to the intricacies of our art and techniques. Corrective work is a way for us to not only transform a very poor application; it is a gift to change someone's experience regarding permanent cosmetics. Corrective work offers an opportunity to re-write history and give the gift of beauty, which sadly was expected the first time. The following is one of my favorites when it comes to focusing on price instead of quality - The bitterness of poor workmanship lingers long after the cheap price is forgotten.

The other facet of our work is the therapy that clients often expect; it is not surprising since I believe our work is such an intimate interaction. I am happy that clients are candid and feel so safe that they enlist me as a confidante. All I can do is to listen attentively with much love and without judgment; I don't really offer any advice, I just listen. Life in general is a roller coaster of ups and downs and with twists and turns that can be quite taxing and overwhelming. So here we are in our profession opening our arms to shelter someone in need of having someone listen, while also offering beauty enhancements. Quite the amazing job we have. Through your implantation of pigment in the skin, you will ultimately implant so much more; a beautiful and subtle enhancement, sometimes a virtual transformation, and a companion that will listen and share. This work scenario can offer an amazing experience the client will share with many others, who in turn will come to you and say, "I want what she had."

I know I have touched thousands of hearts, lives, and souls throughout my career. When I am able to silence everything around me, I feel the strong influence of those many influences and connections. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the love and gratefulness that my clients have towards me. I strive to never take for granted all these amazing clients who have trusted me over the years. This year I find that I have been taken to a new level of connectedness; I am focused even more and allow myself to be and stay in the moment with every client that trusts me to do their permanent cosmetic procedures. It is almost like a meditation experience for me now.

The actual experience is hard to explain, but it almost feels like both the client and I transcend and connect, and it feels unbelievable. Since I have started this journey for a more tranquil and meditative work practice, I have come home totally rested and unstressed after a long day of procedures. I feel happier and light, plus I know for a fact that I am doing exactly what I was meant to do in this earthly realm.

As a permanent cosmetic professional not only do you implant pigment in the client's skin, but without realizing it you do so much more. The depth of your pigment will go as far as the possibility to touch someone's life, and indirectly, their heart and soul. As an artist you give of yourself deeply; and as a technician you excel and do the best work possible. This in turn allows you to provide another human being with an incredible combination of artistry and skills, and you have the incredible opportunity to transform their lives with a deep and profound experience.

Every single client is an intricate and one of a kind snowflake that is gracing this earth, and you have a chance and the honor to enhance, transform, or correct and restore. How powerful and how deep is our work? The best answer to that question is it is infinitely deep. Some clients and their stories will touch you profoundly. I am sure you have client stories that have changed and affected you. Here is one of mine that I would like to humbly share with you because it touched my heart in a most profound way.

“Elaine’s artistic talents are just amazing. I knew sitting in her chair that her “spirit” was infectious. I was so at ease knowing that my Lip procedure was going to work out perfectly. See, I was in an accident many years ago and have had 32 facial reconstructive surgeries. I never thought in a million years that my lips would ever look somewhat normal again. After the six weeks post procedure, I LOVE my lips. The Post Procedural Care Instructions were spot on describing how the healing process would evolve. I’ve experienced everything that has been documented. Elaine has changed my view on looking at my lips after all these years!!!  My self-esteem has been restored. I feel I have kissable lips. YOU'RE THE BEST!!"
Before Procedure
After Procedure
I cannot stress the word gratitude enough; being grateful for every little thing that this life and career is offering; even in hard times, there is a silver lining. Quiet your mind, pay attention, stay focused, listen, and your work will soar to a new level and as a person, so will you.

(Published in the Summer 2015 edition of Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, SPCP Quarterly)

ARTICLE FROM Health & Beauty April/May 2011
By: Carmella Gibellino-Schultz

Choosing a Permanent Make-Up Artist

You should NEVER shop for price in this matter. This is your face and a bargain price isn’t a bargain if the end result is less than beautiful. There are many technicians who have inadequate training as well as limited if any artistic experience and ability.

  • Experience
  • Training
  • Certification/Licensing
  • Insurance
  •  Before and after photos of their most recent work
  • Doctor and Patient references
  • Corrective/Camouflage experience
  • Price (usually too low of a price indicates inexperience)
  • Physician affiliations – The Physician has pre-qualified the technician for you
  • Communication skills – Is the technician a great listener and do they possess the ability to answer all of your questions in a comfortable, non threatening manner.

Permanent Make-up is an art, not just a process. Your goal should be to find a permanent make-up artist, not just a technician. Your results will be only as good as the artist you choose and only as safe as the technician’s training and experience. You want to find someone who had a good balance with artistic ability as well as hands on experience.

You want natural soft cosmetics that enhance your face without being too bold or over done. Color knowledge is one of the most important factors to a quality application of Permanent Cosmetics. Just look at all the conventional cosmetics on the market to see how important color is. You want an artist who understands skin tones and colors that will enhance your face and look classic not trendy since it is permanent. One can always wear conventional makeup in addition to compliment permanent makeup to achieve a trendier look without looking inappropriate for your age as you mature.

Techniques vary for different results so make sure you ask if the artist is capable of giving you the look you want.

Talent and experience make all the difference, so look for someone who will give you soft, natural results.

Take time to check out the artist you are contemplating for services. It is well worth the extra time spent to be assured of quality permanent make up that you can enjoy for years to come. You have to feel comfortable with the technician you choose. Good communication between you and the technician is of utmost importance. By implementing the 10 point criteria listed above in your search for the right Permanent Cosmetic Technician, you’re working to ensure that your INVESTMENT IN YOU will bear long-lasting results.

Are Permanent Cosmetics Really Permanent?

Technically, permanent cosmetics procedures are considered permanent because the color is implanted into the dermal layer of the skin and cannot be washed off. However, as with any tattoo, fading can and often occur, requiring periodic maintenance. It is important to consider this and all aspects of the procedure when selecting a potential permanent cosmetic makeup technician.

Who Benefits From Permanent Cosmetic Makeup?

  • POST SURGICAL/INJURY, those seeking reconstruction of areolas after surgery; camouflage of scars from burns, surgery, accidents or injuries; redefinition of facial features.
  • ALOPECIA areata or universalis sufferers who have lost some or all of their facial hair, including eyebrows and/or eyelashes.
  • CHEMOTHERAPY recipients with full or partial hair loss.
  • VITILIGO sufferers who may have areas of skin which have lost their pigment.
  • PHYSICALLY ACTIVE people who want to look their best throughout activities such as swimming, hiking, biking, tennis, aerobics, and don’t want to worry about “sweating off” or reapplying cosmetics.
  • ALLERGIES and SENSITIVE SKIN-these people often can’t wear other cosmetics.
  • VISION IMPAIRED people who have difficulty applying their cosmetics.
  • MOTOR IMPAIRED, including arthritics, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke survivors, and those with unsteady hands who cannot apply their own makeup. 
October 2015 - Guest Speaker at the Cancer Center
July 2009 - Spring Symposium of the American Society of
Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Laguna Niguel, CA

March 2009 - Breast Cancer Survivors Boot Camp, Tucson
(Repigmentation of the areola complex)
February 2009 - Fountain of Youth Seminar at Splendido, Tucson
"Permanent cosmetics are gaining popularity"

PERMANENT COSMETICS IS A FAST GROWING FIELD; it is a wonderful option for women but it can also be a nightmare if the application is not properly done. If you are considering permanent cosmetics, do your research. Many options are offered to you whether you go on the web and consult with the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (S.P.C.P), the American Academy of Micropigmentation (A.A.M), or the Permanent Makeup Society of Arizona (P.M.S.A.Z.). You need to take into consideration that permanent makeup is tattooing and therefore permanent. Unfortunately, the permanent makeup industry is not regulated in Arizona and a lot of poorly skilled technicians will be performing procedures.

There are a few different methods utilized to apply pigment such as the coil machine (used for body art tattooing), the pen machine, rotary or digital machine and the hand method. No method is better than the other; it is purely by choice of the technician. Many technicians are versed in all of the methods but favor one in particular. Some methods may be presented to you as new and better but only pigment brands and/or hand tools may differ. Most technicians will also use a form of anesthetic ointment to numb the skin before a procedure.

Talk to your technician about allergic reactions; some allergic reactions have been identified but are rather rare. Have a test patch before you undergo your procedure although it would not prevent you from developing an allergic reaction, sometimes, many years later. All current manufacturers of pigments assure their pigments are MRI safe and hypo-allergenic. Also, all permanent makeup procedures will fade with time; touch ups every two or three years are to be expected.

Before any procedure there are several questions that you should address with your technician. Here are some examples: Where is the procedure performed? It is illegal in Arizona to perform tattooing out of a residence. Is sterilization available? Are needles reused? How about cross-contamination? Are universal precautions taken for your own safety as well as the technician? Are preventative steps such as anti-viral medication suggested? Do they have pre and post-procedure instructions?

Always check your technician's credentials, continuing education, how many procedures were performed, board certifications (memberships are not enough), portfolio, informed consents and detailed paperwork, blood borne pathogens certification, etc. Have many consultations although, the best is always a solid referral from a friend, family member, physician, plastic surgeon and/or a co-worker. Lastly, make sure your technician is also an artist; your features are unique, so should be your permanent makeup application! Many times a bargain in permanent cosmetics is not a bargain; your face is being permanently marked.

As a woman and a permanent makeup artist, I would like to stress the importance of researching thoroughly before you make any decisions. Patients will always say that permanent cosmetics was the best thing they have ever done but it is heartbreaking when I hear and see some very unfortunate outcomes.

AZHealth Magazine - January 2005

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The field of permanent cosmetics is not a regulated industry in the State of Arizona.  There are many providers offering this service that are not credentialed. As per the HB 2666-441-H, it is unlawful for a person to engage in the business of tattooing out of a home. Make sure you research your provider. The two national organizations offering certifications are the American Academy of Micropigmentation (A.A.M.) and the Society of Permanent Makeup Professionals (S.P.C.P.). In order to keep their credentials, providers must obtain a certain amount of continuing education credits every year.