Pretty in Ink

Gary Jones
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It doesn’t matter if you like them arched and feathered or straight and bold,  eyebrows are arguably one of your most important facial features.  When eyebrows frame your face perfectly they can act as an instant eye-lift and ensure your eyes will stand out, when done correctly.  If you’re not satisfied with the ones you have, there are so many ways to update them, including brow gel and pencils; however, permanent makeup procedures are one of the hottest trends for achieving natural-looking, permanent results.

To get the 411 on what’s new in the permanent makeup arena, I headed to Southern California to sit down and interview one of my closest friends, and permanent makeup guru, Elise Swain.

Elise is a certified specialist in permanent makeup, otherwise known as micropigmentation or facial tattooing.  She can provide your perfect enhancement with customized permanent eyeliner, eyebrows, lip liner, nipple/areola restoration and more.  Elise is also a licensed aesthetician and a makeup consultant.

In addition to the cosmetic features of permanent makeup, Elise works with the top plastic surgeons, dermatologists, reconstructive surgeons and oncologists in Southern California to provide medical tattooing (paramedical procedures) for patients following surgery or trauma.

What are the advantages of microblading vs. a brow tattoo technique?

Both methods are considered tattoos.  The ink is placed beneath the epidermis of the skin.  Although the effects of aging, surgeries and sun exposure may alter the pigment’s appearance over time, the results are permanent.

Microblading is also known as microstroking, 3D or 6D brows, eyebrow embroidery and feather brows.   It is done with razor blades, typically with a configuration affixed to a handle.  This manual module creates lines that resemble eyebrow hairs.

Brow tattoos are performed with needles and share many different names.  You may of heard of micropigmentation, permanent makeup, facial tattooing, dermal pigmentation, MicroArt, feathering and permanent cosmetics.  These tattoos are done with modules (other than a razor blade) such as a rotary, digital machine or handpiece.  All of these can create single-hair strokes to mimic a natural brow follicle.  This is done with a single needle instead of a razor blade.  Single use and sterile products are used.  

One of the advantages of microblading (when done properly) is crazy good brows that are not overdone and look like REAL hairs.  My goal for every client is to try and make sure that their brows look natural; that nobody can tell they are tattooed.

Which do you find to be the better option and why?  

Both options are wonderful, it’s simply a matter of which style you like better.  This should all be discussed and designed at the consultation.  The microblading or microstroking is a finer hair stroke that doesn’t take a lot of pigment into the skin.  If you want a look that is more natural, this may be the perfect procedure for you; however, get ready for more maintenance.  That’s because the manual method of using a razor blade puts less color in the skin, hence you will require a touch up sooner if you want to keep your brows looking crisp and fresh.  Also, microblading may cost more money.  It’s worth it.

What can one expect during a microblading session?

One can expect it to feel less painful than it sounds.  Topical anesthetics are used, which are necessary for a pain-free experience.  Ninety-nine percent of my clients experience very little discomfort.  Give yourself ample time so you are not rushed.  Most microblading procedures last two hours.  I always tell my clients that they can expect to hear the cutting of skin, so if that should pose a problem, I recommend they bring their favorite music with earphones to block the sound.  Expect to be excited and nervous at the same time.  This is normal.

Many mature clients who have considered having a brow lift or blepharoplasty (eye surgery) sometimes change their minds after having their brows done.  Adding a well-designed brow will enhance your eyes, add brightness and create a more youthful look.  This is a big step and, when done with detail and precision, can change your life.  

How long can one expect the results to last?  

Typically microblading lasts up to one year; however, every individual is different.  There are several things that fade a tattoo:  the sun (UVA and UVB rays), prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, hormones, shampoos, soaps, lotions, creams, oily skin, moisturizers, sweat and more.

What kind of maintenance is required?

 Typically microblading requires a touch-up within the year or sooner depending on your lifestyle and body chemistry.

What makes your techniques unique?

Every individual is different in their own way: Nationality, skin color, skin chemistry and lifestyle makes a difference in what brow preference interests you.  Each person is unique!   

Here are six ways we are all created differently and that make us beautiful and  unique in our own way:

skin anatomy

color theory

facial shapes

pigment preference

skin undertones

skin types

Symmetry is always different, so I take the time to measure, to find out exactly what brow will look good for YOU.  I measure distances between the eyes, the bulb of the brow, the iris and the arch of the brow.  There are many other measurements such as the tail streamlining diagonally to the crease of the nose as well as the tail coordinating with the middle of the ear.  Facial shapes such as round, rectangular, oblong, wide and heart-shaped also play an important part.  Foreheads, cheekbones, chin and the distance between your eyes all make different looks. No brow should look like someone else’s brows.  

Who is a candidate for permanent makeup procedures?  

That’s a loaded question.  Here we go:

Any person who needs color restored to nonexistent brows or added definition to absent or sparse eyebrows.  Someone who goes through the hassle of wearing eyeliner every day.  Anyone who wants softly defined or dramatically accented eyes.

Some may want to enhance the color and shape of their lips or lip reshaping for fullness.  

Permanent makeup helps achieve a finished appearance for timeless, effortless beauty for anyone over the age of 18 (unless parent approved).

The objective of these procedures is to help raise self-esteem, self-confidence, allow for a more active lifestyle, personal freedom, as well as saving time.  Both men and women, who need or are experiencing the following, realize the positive results of permanent makeup:  

  • scar camouflage
  • allergies to cosmetics
  • before and after chemotherapy
  • alopecia
  • contact lens sensitivities
  • unsteady hands or Parkinson’s patients
  • visual impairments
  • areola and nipple restoration

The process and procedures of micropigmentation (permanent makeup and medical tattooing) have been used and endorsed for years by many plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgeons, oncologists, ophthalmologists as well as dermatologists.  They embrace all of these procedures as nonsurgical cures.

What advice would you have for someone who is considering microblading or other forms of permanent makeup?  

Make sure you investigate the technician or artist.  They should have documentation of training, belong to a professional organization that puts them to a higher standard of work.  That’s extremely important. Compliance with local laws for licensing, permitting and registration. Display current certificate of OSHA’s bloodborne pathogens.

Make sure you choose an artist who understands and is educated in color theory.  This is a huge deal when it comes to a successful brow.  Factors like nationality and skin color impact color pigment choices.  You should feel comfortable with the artist while they answer your questions at the consultation.  

What other forms of permanent makeup do you offer?

I personally offer a different strategy of performance.  Each person who walks through my office (which is at a medical facility) gets the utmost care.  I LOVE what I do, and I want to change people’s lives…for the better.  Whether it’s a cosmetic or medical procedure, you have my undivided attention.  Cosmetic tattooing is fabulous for accentuating the positive wherever you want it; whether you choose bodacious brows, beautiful eyeliners or luscious lip color, I’m here for you.  

Medical tattoos are extraordinary procedures. They are rewarding in every way and include

  • scar camouflage
  • hair simulation
  • scalp tattooing
  • restoration for burn victims
  • cleft lip
  • face-lift scars
  • lip liner and eyeliner

Working with breast cancer survivors who have gone through single or double mastectomies are the most courageous women I have ever met.  Creating nipple/areolas is the icing on the cake, especially since they have been through so much emotional pain…many surgeries.  When I’m involved in someone’s life and part of their journey, it’s life changing.  I’m so lucky!  It’s mind-boggling and so fantastic to be a part of someone’s extraordinary adventure.

Click here to learn more about Elise, the services that she offers or to schedule a consultation.  You will be so happy you did!

For over 30 years, Gary Jones has been responsible for the conception, strategic, positioning, formula development, introduction, promotion and continued education of over 3,000 unique beauty and personal-care products. Most recently serving as vice president of marketing/research & development for Beauticontrol, Jones was instrumental in developing the company’s portfolio of age-defying skin-care solutions, spa-quality bath and body treatments and color cosmetics. Jones is a graduate of Arizona State University, with a degree in kinesiology. He and his husband currently reside in Sedona, Arizona.

Write to Gary with all your beauty questions at Prowdr Beauty.  He would love to hear from you!

Connect with Gary Jones on Facebook: Gary Jones

Check out our Mind & Body section on Prowdr for more articles like this one!

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