What To Look For In A Microblading/PMU Artist.
Updated: Jul 23, 2019
If you are shopping around for the right technician for you - and you definitely should, do remember we are talking about a tattoo on your face and price will reflect the quality of training, experience and products used.
Below are a few things I think you should look out for when choosing the right technician for you and also, some little questions you should ask them before you go ahead and book anything!
As the permanent makeup and microblading industry is becoming more and more popular, selecting the right artist or technician for you is a very important decision you should make.
Not only do we as permanent makeup artists have the responsibility of creating beautiful, safe and quality results in the beginning, but we are obligated to properly maintain that same level of professionalism over a period of time to ensure that your brows, eyeliner or lips look as good in 2 years time as it does when freshly done.
Not all artists are equal and not all artists can or will yield such results.
Here are 5 things you should look for in an artist...
1. Qualifications, Experience & Licenses:
QUALIFICATIONS: You first need to know what qualifications an artist has and how long they have been working and are they council licensed.
An artists qualifications should always be clearly displayed somewhere on their website, Facebook page or Instagram page (where possible) - so you might not need to actually ask. However, if it is not clear or apparent, do not be afraid to ask. Any artist that is offended by this, should be ringing an alarm bell for you!
Although these qualifications might not mean anything to you as you won't be familiar with the names or training schools etc, what you will be looking for is well rounded training. Someone who has trained multiple times for the same thing over the course of many years.
For example, I gained my initial microblading qualification from Everlasting Brows in London in early 2016.
In 2017 I took an advanced microblading class and a few months after that, more training in eyeliner and lips.
In early 2019 I trained again with 3 USA artists (known as the top artists in the industry) in advanced eyeliner techniques again, and shortly after that, with Zoe Hughes for more brow training in ombre/powder brows.
My point here is that I'm constantly updating my skill as new techniques come through and the industry innovates. The last thing you want to see in an artist is that they last trained 5+ years ago as they are going to be using outdated techniques, pigments needles and also styles!
EXPERIENCE: the amount of time an artist has been working is very important as it gives you a level of comfort that they have worked on a large variety of clients and skin types to properly understand the art of microblading and permanent makeup.
They will also have seen results come back from 1, 2 and even 3 years previously; which again, is important for an artist growth.
Someone who is new wont have the same wealth of experience of working with lots of clients, face shapes and skin types.
The price will very much reflect this.
LICENSES: In the UK it is illegal to perform any kind of skin pigmentation on anyone without having a council license.
The individual artist must apply for a council license and an inspector will come round to the premises/salon and award the license if they meet the requirements.
I'm fully licensed with my local council; Broadland District Council and my registration no. is: 524613. My license is proudly and always on display at any time for clients to see.
Does the artist in question specialise in permanent makeup or microblading, or do they do a myriad of other things too such as nails, massages, facials etc.
Whilst a lot of permanent makeup artists do other treatments - which is fine, it is important to see what percentage or ratio of what they do is permanent makeup.
I personally wouldn't want to go to someone who does a bit of everything and only does 2 sets of brows per month!
You will want to see an active feed on their social media accounts with lots of pictures constantly being released. Going to someone whose feed is made up of nails for example with the odd set of brows here and there wouldn't fill me with confidence! Not only would I not have a large repertoire or gallery of brows to look through, but it would suggest to me that they don't do them that often...
Separate consultations are not always necessary, but I do personally recommend them if a client is unsure of a few things and would like to meet me in person to help put their mind at ease and have any questions answered.
This is a good way to see the artist in person and talk to them more about the procedure.
Ask them questions to see how they respond and how knowledgeable they are.
They should walk you through the procedure and be able to tell you exactly what ingredients are in their pigments!
Essentially, go with your gut. There will be lots of information to process so if you don't feel right in going ahead, do not - even if you 'feel' obliged to do so as you are already there.
A professional artist who is good at their job and cares less about the money and more about the client, will NEVER force or talk a client into booking or make them feel bad for not booking, when they do not want too.
4. Before & After Photos:
It is paramount you see PLENTY of before and after photos of the procedure so you can build up an impression of the artist and the type of work they create.
Making sure the artist is the right fit for you is also important. Every artist will create something slightly different so if their style or technique doesn't gel with your ideas, then they will not be the right artist for you.
This is perfectly fine as we all have different tastes, but this is why it is important to be able to see a lot of before and after pictures so you can assess this. You do not want to be surprised by the final outcome.
More pictures means more clients they have worked on which means you can see their work on many different faces and shapes.
You will want to look for:
Clear and close up photos of the brows/eyeliner/lips. So many artist show dark or blurry photos so you can't really see what you are clearly looking at.
Photos of the whole face so you can gain perspective of the brows on the client and whether they suit their face overall.
Healed work. This is what you will be left with for a good few years, so it is important to see plenty of healed work and not just the immediately after photos.
Healed work is where a lot of artists/clients fail because they only look at the immediate after results.
These results will only be with you for about 7-10 days as what you are essentially looking at is the top surface pigment that will begin to scab off.
Healed microblading or permanent makeup will look about 30-50% lighter in the skin once healed. It will be sitting under the skin so it will look a little different in that respect too, but also for microblading, the strokes spread a little under the skin - so stroke placement is important to allow for this.
5. Equipment & Cost:
These are always related to each other and do go hand in hand.
Do not be afraid to ask what types of blades or needles will be used on you or what type or brand of pigment. (Permablend and Li are arguably the two leading pigment brands in the PMU industry.)
You may not necessarily know what the answers the artist gives you means, but look out for the depth of detail the artist goes into.
Some questions about pigments you could ask are:
Are they organic, vegan, cruelty free etc.
Where are they manufactured (either Germany or USA have the best and highest standards). Anything from China will not be professional grade.
Have there been any known allergic reactions with this brand?
Can you assure me my brows wont end up that red/salmon colour or dark grey/blue? Brows that end up red/salmon in colour are a result of poor and cheap pigment and/or the wrong choice of pigment or that clients skin tone. Grey/blue/ashy brows are because the artist has gone in too deep and hit the dermis.
Ask where they get their blades from. China are often cheap and the needles can be warped or less sharp).
What and how do they sterilize their work are with.
A good and experienced artist will not hesitate to answer any of these questions or stumble at answering them. if you are unsatisfied with the response, then move on!
How is the cost related?
Quality training and equipment will always equal higher costs. Tattooed brows whether they be ombre, powder or microbladed, will cost anywhere between £250 and £350 in Norwich.
Anything less than £200 would make me nervous and anything close to £100 is not going to end well.
A good artist who produces good and consistent work will always know their worth and charge accordingly - and within the price range of the area they work in.
You will always get what you pay and within the price, you will be paying for quality training and products, research, experience and knowledge.
The cheaper artist will have lesser training from lesser well-known trainers who are not industry recognised or train using quality brands. Because the trainers themselves are not that accomplished, their students are going to lack the know-how and knowledge too.
The will be using cheap numbing cream that is not effective, cheap blades that are not super sharp and drag in the skin, poor quality pigments that turn red in the brows or other strange colours and technique that does not create beautiful flowing hair strokes in the brow.
What this means for you is:
Poor shaping of the brow and asymmetry.
A one size fits all cookie-cutter brow.
Incorrect procedure chosen for clients skin type - microblading is not suitable for all skins for example.
Poor quality and choice of pigment chosen for clients skin. The colour won't last in the brow over time.
Inability to correct or fix errors.
Multiple procedures needed to create desired result - makes a mess and causes scarring as well as being left with upsetting brows.
Hopefully these 5 things to look out for, should now have educated you a little about the industry and what goes into it and behind the scenes a little to help you understand and give you more insight rather than just going with the 'lady thats doing microblading for £120'!
It just isn't worth the risk when it's your face.
Save up and go to a professional!