Turn your choice into an informed decision!
1) Choose an artist whose work you LOVE – because this is what you will ultimately receive – unlike hairdressing you cant just bring in a photo and get an artist to replicate a look – they can only do what they can do. Think picture drawing .. 😊
2) Don’t be fooled by BUZZ words, huge social media numbers or fancy marketing – these do not necessarily constitute ‘experience’ or the fact YOU will receive a great job. Personal referrals are always a good indicator and trust your gut instinct.
3) “Feathering / hairstrokes / combination /hybrid / powder / smokey” etc – these are all TATTOOING TECHNIQUES – (this is the type/style one will choose to use to create your cosmetic tattoo).
4) Both microblading & machines are MODALITIES(what you use to tattoo).
5) Microblading is a manual hand tool that has a tiny configuration of needles attached to the end and a tattoo machine or device is powered electronically. Both modalities require proper training and a great deal of practice to master before working on any skin!
6) MACHINE work operates similarly to air rating the grass – the needle punctuates the skin multiple times per second and the type of hair strokes, shading and level of saturation in the skin is determined by how fast or slow the artists hand moves, whereas a Microblade slices through the skin to create a hair stoke or shading in which pigment is then embedded and masked.
7) FACT – Microblading is ONLY suitable for about 20% of the population and if used on people with big pores, skin that’s either oily, thickened or thin, as well as sun damaged or wrinkled – their healed results may not retain, last properly or heal with optimal colour retention or saturation. *don’t get me wrong there are some stunning MB results & artists out there – but keep in mind you need to be a good skinned candidate.
8) RESEARCH your artist – what are their qualifications – do they belong to any reputable industry Associations or Networks? – are their qualifications recognised and AUSTRALIAN standard / approved? (note different countries standards vary considerably as do their hygiene or infection control protocols).
9) FACT: Australia ONLY has ONE UNIT of competency (an elective in the beauty therapy diploma and at this stage, this is the ONLY ‘official’ accreditation pertaining to Cosmetic tattooing and it requires the infection control prerequisite. However once obtained there are lots of post grad courses or training available.
a. it’s also good to check if your artist invests in continued professional development and ongoing training both nationally and internationally – cosmetic tattooing is a very in-depth and fast paced growing industry.
10) PORTFOLIOS , VIDEOS & PHOTOS – has your artist got a solid portfolio of work available?
a. Is the work they are posting their own (yes… stock photos don’t count, nor does posting other artists work as your own count either – this is a huge problem) Are their photos of real clients and is the work they are posting CURRENT (not from 12months or 12years ago).
b. Remember your artist is only as good as the last work they have done and posted. They have to continually practice and keep their hand/eye in.
11) MAKE sure you judge a good ‘cosmetic tattoo’ on and artists HEALED results – this is important because you can then see HOW the colour has settled, whether it is matched properly as well as how the saturation levels in the skin look and whether the strokes or shading have healed consistently.
a. you are looking for an optimal and evenly healed tattoo – it should reflect a natural makeup look (not blotchy or grey). If you are seeing this, it often means the skin could have been overworked during the procedure, that the pigment was tattooed too deep or pressure was uneven and so on.
b. Also make sure their healed results are consistently good – you want to be sure they didn’t just post a photo showing a good angle or light. Also watch for filters and low res images – you want HD to see all the details.
12) REMEMBER: You are basically buying a person’s individual skill – so think of it like art – and decide what you prefer: for example some people love water paintings whereas others prefer acrylic – therefore make your decision based on what your artist can deliver – this is SO important!
13) DOES your artist perform all cosmetic procedures and are they machine trained? – for example, do they offer eyeliner, eyebrows and lip tattooing or only brow microblading?
a. This is important because if they only microblade eyebrows then is the advice they are providing to you about your brows based on delivery of this service only and if so, is that service right for you?
b. keep in mind that realistically a person can only sell what they do… so pay attention to this!
14) CONFIDENCE: Is your artist confident? – sounds silly but seriously your experience will vary GREATLY if you put yourself in inexperienced hands… (Just think how well going for a Brazilian wax would play out with a brand new waxer struggling in silence with sweaty gloves/hands while trying to be brave….. but instead this time they’re playing with your FACE!
15) COST should never be your sole determining factor – remember a good reputable artists pricing is not based on your budget.
a. you only get one shot with tattooing virgin skin and rest assured 9/10, any mistakes or botchups will be sure to never fade ….so keep in mind that if this happens you, or has in the past – you will know all too well that sickening feeling of being willing to pay almost anything to get that dodgy job fixed – SO please don’t be the fool that pays twice!
16) DO YOUR OWN DUE DILIGENCE! It is so important to understand exactly what you’re asking for as interpretation of terms can vary significantly from person to person and although you may be seeing a professional, they are artists Although professional, artists are not mind readers so its ideal to be as sure as you can when it comes to what you are wanting to achieve – This also helps to ensure both parties meet expectations and one does not end up with buyer remorse because they did not get what they thought they were getting.
17) Colour corrections as well as multiple methods for removal or fading require additional post grad training and skill sets vary significantly from individual to individual – it is important to note that ANY of the above mentioned corrective procedures are ADVANCED and should only be performed by experienced artists only.
a. Its also important to note that all corrective work should be classified as ‘exploratory’ because the end results can only be predicted not guaranteed.
18) After your initial tattooing and touch up appointment, you should not be tattooing the same area more than once within a 12 month period – otherwise you run the risk of overworking the skin or even developing hypertrophic scarring and or over-saturation of the area.
19) A GOOD FIT WORKS BOTH WAYS: It is always a good idea to attend a consultation – take the time to actually meet your artist, check out their premises – note their infection control qualifications and council permit licencing.
a. ASK lots of questions and be prepared for the artist to ask you lots of questions too – because a good artist will ensure you are a medically sound candidate and that they can provide you the right advice based on your face, skin, lifestyle and what you’re ultimately wanting to achieve.
b. Also keep in mind that a good artist will also tell you what will and wont work and should offer you a contextual explanation as to why they have taken that position – a good artist will also design work specifically for you – they generally do not tattoo trends
20) FINALLY – A good artist will give you sound advice and ongoing support throughout the whole process (from the time you contact them – during the procedure – post procedure and into the future. They will advocate for a long term and healthy ongoing business relationship, now and into the future, they are not there just to fill their books, meet targets or just take your money.
(c) COPYRIGHT – do not replicate any part of this document without prior permission or attributing the author.
Katherine McCann is an award winning accredited cosmetic tattooist, clinic owner and qualified beauty professional based on the Gold Coast. She is a tertiary postgraduate with a strong background in Human Resource Management, training and strategic business development and has taught at both vocational and University level. Holding an advisory role within the Aesthetic Practitioners Advisory Network