Angie Scott tattoos eyeliner on Joani Donovan, at Faces in Lambertville, Ohio.

Andy Morrison, Toledo Blade

Wake up to makeup with tattoos

  • Article by: RONEISHA MULLEN
  • Toledo Blade
  • November 5, 2012 - 9:16 AM

Makeup trends come and go.

Over the years, we have seen everything from cat eyes to turquoise eye shadow and animal-print lip covers. These trends may be fun to indulge in once in a while, but most women know that when you find a classic look that works for you, you stick with it.

And some women are so stuck on their made-up look that they're sticking with it permanently.

Cosmetic tattooing -- inked-on brows, eye and lip liner -- is one of the latest beauty trends. They call it effortless beauty -- the ability to wake up pretty with little effort and in a short time.

"You get up, you shower and you go," said Joani Donovan of Toledo, Ohio, who recently had permanent eyeliner applied. "I'm not spending extra time in the morning putting on makeup. I'm beating my husband getting dressed."

In Minnesota, where the state began regulating the industry in 2011, permanent makeup artists said their businesses continue to grow. The boost in professionalism makes clients more comfortable in researching procedures and finding reputable artists, said Brenda Wise, owner of Bella Faccia, a boutique medispa in Edina.

"The more good work there is out there, the more people are going to say, 'Oh, permanent makeup does look really nice,'" said Wise, who urges anyone interested to carefully research different providers. "In past years some of the work has not been optimal."

There's much debate among technicians on whether the procedure is a tattoo or not. Some call it "permanent cosmetics" or "micro-pigmentation." But clients say that if going under the needle means not having to fiddle with makeup every day, several times a day, they'd prefer to call it "worth it."

" 'We're tired of putting on makeup every day.' That's what my clients tell me," said Angie Mougey, a licensed cosmetologist and owner of Transitionz Salon & Spa in Bellevue, Ohio.

Susan Prince, owner of the Center for Permanent Cosmetics in Shakopee, said aging also leads people to consider the procedures.

"As we get older, our vision isn't so good," she said. "You need readers to apply your makeup and sometimes it's hard to put the makeup on with your readers on, or get your brows even."

Achieving the long-lasting look sounds more painful than it actually is, clients say, even though it involves taking a needle to the face. As in traditional tattooing, permanent cosmetic technicians, who are usually trained cosmetologists or aestheticians, use an electric needle and colored pigments or inks to apply the makeup. The use of topical numbing cream reduces the pain and constricts blood vessels, so there is little or no bleeding and less trauma to the skin compared with a traditional tattoo.

To create brows, technicians trace the desired shape and fill in the space with hair-like strokes, creating a natural look. Eyeliner application involves using the needle to place color pigments along the base of the eyelashes, creating a fuller and darker look. Depending on the desired look, lips can be made to appear thicker and fuller or more colorful.

"You don't have to be gaudy, but have a little eyelash enhancement," said Denise Onstad, a permanent makeup artist and owner of Wake Up Made Up in St. Louis Park. "You can put back what Mother Nature has slowly taken away."

Most looks take just over an hour and last for several years. Colors will fade or soften over time, so touch-ups are recommended as needed.

Permanent makeup application is believed to have started in ancient Egypt. While the trend isn't necessarily new, it has re-emerged

At some centers, the cost of permanent eyebrows ranges from $450 to $650. Full lips can cost more than $750, and eyeliner, the most popular permanent makeup procedure, can cost $475 and up.

For many, the "wake up to makeup" trend is solely for convenience. But some clients resort to having micro pigmentation after enduring trauma.

"You give me a lady that's lost her brows, as far as she's concerned, that is trauma," said Gary Rochte, a licensed derma technologist who started doing permanent makeup in 1988. Lochte has worked with patients who have lost their brows during cancer treatment or alopecia. He's also worked with burn and accident victims, to hide scars or skin damage. The procedure is not only beautifying, it's also a confidence booster, he said.

"A lot of times they're healed physically, but because of the [scars or disfigurement] they're not healed mentally," Lochte said. "This helps with their self-esteem."

Staff writer Katie Humphrey contributed to this report.

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