BUYER BEWARE: To assume that all permanent makeup techs are trained the same, or have the same skill level is to be dangerously ill informed. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the state of California, there is currently NO state board regulating the training or the practice of cosmetic tattooing! None. The tech doing your nails has FAR more training, more valid licensure, and her standards of practice are FAR more regulated than facial tattoos. When you go "price shopping" for permanent makeup you MUST know that you are comparing APPLES to ORANGES. Usually the lower the price, the less trained and experienced the tech. The reputation of the clinic or salon you choose for your permanent makeup is vitally important, but ultimately it isn't the CLINIC touching a needle to your skin, it will be a person; be he/she doctor, nurse, aesthetician, or NONE OF THE ABOVE. That's right, because of the lack of regulation, ANYONE can buy the materials (machines and pigment) and put your face and HEALTH in their hands. Doctors and nurses are required to pass hands-on practical training before they are ever licensed. After that they will intern or have a preceptor to monitor them when they are finally allowed to touch the public. Even most "body art" tattoo artists will apprentice with a mentor and are supervised until they prove their ability. In stark contrast, most PM training classes last as little as a weekend, are too crowded for one on one contact with the instructor, and there is NO governing board regulating the trainer. Even with all the horror stories we hear about the dangers of unsanitary practices spreading disease, how painful tattoos on the face can be, (with numbing creams that can actually cause chemical burns in the eyes), this field of practice STILL goes unregulated. If price is your ONLY question, you need to know that laser removal is FAR more expensive and painful than even the most expensive permanent makeup. "Look at the clinic/salon FIRST; the person who will be altering your face the MOST; price LAST."
Barbara - The Artist "After 8 years in ER/Trauma, when searching my heart for the place to take my medical skills, I read a book about finding the best career path to feed one's spirit. It suggested remembering what one loved to do most as a child, and find the career that best correlates. Other than kitties and bicycling, my passion was coloring. You couldn't give me too many crayons and coloring books. I adore color, whether with needle and thread or some other medium. I can't remember when I didn't enjoy creating beauty with colors. Embroidery, sewing my own clothes as well as my sister Mary Anne's wedding dress, arranging flowers.... I must live in a world filled with color." In high school, Barbara's love of art & beauty flourished (especially in her senior year with 6 periods of drama (having completed all but one academic requirement by her 16th birthday). She sang, danced, acted in plays & musicals, created her own costumes, and most intriguing to her of all, did theatrical makeup. She became fascinated with how a mere millimeter could actually create facial expression... make a teenager look old, a happy person sad... The eyebrows in particular express a person's mood; relaxed, angry, surprised, or wickedly witchy (when she played The Black Fairy in Children's Theater). Shade, shadow, and color are the palette for creating the illusion of mood, or for perfecting a natural or elegant, but flatteringly individual look. Barbara's eye for symmetry was put to good use again between school years when she worked for an optometrist fitting eyeglass frames for his patients. This is where her natural ability with "spatial relationship" was discovered and honed; with a perfectionist's eye for what best suits & flatters each individual's face most. During the first decade of her nursing career, Barbara's desire to create art & beauty was limited mostly to Halloween costumes she designed and made from scratch, taking an occasional theater or art class in college, or with the tackle box of makeup she carried to the ER to help other nurses with their makeup for special occasions. Now, and since 1991, much of her need for creative expression has an ideal outlet with the intricate art of permanent makeup; perfecting the most natural & flattering look for each individual client in the gentlest way her medical skills can provide. It is with that innate ability to see spatial relationship that she helps clients prevent permanent makeup mistakes, such as asymmetry or an undesirable facial expression. "I still enjoy embroidery for relaxation, (especially while watching a good Jane Austin film), as well as dancing, singing, and bicycling, but to make a living doing what I LOVE, that is the greatest gift."
Barbara - The Nurse Barbara began her career in the health field at 17 years of age by enlisting in the Army National Guard. She trained at the US Army Academy of Health Sciences as an Environmental Health Specialist; the military equivalent of a Health and Sanitation Inspector. Seeking a deeper understanding of the human body and being a "people person", she transferred to Active Navy service and trained under the US Navy Bureau of Medicine & Surgery to enter into the Hospital Corps. She found great satisfaction in the difficulty of the training and job requirements, training first in the Recovery Room and then ER/Trauma. This is where she received advanced training in suturing and facial anesthetics, also gaining the reputation of giving the most gentle injections; whether with children or the hospital staff who sought her out for her gentle technique with the notoriously painful gamma globulin or penicillin shots. While still on Active Duty Barbara attained her California Nursing license, and she credits the vast on-the-job training and experience in the military for helping her achieve a high 90 percentile score on the 5-hour Nursing Board exams. After a total of 8 years ER/Trauma, Barbara yearned for a more peaceful, soulfully gratifying career that would encompass the best of her medical skills with intricate needle procedures (and gentle bedside manner), with her passion for makeup and love of art. The answer to her prayer came in 1991 with a call from Dr. Paul Parker, who asked her to train to replace the nurse doing permanent makeup in his La Mesa office. Barbara trained/apprenticed under the direct one-on-one tutelage of Margie King Star, RN, PhD for over 300 hours. ("Margie's only complaint about my work was that I was slow... I decided that this was a compliment. I'm thorough and meticulous with my work, preferring to always err on the side of caution where patients are concerned." - Barbara) Barbara has continued to seek out continuing education in permanent makeup (as is required with an active nursing license), as well as advanced training and certification at The American Institute of Intradermal Cosmetics, including Intradermal Paramedical Professional (scar camouflage).