What’s the Deal with Permanent Makeup?

My cousin Sara was always my idol growing up. She was always trying new hairstyles and letting me use her new make up. For a girl with only brothers, it was so fun to feel like I had a big sister teaching me fun girly things! So, when she decided to leave her career in dentistry to pursue her passion as a makeup artist I was so proud of her! To see someone veer off the expected path to follow her passion was inspiring and make me want to root for her dreams even more. She started by apprenticing under a makeup artist on a television show in California. From there, she broke out on her own to do shoots for graduations and then weddings. She struggled like any young entrepreneur to build her brand and business, but after 13 years she is thriving – booking weekend after weekend with weddings.

She then decided to up her skills by going back to school and picking up a new skill: Permanent and Semi-Permanent Makeup. It has been so fun to learn from her, to hear about her journey and to see this new phase of her career take off. A few years ago, I had Sara give me the microblading treatment and I shared the story on my Instagram. I recieved so many questions from those few posts! So, I decided it was worth bringing her directly to you all to give an experts perspective to share with the #WoWaWild Community. She shares her insights, tips and tricks and all she has learned! Enjoy this conversation with #WoWaWild Woman, Sara Frantz of Sara Frantz Artistry! You can learn more below or watch an interview I did with Sara here on my IGTV!

Foundational Information

#WoWaWild: Tell us who you are and how you got into permanent cosmetic?

Hi! I am Sara! All my life I was playing with different brands, applying different looks on myself and others, trying out new products and beauty procedures. I always felt more like myself when I have makeup on. But my lifestyle of being outdoorsy, often times in a hurry or on the go, doesn’t allow me to always spend time in front of the mirror let alone take the time to put on a face full of makeup! So I decided to get permanent eyeliner to ease my makeup routine and have my love for beauty meet my love for life on the go. When I went through the processes I fell in love with the results and then thought it could be the perfect career for me – It would combine my meticulous steady hand skills from being a dental hygienist with my passion of makeup and artistic eye.

#WoWaWild: What kind of certifications do you need to do this safely?

As a permanent cosmetic artist I am regulated by the Health Department and have to follow all safety and health guidelines. Every thing I use needs to be sterile and sanitized or be for one time use only. I was trained in a dental background – so this was all second nature to me. When I wanted to become certified I had to take a blood-born pathogens course as well as first aid. I then took courses on microblading and microshading where I trained with a certified permanent cosmetic artist. After a year or two with microblading I went back to learn how to safely do permanent eye liner and lip shading. Now in the era of COVID-19 I am following every safety precaution to keep the client completely safe throughout the procedure.

#WoWaWild: What are the questions most people ask you?

What is the difference between all of the terms I just used – so here is the break down:

Microblading – Microblading is a technique using a super-fine pen (technically, a bundle of 12 to 15 needles) to deposit pigment into skin. The tip is so fine, in fact, that it can create hair strokes that look legit. And the needles reach only into the superficial layers of the skin, which is what makes the method semi-permanent (versus permanent, like traditional cosmetic tattoos). Think of each stroke as a little paper-cut. (We know what you’re wondering: Yes, it hurts, but your brow artist can numb the area first.) Compared to other techniques, microblading gives a very natural look and better simulates hair.

Microshading – Microshading is a technique that creates a soft, powdered effect that resembles eyebrow powder. Instead of the hair stroke, microshading employs a stippling method, which uses repetitive dots of pigment. The overall effect more closely resembles the sort of brow achieved when wearing brow makeup.

Permanent Eye Liner – This is eyeliner  that stays in place through sweat, sleep, and showers! It is completely customizable to clients likening of thickness, shape and color. However, it’s always advised to stay on the conservative side and avoid trends (cat eye or bright colors) as that can be achieved by adding traditional eyeliner to permanent

Lash Enhancement: Lash enhancement, or “invisible eyeliner”, involves tattooing an ultra-thin line along the lash line to create the illusion of fuller, darker, thicker lashes for a natural, youthful, eye-opening effect. It is very subtle and gives the appearance of no makeup but eyes are just a bit more defined and awake looking. When wearing traditional makeup on eyes, it is common to still need to apply eyeliner as well as lash enhancement can get lost

Lip Blushing – Lip blush is a form of semi-permanent makeup to enhance the beauty of the natural lip color, improves the shape of the lips, giving definition and the illusion of fullness. This treatment delivers very natural results, once healed and almost gives color to lips like lipgloss would (not lip stick). It may take multiple treatments using a tattoo machine and shader needle to achieve desired look (3+ appointments). Your lips are the most sensitive area of face that permanent makeup is applied and can be more painful but a medical grade topical numbing is applied to help. What is microshading: Microshading technique that creates a soft, powdered effect that resembles eyebrow powder. Instead of the hair stroke, microshading employs a stippling method, which uses repetitive dots of pigment. The overall effect more closely resembles the sort of brow achieved when wearing brow makeup.

Also, they always ask if it hurts!

“Eyebrows are not supposed to be exactly the same. Think of them as sisters instead of twins!”

-Sara Frantz

About the Procedures

#WoWaWild: So, does it hurt?

I used what are called “numbing creams” on the areas where you are getting treatment – but I actually don’t like the word “numbing.” Again, with my dental background, the word “numbing” implies that you will lose all feeling and sensation in the area, but that is not true for these creams. So I like to instead refer to them as pain management creams. I try to alleviate the pain as much as possible to make you comfortable. I use products before the procedure and during the procedure to do this, but you will be able to feel what I am doing. I typically ask people after the procedures what their pain level was during the procedure and it is nearly always a 3 or 4 out of 10 on the pain scale. I have never once had a client not want to finish the procedure because of their pain levels.

#WoWaWild: How do you chose the shape and color?

In all procedures that I do, my goal is to have you look like you and I never met! I want you to feel a little more put together without trying when your in a hurry, give you a road map to help guide you when you add your own makeup to it. I choose shape and color based on your natural shape and coloronly enhancing what is already there. I tend to start conservatively with your color as we can always fill in on your touch up appointment.I want all enhancements I preform on my clients to be natural, timeless and a subtle change to your face. Trends and the beauty world are always changing and I want permanent cosmetics to be a good foundation that you can always build on with makeup.

#WoWaWild: How long does it last?

A huge misconception with permanent cosmetics is that it is truly permanent, a better way to describe it is “semi-permanent”. Unlike a tattoo, I am not putting ink into your deepest layers of skin, rather, I am placing the ink in layers closer to the surface. This mean s that your color will last much longer than daily use make up, but will fade over time – especially depending on your face wear and tear. I recommend using SPF every day and a hat or visor to shade your face for best results. After the first treatment and touch up, most people will need a yearly maintenance appointment.

#WoWaWild: What does the after care look like? How will my brows change after the appointment?

For the first few days after your treatment you will want to avoid sun, moisture and give the area a little TLC. There is a two week healing period where your treatment area will go through some changes. You will experience some redness, scabbing and lightening of the color of the ink all before the ink settles into place. This is all very normal. I do recommend anticipating this two week healing period so that you can ensure you aren’t scheduling this procedure too close to a day where you will want to be at 100% (i.e. your wedding day etc.). These changes aren’t incredibly dramatic, but can slightly change the appearance of your brows as they heal.

Wisdom from a Permanent Cosmetic Professional

#WoWaWild: What’s been most surprising for you in your permanent cosmetic experience?

I have always found making women feel beautiful and at their best rewarding, but what I didn’t realize with permanent cosmetics is that I would be able to help so many people beyond on their special days. I have learned there are quite a few diseases that can rip women’s facial hair away from them leaving them without eyebrows or lashes. To help give these women back a piece of themselves has been such an honor and a completely unexpected aspect of this work. It has inspired me to think about how I can continue to grow this skill into something that can help this community even more and a long term goal of mine is to learn how to tattoo areolas on women who have lost their natural breasts to breast cancer. I love that there is an artistry to this work and it helps people look and feel more like themselves!

#WoWaWild: What are your three take away messages for anyone looking to get a permanent cosmetic procedure?

  1. Choose the right artist. I am very conservative with my look and my clients so I am ok with not being the right fit for every woman
  2. Remember permanent cosmetics was meant to enhance your natural beauty! You can always add makeup to it when your going out but it’s suppose to help give you a little umph when you are “bare faced”.
  3. Like all wonderful things, there is some maintenance involved. To keep permanent makeup looking great, you do need touch ups

To learn more about Sara visit our #WoWaWild Women Page or check her out at @sarafrantzartistry on instagram

What are your thoughts on permanent cosmetics? How is beauty influenced by culture – how has culture influenced how you present yourself to the world? What is something that surprised you about permanent cosmetics? Tell me below or share a story here.

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