Yes, although the pigments are not the same as tattoo ink, and the Virginia licensing process is different (I do not offer body art). For permanent cosmetics such as eyebrows, eyeliner and lip color, I use a hand tool. The tiny, sterile needles are discarded after one use. Their penetration of the skin is to a depth equal to the thickness of a dime (.135"), and usually isn't deep enough to cause bleeding. To reduce and camouflage a scar, I use a machine which resembles an electric toothbrush.
Will it turn blue over time?
You may see this in work done elsewhere, especially when tattoo inks are used. Today's permanent makeup pigments are formulated to match to your skin tones, and my work is fully warranted to fade in its original color, which should last at least two years, though I have done touch-ups on areas that are five years old. When the color has faded, touch-ups cost far less than the original work. During our consultation, I test the pigments for their compatibility with your skin.
Why doesn't permanent makeup last as long as body art?
Alas, this is true, for several reasons: Tattoos applied to the face get more exposure to daylight, which had a fading effect. Also, facial skin has a lot more subdermal circulation with blood and lymph. Also, the skin turns over, replacing itself, at a greater rate. I have proven this by using permanent makeup pigments for body art; I have a tattoo on my ankle that is virtually undiminished after four years.
Does it hurt?
I use very effective topical anesthetics such as lidocaine (similar to novocaine) to make you more comfortable both during and after the procedure. The sensation is similar to tweezing (some say less so); some clients feel only the slight pressure. The discomfort passes more quickly than for a cut or a bruise.
How much does it cost?
The initial consultation visit is free, and carries no obligation. Eyebrows cost $395-425, eyeliner costs $295-$425, and lip color costs $475. Maintenance color costs $125 for eyebrows, and should only be needed every one and a half or two years. Color enhancement and/or correction for work done elsewhere is priced individually according to anticipated difficulty. Paramedical procedures for areolas, scar camouflage and other kinds of losses are priced individually, depending on the work required. My work includes a twelve-month warranty against discoloration or excessive fading.
Permanent makeup should be considered a time-saving investment
putting on your makeup for ten minutes a day over a period of one year amounts to 48 hours. You can wake up in the morning with your eyebrow, eyeliner and natural-looking lip color already in place. It won't wash off in the pool or at the beach, and will never streak during exercise. My work carries a 12-month warranty against discoloration or excessive fading.
How long does it take?
I like to proceed slowly, beginning with a (free) consultation on my client's present makeup design. We choose colors carefully, using digital photography to make sure I understand my client's preferences. The process is highly collaborative. You should allow about two hours, so that we are not rushed, though the actual procedures take from one to one-and-one-half hours. In the follow-up visit four weeks later, refinements and touch-ups will be possible, and I check to be sure that the color has settled in properly. Most procedures require two visits; lip color, because of the greater surface area and the character of lip tissue, usually takes three visits. The cost takes this into account.
What about the recovery?
There will be a small amount of puffiness and irritation, which passes in a couple of hours, though not enough to make anyone wonder, "What happened to you?" For a few hours after eyeliner, the eyes are a bit puffy and reddish, as with allergies. Following lipcolor, a person would need to use a drinking straw and avoid salty or juicy foods for the rest of the day. The affected area should be kept mostly dry (no soaking or immersion) for a week. There is no residual pain, though it might itch a bit, and lips may peel as though chapped.
What are the risks?
I do everything I can to minimize the likelihood of allergic reactions—this is why the client profiles are so detailed. I use sterile needles and universal precautions against infection, just the way your doctor does. I also take your picture three times: before the procedure, without makeup, to show our starting point; with makeup, showing the desired result (in an effort to give you exactly what you want); and after the procedure. I have a wide range of colors to match individual skin tones and aesthetic preferences. Note: In the six years that I've been in practice, there has never been an allergic reaction to the pigments or (thanks to my clients' careful home-care) any report of infection.
The pigments used for permanent cosmetics are different from tattoo inks
The FDA has not ruled on pigments for tattoos or permanent makeup; the ones I use are made in the US and have been accepted by the FDA for use in foods (where they are ingested in far greater quantities than for permanent makeup) and cosmetics. The Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, of which I am a certified member, is vigilant on the matter of pigment safety. SPCP-approved pigments are comprised of ingredients which have been established as safe, and their manufacturers are required to list all ingredients and their batch numbers on the label.
In answer to the question of MRI safety
I am not aware of any actual cases of MRI difficulties. I quote from my professional organization's website (www.spcp.org): " According to Dr. Frank Shellock of Tower Imaging in Los Angeles, CA, a top expert in MRI safety, [out of the thousands who have had permanent makeup applied], only a handful of people have reported minor problems around the eye area and no problems around the lip or brow area. … Test studies have confirmed that the 'iron' particles in pigment are too microscopic to react as true metal pieces but rather are more accurately compared with 'metals' which already exist microscopically in the body."
What are your qualifications?
I have 15 years of experience as a technician; my aesthetic sensibilities developed in a prior career in photography and graphic design. For permanent makeup, which I've been doing for more than six years, I have been trained and licensed in a course of study approved by the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as attending workshops with highly experienced specialists from around the world. I hold a professional certification from of the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, and I am affiliated with the American Academy of Micropigmentation. I receive referrals, as noted below, which should tell you that I'm trusted by people you trust.
What references can you offer?
I have a portfolio of client histories, with before and after photos (used by permission). I receive referrals from the following: Charlottesville's Signature Medical Spa; Charlottesville Skin and Laser Center; Dr. Michael Godin, a facial and reconstructive plastic surgeon; and Roanoke's Medical Grade Skin Care. I also provide areola repigmentation for breast-reconstruction patients of the University of Virginia's Plastic Surgery Clinic, referred by Dr. Kant Lin, Professor of Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery and Pediatrics Division Head, Division of Craniofacial Surgery, by Dr. S. Asfa of Asfa Plastic Surgery in Harrisonburg, and others.
Brows 2 (F)
This is my beloved Alys, my oldest client to date
She was 95 at the time. She was a NC friend of my parents who suggested my name when I was born. She said, "I've never had eyebrows–you've got to give me some eyebrows." This is how she looked the next day. I accomplished this with a hand tool and the usual topical anesthetics. She said she would get up every morning and run to the mirror to be sure they're still there.
This client has typical thinning brows which required the daily use of an eyebrow pencil
Permanent makeup eliminated this chore–her brows are always balanced and even.
(alopecia areata or alopecia universalis) is an autoimmune disorder usually triggered by stress; it may also be hereditary. The result is that, to varying degrees among the 5 million or so who are affected in the US, the body rejects its hair, including arm & leg, scalp, eyebrows and sometimes, eyelashes. This condition is often permanent. Other causes of hair loss include chemotherapy, at least temporarily; sometimes emotional challenges result in another cause of hair loss, compulsively pulling hair out from scalp or eyebrows (trichotillomania). Responses to hair loss can include the use of wigs (human hair wigs have become quite lovely as disguises) and makeup for missing eyebrows and eyelashes. Permanent makeup can be useful here, eliminating the chore of applying eyebrow pencil and eyeliner daily, as well as potential embarrassment at the gym or the pool. With their permission, I offer the illustrations of one client's experience with eyebrow tattoos. She wears a human hair wig, and still has her own eyelashes.
This is how she looked without makeup
She had been drawing eyebrows on, every day, for years. (Look closely.)
Now she has a little less to do in the morning
This client was 22 years old last year when she came in
is a series of images in the process to restore the appearance of eyebrows. First you see her with the drawn-on brows. Second is the healed version after the first visit.
She's quite happy to be liberated from the chore of adding eyebrows each day
Furthermore, the process seems to have stimulated a bit of hair growth–if you look closely, you may distinguish it from the drawn-in hairs.
This girl, is 17 years old (treated with parental permission)
She wears a lovely human-hair wig and does a good job with eyeliner, but the absence of brows made her very self-conscious in gym class and outdoors, where drawn brows would smear and come off.
Alopecia is not limited to women
This client had clipped his very bushy eyebrows too short.
I filled in the bare spots and tweezed a few of the stray hairs to give a more pleasing shape. The eyebrows have been tattooed with a smoke color. We agreed that this client looks ten years younger.
The eyebrows painted with a prospective brow look
I have done a bit of tweezing to improve the shape.
From left to right
Untouched; painted, one side; tattooed, first visit.
This fellow has alopecia (see the Paramedical section)
Shown here are the before and after images from his first visit. The irritation will subside in a couple of hours. As noted elsewhere, on this first visit, the color will fade by about 30% as the surface skin wears away. I will probably use a darker color for the second application.
In the final application, his skin wasn't as reactive
I built on the background color by using a darker color in hairstrokes. We will likely tweak the design during his first year (all covered under my warranty). Is another client, whose skin didn't have the same reaction.
I added color to the eyebrows and replaced her topical eyeliner with a soft
Durable line in blue-gray. Eyeliner can be wide or more conservative, according to the client's preferences.
This client gleefully exclaimed, "Now I don't look like a boiled egg
It only takes a little color in the right place to make a big difference
I'm happy when my work isn't obvious, and my client has the option of revealing the secret.
This process is done by hand, there is (usually) little swelling or bruising.
The sensation after eyeliner can be compared to having been out in a sandstorm; the irritation passes quickly, and eyelids may be a bit puffy for the rest of the day. The healing process can be a bit itchy, but none of this is likely to be historic, given what most of us have experienced in a life. Coverage, thickness and color are determined by the client.
The lip procedure generally requires 3 visits
Lips don't retain as much color. This client sought a soft pink color.
Immediately after the procedure
The color is very strong for several days until the surface skin wears off–sometimes this is in an actual peel, sometimes less so. The client is encouraged to avoid salty foods for several days and to use a straw for drinking.
The final color is shown here with a clear gloss.
The end of a long road.
An explanation of the usual mastectomy/ reconstruction process
Note: Other surgical options are available. Breast reconstruction following a mastectomy can be done in several ways. Using the patient's own tissue, at least two options build a new breast with either muscle (in the less-common TRAM) or fat (in the DIEP procedure); these procedures are generally done at the time of the mastectomy. When using implants made with saline or silicone, breast tissue is removed and an expander (which resembles a flattened beach ball) is placed under the chest muscle. The incision is closed, and two weeks later, the surgeon begins to inject saline solution into the expander, which stretches the muscle and the skin. The expansion continues at two-week intervals until the desired size is reached (one benefit of this process is being allowed to choose the new breast size)–this process takes about 3 months. A second surgery removes the expander (s) and replaces each with an implant, usually silicone, since that is most lifelike. A third, optional procedure pinches up a bit of skin to form the nipple point. Finally, a tattoo is applied to resemble the areola. This is what I do, using up to three colors. (As you can see here, other options are possible.) The entire process, from diagnosis to normalcy, takes about ten months to a year. I've been there, and I am available to offer reassurance for those who face this experience. In the case of a single replacement, the new nipple must match the remaining one; otherwise, the color and size are at my client's discretion–often, my client will come in with her husband/partner/mother/best friend, and they get the fun of those choices.
I needed to match the remaining breast
After her reconstructive surgery, this client wanted a bit of body art to commemorate a sister whom she lost to BC
The repigmentation is a restorative look, and the color de-emphasizes the scars
Additional measures can be taken to minimize the scars, both by flattening them and by applying camouflage pigmentation.
I'm glad to report the following feedback, and I welcome candid responses.
A terrific investment–I'm so glad I did it now–before I lost all of my eyebrow hairs!
I would recommend this to anyone–Also would recommend you–as I had this done once before and was disappointed in the outcome".
I love my eyebrows–I love not having to draw them on!!
Color is great. I am so happy I did this–thanks so much!
I'm pleased with the make-up. The color is suitable with my hair color.
It's one of the best things I've ever done and [I] don't know why everyone doesn't try it. It's worth every penny.
Love the color, best thing I ever did! Looks natural.
Her grand daughters added: "Nana looks very natural. We really like the color."
From my Square account responses
Professional, knowledgeable, and delightful! Five stars!
Always the most-professional experience and stellar customer service!
Very professional, but also a lot of FUN!
Mary Hunter was great to work
With and she took her time and was very patient to ensure I was getting want I asked for and was happy with the results
Mary Hunter did a fantastic job.
I cannot recommend her too greatly. She is professional and certainly knows her business. I've been wanting to have my eyebrows done for a long time and she did an excellent job.
disclaimer:pricing and availability subject to change.