In Utah, I need a license to do things like tweeze or wax your eyebrows, apply eyelash extensions, or give you a basic facial. However, a license is not available of required for those doing microblading or permanent makeup. Microblading is a form of micropigmentation, aka intradermal pigmentation, aka permanent makeup. The skin is cut, bleeding occurs, and there is risk.
I recently watched a morning television spot where an artist/trainer repeatedly stated microblading is "completely different" from a tattoo or Softap and that those modalities go "into the muscle". WHAT????? YES, microblading IS a tattoo. NO, permanent makeup applied with a digital rotary pen and/or Softap does not go into the muscle. YES, I have advanced training and experience with Softap, digital rotary pen, and microblading.
In Utah, you (and I mean anyone - with no prior experience) can quite literally attend a one or two day training course taught by anyone and be in business microblading brows. I've even seen Facebook posts where people are asked where they trained and replied "I took a class here from a lady"....... Microblading is huge trend and people with no prior experience see it as a way to make money. Training classes are filled to capacity and all these ladies - lots of them - will soon be "practicing"......
The burden of regulation falls upon the County Health Department who should be inspecting each facility and assessing each practitioner before issuing a permit. Permanent makeup in Utah falls under the "body art establishment" permit requirements. However, there are many people doing microblading and permanent makeup without these permits, because they fail to apply for legitimate business licenses and to apply for a board of health permit.
So what can you do to protect your health and to increase the likelihood of a good result? Before you agree to any microblading or permanent makeup procedure, ask your artist these questions:
- Does she have a current business license in the city where she is doing business - it should be posted on the wall. If you don't see it, ask.
- Does she have a current Board of Health permit - it is required to be posted on the wall. If you don't see it - RUN.
- Does she have a current Bloodborne Pathogens certification - not required, but it it should be. This should be renewed annually.
- Bonus points - Is she a licensed aesthetician or cosmetologist, meaning that at some point, she received in-depth training about skin and its structure. Again, this is (unfortunately) not required in the state of Utah.
- Does she have current professional liability insurance? This costs several hundreds dollars per year and reputable insurance companies usually require proof of training from a school. Most microblading and permanent makeup artists don't carry insurance due to these two factors. Again, RUN.
- If you are receiving only microblading, does she have any prior permanent makeup experience?
- Who trained her? Was it a legitimate company? For how many days?
- When was she trained?
- Has she taken a color theory course?
- If she is only microblading, does she have any other permanent makeup experience?
- Did she give you a list of pre-treatment instructions?
- Did she ask about potential medical contraindications when you booked your appointment?
- Does she have photos of her work?
- Are there client reviews you can read?
- Does she have her Hepatitis B vaccination series? Not required - but a professional in this business should have it.
During your treatment:
- Was the studio clean?
- Was everything explained to you thoroughly?
- Was sterile, single use equipment used? Do you see a sharps container and did you watch your needle go into it? I've watched permanent makeup "professionals" throw used, contaminated needles into the trash......
- If she touched anything (doorknobs, cell phone, etc) did she re-glove before touching your open skin?
- Is the tray she is working from covered in barrier film?
- Did she give you aftercare instructions to mitigate the risk of infection and increase the likelihood of a beautiful outcome?
- Is she readily available if you have questions or concerns after?
It's your beautiful face. Be extremely picky. Because someone charges a lot, has a huge Instagram following, trains others, has a huge waiting list, etc. doesn't necessarily make them knowledgeable and proficient about the risks and responsibilities that accompany entering the sterile layer of your skin with needles....
Permanent makeup is absolutely fabulous and those who have it (including me) love it. And microblading has increased the awareness of permanent and semi-permanent makeup due to its beautiful, natural results. There are many qualified, exceptional microblading and permanent makeup artists out there. It's ok to protect your health and your result by asking lots of questions to ensure you pick the best match for you.