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How do I choose a Permanent Make-up Artist?

It can be a real mine-field deciding on the right Permanent Make-up Artist for you. It is a rapidly growing industry and new people are entering the field everyday. Here are some pointers to help you make your decision, however, ultimately you need to research! Don't rush, take your time and plan your procedure. You are going to essentially have a tattoo on your face and that should never be rushed into or taken lightly as removal is a very costly, long and painful process! The right Permanent Make-up Artist will patiently and confidently guide you through the whole process from start to finish.

To begin with spend sometime looking at who is available in your area, but don't be put off traveling some distance if you find an Artist that is a fit for you. Look at websites, portfolios, reviews etc and meet a few Artists before making your decision. Please DO NOT solely base your decision on price!

1) Is the person you have chosen qualified? What qualifications do they have and can you see their certificates? A reputable Artist will be more than happy to show you their certificates and these should include on-going training too. Just because an Artist has been qualified for 15 years does not make them necessarily the best. Have they invested in learning new techniques? Is their work perhaps out-dated? I have my most important certificates displayed proudly on my wall and I also have a portfolio of other relevant certificates from my on-going learning in a portfolio for you to see at consultation.

2) Licenses - Do they have the correct Local Authority Licenses? If you are in doubt you can contact your Local Authority for confirmation of what local clinics need and who has one. In my local area clinics need 2 licenses, 1 for the clinic to ensure that it meets the hygiene required for carrying out the procedures and 1 for the Artist to ensure that they work in a hygienic manner. To gain a license the Artist and Clinic will have had to meet strict criteria and they will also have had a stringent inspection. These should be clearly displayed for you to see at the premises you are visiting for treatment.

3) Insurance - Does the Artist hold the appropriate insurance cover? This should also be displayed clearly at the premises that you are visiting for you procedure. Make sure that it is up-to-date and current.

4) Experience - This is important but not essential. What do I mean by this? Well some of the most talented Artists I know have been qualified for a relatively short space of time but their dedication to practice and learning sets them apart. I would however ask how many procedures an Artist has carried out and how experienced they are. This would be an influencing factor in my decision, but I would be happy to continue with someone who was relatively less experienced if they could back it up with a portfolio (including some healed work not just immediately post treatment) and genuine good reviews.

5) Reviews & Testimonials - Can you easily find positive reviews and testimonials for the Artists work? Can these be verified? I can put any prospective client in touch with previous clients, should they wish, to verify the level of my work and expertise. Beware of false reviews!

6) Portfolio of work - Can you see a portfolio of the Artists work? This can be printed pictures in an album, on social media or on websites. I have examples of my work on all of these media and they can be readily viewed by potential clients. Be sure to verify that it is the Artists work, the artist will always have a copy of the original picture to hand. When looking at a portfolio ensure that your Artist has worked on a wide variety of people and that they do not do '1 size fits all' PMU. It is essential that your Artist can create a huge variety of bespoke work to suit everyone. The skill is on being able to chose the correct technique, pigment colour, and shaping to suit the individual, their skin and their expectations. We do not all have the same skin, face shape, lip shape, eye shape etc your Artist must be able to create a work of art especially for you. Permanent make-up should always enhance what you have naturally.

6) Consultation - Are you able to book a face-to-face consultation with your chosen Artist? I would be wary of telephone consultations or even those carried out online. Seeing a person in the flesh is essential for me to decide exactly what can and can not be achieved, what technique to use etc. It's impossible on the phone and difficult on-line even with a video call. At the consultation the Artist should ask for your full personal details, GP name/surgery, a full and detailed medical history before going on to ascertain exactly what you would like to achieve. A patch test should also be carried out for insurance purposes and this should take place at least 48 hours prior to the procedure. Treatment should not be carried out on the day of your consultation.

The Artist should be honest with you if what you are trying to achieve is not possible, and if it is outside their skill level they should be able to refer you to another reputable Artist who can accommodate your requests. Not all techniques are suitable for all skins and they should be able to give you guidance on this. At this stage you should also receive information pricing and exactly what is included for the price. At consultation I explain what is included; my price includes a second, more detailed consultation, the *2 initial appointments needed to achieve the desired results.

*Subject to correct aftercare being followed.

7) Equipment & Pigments - Can your Artist show you exactly what machine, needles and pigment they will be using for your procedure? You will then be able to research to ensure that they are using professional grade equipment and products. For instance you can look up the name of the pigment range on-line, traditional tattoo ink should never be used for PMU. Do your Artists needles come individually sealed and sterilised? Do they open them in front of you? Can they explain their hygiene procedures and their importance to you?

8) Do you like them? Not everybody clicks with everyone! Sometimes a personality is just not a good fit for you. This is why face-to-face meeting is important in making your decision. You need someone who you can feel comfortable to openly ask questions of, someone who makes you feel at ease and that you are in the safest of hands. A person who communicates well and lets you express exactly what you are wanting to achieve. If you don't get a good feeling - go with your gut!

9) No pressure! - You should come away from your consultation relaxed with all the information you need, with the possibility of contact if you have further questions. You should not have been put under pressure to book there and then, you should not have been offered discount to book in quickly. You need to be allowed time if you need to do further research and to think about the procedure before deciding to go ahead. Take your time and book in when you are ready. Following your consultation appointment with me, I will email a full review of what we have discussed along with a treatment plan and costing for you to consider.

If you are interested in finding out more you can book a consultation with me using the direct booking link below:


All procedures shown in the photo's included in this blog have been carried out by Claire Stokes - Permanent Make-up Artist from At In Sensu LTD.

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