Twelve months ago I set a goal. My goal was to find and train with the best in the world in the field of cosmetic tattooing, also known as permanent make up, as well as many other names. As a Physician Assistant with more than 20 years of experience, as well as a Certified Permanent Cosmetic Professional for 8 years, I knew that I had more anatomical, dermatologist and physiological knowledge than most of the people already in private practice. I knew I was good, a very capable, qualified practitioner, but, that wasn’t enough. I want to be the best, I want to offer my clients what no one else can….. Unsurpassed Expertise. In short, perfection, whether it be Permanent Eyeliner, Hairstroke Simulation Eyebrows, Permanent Lip Blush or Full Lip Color, Hair Follicle Simulation or Permanent Eye Shadow / Shading. So, I undertook a journey to find the best. I gave myself only 12 months and determined to make it happen at almost any cost. After all, if you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best and often that doesn’t come cheap.
My journey started as many do, on Google. Scanning photos, reading blogs, reviews, visiting websites – often in languages I couldn’t understand. My best friend became Facebook. Luckily, there were a lot of support pages for people who were searching just like me!
My journey started with eyeliner. It has always been my least favorite procedure, I found Will Anthony, an incredible artist whose coil eyeliner is world renowned. He came to visit me for 2 days and my life changed. I knew I was on the right path. The procedure I dreaded the most became my favorite. The coil machine, used by traditional decorative tattoo artist for centuries, but mostly unknown to cosmetic tattoo artists, became my favorite piece of gear. So much so that all my friends got new eyeliner, which was unheard of prior to Will Anthony!
Next on my journey was learning a rather new technique in the world of Permanent Cosmetics – Hairstroke Eyebrows. With the help of Will Anthony, I found Valerie Weber, an incredible artist and trainer, soon to be a friend and mentor. Val came to my New York office from Doylestown, Pennsylvania full of information, ideas, style and positive energy. She introduced me to another new machine, the Meicha. She taught me so much I’m not sure where to begin, including how to manage my business, how to design and draw the most realistic hair strokes,and how to understand hair growth (including various ethnic hair patterns), as well as colour theory with her favorite pigment line. By the time she was done, not only had I’d learned a ton of new stuff, but I’d gained a life long friend.
Feeling pretty good about myself and my new skills, I decided it was time to learn a completely new procedure. So, I reached out to a long time friend, Bonnie Hall. Bonnie was a key member of the team from my primary training in permanent make up at the Beau Institute (an incredible place to start the journey). Anyway, Bonnie was doing a relatively new skin care procedure called Microneedling, also known as Collagen Induction Therapy. In the simplest terms, it’s a means by which to increase collagen production from the inside out. Bonnie, as incredibly caring and generous as always, agreed to come and spend a few days with me and my boys, husband Kieran and two sons, Jake & Luke. To say Bonnie is a wealth of information would be an understatement. Bonnie has been practicing the art of Permanent Make Up for almost 30 years (yet still only looks 25 herself, obviously she’s good at what she does!). Not only did Bonnie train me in microneedling, but in so much more. Bonnie is and always will be my go to for colour theory, client management, skin care and all around support for the rest of my life. Sorry Bonnie you’re stuck with me.
My extensive Facebook and Google research revealed that I was seriously lacking in one of the newest, hottest treatments to hit the cosmetic tattoo industry since the introduction of anesthesia, MICROBLADING, a name which is still in hot debate. Simply put, it is the use of a single use handtool to create exquisitely fine Hairstroke Eyebrows. For the first time my world was about to leave the world of machinery. I was about to go back in time, to learn how this profession I love so much started. Microblading literally dates back centuries! So, I scoured the internet, Facebook, Google, you name it. I looked at thousands of photos. I had eyebrow fever. I dreamt of eyebrows, I couldn’t look at a single person (men included) without assessing their brows. I became obsessed. I needed to learn this technique. Enter Branko Babić. I’d seen his work all over Facebook, he was amazing, incredible, the bomb, but the man lived in Serbia. There was no way I could go to Serbia. As if on request, Branko came out with a 6 month internet course based solely on his microblade eyebrow technique. Imagine Willy Wonka teaching you how to make chocolate without leaving your living room, while wearing your comfy jammies?? I thought life couldn’t get any better. His tutorial videos were informative, creative, and educational. His support team was amazing – despite the time difference, seemingly seconds after any question was posed it was answered. Branko was tough, requiring submission after submission of drawings on paper, then practice skin and finally human skin. He critiqued, praised and evaluated without prejudice. It was a grueling six months. I must have spent a thousand hours drawing eyebrows on paper, then another thousand practicing microblading on linoleum, until finally I’d met the very high criteria Branko set, and received his approval and graduated from his program. I’d perfected my drawing and technique and was now ready to introduce it to my clientele. Well, they accepted it with open hearts and minds. It’s been a whirlwind. I love microblading, I love the way my clients react to their results. I just love what I do. I thought I was done with training. Aside from spending big bucks, in 10 months I’d accomplished what I set out to do. I’d trained with the best. I’d upgraded and honed my skills. In time, with practice I’d be exactly where I wanted to be, where I’d trained and worked so hard to be – highly trained and at the pinnacle of my profession. It felt good, really it felt great. There were moments that I felt invincible.
However, I continued to research, to look, to examine what and who was on the horizon. That was when I started to see the work of three professionals standing out over and over again. It made me realize the search for knowledge, for personal growth is never ending. Someone once told me the day you stop learning is the day you die. Well, hopefully that day is a ways away, so again I started to look at their work, to dissect it, to marvel at its complexity, yet simplicity. Then as if a gift from the Gods, all three were coming to New York together to do a training in their respective specialities. Imagine my delight, my excitement, my struggle to find more funds for more training. Imagine me describing this to my very patient husband. NPM and Moshe Alul, from Israel. To say this man is generous, kind, and talented is not even close to describing this incredible, caring artist & educator. He coordinated a three day seminar featuring his patented Hair Follicle Simulation, 3D Areolar Reconstruction Design, the amazing Eyeliner with Eye Shading of Tunde Mehn and the master of Ultra-realistic Hairstroke Eyebrows, Ennio Orsini. It was probably the best three days of my life since learning the fundamentals of cosmetic tattooing. I was like a kid in a candy store. I was so excited that I was almost speechless, which those who know me will attest to its near impossibility. In those three days I learned more advanced techniques than I could imagine. To say that Moshe’s Hair Follicle Simulation is ground breaking is an understatement. It is revolutionary and I’m so excited to incorporate it into my menu of services.
Tunde Mehn came all the way from Hungary to share her warmth, her kindness and her amazing talent. She was open and generous. She shared her technique, her secrets and what she has spent a lifetime mastering. But what I really learned from her was how to use common ordinary needle configurations in amazing, extraordinary ways. She truly embodied the art and soul of a Master.
When Ennio Orsini of Italy entered the room, I actually got giddy. I was so excited you would have thought that John Travolta and Al Pacino had just walked in. I had been staring at his work on Facebook for 2 years, trying to decipher or de-code his design. But it always made me sad, as I thought that there was no way I’d ever get to Italy to train with him. Then, there he was right in front of me. He was funny, energetic, easy going, passionate and dedicated to sharing his discovery. What an incredible treat! I will spend the rest of my professional life trying to live up to his expectations.
After 12 months and lots of money – I can say I attained my goal. I trained with the best of the best. I studied, I trained, I tried, again and again…..I still try on a daily basis. If you stop trying you’ll never attain true success. So, I continue to try. I still want to be the best and someday I will be!
So, when you call up and ask me why my eyebrows are higher priced than…….. please see above!