Author: ELENA PAVLOVA
Issue: #4, 2015, pp. 43-51When I was asked to write an article on “Visage in Permanent Make-up” for the PERMANENT Make-Up Magazine, at first, with- out understanding the seriousness of the matter, I was somewhat puzzled. This topic is suitable for reports in conventions and seminars. It has been covered ex- tensively in professional literature. Besides, many specialists have undergone training at courses for beauticians and stylists and have years of extensive experience in performing procedures on eye- brows, lips, and eyes.
However, schools for stylists and aestheticians differ in their training programs and methods of applying make-up. Besides, a specialist’s primary task is the accumulation of all acquired knowledge that has practical use in
their work and, in particular, the client’s transformation, which will enhance their outer beauty and accentuate their inner beauty as well. And this requires a creative approach to permanent make-up procedures, where the focus is on beauty, with a capital B, which “will save the world.”
In our educational studio, as well as, probably, in other schools, there is a special course “Visage in Permanent Make-up,” which is designed for specialists with any level of experience. What surprises us is that this course can be challenging not only for beginners, but for experienced specialists as well. It often happens that none of them can handle a drawing assignment, where all drawing rules must be followed. Why does this happen?
It is clear that beginners in the field do not have adequate knowledge, skills or experience. They are still learning. Not many of them are familiar with visage, and many of them do not possess visual creativity. It is good if a specialist realizes it and tries to fill in this gap with necessary knowledge by finding a style and visage school or learning from experienced make-up artists. However, what is not clear is the position of some experienced specialists who are content with a certain level of professionalism that they have achieved and believe that they have enough knowledge. “Is it really so difficult to draw lips or eyebrows?! Five-ten minutes, and everything is done!”
Only a PMU artist who takes their work very seriously and constantly hones their skills can improve the quality of PMU procedures and adjust their prices accordingly. It is a guarantee of professionalism. If you slow down your pace and relax in the race you can be overtaken by other participants.
It is extremely important to be familiar with all innovations in permanent make-up – new machines, pigments, needles, or anesthetics; it is vital to know their advantages and disadvantages.
The industry of permanent make-up is a fast growing and developing market. Staying current with new products is not easy.
The technical aspect of permanent make-up requires training and knowledge. What about the aesthetic aspect? The aesthetic side of permanent make-up is also developing fast. More and more make-up methods are used in permanent make-up. Permanent make-up is constantly changing, becoming more advanced, creative, and artistic.
Let us consider the changes the permanent make-up procedures for eyebrows have undergone in the past 10 years. First, the eyebrow work was performed by feathering or filling in, which resulted in evenly colored eyebrows looking like a stamp or a stain. Later, simplified eyebrow procedures were performed in a “fence-like” manner, which did not enhance the natural look of eyebrows, especially when eyebrow hairs were drawn perpendicularly. These were the first attempts at drawing, or small steps forward. With time, eyebrow hairs were drawn in the direction of hair growth and extended, which was much more appealing and, most importantly, looked more natural. However, this method of drawing eyebrow hairs had a “doll-like” effect.
Later, the procedure of drawing eyebrow hairs in permanent make-up became more artistic and imaginative. What does that mean? Eyebrows were applied in an extended, curly manner; moreover, eyebrow hairs could interweave with each other, double, change direction, etc.
The PMU specialist’s task is to create the illusion of a natural hair coat on the client's eyebrows. Such artistic effect can be achieved through the change of color. Because in eyebrow procedures 2-3 pigments can be used, from light to dark (which will give extra volume), shading can also be used as a base. However, it is not necessary to do it along the entire length of an eyebrow.
Just as in traditional decorative make-up, a slightly lighter area under the eyebrow allows lifting it visually, creating a lifting effect, and setting the eyebrow dynamics. The eyebrow will become “elevated.”
Of course, it is important not to forget about each client’s individuality, to consider face proportions, color type, height, direction, and thickness of the eyebrows. It is also necessary to compensate for natural flaws: to regenerate the natural look and symmetry of the eyebrows and find a suitable shape. As a result, it will be possible not only to make the client look younger, but also to change their image and, by doing so, to give them a new movement vector. It is not a secret that people who have a pleasant, well-groomed appearance can achieve success in life easier.
A few years ago, our Italian colleagues demonstrated their latest achievements in eyebrow permanent make-up as new special effects, in particular, highlights on eyebrows. Kristina Caruso, the art director of Beautec Academy (Italy), held a master class dedicated to this subject. First, permanent make-up was applied on eyebrows with the help of the hair stimulation technique using a No 3 Liner needle for thicker eyebrow hairs and the brown pigment - Brown 3. Then, with the help of the thinnest 1 Flex needle with some white pigment, very close to the brown hair, a white, thin line was drawn. However, it was not applied along the whole length of hair, but only along ? or 2/3 of its length, which created an illusion of a highlight, a change of color on the dark brown hair. To create such an effect, there is no need to draw all hairs in a row, but rather some of them selectively in the arch area and
at the tail of the eyebrow. Taking into consideration all these artistic tricks, it is possible to create a voluminous masterpiece.
We have had a brief overview of the permanent make-up procedures for eyebrows, but there are also “treasures of beauty” such as eyes and lips. Is there anything new we can offer to the client, considering their individual characteristics and make-up possibilities? Actually, there is.
Let us discuss the eyes – “the window to the soul.” We all have different eyes! To draw the client’s eyes most appropriately, we need to “scan” them before the procedure, which means we need to examine their advantages and
disadvantages and the manner in which they are set.
There are three types of eye shapes. To define a certain type one needs to mentally draw a straight line between the inner and outer eye corners.
• The Eastern or Asian type: the outer corner of the eye is higher than the inner corner;
• The European type: the inner and the outer corners of the eye are positioned on one line;
And, finally, the most complicated eye type for PMU work is:
• The sorrowful or the droopy type. Additionally, it is necessary to consider the distance between the eyes. If the eye length does not fit between the inner eye corners, the eyes are considered to be close-set. There are also normal- set and wide-set eyes. Besides, it is necessary to consider if the eyes are deep-set or protruding, etc. Of course, there are no ideal, symmetrical eyes, because we are not mannequins.
As a rule, one eye is positioned lower than the other one; one eye is more round, and the other one is more almond-shaped.
However, there is something attractive and unique about this asymmetry. The PMU specialist must take into consideration all of these factors and recommend to the client the most appropriate make-up option. By the way, while
drawing a preliminary sketch of an eyeliner or shading, please do not forget about the most difficult spot – the deep fold of the upper eyelid. In this spot an eyeliner can look broken and unattractive.
While considering the main permanent make-up options for the eyes, you will notice that a conventional make-up approach has been used more extensively in these procedures as well. We should add though that one has to be creative with it.
The first and most natural option is darkening of the lashline, or, simply put, filling in “between the eyelashes.” In Italian, this is called “infraoigliare”. Most of the time it is performed with a black or brown pigment. Darkening the lashline makes the eyes appear more prominent, defined, and also creates an effect of fluffy lashes. It is a win-win solution for everyone without exception. However, it is necessary to consider a number of specific features from a technical point of view. For example, the line should begin with the first eyelash of the inner corner of the eye and be maximally fine and graceful.
Starting the line immediately after the tear sac will not work for everyone, especially people with close-set eyes. If the eye type is defined as a droopy or sorrowful type, it is not advisable to draw a line “between the eyelashes” to the end of the outer corner of the eye; this will make the eyes droop even more. Additionally, their round shape will be accentuated and the end result will be droopy eyes. It is better to finish a little bit earlier and visually lift the outer area of the lashline, even at the cost of feathering. By doing so you will change the eye shape and make the eyes more almond-like, which is very important in this case.
I could also mention that a little bit of creativity and fantasy can help even in case of this simplest and most natural option. For example, by lightening the inner corners of the client’s eyes with a beige pigment (with dotted or spiral movements). It is better to lighten the inner corners by using a mix, not forgetting that the beige pigment contains titanium dioxide (the white color), which has the greatest covering power. This is why it is necessary to work with it very carefully in order not to achieve a patch-like effect instead of a gentle, semitransparent lightening effect. The lightened inner corners of the eyes, like in decorative make-up, make the eyes appear younger and more radiant. There is also a possibility to darken or add shading above the lashline from the outer side of the eye. Shading can be created with muted and so-called ecologically clear colors, i.e. gray, brown, grayish-brown shades or with bold ones – greenish, bluish and the like. It should not be forgotten that darkening of the lashline is the most natural method that can be offered to the client.
The second permanent make-up option for the eyes is a classic eyeliner. It also starts with refined, thin lines at the inner corner of the eye with complete darkening of the lashline, which is the necessary condition for properly applied eyeliner. A typical mistake of PMU beginners is to treat the lashline with pigment only partially. As a result, light skin shows between the lashes, while above the lashline there is a line in the form of “classic eyeliner”. That is an apparent defect. The reason why eye permanent make-up is applied is to achieve the effect of fluffy eyelashes, which in this given case is absent. In case of classical eyeliner, the line itself is extremely important; it should gradually get thicker toward the outer corner of the eye and it should go over the tail. This very tail gives character to the entire eyeliner. It may be classic, modest or more glamorous, flirtatious, or with a curved, extended tail. Of course, the tail of the eyeliner should be drawn differently for each client.
In any case, it is necessary to focus on the fact that permanent make-up is a procedure compelling the PMU specialist to think in terms of the future, several years ahead. What will happen to this eyeliner in a few years? Will it begin to turn into an accordion in the deep folds of the outer eyelid? If it is too long, will the client get tired of it? In particular, what if this client is very young and requests long, thick eyeliner almost to their ears and it is just a whim because she merely doesn’t want to apply eyeliners herself every morning?
However, fashion and appearance change with time. The client’s preferences and tastes are most likely to change as well. Therefore, oftentimes it is necessary to be a psychologist to an extent, dissuading the client from hasty decisions regarding permanent make-up. This is an unavoidable part of the work, if you are honest with yourself. Of course, it would be easier to agree to every request of the client, if she requests specific types of eyeliner, lips, or brows.
However, the client most often doesn’t possess all information and doesn’t know how many years the pigment may stay deposited, not thinking about possible changes in appearance with age and changes in permanent make-up procedures
and trends. Why place a permanent stamp or pattern on the client’s face?
The third permanent make-up option for the eyes, which is close to a natural look, is misty eyes, or decorative shading, or eyeshadows. There are many names for it, but the basic idea is the same.
Inarguably, this is a beneficial, natural option, but only for the PMU artist with experience. It starts with darkening of the lashline and continues with soft shading with different colors. However, as a rule, it is grayish- brown with an accent, that is, more dense darkening below the outer corner of the eye. Shading around the lower eyelid looks good as well. It is necessary to draw a sketch of the client’s eye in order to understand and select the best option together. What type of shading in terms of length, width and brightness will make the eyes look more almond-shaped, more prominent? It is even possible to correct the shape of the eyes, lifting the outer corners of the eyes with the help of shading, creating a lifting effect.
Beginners in this field often forget or simply don’t know about one important detail: if you perform permanent make-up procedures on the lower eyelid with a clearly defined line, this will make the eyes appear smaller. With the help of the feathering technique, when we make the inner corner of the eye wider and more prominent, smoothly lightening and tapering towards the nose, the opposite effect will be achieved – the eyes will appear bigger. This is merely a make-up trick, but it works.
The fourth permanent make- up option for the eyes could be called classic eyeliner with shading of the upper and lower eyelids, which also looks very elegant and, most importantly, voluminous. The idea is the same: to add decorative shading to the classic eyeliner with a black, or brown, pigment to visually accentuate the eyes and make them appear bigger. This is especially important for someone who has a sorrowful or droopy eye shape.
The fifth option is recommended for top professionals who wield a machine and needle with perfection, as a make-up artist with a brush with soft transitions. This is decorative shading over the entire upper eyelid. However, it requires craftsmanship! Only a true ace, knowing how thin the eyelid skin is (90% of pigment smudges happen in the eye area), can perform shading or achieve gradience with a needle instead of a brush.
I will never forget one incident that among the students of BIOTEK has become legendary. This happened almost two years ago in Saint Petersburg, when we had some courses and master classes taught by Anna Savina. Along with her, an Italian stylist from Milan came to Saint Petersburg to teach classes. He held a two-day seminar for make-up artists. All of us worked at the same center, in adjacent premises. So, it was interesting to get to hear everything that was taught.
Anna’s client came to her for corrective procedures for her eye make-up. A few months before that, she had been a model for Anna at her master class on shading over the entire eyelid. In addition, the shading was tricolored—at the inner corner of the eye it was beige. Then, above the pupil it was emerald and transitioned smoothly to the outer corner in a brownish shade. The most difficult part of this work is to create an imitation of decorative eyeshadows, as in make-up, with gradience. Anna decided to show her work to our Italian guest—a make-up artist. She said, “Please come and see how we perform shading.” He came, watched politely and nodded as if to say ‘yes,’ ‘not bad.’ Anna asked him, “Well, do you realize that this is permanent make-up? This is not decorative eyeshadows, not make-up.”
With a moist cotton pad Anna began to rub the client’s eyelids. Naturally, the shading remained in place. And here comes the most interesting part. Why am I telling you this story in such great detail? For me, it was so pleasant to be able to see all of this. The Italian guest began to show something akin to bewilderment or shock. He came closer and leaned forward, examining the client’s eyes. He was taken aback and asked, “Is this decorative shading or what?” Then he took a cotton pad and attempted to wipe away the client’s “permanent eyeshadows.” He could not. And only then did it become clear to him, “This is permanent make-up? It’s not possible!” “Why is it impossible? Here
it is.” He was speechless.
Then, I understood that sometimes nothing is impossible in any work if we use our knowledge, hands, and talents. This incident presents the opportunity for us to be proud of our professionals.
All of this tells us about the ever-developing possibilities for an aesthetic approach to permanent make-up, speaking mathematically, in the geometrical progression, if only the PMU artist has the desire to learn and create! Those who came to Moscow in February of this year to the latest Laputin convention, attended the master class entitled «Eye Permanent Make-up: Dragonfly Wings» and had the opportunity to practice on latex, learned another new technique.
In these procedures for eyelid permanent make-up, everything centers on the PMU specialist’s artistic approach, where several colors are used according to a special scheme. In a nutshell, it looks like this: the intercilliary
space is treated with a black pigment; a highlight is applied above the pupil in beige, which works as a base, lightening the adjacent colors in this exact spot. Then comes the shading with gray, covering the black between
the lashes, then the purple, and, at the end, the emerald.
It is quite atypical and beautiful. Thanks to the highlight above the pupil, all subsequent colors look transfused. At that, the darkest, most saturated and wide shading calls attention to the outer corner of the eye, which visually makes the eyes appear bigger, changes their shape slightly, and creates a lifting effect.
And, finally, lip permanent make- up. It is surprising how, due to the corrected shape, symmetry, added color, volume, and, when necessary, more clearly defined contours, our clients can be transformed and rejuvenated! With male clients the situation is different, although even men sometimes have permanent make- up in the area of their eyebrows, eyes, and lips.
Looking back, it is possible to see how trends in lip shape have changed over time. The main trend today is a maximally natural look. It is preferable for lips to look ideally symmetrical, fresh, and natural.
Not long ago, lips had to have clearly defined contours, bright colors, and sometimes even with a contour without shading, which, to put it mildly, looked unnatural: the lips and contours were separated. Later, the entire surface of the lips had to be treated with pigment, not accentuating the contour, which looked, of course, more attractive, although still monochrome.
Now, as you understand, the lips can look more exciting, with several colors (pigments), adding a thinner for an ideal, semi-transparent transition from a darker, more saturated contour to a lighter one at the center of the lips, sometimes not even treating with pigment the center of the mucous membrane, without limiting the client to one color or shade of the lips, but instead giving the possibility to use lipgloss of different colors, including semitransparent colors.
One of the latest techniques in lip permanent make-up has been named 3D-volume. However, this doesn’t mean that feasting your eyes on such lips is only possible with 3D glasses, as one of my clients clarified, of course, jokingly. The secret of the correct use of the 3D-volume procedure for lip permanent make-up lies not only in the appropriate selection of several pigments that harmoniously transition from one color to another according to the laws of color theory, but also in defined movements and adjusted pressure on the needle. Many PMU artists working with lips and utilizing this technology have their own methods. However, the idea is the same. The important thing is a high-quality result.
There are still a few tricks that allow making the lips appear more plump and voluminous, which can also be used. One of them is lightening of the skin above the upper lip, above the so-called “Cupid’s bow” (although in no case along the entire length of the upper lip, otherwise it will look like a caricature). And, correspondingly, darkening of the area of the skin below the lower lip, at the center. The most important thing, as usual, is not to overdo it in order not to draw a light line or create “small patches” above the upper lip and dark spots below the lower lip.
If you’ve already learned all the refinements of this profession introducing make-up effects into pigmenting and performing VIP procedures, then it is possible to create highlights on the very surface of the lips, at the center of the mucous membrane: two small highlights on the upper lip and one, a bit bigger, on the lower one. However, this is elaborate work.
What other creative elements can there be in permanent make-up of our time and how else can we surprise our clients?
Permanent make-up blush.
Many clients haven’t even heard of this procedure. Some PMU artists already perform it, pleasing their clients with this innovation. It offers convenient solutions for daily life. Make-up artists have a test: when make-up has been applied, they examine the blush in order to check its brightness and depth.
If the color is not saturated enough, they add more. This is the final touch that allows you to “bring the entire face together.” Blush helps rejuvenate the face as well, uncover its sculptural features, and, as clients say, “conceal their cheeks.” Naturally, this technique requires knowledge of its particulars before its utilization. There are many nuances, and all of them are very important: the correct choice of pigment color for the blush and
its dilution with the mix in correct proportions, the selection of needles that allows feathering without clearly defined borders with superficial movements of the needle, and so on and so forth.
The permanent make-up procedure for lightening the periorbital region has already been successfully used. As make-up artists say, lightening of the dark circles under the eyes. This permanent make-up procedure will help many clients solve their problems. However, everything must be done in moderation, without polka dots or spots under the eyes.
All of the aforementioned procedures will be getting better and better, as there are no limits to perfection. I hope that the majority of PMU artists understand how important it is for us to constantly update our knowledge
and exchange useful information, striving for a higher level of professionalism and receiving satisfaction from our work.