The amount of time and money saved, as well as the simplicity of waking up without having to apply a daily camouflage improves the client’s quality of life. There’s so much a person can do with the time saved by having permanent cosmetics: you could do a quick work-out, catch up on your emails, prepare a healthy meal, read a book…again, who couldn’t use more time and look flawless at the same time?
Stephanie: Why would someone go to you for permanent cosmetics?
Valerie: It starts with experience and integrity. Everyone deserves to have the best when it comes to their face or body. I undergo continuing education regularly, so I can educate and offer the newest advances in permanent makeup to my clients. Not only do I have years of experience and positive feedback, I keep up on the latest advances for my clients’ sake.
A lot of the feedback I get from clients is that I take the time for their unique needs. A thorough consultation precedes every new permanent cosmetic procedure to ensure we are the right fit for the client and vice versa. Honest and prudent advice is the best approach for clients considering permanent cosmetics and we make sure each of our clients have that privilege at Dermagrafix.
Stephanie: I’ve read your five-star reviews from clients. Feedback is crucial for any business.
Valerie: It is. When you work with me, you can expect a qualified, educated professional that has things in place for your protection, such as a licensed facility, proper education, liability insurance, FDA approved equipment, quality pigments and so on. All these things directly relate to the results you will wear for years to come.
I’ve been trained by many different artists nationwide, and being a part of an educational organization such as SPCP really is helpful to somebody in my field. The Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals is a worldwide organization that provides education to people in my industry. The certification to be a Permanent Cosmetic Technician, it’s not mandatory, it’s an elected certification. It’s something I obtained through the SPCP and is a recognized certification.
My credentials: I’m an SPCP lifetime member. I’m CPCP certified. I’m the founder and Chief Cosmetic Officer of my business, Dermagrafix Permanent Cosmetic Studio, which is an award-winning business. I have fifteen years of experience, not only performing permanent cosmetic procedures on a multitude of different clients but I’m also an educator and instructor of permanent cosmetics as well. I’m a licensed esthetician and makeup artist, first and foremost.
Stephanie: How important is maintenance after having a permanent makeup procedure?
Valerie: It’s really important that people who want to maintain the fabulous look they’ve just invested in that they’re careful of their sun exposure and the beauty products that they might use, or the beauty treatments that they might get.
It depends on what technique they have done, but generally speaking, sun exposure can fade pigment particles, so we recommend a zinc oxide-based sunscreen. Zinc oxide is a full-spectrum sunscreen, so that really does the best at protecting the tattoo.
Then, of course, beauty products. It’s important for people to use their beauty products to make the rest of their face look great, but at the same time, if they’re not careful, some beauty products may be the culprit of a fading tattoo. Some clients may need to touch up a little bit more often than somebody who may not use the same beauty products as another client.
Stephanie: Who do you teach on the instructor side of your business? I noticed you offer several classes.
Valerie: Usually somebody in the medical, beauty or artistic realm. I teach other professionals in my industry. They could be people who come from an aesthetics background, it may be physicians or nurses or medical professionals, other tattoo artists. I teach fundamental and advanced training classes for serious professionals.
Somebody who practices fine arts, drawing, painting—these people usually acquire the skills to move into the permanent cosmetics field. For me, I don’t like to teach anybody who doesn’t already have an artistic ability or an arts background, so I require they submit a portfolio of their artwork.
Valerie: Or, if they can show me that their art can translate into the permanent cosmetic world. That way, I can teach them how to tattoo. Essentially, when we have an artist drawing with a pencil, I’m just really removing the pencil and replacing it with a tattoo machine and showing them how to create the art that they already know how to do, using a different instrument.
I offer a very thorough curriculum, and I had my curriculum approved by the SPCP back in 2007 when I wanted to teach. I have a 100-hour program that focuses on all the essential parts that people would need to learn to get started. We call it “The Foundations of Permanent Makeup.”
Once they take a fundamental permanent cosmetics class, once they gain some experience, they can move on to advanced techniques, which we teach as well. Getting involved in this field takes a lot of commitment.
Stephanie: I am beginning to see that.
Valerie: It’s not something that’s learned easily. I think a lot of technicians who do really, really great work, have all these fabulous pictures online, and people may think to themselves, “Wow, I’d love to do that,” but you really have to have the artistic ability or you may struggle in this line of work. Proper training is key.
Stephanie: Once somebody’s gone through your course, have you ever hired them to work with you?
Valerie: I have, yes. If I have a stellar student who is doing exceptionally well and they just have a natural-born ability, they’re flowing through class, and they’re doing exceptional work. We actually work on live models in my class. You can get real feedback from the actual model.
We have opportunities for apprenticeship and growth, and they can even learn more when they come to work for me. I’m getting ready to open a second location; we’re growing quickly and are looking to open in Philadelphia. It’s a goal for 2016.