There are many routes to become a permanent makeup artist and usually include training programs, apprenticeships, or a combination of both. Training programs vary in length from two to five days or longer. Permanent makeup artistry may be practiced by cosmetologists, electrologists, estheticians, nurses, physicians, and tattoo artists. It is recommended that prospective permanent makeup artists follow up the initial training period with an apprenticeship or train under an experienced practitioner and instructor for several months to a year.
Permanent makeup is cosmetically applying pigmentation in the form of tattoos to resemble makeup on the skin of the face, eyelids, eyebrows, lips, and sometimes the cheeks. People may choose to undergo this procedure for a variety of reasons. Some may have permanent eyebrows applied to replace natural eyebrows lost due to alopecia or chemotherapy. Permanent makeup may disguise scars or white spots from vitilgo. Micropigmentation may be a choice for those suffering from allergies to traditional makeup or a vision impairment which prevents application of conventional makeup. Permanent makeup can also restore color to the breast areola after breast surgery.
Although procedures are frequently performed outside the tattoo parlor, permanent makeup artists are held to similar standards as tattoo artists. There are many risks involved in micropigmentation, including scarring, allergies, and undesirable cosmetic results. Licensing requirements to become a permanent makeup artist vary with location. Typically, the Board of Health of a country or state oversees licensing requirements. Certification in the United States is available through two organizations that seek to professionalize and standardize the industry.
To become a permanent makeup artist, most artists choose to attend a school that offers an initial training program that may be from two days to two weeks. When choosing a curriculum, students should look for courses in skin anatomy, makeup artistry, health considerations and sterilization techniques, equipment and pigments, and business and marketing. There are three methods of permanent makeup application currently available: the traditional coil machine, a rotary or pen machine, and the hand method. Courses should address all three methods so a general familiarity with strengths and weaknesses of each is covered. Another consideration is to find out the types of follow up support that are available.
Choice of instructor can affect the decision to become a permanent makeup artist. Ideally, an instructor should have a good combination of experience in the industry and teaching experience. Instructors should also take continuing education classes at least once per year to ensure the instructor has knowledge of the latest techniques in a rapidly changing and advancing industry.