Tina Davies is the owner and founder of Natural Effects Permanent Makeup in Toronto. I spoke to her about her microblading practice and the special tools she’s designed for it:
What is microblading?
Microblading is the newest hottest trend in permanent makeup. It’s really natural eyebrows that last for a year, a year and a half and then it just goes away. It’s not your grandma’s permanent makeup.
Is it like a tattoo? Do you use a special ink and tools?
Yes, it’s specialized ink just for permanent makeup and specialized tools, so it’s in a class of its own. I manufacture the tools [I use] but I don’t manufacture the inks.
When you are designing your microblading tool, what are you looking for?
For this microblading procedure typically, and what’s been done in the past few years, is you would use some kind of handle that looks like an X-Acto Knife handle. The artist would have to insert a needle into that handle, assemble it basically and then apply it to the skin. The way that I’ve designed my product is that there’s no assembly, it comes fully assembled, and it’s completely safe and disposable. So it’s only a one-time use tool and it has a ruler on the handle that helps with measuring.
Where does the ink you use come from?
There are many companies…that manufacture the inks that are safe and tested for permanent makeup. They have a colour range that is broken into warm and cool colours so that you can find the right colour for, say, a blonde, a brunette, an Asian, a Black person. You would have to use your artistic experience and colour theory to choose the right colours for your clients.
How long have you been doing permanent makeup?
Why do you think it’s such a hot trend right now?
I think it’s because of social media, because people now have access to information and educators have the ability to spread their knowledge. Like for me, I’m an educator, I can teach people, I can train, I can do webinars, I can do blogging, and then spread the word about permanent makeup. When I post pictures, people then have interest, more people come to have it done. There’s just more visibility. Literally estheticians every day are taking courses for [microblading], two-day courses in Toronto or wherever – but two days really isn’t enough. I’m actually against that, but where the money is people will go. People should get proper education.
Are there safety concerns?
Definitely. Blood-borne pathogens is a big part of it – cross-contamination. When people go to a tattoo shop they’re like “Oh my good, is this needle sterile? Is this safe? Are they touching me and touching someone else? What’s going to happen?” So people are very very concerned about cross-contamination. That’s why I made these one-time use disposable [microblading] tools that never existed. Safety is number one in tattooing, regardless. Number two, of course, is skill, the qualifications of the technicians. If you can combine safety and skill, then you’ve got a really good service.
It’s interesting, when I first heard about microblading, I had this image in my head of a cartoonish tattooed-on eyebrow, but when I saw the video on your website, I thought “Oh, actually that looks very natural”.
It’s very popular! I’m literally booked a year in advanced – a year. And that’s me working with clients back to back.
Other than eyebrows, what other procedures do you do?
Eyeliner. I used to do lips but I don’t do that anymore.
So eyebrows are the majority of what you do?
Yes. It’s actually about 70 per cent of most people’s business, because eyebrows are something women cannot live without. If you don’t have lipstick on that’s okay, but if you don’t have eyebrows…
Do you have clients come in who have lost their hair to something like alopecia or chemotherapy?
Yes, all the time! I probably have two or three alopecia clients a week. Chemotherapy is not as prevalent because they are waiting for their hair to grow back.
What is the response you get from your clients?
They love it. I’ve had clients who have been doing this with me for 15 years. They come back all the time because it’s just something for a woman, on her face, it’s so important. You just cannot not have eyebrows and the clients that come are usually people that care. So people love the procedure and they love how natural it looks, that’s the main thing.
Learn more about Tina Davies and her microblading technique at www.tinadavies.com.