Microblading Basics – Choosing an Artist

Thank you for visiting my first blog post! I hope to use this as a place for anyone to obtain additional information on one of the hottest beauty trends of 2017…MICROBLADING! 

I truly believe that proper research and education is a crucial part of finding the right microblading artist for you. The chances of having a bad experience and being exposed to health risks has become higher due to the increase in popularity of microblading and I feel it is necessary that you to find the right professional and get the highest quality treatment available.  

At Altered Aesthetics, we feel very strongly that each of our clients conduct their research when choosing a cosmetic tattoo artist. The content below is from a blog post that was recently posted by Tina Davies on her site www.tinadavies.com. Tina is at the forefront of cosmetic tattooing and has performed over 14,000 procedures! She feels that continually educating herself in cosmetic tattooing is the best way to ensure we, as microblading artists,  offer our clients the best possible service, which I wholeheartedly agree with! I felt that it was in my clients (current and potential) best interest to post her blog content with my responses. I want all my clients to know that I truly believe in what I do, take all the proper and necessary precautions for my clients and value my clients and this industry. Should you have ANY questions, please feel free to contact me. Thank you!

– Jen Santoro


The list below is a guide for how to find a high quality artist. These pointers are not suggested “best practices” or “nice to haves”… these are the absolute bare minimum requirements. If anything is missing from the list  – DO NOT BOOK a procedure.


1. Book a Consultation

Instead of only relying on online reviews and Instagram pictures, take the time to pick up the phone and call the artist and book a consultation.  This is particularly important if the artist is not a direct referral.  The consultation process will allow you to gauge the professionalism of the artist’s customer service, provide the artist a chance to understand your needs, assess your skin condition and provide answers to your specific questions.  Plus, you’ll be able to do a site inspection at the same time to view the working conditions.  Look for an environment that is tidy, well-lit, pet-free, and sanitary.  Many states/jurisdictions also require a sink to be in each procedure room. An unsanitary environment is a huge red flag when someone is making incisions into your skin.

AA Response: At Altered Aesthetics, I will not directly book a microblading session until you have had a consultation with me. Consultations are FREE and you are under no obligation to book a session during or after your consultation. 


2. Tools and equipment inspection

It is essential that all needles the artist uses are sterilized.  This is a non-negotiable, bare-minimum requirement of the any medical or cosmetic procedure that involves puncturing of the skin (ie. acupuncture, blood tests, botox injections, permanent makeup) and will be a requirement of the local governing agency. Sterilization markings should be indicated on the packaging.  No sterilization markings are a big red flag and a deal-breaker.

Make sure the artist mentions sterilization or educates you on their process for use of sterilized microblading needles and handles. You should also see a sharps needle disposal container and watch that used needles and tools be deposited into the sharps container. The SPCP (The Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals) advises that one-time use disposable tools are the safest for both the artist and client and reduces the risk of cross-contamination in the work area.  You should also watch that the artists uses a new needle and that she/he opens a new package in front of you.  Unfortunately, a lot of artists re-use  handles and in some cases, even re-use needles.

AA Response: At Altered Aesthetics we ONLY use disposable tools. I will show you a brand new packaged microblade (a Harmony Microblade created by Tina Davies) and ensure that you see me open it and dispose of it when I am done with your session. I keep all sterilization reports on file and can show you these during your consultation or prior to your session. 


3. Copy of training certificates

Before booking an appointment or sitting in an artist’s chair, make sure they display their training certifications and any other permanent makeup/microblading courses they’ve taken, either in person or online. If you’re unsure and don’t see this information displayed anywhere, ask the artist if you can see their credentials. Due to the recent surge in popularity of microblading and the lack of regulation for training, there many new artists out there who have not been adequately trained which highly increase the chances of client complications with the procedure.

AA Response: I was trained in a small four day group setting in April 2017 with a microblading & micropigmentation instructor that has been in the industry for 10+ year. Since my initial training I have continued to practice and hone my craft daily. I have additional certification training booked and will continue to educate myself as much as possible.  If you would like to see my training certifications, please feel free to ask. 


4. Blood-borne pathogen completion course

You may need to do some digging and research for this one, but when someone is going to perform any type of blood-related procedure like this, it’s important the artist has completed this necessary course and if they have, they shouldn’t have a problem presenting it to you.

AA Response: I have previously worked in tattoo shops in California and I am highly aware of the need for blood-borne pathogen certification. I have been certified several times (it is required to renew yearly) in California and completed another course prior to opening Altered Aesthetics. If you would like to view my certification, this can definitely be done. 


5. Seeing Previous HEALED Work

At the end of the day, even artists who are certified and use sterile needles may still be new to microblading. Make sure to always do your research on the artist’s previous work and read any and all reviews on the experience, healed results, and interaction with the artist.

Remember this rule of thumb:  “immediately after” pictures show art, “healed” pictures show skill.

AA Response: Seeing healed work is crucial to choosing your microblading artist. During our consultation I will show you pictures of before, after and healed work from all our clients. 


5. Gloves

You may think this one is obvious. Ensuring that an artist is wearing gloves throughout your procedure is a given. But it’s critical that those gloves that are touching the open wounds on your face haven’t been contaminated by touching reusable objects in the procedure room such as lights, mirrors, phones, or worse yet – another client.  Artist that are educated in the transmission of bloodborne pathogens understand and are acutely aware of not touching non- disposable items with contaminated gloves, inadequately trained artists are not.  If you observe an artist not taking proper precautions, do not proceed with the procedure.

AA Response: This is a MUST and we have a large stock of medical grade nitrile gloves. Gloves are changed often during your session to ensure all the proper precautions are met and that there is no cross-contamination. 


6. Disposable Environment

Does the artist live in a disposable universe? Do they dispose of all microblades, handles, needles, gloves, and everything else that may be contaminated immediately after they no longer need them? Well-educated and professional artists will dispose of all needles INCLUDING handles to reduce the risk of transmitting disease or infection.  Beware of artists that re-uses handles in order to save a few bucks.  This is a widespread issue. In our survey with microblading supply companies, sales data shows that only 1 handle is sold for every 25 needles…..what does that tell you?  Reuse of handles is rampant and a major public health hazard if not properly sterilized.

AA Response: Everything I used is disposable and properly disposed of once your procedure is over. You will see me set up the station and break down the station. Please ask any and all questions while this is being done and we will be happy to answer. 


7. Aftercare and Follow-up Appointment

During your consultation, note what the artist’s protocol is for aftercare and follow-ups. Does the artist just send you on your way or do they take the time to sit down and explain aftercare, provide a product with written instructions and discuss why it’s important?  If not, expect it.  Client aftercare is a huge part of the success of the healing process and precautions should be taken to ensure a smooth recovery process.  Also, your initial procedure should always include a follow-up procedure to check results.  Professional artists always care about their clients satisfaction and safety first and foremost.

AA Response: All clients will receive Aftercare Instructions during their session. I will go over these instructions and give you all of the necessary aftercare products to heal your brows properly. Should you have questions we are happy to answer them. We also list all of our Aftercare instructions on our website and I am always available via phone, text or email should you have any questions. After your initial session, we will schedule your 4-6 week follow-up in order for us to see your brow results and perform a touch-up. I also make sure to check-in with each of my clients the day after their initial session. 


8. Do You Qualify for the Procedure

We recently wrote an article called “Am I A Good Candidate for Microblading”. We wrote this article because not everyone is a good candidate for a microblading procedure. Reasons for this can vary depending on your skin type or medical conditions you may have, including medications or supplements you may be taking.  Either way this is something both clients and artists have a responsibility to research prior to any procedure so that they both understand that results may not be optimal. For more information on qualifying yourself or clients for a microblading procedure, please see our blog post here.

AA Response: During your consultation we will review the microblading process, your skin-type, skin tone, pigment color and if you are a good candidate for microblading. 


9. Business License, Annual Health Inspection Report, Insurance.

Make sure the place you are going for your procedure is a legitimate business. Would you go to a surgeon who doesn’t have a license to practice? What about insurance? Has the artist/business passed its annual health inspection? Did they even complete their annual health inspection? Moral of the story…don’t allow someone to perform a procedure that involves cutting into your skin unless you are absolutely sure that they’re a professional by the books as well.

AA Response: Altered Aesthetics was inspected and permitted to perform tattooing in Wake County North Carolina. We are an LLC and have all the proper government paperwork to perform as a business. We also carry personal and general liability insurance. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about these via email or during your consultation. 


It is worth it to do your research because you will only have one shot to have good microblading applied to your eyebrows and you and your artist will know each other for a LONG TIME unless you jump ship out of regret of a poor choice the first time around.  If the artist and their space meets the standards listed above, there is no reason that a microblading procedure can’t be an amazing experience that adds convenience and self-confidence to your life.

Caveat Emptor!

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