What is bimatoprost? How can it interfere with permanent makeup retention? In this episode of Esty Talk, we learn the answers to those questions. We also discuss the merits of organic versus inorganic pigment and how they are different from “ink” and are enlightened on the permanent makeup process. Whether you are a permanent makeup artist, a skin care professional who should understand this modality, or considering having permanent makeup done, this podcast is a must listen.
Yulia Meoded is an internationally trained permanent makeup artist and educator with 15 years of experience in the beauty industry. Yulia trains all over the world, never missing an opportunity to learn and perfect new techniques and trends. Her extensive expertise and dedication to her clients has launched her name and brand, making her one of the most sought-after beauty artists in Denver.
00:00 Ella Cressman: You are listening to ASCP Etsy talk, where we share insider tips, industry resources and education for estheticians at every stage of the journey. Let's talk 'cause ASCP knows, "It's all about you."
00:16 EC: Welcome to ASCP Etsy talk, the ingredient Decked Out series. Here, we explore the fascinating world of ingredients and how they work within the skin. I'm Ella Cressman, licensed esthetician and owner of the HHP Collective. I am a certified organic skin care formulator and self-proclaimed ingredient junky. Today, we are going to talk about something I know nearly nothing about, and that is permanent makeup. I am so looking forward to getting schooled by someone I have been stalking on social media for a while now, Yulia Meoded. Yulia is an internationally trained permanent makeup artist and educator with 15 years of experience in the beauty industry. Yulia trains all over the world, never missing an opportunity to learn and perfect new techniques and trends. Her extensive expertise and dedication to her client has launched her name and brand, making her one of the most sought-after beauty artists in Denver, and that includes by myself. Welcome Yulia, how are you?
01:15 Yulia Meoded: Hi Ella, I'm great. How are you doing?
01:18 EC: Thank you so much for coming. I'm so excited. Like I said, I've been stalking you on social media for a long time. We are in some social media circles together, 'cause we're both in Colorado, but also we share a client.
01:31 YM: Oh yeah. [chuckle]
01:32 EC: Yeah. And she's awesome, but it was funny because, you know, as a practitioner, we cross clients all the time, and I run across people who have some really good permanent makeup work and some who do not, in fact, I've seen eyebrows where one is significantly higher than the other... Or they're very much off-centered or they're red or they're blue, so I've seen all kinds of bad jobs, and so when my client came in, she's, "Oh, I've been getting my permanent makeup... I had a permanent makeup done, I don't remember how long ago," and I'm like, "I can barely tell, but it looks so good." Hers look is super natural. So of course, I have about a trazillion questions, but we're gonna keep it short here. So, I guess with that, seeing those mishaps, one of my question is, how permanent is permanent makeup or what is permanent makeup? Can you help me understand a little more?
02:23 YM: Yeah, a lot of people ask if it's a tattoo, and the answer to that is yes. Any pigment in your skin is considered a tattoo, whether it's in your skin for one year or 20 years, it's always considered a tattoo. Now, how long it will stay... It depends on the technique and the pigment that the technician will use. Most permanent makeup artists these days do not use any tattoo machines, and they don't use tattoo inks. What we use is machines that were created specifically for working on delicate skin, such as Space or for medical tattooing, areola scars, etcetera, and we use... Tattoo pigments, we use permanent make up pigments, not inks, and the difference is that pigments were designed, they were created to eventually leave your skin entirely.
03:17 EC: Oh, to digest out...
03:19 YM: They fade. They basically fade over time. We do implant them in the uppermost layer of the dermis, so eventually it should go away completely, not in a year or two, but in a few years, if you don't stay on top of your touch-ups, your permanent makeup will be completely gone if your permanent makeup was performed correctly.
03:41 EC: So pigment, not ink. What... Do you know what the pigment is made of?
03:45 YM: We have organic and inorganic pigments, and it really depends... What line you go with... There are a combination, some pigments are a combo of organic and inorganic ingredients, and it affects how they age too. Inorganic ingredients tend to heal, well age, shouldn't say heal age, They're a little bit warmer, which is always super easy to fix. Organic ingredients tend to be on the cooler darker side, those are a little harder to work with over time. Neither one is good or bad, it's really a matter of your professionalism, of your technique, of your skill level.
04:30 EC: And you mentioned that technique and skill level, and that will affect longevity. What else affects the longevity or quality of permanent makeup?
04:38 YM: Well, number one factor is really the client. Because you know... As an artist, I do what I can, but once the client leaves my room, it's out of my hands, I have no idea what they do. So, the main factors that affect the longevity are the client's skin and lifestyle. So if it's somebody who is a sun worshipper, somebody who tans a lot, everything fades in the sun, so that's one factor. Somebody who has a really oily skin will have to do their touch-ups a little bit more often, somebody who's younger, who has fast metabolism, will have to stand up of it, somebody who doesn't have a really healthy lifestyle, and drinks and smokes heavily will also need to touch-up more frequently.
05:23 EC: Oh, that's interesting. I wouldn't even have thought that drinking would affect... Well, I guess it thins you out...
05:27 YM: Yeah, it thins your blood. Exactly, drinking and smoking, and of course, you would have to drink a lot for it to affect your permanent makeup, but some people do.
05:37 EC: I should clarify that I'm not asking that question [laughter] for myself, I'm just saying that was surprising like... It's weird. [laughter] Something else that I saw you post about that I definitely piqued my interest, which is why I wanted to have you on here, that you posted and... Okay, so let's also say that during quarantine, I had lash extensions previous to quarantine.
05:58 YM: I did too. [laughter]
06:00 EC: I know. That was one of the hardest things. Yes, not hugging people is hard, but also having one eyelash left on the outside, I feel so ugly and taking coconut oil and all kinds of things just to try to remove that last one, and I swear to God, whoever was doing my lashes before quarantine must have had super duper strength glue. But anyways, she's fabulous, but during that time, of course, I was like I said, stalking you on social media, and I saw you had this eyeliner, so I reached out to you, I was like, "As soon as this is over, I want my... " It was like a powder cat eye. What is that called?
06:35 YM: There are different ways to call it, and you can call it shaded liner, smokey liner.
06:40 EC: Smokey liner? Okay.
06:42 YM: Yes.
06:42 EC: It was so beautiful and I said, I want that. And so I reach out to you, oh, I want it, and some of the first, instead of scheduling me, you're like, "Okay, great, have you had any lash serums?" Which just happened to be that I did during that time when I was trying to get those lashes off and still look pretty, I'm not a regular user by any means, but I was... I thought that question was so interesting. So can you tell us why you asked me that question about lash growth serums and their effects on the integrity of the skin and the lashes?
07:14 YM: So, it depends what kind of lash serum you use. I really put them in two categories, the ones containing the bimatoprost and everything else; the ones that contain that ingredient are serums like Latisse, Rodan + Fields and their generic equivalents. This is basically a medical ingredient that's used to treat glaucoma, so it affects the eye area tremendously. It makes your eye skin extremely vascular, very sensitive. It darkens your eyelid. It... You can tell when somebody uses this serum without... If you've seen a few people who have used this for a long time or have been using this serum, you can tell that they're using it by just looking at their skin. All other serums typically use vitamins, proteins and things like that. They do not increase micro-circulation, so if you are using any serums like GrandeLASH, Babe Lash, RevitaLash, those are pretty safe. I usually want people to be off those serums for about four weeks, five weeks, about a month, and that's safe.
08:26 YM: If somebody has been using bimatoprost, it's really, really difficult to work on them. I require people to be off those lash serums for a minimum six months; otherwise, it's nearly impossible to work on them, they will bleed, which never really happens unless somebody's on this serum, they will bleed, they will scab, their lashes will break, their retention is not great, if any retention, so it's just really not worth putting people through this procedure for nothing because there will be nothing left.
09:02 EC: Hey guys, stop, let's take a quick break.
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09:55 EC: Let's get back to the conversation. So they'll go through all of that. And I think that's the one reason I haven't gotten my eyeliner yet, is because I don't wanna not wear mascara. [chuckle] Don't you like all that? I don't wanna not... Is that the same as... 'Cause I've heard of other eyelash serums saying prostaglandin-free?
10:15 YM: That one is fine. That one is really fine.
10:18 EC: Okay.
10:19 YM: It doesn't affect your skin to that level, to that degree, it doesn't cause swelling, it doesn't cause puffiness or irritation, it doesn't cause any of that. And what amazes me is that people are not aware of the side effects, or they think it's still worth it, you know? They want to have long lashes, so yeah, a lot of women think it's okay if their eyes are changed color, it's okay if their eyelids turn permanently reddish brown.
10:44 EC: I have a confession then, while we're on this subject. I know this is gonna be like I broke the SD code of honor, and that is my friend said, "I'm trying this new lash serum, you've gotta try it, it's amazing, my lashes are touching my eyebrows." So I'm like, "Okay," and it was Rodan + Fields, and I'm like, "Well, let me try it."
11:05 EC: I said, "Let me try it, so at least if nothing else I can say what I don't like about it." I couldn't... I tried it, I gave it a good, good try about three different times but that thing, ugh, and it was 150 bucks and it was so burny.
11:19 YM: So you will try those this many times as it takes for it to work at that price. Yeah.
11:24 EC: I had it, yeah, exactly, I would at least four times just to make sure that I was allergic and I couldn't see for like days, it was red, itchy days each time I tried it, 'cause of course, you reach back out to the whoever and they're like, "Oh no, that's fine, that's normal, your eyes just have to get normal to it," but that's what you get when you're getting your skin care or anything from a unlicensed professional, and I knew better, but I'm grateful for that experience because then I could talk to you, you know...
11:51 YM: Yeah, but, and you know what it is normal, it is exactly what happens. And some women have it to a lesser degree, so they decide to just suck it up and wait until the redness and itchiness is over or some just live with it.
12:05 EC: Oh no, thank you. No, ma'am, I'm good. I just wear mascara. So I have another...
12:12 YM: Priorities, you know, right? [chuckle]
12:13 EC: Yeah, priorities, rather like, not look like I'm high, but I looked like, 'cause there's red and I was squinty and we live in Colorado, so people are gonna assume that anyways.
12:23 YM: Yes. [chuckle]
12:24 EC: I have another question. So you talked about too, I have a couple of questions. So you talked about that permanent makeup artists don't use machines. What do they do use?
12:36 YM: Oh, we don't use tattoo machines, so there are a couple of different... A few different things, we'll have rotary and we'll have coil machines, so most permanent make up artists will use machines that they almost looks like thick pens, the rotary machines, yeah, but thicker than that.
12:53 EC: Like microneedling pens?
12:55 YM: Yes, exactly. You know microneedling came from permanent makeup, did you know that?
12:58 EC: I'm not surprised.
13:00 YM: Okay, yeah.
13:01 YM: It's also a kick from permanent makeup. We tried dry needling first and then we added skincare treatment and we call it microneedling now.
13:09 EC: Okay, cool. Awesome.
13:12 YM: So yeah, it's exactly what it's like, the microneedling pens. We just buy different cartridges with different needle configurations based on the skin and the area we're working, and the design we're trying to achieve on the skin. Yeah, so they're more gentle, they don't have such a kick as coil machines, they're really gentle, they're quiet, they don't have the vibration, so it's more comfortable to have your permanent makeup done when your machine is smooth, especially if it's eyes 'cause if a machine has a lot of kick, it literally feels like you have a jack hammer in your eyes.
13:49 EC: I was kinda scared about that.
13:50 YM: It's scary, it's terrifying, but when the machine is smooth, I literally have clients who fall asleep and start snoring away.
13:57 EC: When they're doing their eyes?
13:58 YM: Yup.
14:00 EC: I won't. I'm gonna warn you now, I'm gonna be like, "Oh gosh, how much longer?" So, how long does it take then to do eyeliner?
14:10 YM: Eyeliner with shading takes about two, two and a half hours.
14:13 EC: Oh, geez.
14:13 YM: That's the full procedure, that's us talking, that us designing, that's pre-drawing, that's numbing, that's us going over after care and everything. The whole procedure takes about an hour, hour and a half, and once I'm done with the lash line, once I go to shading, that's the easy part 'cause you don't really feel that. That could be done without even anesthesia, that's so light, so superficial. You don't feel that part at all.
14:39 EC: We're gonna have to have a follow-up podcast after. [chuckle] After I get this done so I can tell everybody how and what it was really like. A question that I have is something else that I've been seeing a lot of, especially on social media, is saline removal. So what is saline removal?
14:56 YM: Saline removal is one of the ways to remove unwanted pigment. We don't typical call it removal, it's more of a lightening procedure but it's very effective and it is the most gentle and effective way to remove permanent makeup. What are the options really? We have laser, we have saline and we have acidic and alkaline removals, well, and surgical, but surgical is not always...
15:26 EC: You surgically remove your eyebrows?
15:28 YM: Yes.
15:29 EC: Oh, wow.
15:30 YM: It's not usually the best option for the face because we have much better options these days, and saline removal is great because it is gentle, it actually helps soothe any scar tissue that you may have from microblading, for example, or from a previous tattoo experience, if you've had your tattoos done 15, 20 years ago, when it was an actual deep tattoo. So saline will help with scarring and it basically loosens the bond between the skin cells and the pigment, and when we create a little bit of blood flow, it flushes the pigment up, it will scab a little and flake away.
16:11 EC: Oh, nice.
16:12 YM: And it sounds a little scary but it only looks unattractive for the first maybe hour until you form a scab and then your brows just look a little darker, well, if you're talking about the eyebrows. But we only do this procedure on eyebrows and eyeliner. We can do lip liner but we cannot touch lip tissue with removal. So it's a really gentle and effective procedure. Laser, I believe, takes anywhere from 5-10 sessions to remove eyebrows, for example. Saline solution takes anywhere from 2-5 sessions.
16:46 EC: So beware, you should definitely make sure you're going to someone reputable, who knows what they're doing, so that you don't have to go through that, if you can avoid it.
16:56 YM: Yup.
16:56 EC: 'Cause it sounds like some of the factors are the pigment choice, the pigment tone, the depth, the application, yeah.
17:05 YM: And I can give a couple of tips how to pick your permanent makeup artist. So first of all, you want to ask your permanent makeup artist for healed pictures. You want to see how their work heals, not how it looks fresh, but how it heals, over a few months and over a couple of years, any more than two years is pointless because at that time, it usually fades, it needs a touch up, needs a little color boost. So you always want to see healed pictures. I highly recommend staying away from Groupon. [chuckle] I can't stress that enough. The reason why I do so many saline removals is, Groupon.
17:45 EC: Oh, wow. Okay.
17:47 YM: If you spend $200 on eyebrows, just keep in mind that...
17:51 EC: You get what you pay for.
17:53 YM: Well, yeah. Everybody wants cheap eyebrows until they have cheap eyebrows.
17:58 EC: I love that.
18:01 YM: Right? Well, and then each removal session is $200.
18:06 EC: Oh, wow. So that's a $1000, if it's five?
18:10 YM: We rarely get to five sessions. Five sessions is usually somebody who had an old tattoo, not recent permanent makeup, not anything within the last five years. It would have to be a tattoo because we'll lighten it little by little every time. Somebody who has dark eyebrows and dark hair for example, may not need them to be gone completely. We may just lighten them enough to do a color correction and do a new shape, new eyebrows on them. Somebody who looks like a little fairy, blonde, blue-eyed, really fair with black eyebrows, yes, she may need to do five sessions, but we cannot promise, I cannot ever guarantee how many sessions a client is going to need, we just have to take it one session at a time.
19:00 EC: So another tip would be beware of empty promises.
19:02 YM: Mm-hmm, yeah. And the removal sessions are eight weeks apart.
19:07 EC: That's a long time then.
19:09 YM: It's a long time, yeah. Yes. Sometimes it takes a year to give a client new eyebrows.
19:15 EC: What's the difference between microblading and permanent makeup?
19:18 YM: Microblading is a form of permanent makeup, it's performed with a small hand-held tool that has needles, a lot of tiny little needles that form a blade. It's literally slicing the skin, scratching it and placing pigment in that little scratch. The idea behind it is that when it heals, it looks like a hair stroke. In reality that the strokes don't stay crisp, and less than 10% of clients who want microblading or that hair stroke effect, less than 10% of them are really candidates for microblading. They have to have really healthy skin, really thick skin, they have to be... I don't wanna say on the mature side, but they can't be young clients, they can't have that...
20:09 EC: The fresh, fresh skin?
20:11 YM: Fresh, fresh skin and the metabolism, you know? Microblading really looks amazing on the skin for the first maybe three months, then what happens is the strokes start blurring out.
20:25 EC: Yeah, I've seen that.
20:26 YM: They never stay crisp. Rarely, rarely, somebody who's maybe 50-years-old, somebody whose hormones level are not the same, somebody who still has healthy skin, somebody who's not too old, where their skin is still not thin which their skin is still healthy, somebody who has no sun damage, somebody who doesn't have any oil in their skin, so...
20:48 EC: A unicorn.
20:49 YM: A unicorn, yeah, exactly, exactly, unicorn. [chuckle] So, and as microblading fades, because it's deep enough in the skin, it is pretty deep, the primary color is left behind. So what you see like you mentioned earlier, that you see the golden blue eyebrows with red eyebrows, a lot of times it is faded microblading, the strokes blur out, the primary color, just either blue or red is left behind and the tissue, the scar tissue is there. You know, when you think of microblading, it's about the depth of a paper cut, which it doesn't sound bad.
21:28 EC: No.
21:28 YM: It's just a paper cut, but when you think that you're gonna have 50 or 70 paper cuts on one eyebrow, that's a lot, and each one of them is gonna have some bleeding, it will create some scar tissue. Now think that in a year, anywhere from 1-3 years, you're gonna have a touch-up, you go back and you get 50 more paper cuts on that same area, and then more and more. So really, even those clients who are in theory ideal candidates for microblading, they will end up powder eyebrow kinda candidates, they will have to switch to powder anyway because microblading just blurs out, they just blow out. And so, and then there are, there are a couple of other ways to do permanent makeup on eyebrows, which both of these are done with machine and machine work is always more gentle than microblading. You don't think of your old school tattooing that's so deep. It's so gentle, for example, powder brows, you know when you scratch your skin and it leaves little dots instead of a solid scratch? That's little of the depth of powder eyebrows. You could have this done without any anaesthesia at all. I had my brows done without any numbing 'cause...
22:45 EC: But you seem like a pretty tough gal.
22:48 YM: You know what, you would think so, but no. [chuckle]
22:50 EC: I'm thinking of a paper cut and what a baby I am, I'm like, oww! And I can't imagine getting 50 of those on my eyebrows.
22:57 YM: Paper cuts are painful.
22:58 EC: I know, that's why I'm like, "Oh goodness, I think I'm just gonna get my eyelids." [chuckle]
23:03 YM: Yeah.
23:06 EC: How funny.
23:06 YM: So that's powder eyebrows, it's really just barely scratching your skin and allowing your skin to absorb that pigment.
23:11 EC: And that's when it adds depth and they look fuller?
23:14 YM: Yeah, they look like they're filled in with makeup a little bit. They still look natural. Like when you have a client who comes in to get a facial, for example, and they start washing their face, but their brows is still there, you don't realize it's permanent makeup, you thought it was makeup, but it didn't come off when you washed it.
23:31 EC: That's 'cause they went to somebody good.
23:33 YM: Exactly.
23:35 YM: That's really how you can tell if it's good or not. When you look at somebody and you can't tell that they have permanent makeup, that's when you know it's a good permanent makeup.
23:43 EC: That's what you said to me once too, I think, the best permanent makeup is that that you can't tell is permanent makeup and I'm like, "Ooh, stinker!"
23:51 YM: Yeah, yeah, if you can tell... Yeah, if you can tell it's permanent makeup, it's bad.
23:54 EC: Yeah.
23:55 YM: Everybody has that one aunt who had a neighbor who had permanent makeup and had blue eyebrows or purple lip liner.
24:02 EC: Or they're off-centered and they looked like a Picasso.
24:06 YM: Yeah, yeah, all that.
24:08 EC: So with that being said, also, you can definitely tell when people got their permanent makeup, you can tell shape and size and location on the face, so talk to me about trends. [chuckle]
24:21 YM: Trends?
24:22 EC: How do you stay timeless?
24:24 YM: Oh girl, you just have to work with the person's face. If they... I never, ever, ever, ever look at pictures. If somebody tries to show me a picture of what they want, I just know it's going to be something hideous from Instagram. [chuckle] You know when the trend, the ladies... Oh my God, drag queen, there you go.
24:47 EC: Oh!
24:47 YM: The drag queen started that trend because they need to look ultra-feminine, so they... And exaggerated. So that started on Instagram in around 2016, the sharp outlined eyebrows with lots of concealer around it, they're boxy, they're square, that is... I'm actually surprised this trend is still going. This is one of those trends that you need to stay away with. Basically, any trend that you can look, use down the road, if you can look at your picture and say what year you did that in, what trend that was, just stay away from it, it's not going to be anything timeless.
25:27 EC: Like the late '90s lip liner that's a dark with a light lipstick inside that you [25:31] ____?
25:32 YM: Yeah, see, you could... Exactly, you could look at any picture and say, "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, that was... I used to have that lip liner too." [chuckle]
25:40 EC: Yeah. [chuckle] Yeah, that was like back in the days of Britney Spears and what was that other girl's name? Christina Aguilera, that time.
25:47 YM: Oh yeah, that lip liner, that curly pink lip gloss.
25:49 EC: So it... Yes, exactly. So it sounds like it really should be a unique experience that you should not only seek out a professional that is licensed and insured, follow state regulations wherever, whatever state that is.
26:05 YM: Oh, that's a granted, yeah, yeah.
26:07 EC: And is providing healed pictures, is not...
26:10 YM: Also look at their work. If all of the brows look the same, I'm not gonna drop any names right now, but we have artists whose all eyebrows look the same.
26:20 EC: Okay.
26:21 YM: And if you like that, fine, if you like having cookie cutter eyebrows in your face, go for it, but eyebrows should be designed individually for each client, the eyebrows, the style, the trends, the desired results, somebody who wants hair strokes, for example, they can do nano brows, that's another option that you can get. If they only offer microblading, for example, stay away, because there is a good chance that you will get microblading, whether or not you're a candidate for it. If you see different pictures, if you see hair strokes, if you see powder brows, if you see a combination of hair strokes and powder eyebrows, if you see different shapes, if you see that every client gets something different, that's an artistic approach, you know that you will get eyebrows that will be perfect for your face and not for somebody else's.
27:14 EC: 'cause your eyebrows are beautiful, but they don't... They probably wouldn't work with my eye shape and such.
27:20 YM: Nope, not so much, you have different shape, different...
27:23 EC: Different highlights, different... Yeah, different things. Well, there's no doubt that you are definitely an expert in the field. I suggest everyone follow you on Instagram and on Facebook, and we will have those links in the show notes. I would love to have you back after I get my eyeliner done by you of course, and I wanna thank you for coming today.
27:45 YM: Thank you, thank you for letting me have this opportunity to educate our public a little bit about it.
27:52 EC: Yeah, absolutely. Again, check her out, her links are in the show notes and thank you for listening to Esty Talk. If you wanna connect with Yulia, or me, or to learn more about ASCP? Check out the show notes for links and stay tuned for the next episode of Ingredient Decked Out.
28:09 Speaker 4: Thanks for joining us today. If you like what you hear and you want more, subscribe. If you wanna belong to the only all-inclusive association for aestheticians, that includes professional liability insurance, education, industry insights, and an opportunity to spotlight your sick skills, join at ascpskincare.com, only 259 per year for all this goodness. ASCP knows, it's all about you.