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Written and Submitted by Susan Preston - President of Professional Program Insurance Brokerage - 12/2011 - Read Bio


Recently we had an insured call and suggest we write an article on why a permanent makeup (PM) technician should give the client the exact look they want and not try to foist their own opinion and ideas of beauty on the client. 

The situation that arose was our insured PM technician felt that her client’s request for eyebrows was too radical and faddish. The person seeking the procedure was a woman under 30 who wanted her eyebrows to be a trendy, uplifting look.  The PM technician felt the woman would grow tired of them and talked her into trying a more classic, basic look. After one eyebrow, the woman asked to see the work and promptly freaked out saying that was not the look she wanted at all.  At that point, the PM technician decided to go back and give the woman what she wanted. The upshot was the eyebrows did not come out looking like each other, leading to a very unhappy young woman. 

It is hard to know where to begin to discuss what is wrong with this picture.  Let’s start with the woman getting the permanent cosmetics.  I believe virtually no one under 35 is a good candidate for permanent cosmetics. At that age, they do not know what look they will want the rest of their lives so permanent anything is often not advised. Forever looks a lot further from 25 than it does from 55. At an early age, most women are experimenting with their look and are more likely to try different things depending on the trends.  By the time a woman reaches her 40s, 50s or beyond, she will often have a better sense of her style and not be so ready to change it. 

Professional permanent cosmetic technicians spend quite a bit of time going over their client’s medical history and background and then talking about what the client is looking for. Part of the goal of the consult is to be sure the PM technician and the client anticipate the same outcome of the procedure. During the consultation, the technician should be sure she/he can control the client. If not, the person may not be a good candidate for permanent cosmetics. It is never a good idea to offer any procedure or service to a person who cannot be controlled.  

If a person wants an eyebrow look the PM technician is not comfortable providing, there are a number of ways to move forward. One would be to turn the prospective client down and suggest they go to another technician “who can better suit their needs.”  In extreme circumstances, this is not a bad idea.  Another way to handle this situation is to draw the proposed eyebrows on a piece of paper and have the client sign off saying this is what she is requesting. Go one step further and draw the brows on her face to match them on the paper.  If it later turns out the look is too radical, the PM technician will be able to pull the client file and say “here is what you asked for.”  The third suggestion is to listen to what the client wants and then do the least amount of radicalization. If the client says the style is not pronounced enough, add to the look on the second go round. This gives the person getting the procedure time to determine how much style she really wants in her eyebrows.  

There is nothing wrong with PM technicians offering opinions on the planned eyebrows, but if the client gets a look she does not want, it very well might lead to a lawsuit which is what is going to happen here most likely.     

Once the permanent eyebrow look is agreed upon with the client, it might make sense to work on both brows before letting the client look in a mirror. If she sees 2 brows that are not the same, she is likely to freak out and cause problems. Control what the client sees and when for maximum psychological effect and minimum stress on her part.  

In the cosmetic tattoo world, permanent eyebrows require more artistic type of skills than eyeliner or lips.   Beauty is in the eye of the beholder however the person getting the eyebrow work has to live with the look forever unless she plans a painful and costly removal process. It is important to be sure she is going to be happy with her forever look. On the other hand, the PM technician will not want to see ugly  eyebrows around town and realize she didn’t talk the person out of the unflattering or now out of date look. In other words, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. That is why it is always best to be as conservative with brows as possible until you know the client understands fully what she is asking for.           

Susan Preston has been at the forefront of crafting insurance programs for new, up and coming industries since 1993.   In addition to being President of her own insurance agency, Professional Program Insurance Brokerage (PPIB) in Novato, CA, Susan is the majority owner of a permanent cosmetics supply business, Face and Body Professionals, and the co-founder of a non-profit association setting standards for the permanent makeup industry, Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals. With this industry involvement, Susan has been a leader in making the most out of emerging spa markets. She has worked with states and other governing bodies to develop industry regulations and served as an advisor to the National Environmental Health Association.

Through PPIB Susan has been providing insurance to the permanent cosmetic, tattoo, and beauty industries for over 18 years and to medispas and laser centers for 6 years. She has developed applications, forms, underwriting guidelines and policies for all of the industries PPIB insures. This has catapulted PPIB to the vanguard of program optimization and leadership in providing insurance to where it is needed.

Due to Susan’s involvement in the industries that she insures, she has become a well renowned speaker and writer contributing ideas and solutions to many of the issues surrounding the insurance, beauty, medispa, and tattoo markets.


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