How to pick a great permanent makeup practitioner?

How to pick a great permanent makeup practitioner?

As the demand for permanent cosmetics continues to rise, so too do the number of permanent makeup practitioners who are offering treatments in the UK. While the vast majority of these are sure to be experienced, talented individuals, there is still the potential to come across someone who is less well equipped to be in this industry. There are currently no minimum requirements to become a permanent makeup practitioner, so the industry could be open to abuse by unscrupulous individuals trying to make a quick buck.

Choosing a practitioner for your permanent makeup tattoos should be approached with optimum care. This person is going to be undertaking an invasive, risky and long lasting treatment on your face, so you should exercise at least as much caution as you would when picking a GP or dentist for your family. Here are some tips to help you whittle down the list of makeup tattoo practitioners in your area, and to help you find someone with the skills and experience you need.

What qualifications should a permanent makeup artist have?

Before a budding practitioner can even begin to start their training to become a permanent makeup practitioner, they must be at least age 18. They must also hold current certifications in first aid, CPR and a blood borne pathogens certificate. One they meet these requirements, they can go on to train and learn to undertake permanent make up procedures.


Despite the lack of minimum requirements for qualifications for permanent make up practitioners, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that all workers should receive appropriate training to allow them to do their job safely. This includes hygiene, safe working practices and personal skills, and failure to complete adequate training could result in severe fines for the business.

At a basic level, a practitioner should have taken the time to go through an effective training course or three, to ensure they have the practical and procedural knowledge and skills to deliver your treatment safely. Ask any potential practitioner what training they have done and when to reassure yourself that they are equipped to do the job.


Most good permanent makeup artists will have undergone an apprenticeship with a Certified Permanent Cosmetic Professional (CPCP). A good apprenticeship programme will last several months, or possibly a couple of years, and will equip the trainee with the practical, hands on skills they need to start working in permanent makeup.

As well as learning about colour choice, application techniques and drawing skills, apprentices will receive instruction on sterilization, ink preparation, infection control and bookkeeping. As an alternative to an apprenticeship with a CPCP employer, students could choose to go to a permanent make up school. Ask your practitioner where they learned their trade, and for how long, to reassure yourself they are adequately trained.


Certified Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (CPCP’s) will also need a license in order to practice, either for the business as a whole or for the individual if they are freelance. Under the Local Government Act (1982), it is a breach of bylaws to undertake skin pigmentation treatments without the appropriate license.

The license should be displayed prominently in the salon where your practitioner is working, but if you can’t see it immediately, do ask to see if before you agree to having any work done.

What else should you look out for?

Of course, training and qualifications aren’t everything. We’ve heard scare stories from clients who have been to see ‘master’ cosmetic tattooists, who upon further digging had no more than 15 eyebrow treatments under their belt! Don’t take their word for it that your makeup artist is good at their job. Check them out thoroughly to ensure you don’t end up regretting your choice.

Here’s a quick checklist of things to investigate:

  • Years of experience: They might have reams of paperwork and qualifications, but how many years have they actually been practicing?
  • Before and after photos: Visual proof of expertise is a great indicator of skill, but make sure they are actual photos, not a glossy brochure compiled from library images.
  • Testimonials: A good permanent makeup practitioner will have plenty of satisfied clients to refer you to.
  • Price: There’s no such thing as a bargain when it comes to your face. Low prices can be an indicator of inexperience, so be wary of anyone who is offering cut price treatments.
  • Location: Is your practitioner practicing out of a purpose built salon or shop front, or are they expecting you to have your treatment in their own lounge?
  • Hygiene: Look around the salon. You should be able to see a spotlessly clean trolley dedicated to the equipment for permanent make up treatments. You should also be able to see a yellow sharps box for needles, a clinical waste bag, and all surfaces should be washable and non-porous; i.e. no blankets or towels.
  • The practitioner: They should look clean and professional with hair tied back.
  • The process: You should be invited for a skin patch test before any treatment is undertaken.

If you are in any doubt about any of these issues, just walk away. There are enough permanent makeup artists out there that you should never feel obliged to go with someone you’re not 100% comfortable with.

The mark of a great make up practitioner

Emma Hall is a top specialist in permanent make up and aesthetics. She has over 10 years’ experience as a practitioner, and reams of hands on, practical experience during this time. Despite her expertise, Emma continues to train and research extensively, and works hard to stay abreast of new techniques, tools and trends to give her clients the best experience possible.