March 28th, 2018
In this month’s column, Brow Queen Karen Betts talks about a subject close to her heart: education and training.
After over 20 years working hard as an ambassador for the positive benefits of permanent cosmetics, I can’t begin to tell you how saddened I am when new clients arrive at my clinic and get all upset as they explain how they’d put their faith in someone who, it turns out, wasn’t properly trained in the art of permanent makeup.
It worries me too. Because when I’m confronted with such an obvious lack of artistry, it immediately makes me question whether any of the other essential aspects of the treatment have been carried out. So, this week, I thought I’d share my thoughts with you on how to be absolutely sure you’ll never be that technician whose clients call me afterwards in floods of tears.
First things first. What should you be looking for when it comes to training in permanent cosmetics? Who should you trust with your hard-earned cash? I know it’s not an easy decision to make, because there are so many different companies out there to choose from, but let me give you the heads up on what your number-one priority should be…
When considering a course, before you even look at the fun stuff—I’m talking about all the wonderful artistic techniques on offer in the prospectus—look for a dedicated module on health and safety. That’s an absolute prerequisite.
Believe me when I say I’ve seen it all in my time. I’ve witnessed ‘professionally trained’ permanent makeup technicians who didn’t even have a handle on the most basic concepts of hygiene and the prevention of cross-contamination.
That’s why, when I set up my first academy back in the ‘90s, I knew there was definitely going to be a big focus on health and safety in my training rooms. And yes, I know it’s not a sexy subject to study, but it’s crucial you know this stuff as a permanent makeup artist if you’re to protect yourself and your clients – not to mention the reputation of your business.
Secondly, I’d stress the importance of choosing an accredited training school. Look for the Beauty Guild’s Guild Accredited Training and the ABT (Associated Beauty Therapists) accreditation logos. They’re your guarantee that the course you’re looking at has been scrutinised and offers industry-recognised professional certification.
Thirdly, look at how many days training you’re going to get – and, specifically, how many hours you’ll be spending in the classroom with your hands on the tools of the trade, practising the techniques under the watchful eye of an experienced trainer. If it’s not stated in the company’s brochure, ask. And while you’re asking, find out what the tutor-to-student ratio will be too. They should promise you extensive training time with no more than two students per trainer.
Going back for a moment to those clients who come to me for a brow rescue, I sometimes do a bit of detective work to find out where the offending technician trained. More often than not, I discover they’ve been on a two-day course before being let loose on the unsuspecting public. Two days! On average, you need about five days of guided practice in the classroom plus plenty of case studies at home before you can even think about going into the big, wide world and charging clients.
By way of example, let’s take one of these undertrained microblading technicians. They’ll commonly either scratch too deeply into the skin, or they won’t scratch deeply enough, so clients don’t get the best results from their treatments. In comparison, students at my K.B Pro Academies spend weeks learning about colour theory, facial structure and skin tone while being coached in the hands-on techniques. By the time they qualify, we’ve made sure they’re fully confident in their ability to create the perfect brow strokes every time. Sorry to say it, but there are, quite simply, no short cuts to acquiring the required level of expertise.
Lastly, anyone who’s worked in the beauty industry long enough knows you get what you pay for. You know how the saying goes: buy cheap, buy twice. That applies as much to permanent cosmetics training as it does to the treatment you receive as a client. Don’t forget you’re investing in your career. The quality of your training will determine your skill levels which, in turn, will determine how successful you are in the industry.
Okay. Time for me to dismount my high horse now, I think! As you can see, I get pretty passionate when it comes to clients and students getting quality treatments and training. I’ll try not to get quite so carried away next time. I can’t actually promise that, though, because I’m going to be introducing you to a very special client of mine. His name is Alex Lewis, and his story is one I find truly inspirational. I’m thrilled to say he’s agreed to join me on my fast-approaching Gift of Confidence Day. I’ve still got lots to organise for that, so until next time… keep on making people feel good!