Advice when selecting a Permanent Makeup Artist

I have written this article as a means for the prospective client to be informed regarding what to look out for when deciding on which practitioner to entrust their face. Here I is my best advice on how to locate an efficient permanent makeup practitioner for your PMU.


This has to be your prime concern.

Check for medical grade sterility. Many diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C, to name just a few, can easily be transferred to the client via unsterile equipment.  Only single-usage disposable needles, caps, microblades and pigment cups should be used.  All equipment should be totally occluded and fully sterilised between each client.


Your next priority should be around ethics.

The popularity of permanent makeup has attracted a lot of highly gifted and talented professionals. Regretfully, there are also a number of unethical and un-trained individuals out there who steal work from websites and claim the before and after pictures as their own. These individuals also regretfully give the industry a bad name as they are obviously unable to deliver work of similar quality. I am frequently approached to ‘fix’ poor results and embarrassing sub-standard work done elsewhere – which is neither cheap nor easy to achieve – if at all.

Quality of equipment and products.

Your permanent makeup practitioner should have invested in the best high-quality computerised precision machinery, offer a large range of reputably safe pigments and use highly effective imported topical anaesthetics.

Don’t be afraid to speak to the person you plan to trust your face to – if she (or he) has nothing to hide – they will speak to you with a sense of pride and answer all your questions without reserve – giving you a sense of confidence in their experience and ability.

Professional Skills

Ask to see the practitioner’s credentials. Besides being highly qualified, it is important that your permanent makeup practitioner should also have attended regular workshops, seminars and conferences in order to keep abreast with new pigment launches, techniques and procedures that will deliver the best result for you in this vibrant and ever-evolving industry!

Your practitioner should be able to confidently match pigment colours to suit various skin tones, be able to create individual hair strokes, do shading variations and be experienced enough to avoid ‘accidents’ like pigment migration.

I further believe that an added advantage would be for your permanent makeup practitioner to be highly proficient in the application of regular makeup. Just like a paint artist’s canvas – the face is the permanent practitioner’s canvas – therefore requiring a keen eye for colour, experience of strokes to be used and a deep knowledge of facial symmetry, as the smallest deviation can alter the appearance for either better or worse – this will reveal a true professional.

In my experience, I have found that some tattoo artists (who may have been tattooing for years) are not necessarily good permanent makeup artists!  Having said that, I know a number of tattoo artists who are excellent at the application of permanent makeup – check that the pigments being used are produced explicitly for PMU and not a tattoo ink.

Please note that regretfully, not all poorly performed permanent makeup procedures can be ‘fixed’. I strongly recommend to rather hold off on your permanent makeup procedure until you are in a comfortable position to approach a professional practitioner – do not be tempted to subject your face to unscrupulous individuals to save a few bucks.

Remember – if the price is cheap – the results will usually be equally cheap!


To set up a confidential consultation – please complete the online booking form HERE 

Or email at
Studios in Northriding, Johannesburg.

All Appointments strictly by appointment.



About the author: 

Gwendoline Johnston owns Permanent Makeup by Gwendoline and practices as a Permanent Make-up Specialist at her studios in Johannesburg.  Gwendoline attained her Master Certification from the  American Institute of Intradermal Cosmetics in October 2013.  She has kept fully up to date with ongoing study in the latest techniques and trends by obtaining over fifteen certificates  and diplomas both locally in South Africa and internationally – attending Advanced Permanent Makeup training seminars, master classes, conferences and workshops.

Gwendoline’s vast experience attained over the past seventeen years, together with a thorough understanding of skin and colour, has placed her in the confident position to teach, advise and perform in all areas of advanced permanent make-up, including para-medical applications.  Permanent Makeup by Gwendoline is affiliated with local and international Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, Specialists and Medical Spa’s.

Throughout my career, I have remained committed to delivering excellence.  I have a deep passion for my craft and genuine care for my clients, which when teamed with the highest level of professionalism, my aim is to deliver unparalleled performance within the vibrant and ever-evolving world of permanent makeup.”

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