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How to become a Microblading/Permanent Makeup Artist

So you’re considering becoming a permanent makeup artist! Excellent Idea. You’ll be joining the ranks of permanent makeup artists all around the world who have lucrative careers in permanent cosmetics — a stimulating and rewarding profession.

But let’s stop right there. Microblading is really old-school. In fact the only reason you will see me mention it in this article is so google helps you find me. 

Today the landscape of permanent makeup is making huge technological strides. The artistry is the same but, now infused with technology, the application has evolved. 

If you haven’t already heard about Nanoneedling you can learn everything you need to know here. For our article today we’re going to use Nanoneedling in all of our examples. 

Often we think of microblading when we think of permanent makeup but let’s not forget that Microblading is only a technique. In Canada there is no specific road map to becoming a permanent makeup artist other than dedication and determination. I have traveled the world to study under some of the industry’s most talented permanent makeup professionals. I have invested 10’s of thousands in training over the course of 6 years. Certification is very important. It helps you build trust with your clients and also allows you to insure your business. Without Certification you will not be able to garner the insurance necessary to protect yourself from liabilities. 

Here I will try to answer all of your questions about becoming a Nanoneedling/permanent makeup artist as it relates to my own success.

So, what are permanent cosmetics?

Permanent cosmetics (Nanoneedling, or permanent makeup) is a practice that uses specialized electronic devices to deposit pigments under the skin. The purpose of this technique is to replicate a natural makeup look that is permanent. To be honest it’s really for anyone, from the busy corporate mom to the brave warrior battling cancer. Older women and women with parkinson’s disease also turn to permanent cosmetics when applying daily makeup has become a laborious or even impossible task. Permanent cosmetics is also a recourse for women who want to skip applying makeup every day and enhance their appearance in a more permanent way. Whoever your client is, I assure you they are in abundance and they all need someone they can trust to capture their true beauty and freeze it in time.

Why should you start a career in the permanent makeup industry?

I love being a permanent makeup artist. Though it can be a high stakes job with no room for mistakes, if you work well under pressure like I do, you can change lives. 

There are many benefits to choosing this very unique profession. First of all, the fact that it’s a highly specialized profession means there is less competition, and I mean real competition. For example, there are far fewer permanent makeup artists than there are hair stylists. As a result, permanent makeup artists can charge more for their services and as a result have higher incomes. The demand for permanent cosmetics is increasing year after year as the technology and pigments become more and more advanced and the social appeal towards the techniques are growing in popularity. 

Also, this job gives you the freedom to be your own boss when you’re ready.  According to a 2016 survey from the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, 87.1% of permanent makeup professionals who took the survey are self-employed and almost another 20% are independent contractors. In the last 4 years, as we enter into 2020 we have only seen these statistics increase.

The following estimates in the linked survey are moderate, and unfortunately in 2016 not many people were using Nanoneedling so most of the numbers are reflecting

What is the average salary for a permanent makeup artist?

A quick google search will show you that this is a tricky question to answer. The 3 most common reasons it’s hard to pinpoint a specific salary range are:

  1. It’s a very specialized field;
  2. Income depends on how much the artist charges per procedure and how many procedures he or she does;
  3. Salaries are not the norm, as most permanent makeup artists are self-employed.

Remember, permanent make up artists usually do several procedures, most commonly eyebrows, eyeliner and lips. Some estimates online say the average salary is between $65,000 to $120,000 a year. These projections can vary greatly, but it is important to note that even the lowest of that range is a very decent salary by Canadian standards.

For the purposes of estimating how much you could earn as a permanent makeup artist, I can only speak from my own experience as a business owner and in doing so, it would be more accurate to discuss income and profit. Income is the total amount of revenue that you will pocket immediately after a procedure, and profit will be whatever is left after you pay for expenses such as: wages, material, rent, licenses, insurance, tax liabilities etc.

Let’s start with just Nanoneedling for this example. Nanoneedling prices vary greatly depending on location and the esthetician’s experience. We have seen prices go as low as $400 and as high as $1500. The math for gross earnings is fairly simple.

$600

Average cost of Nano Brows

5

Clients per week
(At this stage of my career I do about 3 per day)

$150,000

Potential Yearly Income, Not including tips

Now, that’s just the income you could potentially earn if you only worked eyebrows. Let’s run some more numbers, based off the data supplied by the SPCP 2016 study.

Point #30 of the study asks surveyors to list how many NEW procedures they perform each month, excluding touch-ups. Let’s take eyebrows, eyeliner, full lip color, and lip liner. Point #33 lists the average fee for each procedure based on the surveyors’ individual answers.

Eyebrows

Monthly Earning Projections
$ 5,783
  • 13 new procedures per month
  • at $445 each

Eyeliner

Monthly Earning Projections
$ 4,220
  • 10 new procedures per month
  • at $422 each

Full Lip Colour

Monthly Earning Projections
$ 2,316
  • 4 new procedures per month
  • at $579 each

Lip Liner

Monthly Earning Projections
$ 1,696
  • 4 new procedures per month
  • at $424 each

Monthly Earnings

14, 017

Keep in mind, these are just estimates, and they are based on several variables. I have not deducted the many operational expenses from these figures.

All Businesses Start Small

It takes time and dedication to grow your business. You need to set your expectations realistically. This kind of income doesn’t just happen overnight.  Nano Needling and permanent makeup are an art that takes years to master. It will also take time for you to build a reputation and become recognized for how well you do your job, as it would with any other business. So while I do believe it is very possible to make a very good income with this career, it’s up to you to apply yourself.

Location, as well as experience, play a huge part in how high you can price your services. If you wish to go into business for yourself, there will also be some start up costs: training, certification, business licensing, machinery, rent of a facility, furniture and digital advertising & branding are just some of the costs you will come across when setting up your own practice.

What training will you need?

Whether or not training is a requirement for you to have a license will depend on local regulations regulations, but you should invest even if it is not. Your main responsibility with your future clients will be to provide the best service you can and in order to do that, you need to learn from a professional and perfect your art through practice.

You may choose to start by taking a general permanent makeup course that would generally teach the most common procedures (eyebrows, eyeliners and lips) Or, you could start by focusing on one specific technique, Nanoneedling, for example. 

You can enroll for our winter 2020 classes here.

Get An Apprenticeship Or Go Straight To Work?

The truth is, this is up to you. Some people have a natural inclination to permanent makeup and are gifted enough and confident enough to start building clientele while others. if they have the opportunity, will opt for further training through apprenticeship. Some courses will include apprenticeship as part of their curriculum, but often the fee is higher. 

If you choose to go straight to work and start building a clientele you will need to be ready to invest in your business.

List of Permanent Cosmetics Startup Costs

Like any business you can imagine there will be some significant start up costs. Some of you will choose to work from home, and others will opt to invest in a dedicated space. No matter what situation best describes you it’s important to keep your brand at the top of your mind. Your brand (ultimately you) will rely entirely on your reputation. So remember investing in your reputation and your brand should be at the top of mind.

EQUIPMENT
SUPPLIES
BRANDING
ADMINISTRATIVE
Nano Gun
Medical Swabs
Logo
Booking Software
Rolling Stool
Rubbing Alcohol
Business Cards
Business Registration
Tattoo Bed
Practice Pads
Website
Accountant
Lighting
Brow Pens
Signage
Marketing Support
Computer
Shaping Tools
Paid Advertising
Business Coaching

How long will it take to be successful?

As I’ve said throughout this article, the sky’s the limit. If your branding is on point and your services are reputable you can grow your business to a self sustaining, profitable model within 6 months. 

Your success will be measured in more than profits. Your reputation and approach to business will be a key factor in the sustainability of your business. While this is true in any business, it is most paramount in the permanent makeup industry. I’m sure I don’t need to explain the amount of trust required to let a stranger tattoo your face. This is why training and practice are so important. 

The most important thing to launch your career is the right training.

Nanoneedling Training Course with Sabria Bullaku in Ottawa, Ontario

I offer several different courses. If you’re just looking at starting your career in permanent makeup I strongly suggest starting with eyebrows and more specifically nanoneedling. 

My beginner course on nanoneedling will cover several key areas you will need to start your career in permanent makeup. 

We will discuss the type of equipment required to make the most of your profession. Tools are your best friend but there are literally hundreds of options. I’ll help you learn what tools are at the top of the pro list and why.

Most of our time will be spent on technique. The core of your business will be centered around your technique. There are several techniques to learn based on different variables. I’ll help you identify the methods to shaping the brow and applying the permanent pigment. 

For a full breakdown of our training and schedule, signup below and you will receive an email with more information.