How to Choose a Permanent Cosmetic Technician


The following are excerpts written by Marjorie Grimm, CPCP, a respected leader in the permanent cosmetics industry who is the author of Permanent Cosmetics – The Foundation of Fundamental Applications, and is also the creator of the Turn-key Multimedia Fundamental Permanent Cosmetic Training Program that no permanent cosmetic trainer should be without.  While Marjorie is based in California and Washington, the information contained in this article is actually geared for all locales. This information is provided on Facial Art Permanent Cosmetics’ website with Marjorie’s permission in an attempt to educate and inform the general public on how to choose a permanent cosmetic technician. 


What to Look For in a Permanent Cosmetic Technician

By Marjorie Grimm, CPCP


This article is provided to you with an objective overview of what the general public should look for in a permanent cosmetic professional in California and Washington. Each state has unique requirements and these happen to be the two states I work in and am knowledgeable about. For those of you in other states that may be reviewing my site for information, please go to the website of the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals at and in the “Info for Technicians” drop-down menu, select “Regulation Information.”  While this is meant as a guide and will steer you in the right direction to conduct research, it is the consumers’ task to be sure all state, city, and county regulations are considered before pursuing permanent cosmetics.


If you are considering choosing a technician for your services based on the lowest price you are quoted, this is not a wise approach to base your technician selection. If it seems too good to be true, it most likely is just that, too good to be true, and you should beware. Although ethics would dictate that a person would not offer permanent cosmetic services unless they were credentialed to do so with proof of fundamental training and attending a Bloodborne Pathogens class to ensure they are following the prescribed health and safety rules that dictate processes for invasive procedures, sadly, many do not. Tattoo equipment can be purchased online or at beauty shows by anyone. Video type training is also sold teaching those who purchase the video how to perform permanent cosmetic procedures without the benefit of a trainer, without ever having completed any hands on procedures or successfully passing any competency examinations. This is clearly dangerous.


Technicians who have training, experience, and implement sanitation and sterilization standards to ensure your safety are not going to offer the cheapest rates. They are professionals who use equipment that prevents cross contamination from one client to another; safe pigments, anesthetics, and disposable single use products/machine accessories, and offer at least one follow up visit after the initial procedure has healed. This all adds to the price of the service.


Professionals also work in an environment that is considered safe for conducting invasive procedures. Your dentist and physician do not work out of their homes so why would you consider a technician that performs an invasive tattoo procedure from that type of environment? There are industry standards regardless of whether the language in laws speaks directly to specific safeguards, articles such as this one are provided to ensure you have all the information you need to make a good decision about permanent cosmetics.


There are many aspects of training, proof of skills, business practices, and other elements of the permanent cosmetic process and technician abilities that a person seeking permanent cosmetic services can inquire about or observe.


Training – Can the technician you are considering show evidence of primary and continuing education training? In states where there are no licensing provisions, training certificates of completion are provided to technicians who have successfully completed classes.


Bloodborne Pathogens Training – This is a class that professionals who perform invasive procedures may be required to take to learn how to perform safe procedures and prevent cross contamination. Requirements will vary from state to state, sometimes as in the instance of California, from county to county, and also depends on the how the office is staffed, etc. Bloodborne Pathogens training is always to the credit of the technician. A certificate of attendance is provided at the completion of these classes. In California, tattoo artists are required to register with their local County Health Department. Permanent cosmetics is tattooing no matter what anyone calls it.


Business professionals post or otherwise make available their city business license (This is not a tattoo license, but rather a license to conduct business in the city where they work in.) 

You can inquire about how long a person has been providing permanent cosmetic services, however because some states do not require licensing, it may be difficult to confirm. You can ask to see training certificates as an aid.


Photo portfolios of before and after work is also a good source of information to help determine if the technician performs work that appeals to you. Make sure the photos are not a purchased “coffee table book” type presentation and are actually the work of the technician you are considering. Photo examples of work should also include examples of “healed work.” The appearance of the permanent cosmetic procedure changes during the healing process.


Consider the environment where the procedure will be conducted. Is the studio clean? Will your procedure process take place in a room dedicated to permanent cosmetics, or is the procedure conducted in an open area where other services such as nails or hair are being conducted? There are environments considered less desirable that do not offer safe conditions under which to perform an invasive procedure.


The ability to communicate with your technician is of paramount importance. You will be telling her/him how you want to look, the color(s) and design work you prefer. Your technician will be conveying information during and after the procedure regarding after care, follow up appointments and important details that require both of you are able to understand one another.


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If you have any questions regarding the information on this page or my website, please contact me at 586.596.4159 or please feel free to contact Marjorie Grimm, the author, at 408-984-0401.  Marjorie’s website is 


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© Patricia Yee