Thursday, August 27, 2015

Semi-permanent make-up: How to wake up looking good

by Delia von Neuschatz

Want to look bright eyed and bushy-tailed first thing in the morning? Want to wake up looking “naturally” pretty and then remain that way no matter what the day throws at you? Guys — want to give the impression of a full head of hair? Then, semi-permanent makeup may be for you.

Fabrice Condemi, who has been practicing the art of semi-permanent makeup for the last 17 years, traces his lineage to one of Italy’s great noble dynasties, the House of Visconti.
And if that’s the case, look no further than Fabrice Condemi, who has traveled the world for the last decade and a half, applying judicious amounts of pigment to enhance, ever so subtly, countless brows, lips and scalps.

One week per month, when he is not practicing his craft in London, St. Moritz, Geneva, Zurich, or Moscow, the sought-after Fabrice can be found in New York at Yasmine Djerradine’s Institut de Beauté.

“It is not tattooing, it is re-pigmentation,” the French-born Yasmine is quick to point out, going on to list the differences between tattooing and semi-permanent make up.

For one, the shorter needles used in the latter only penetrate the epidermis or the outer layer of the skin. Tattoo needles, by contrast, go deeper into the dermis or the inner layer of skin. “Once ink penetrates the dermis, it is permanent,” explains Yasmine. When it goes only into the self-regenerating dermis, however, it lasts for about two years before it begins to fade. Another difference is in the inks.

The dyes used in semi-permanent make up are naturally derived from vegetable and mineral sources and so are hypoallergenic and prone to fading over time, whereas those used in permanent tattooing generally contain mercury and lead which can cause a multitude of health problems.
Yasmine Djerradine: “Semi-permanent makeup is about camouflage, correction and embellishment.”
While cosmetic tattooing has been around since the beginning of the 20th century, recent innovations have led to ever more natural-looking results. Protein-based pigments, for example, make the colors stay put. The pinpoints that mimic hair follicles on the scalp or brush strokes that re-define the lips will not become murky or dissipate over time. Ditto for eyebrows which have become increasingly realistic looking.

Not only are hairs painted on individually, but the brow is drawn in two colors correlating to the individual’s skin tone, creating a “3-D eyebrow.” In addition, a new eye enhancement, pioneered by Fabrice and consisting of a silver line placed just inside the lower lashes, has the effect of giving eyes a brighter, fresher, more wide-eyed look. Procedures require two visits spaced one month apart and costs vary. At Djerradine’s spa, Fabrice charges $1,300 for eyebrows and $800 for a silver line.
Fabrice at work.
Before and after eyebrows.
Before and after scalp tattooing.
To camouflage the hair loss seen here, Fabrice employs a “shadow technique” whereby he uses three small needles simultaneously to deliver a liquid pigment which fills in the sparse areas.
Besides enhancing facial features, semi-permanent make up has other functions as well. It has been used to conceal scars, stretch marks and vitiligo. It has also been used to create realistic looking nipples for women who have undergone mastectomies.

The benefits of semi-permanent make up are many for both men and women, not least of which is that it is a time saver, but there are some considerations to keep in mind. First, there’s the risk of infection. A reputable expert, however, will follow all health regulations. Fabrice, for instance, hands each client his or her own needles at the end of each session along with the dye containers. Clients also have to fill out detailed medical questionnaires. And, this is not a decision to be made lightly because although the pigment fades after two or three years, there will be some color left so, touch ups will be required on a long-term basis. For these reasons, it is imperative to go to someone who is experienced, highly skilled and on top of the latest innovations.
A natural looking lip liner has been drawn around the lips, giving them a fuller appearance. "It's a small definition and then you have the impression, you have a new shape about your lips. It makes the lips a little bit more balanced," according to Fabrice. Initial visits last approximately an hour and a half. The follow up visit a month later generally takes an hour.
Semi-permanent makeup can also make eye lashes appear thicker. This is achieved with pigment placed in between individual lashes. Photos: Fabrice Condemi.
Up next for Fabrice is the rollout, expected this fall, of his own tattooing machine, needles and pigments. He will also begin conducting training sessions in the craft of semi-permanent make up. "If you see the woman and you see what she needs, this is good art," says Fabrice who considers himself an artist using a person’s face as his canvas.
Beauty tip: If you are considering enhancing your lips with a semi-permanent lip liner and you also want to use a filler like collagen, it is better to add the filler after the “re-pigmentation.” In addition, due to the skin’s sagging and other changes over time, it is best not to commit to lip tattooing at a young age. If you’re looking to correct an asymmetry in your lips, then you should wait until your early 30s, says Yasmine and if you are looking for a fuller-looking lip, then it’s best not to “re-pigment” the area until you are at least 50, advises dermatologist Dr. Doris Day.