News · 2/15/2022

The Black Artists Changing the Face of Permanent Makeup Artistry

BY Erika Ferreira

It all started on Clubhouse when Dior Davenport, Shalon Burruss, Sheron Devlin and Kechia Taylor came together to discuss the lack of representation of Black artists in the permanent makeup (micropigmentation) industry. With over 24 years’ of collective experience in Beauty, they envisioned a space for all Permanent Makeup (PMU) Artists to realize their full potential doing what they love.  The result is  The Black Micropigmentation Association (BMA).

Unlike the groups before it, The BMA was founded for all PMU Artists, and removes impossible barriers that would discourage interest in joining the association. Instead, membership is contingent upon community and skill, with accessibility at the heart of each founder. “It’s beyond time to amplify the voices, expertise and experiences of Black PMU artists to make room for every artist.”

CIDESCO interviewed the four inspiring founders to find out The Do’s and Don’ts of Permanent Make-up on Black and Brown Skin

What Makes Black and Brown Skin unique when applying permanent makeup? 

“Black and brown skin tends to produce greater amounts of sebum and oils, which can encourage pigment migration. To counteract the risk, artists should be careful not to oversaturate the skin with pigment. When too much pigment is deposited, the skin is over worked and the brows may have an ashy or cool tone when healed. Black and brown skin can have a more severe inflammatory reaction to trauma, known as post inflammatory pigmentation, which results in skin discolouration. To minimize any risks to clients, the artist should be particularly attentive when working with skin of colour. They should also pay attention to the visual cues such as blood, swelling, and excessive lymph.”

 -Dior Davenport

Why do some techniques/standards differ from the skin that is less pigmented?

“Melanated skin can easily become scarred or hyperpigmented if techniques are not done correctly. The skin can also become hypopigmented which is loss of skin colour due to trauma.  Hypopigmentation can be permanent if the melanocytes are destroyed completely. That is why it is important not to work aggressively on melanin-rich skin. The best eyebrow techniques for black and brown skin are machine stroke and powder eyebrows. If done correctly, these techniques cause less trauma and allow the artist to increase definition via shading techniques. Microblading is not recommended on melanin-rich skin since it is more likely to scar, discolour, or result in keloids.”

Dior Davenport

What are the do and don’ts of Skincare before or aftercare?

  • “Do exfoliate your skin before the PMU Procedure – This will help remove dead skin cells making it easy for the permanent make-up device to penetrate the skin. 
  • Do drink a sufficient amount of water before the procedure to keep the skin hydrated.
  • Do not tan before the procedure. Tanning can change the overtone of your skin and the artists will not be able to select a proper colour for the procedure. 
  • Do not wax the skin 72 hours before the procedure and do not drink alcohol or caffeine beverages 24 hours prior.
  • Do not get Botox, facials or chemical treatments on the skin four weeks prior and six weeks after.”

– Kechia Taylor

What are the do and don’ts of hygiene, and sanitation processes?

“All permanent makeup artists should complete Blood Borne Pathogens (BBP) training before performing services. This helps them understand how to protect themselves and others from infection when an incident occurs and what to do if exposed to blood or other body fluids.

  • Do wash your hands before and after performing a procedure.
  • Do wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a face mask, lab coats and nitrile gloves.
  • Do make sure your workstation is disinfected and covered with a protective covering. This includes the workspace, chair and handles, lights, bedding, etc.
  • Do not leave pigment bottles and other reusable items on your workstation. Only single-use items should be placed on your tray,
  • Do safely dispose of all sharps in a sharps container.
  • Do not touch or wipe the skin with bare hands post-procedure. 
  • Do not clean dirty work tray/station without gloves
  • Do properly cover/protect any equipment that’s used during the procedure.
  • Do only use single-use disposable needles and/or blades on client’s skin. 
  • Do use new gloves if used gloves have to be removed. 
  • Do not place clean instruments on unclean surfaces.”

-Dior Davenport & Sheron Devlin

What are the do’s and don’ts of skin analysis? 

“Artists should always do a skin analysis on their clients. This is not a part of the procedure that should be overlooked or taken lightly. A thorough skin analysis will determine the outcome of your client’s procedure. You should also do a skin tone analysis and make sure you pay close attention to the undertones of your client’s skin. This will help you determine which pigments should be used on your clients. Proper analysis of skin tones and undertones will help you determine if pigments need to be modified. It will also prevent discolouration of the pigment once the skin is healed from a permanent makeup procedure. You should also analyze skin type to determine which procedure is best for your client. For example, clients with thin, problematic or oily skin are not good candidates for microblading. When working with a machine a proper skin analysis will help you determine what’s the best needle configuration to use on your client that will prevent scarring and trauma to the skin.”

-Sheron Devlin 

What are the do and don’ts of sun protection?

“Do it! Don’t avoid it! Brown and Black skin like all skin should be protected from the sun. Although it has higher amounts of melanin this is not an exemption from protecting it. Protecting the skin will cause more moisture retention, fewer and fewer moles and will prevent early signs of ageing. The sun feels good and makes melanin-rich skin look amazing, but that amazing looking skin can be damaged if not protected. Contrary to popular belief people with brown and black skin burn and peel when exposed to the sun and can get melanoma. Melanoma is a form of skin cancer. This type of cancer begins in the melanocytes cells that produce the pigment in the skin. Although brown and black skin has higher amounts of melanin and burns slightly less, that does not make it exempt from skin cancer. Protecting your skin from sun damage is mandatory for everyone. Your body is your temple so take care of your God-given monument.”

– Shalon Burruss

About The Black Micropigmentation Association

The Black Micropigmentation Association is for any Beauty Professional who strives for excellence. The founders are four Black artists and business owners who, collectively, have over 24 years’ experience in the beauty industry. Each of them has built their business in a way that comes away from the idea of hustle, hustle, hustle, and instead focuses on sustainability, longevity and legacy building – something that they aspire to help more professionals learn how to do.

This article also appears in issue 93 of CIDESCO International LINK magazine