1)Finishing Touches Group is a global market leader in permanent makeup, cosmetic & medical tattoos and scalp micropigmentation that has been operating for over 20 years, but how does your story begin?
Many moons ago, 25 years to be precise, I went to China to learn how to tattoo with a needle and a chopstick. The industry has come along way since McDonald shaped eyebrows and now we are lucky to have multiple need configurations, amazing artists and tools available to help technicians to be the very best that they can be. Fast-forward 20 years to present day, and semi-permanent make-up is a much sought after treatment and readily available worldwide. Not only do we focus on semi permanent make-up and medical tattooing, but our brand also offers skin rejuvenation treatments with tattoo removal, digital skin needling, and scalp micropigmentation.
2) The demand for permanent make-up and micropigmentation is extremely large – and thus so is the demand for trainings in this area. How do your trainings differ from those available on the market?
I believe quality and aftercare support are key when running a training school. I am fortunate enough to have been blessed with the skills of my team, whose procedures and office support is what makes Finishing Touches Group the successful company that it is today. As they say, there is no “I” in the word team. As in any industry, keeping ahead of the competition is important. At FTG our emphasis is placed on manufacture; therefore we are quick to react to market trends. By becoming one of the first in the market to launch new products and procedures, it ensures that we always stay one step ahead of the game.
3) You also offer your own system of Micropigmentation – can you tell us a little more about it?
Our award-winning ranges of machines are of a very high quality. They are manufactured in Germany under the strictest industry guidelines. Our Vogue machine is our truly all-encompassing machine, which allows technicians to perform all aspects of micropigmentation as well as skin rejuvenation. Depending on the individuals’ budget, at FTG we have the capacity to cater for all of the beauticians or practitioners needs. For example, we recently launched our Vytal Scalp machine, where we listened to what the scalp micropigmentation technicians were requesting; therefore, it was designed exclusively for them and addressing all their needs.
4) Would you say that micropigmentation / microblading techniques have changed over time – and if so, how?
As akin to fashion trends, we see beauty constantly evolving and it is the same with permanent makeup. Defined hairstroke brows have moved on to ombre powered brows. In 2019, we see a messier bigger-is-better, full natural and brushed-up brow, emerging from the catwalks. Nowadays techniques along with hand tools and machines allow experienced technicians to customise treatments to meet the client’s taste and desires. My particular favourite tool to work with is the versatile Nano NT Needle which creates beautiful crisp hair stokes and requires minimal top ups.
5) Following up on that, how has the ink used for these treatments developed?
With such rapid growth in our industry, technology has come a long way. Our manufacturers are constantly evolving their pigments to offer solutions for the problems technicians face. FTG have recently launched our True Brow pigment range, which is an organic line of pigments that creates stability in the pigment, and how it sits within the skin. The True Brows collection requires no mixing and is perfect for either digital technicians or microbladers. The line has been referred to as an industty ‘game changer’ and FTG are honoured to be collecting awards for our pigments’ innovations at the leading industry conferences, such as Micropigmentation UK.
6) What would you say are some of the most common mistakes done by permanent makeup technicians and how can they rectify them?
Many students try to compare and follow a trainer or artists that has been in the industry for years. I recommend lots and lots of practise! Drawing brows, areola’s, hairlines or anything else is key to success, after all they say practise makes perfect! Also do keep investing in your education, keep attending workshops and master classes; I still do 25 years on!
The ‘pop up’ training schools are on the rise, although all are not bad; we do highly recommend that students do their homework before spending thousands on training. We have seen a rise of technicians coming to us wishing to re-train, due to the poor level of education they received elsewhere. Buy cheap buy twice……
7) Do you find that it is easy to overdo permanent makeup? Is there are an invisible line one should not cross?
Unfortunately yes! We’re pleased that the trend of block brows is on the decline and the more natural look is coming back into fashion. With our training, one of the first things that we teach is what a good technician should and should not touch or correct. Once students have completed our fundamental training we have many workshops or training courses that allows them to learn how to adjust or remove unwanted pigment. Depending on the client’s skin type, technicians can usually help lighten the pigment before the client has to go down the more expensive laser removal route.
8) To become a technician specialising in this field, you must be passionate about what you do. What skills and qualifications are necessary to complete these procedures?
No qualifications are necessary, but that said, students must have a steady hand and the will to succeed. All of our courses will take them from complete novice to a fully confident, certified practitioner.
I am extremely passionate about making micropigmentation a safe procedure with high standards of health and safety are at the forefront. This ethos is passed on and taught to our students even before walking into one of our FTG classrooms. Our students undergo an online theory programme, allowing them gain knowledge and understanding of the skin, health and safety, standards and much more, setting them on a path to their chosen practical module. This is a valuable tool to have and one to access to for the rest of their careers!
9) The UK beauty market is constantly in a flux, what do you think is the next step for microblading & micropigmentation?
Without a doubt we have seen a recent boom within the micropigmentation and microblading industry. I believe for any machine-trained technician, they should consider expanding their treatment menu by adding something like skin needling to their repertoire. We find that skin needling complements micropigmentation and it is something that clients are now requesting in tandem. For instance, our Meso Skin Needling is an effective and painless procedure and can be conducted by using any of the award-winning semi-permanent make-up devices. There are two different types of Meso Skin Needling procedures: The Meso Me using a plastic needles and Meso + using a metal needles. With just a simple change of the needle cartridge, the tilting needle plate instantly transforms any of the machines. I would highly recommend offering this procedure as it requires no downtime and I can guarantee your clients will be coming back for more!
I also want to mention that safety in our industry is paramount, and I am therefore thrilled to announce that earlier this year I instigated and launched ‘Safety in Micropigmentation’. Where we are inviting select UK micropigmentation market suppliers to come on board and support this campaign, particularly to help safeguard against any cross contamination by counterfeit needles – which has been a big problem. They will display the “SIM” logo on their website to help all the micropigmentation practitioners to differentiate between the genuine needles and the counterfeit ones.
10) Would you say leading a beauty businesses now is easier than it was 20 years ago? What would you recommend to new businesses now from your experience to help them develop?
Its swings and roundabouts, there are now many more options than ever before. Students have high expectations wanting both top quality and affordability; I would like to think we tick those boxes. Years ago many potential students shopped at exhibitions for new products and launches. However, social media and E-marketing has taken over now. My team and I still attend trade shows and always love seeing all our students from over the last 20+ years!I believe now that it’s easier than ever to start your own business. Social media is an invaluable tool, which helps many of our students build successful business. Requests for beauty treatments are at an all-time high, so if you are a determined individual, there is enough room in the market for everyone to succeed.
11) What rules should be considered when microblading eyebrows cosmetically in order to rejuvenate?
I would say less is more, you can always add but it is hard to take away, that is my approach across eyebrows, scalp and most micropigmentation procedures. Listen to the experts and consultations are key with your clients!