We get asked this question regularly, so I really wanted to dive in and truly explain the reasoning behind the answer!
If you’ve followed along with all of our other blog posts, you can absolutely see that there is a LOT that goes into cosmetic tattooing. It cannot possibly be as simple as dipping a needle into a pigment labeled “Medium Brown” and implanting it into the skin, or just freehand drawing a random brow shape that does nothing to enhance your unique features – and at this point after following our blogs, I’d expect you to ~know~ that.
When opening Inkvictus Studios, my number one goal was to create a safe place where everyone could feel loved and respected, of course, but also educated. It is a passion of mine to know the full ins and outs of cosmetic tattooing so I can truly achieve optimal results for each and every one of my clients, both on the initial day of their service but also so those results can continue being optimal for multiple years to follow. I want YOU, our clients, to understand every single step of my process so, for one, expectations are managed, but also in an effort to guarantee that we are on the same page.
I’ve never shied away from explaining why I’m not a fan of certain techniques or where I think some artists (in general) lack in certain areas of the industry. And truthfully, we can’t blame a lot of them because it’s so incredibly easy to find a 2- or 3-day class, become “certified”, and have a “trainer” tell you that you’re absolutely somehow “ready” to tattoo a face. After only 8 hours of spoken lecture, 3 hours of watching the trainer complete model work, 2 hours of practicing on fake skin, and maybe 1 hour of actual tattooing on a model where the trainer jumps in more often than they should, simply because they want the end results to look good enough in pictures so they can slap a “Student Work” watermark on it and sell more trainings! (That was a mouthful, huh?)
Anywho, it’s very safe to say that there are studios and artists who don’t necessarily agree with the way we do things. And that’s (maybe) okay. But in order to be able to provide the absolute best for our clients, when work by another artist enters our studio we need to know what’s in your skin, how it was implanted into your skin, AND why it was done the way that it was.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, I KNOW they microbladed me in July of 2018 and then I went back for a touch-up.”
I hate to say it, but the chances you were actually a suitable candidate for the technique of microblading in the first place are extremely low. When microblading is performed on unsuitable skin, the likelihood of potential scarring (tougher skin to work with in the future), oversaturation (there’s no space left for new pigment to go in), and inconsistent healing (patchiness) is increased. And that doesn’t even include how the actual shape of the tattoo may or may not look. Each one of these individual factors results in less-than-ideal working conditions for me as your artist to able to provide the absolute best outcome and results.
Let’s play devil’s advocate here for a second. Let’s say I did decide to tattoo over the other artist’s work, what could happen?
Oh, it would look decent… for a month or so. But the same reason why we don’t do annual refreshers exactly on the one-year mark is why we don’t want to risk tattooing over that work. For one, your skin needs to have made more room for new pigment, and two, the base has to be workable too! There is no “touching up” old work that isn’t of good quality – which means that unfortunately and by the same token, not all work can be corrected.
The ingredients for what makes “good quality” in cosmetic tattooing are perfect color selection, perfect technique, and perfect shaping. If old work is lacking in even one of those standards, I will never be comfortable working over it. (UNLESS it’s faded *at least* 75%, which typically isn’t the case.) No exceptions. It could never sit happily on my conscience if I take a client’s money to “touch up” another artist’s work that I KNOW would not look ideal once healed. That’s only adding insult to injury and won’t make for good results in the long run.
“What do you recommend then? What options do I have?”
1. Wait it out. Let it fade on its own. This option could take years, but there is the possibility that we may be able to work over it one day.
2. Try saline lightening/ removal. This is a service I perform at Inkvictus Studios wherein I implant a saline solution into the tattooed area which, over time, lifts pigment particles out of the skin. It is important to note, however, that not everyone is a candidate for saline lightening and each case (and number of treatments needed) is dependent on how much pigment is in the skin.
3. Pico laser (we refer everyone to Renewal Tattoo Removal & Fading here in Raleigh). This specific type of laser breaks down the pigment particles even more so that your body can “eat” (absorb) them quicker. It targets specific colors and “zaps” them so that they eventually fade away much quicker over time.
None of these are fast solutions, I realize this. But with time, and if you trust the process, we will be able to tattoo you eventually.
I know – I’ve placed the bar incredibly high. But it’s tattooing faces! Shouldn’t every artist be this specific? Shouldn’t every client expect this level of standards?
As always, I’m here for all the questions! Feel free to email us here with any questions concerning your old work OR potential future work! As we always say: at the end of the day, you and your skin’s best interest is ALWAYS number one.
I look forward to the potential opportunity of working with you soon! 🖤
xo, Natascha Rautenberg