Brows are Sisters not Twins

Yes, brows are sisters, not twins. That said, finding or creating symmetry for a client’s brows is one of the most important design aspects of the brow. Sometimes this is more than challenging – most often because naturally our faces from one side to the other are not symmetrical. Our orbital bone structure that surrounds our eye is shaped differently on each side. Typically, one side displays front and wide and the other short and curved back. When this occurs, drawing brows that are exactly the same (using measurements and stencils) appear forced and unnatural. As the picture below demonstrates, we don’t necessarily want both sides of our face to look identical. Center shows the beautiful Marilyn Monroe as we remember her. The picture on the left is two right sides of her face spliced together; the picture on the right is of two left sides.

As artists, we try to work with your personal bone structure to create the best brow symmetry possible. I like to do this by analyzing the brow in pieces – is the front shape of the brow the same and appear in toward the nose at the same distance and direction? Are the arches level? Is the angle of the brow tails the same? Are the brows the same thickness? Once the individual parts of the brow are analyzed, step back and view the face as a whole. Is there anything that stands out? Is the overall appearance pleasing?
Frankly, we are our own worst critics. And while we may stand in the mirror and scrutinize our brows for – well, a very long time – no one else is doing that. They are looking at your overall appearance. The brows frame your eyes and bring out one of the best features we have – the window to our soul. Your brows are only the enhancing frame. The beauty comes from you.
Melisa Ferriola, LE, CPCP
Shanan Zickefoose, BSN, RN, CMM, CPCP

What is SofTap®?

First and foremost, SofTap® is a brand. The company, located in Livermore, CA, is dedicated to supplying needles, pigments and miscellaneous accessories to permanent cosmetic technicians that use a manual hand tool method. Since their beginnings in 1988, their needle configurations have become synonymous with the hand tool. SofTap® is hand tool, but not all hand tool technicians use SofTap® needles. But it is safe to say that the SofTap® needs are the most widely used hand tool needles. All needles are delivered in sealed, sterilized casings and you can be assured of your personal safety when the technician is combining these safe tools with the proper universal precautions safety standards.
Many hand tool technicians use other pigment lines than the SofTap® brand. Be sure to understand the difference between the hand tool technician that uses the SofTap® needles and one that uses, trains and supports to entire brand. Be sure your consultation includes answers to method, pigments and actual client results.


Why the hand tool method? The modality used by a technician is very subjective. The modalities for tattooing are numerous and vary quite widely. Each technician, as in any profession, has their own preference. There are advantages and disadvantages that can be lined up for every machine and tool on the market. But most importantly, the best tool is the one your technician is most experienced with.

Permanent cosmetics is an art. Skin is a living canvas. The nuances to this art are extreme.

The consumer should focus on the technicians training and continuing education, their safety standards, and their demonstrated client results.

Melisa Ferriola, CPCP, LE
Shanan Zickefoose, BSN, RN, CMM, CPCP

Should I get Bottom Eyeliner?

We hear this question quite often. Many glamour magazines with articles on conventional makeup insist that women over the age of 50 should not get bottom eyeliner.  Hogwash.  One of the reasons this is touted is, “It will close your eyes and make them look smaller.”  In our experience, this simply is not true.  Eyeliner wrapped all the way around the eye will close it in, but a subtle bottom eyeliner can give your eye dimension and shape – making it look larger and defined.
That said, it is not often we would recommend bottom eyeliner only.  This will emphasize the bottom curve of the eye and in some cases weigh it down. That isn’t usually a look we are trying to achieve.  Most of the time, we will advise that a thin upper lash line enhancement be done as well to provide balance.  However, if you have heavy upper lids and the upper lash line is not visible, then electing for the bottom only will save you a little money and may be all you need to shape your eye.

“Bottom Line” is that everyone is different. Talk with your professional to discuss options, your particular eye shape and your desired look.  Think about what works for you.
Melisa Ferriola, LE, CPCP
Shanan Zickefoose, BSN, RN, CMM, CPCP


Recently, the demand for permanent cosmetic hair stroke brows has increased. Many estheticians and lash artists are rushing to train in an advanced permanent cosmetic specialty called “Microblading.” Unfortunately, many are taking 1 to 2 day training courses from inexperienced people with no understanding or fundamental training regarding permanent cosmetics. They are being poorly trained and ill-advised with regards to what microblading is. Many are being taught that it is using a ‘blade.’ There is no blade involved. The misinformed are teaching students and clients that it is a semi-permanent and is only placed in the epidermis. Your epidermis sheds every 60 to 90 days, but this procedure lasts at least a year, if not longer. The truth is it is placed in the dermal layer where the color will not flake off. It is permanent tattooing. There is also instruction that tattooing goes into the muscle and that microblading is much different. This is absolutely false information.
These mini 1 to 2 day crash courses teach no basis for tattooing or permanent cosmetics. And again, microblading is an ADVANCED permanent cosmetics / tattooing technique and should only be performed by a technician with at least four to five years in the industry. A two day class cannot teach color theory in its entirety to provide appropriate knowledge to prevent the client’s eyebrows from turning too cool or too warm. They are not adequately educating the students how to avoid scaring their clients. There is no blood borne pathogen training. This is dangerous and puts the public at risk.
A permanent makeup trainer should have a minimum of four to five years of active experience in this field. Microstroking, the appropriate term, should only be performed by a technician with advanced skill. A technician with experience will understand color theory, color modification, color correction and have skills to lighten pigment. Clients need to have access to all of these skills by a qualified technician; otherwise, they should be prepared to find a technician that can provide correction. Correcting permanent cosmetics can be very costly and time consuming. It is never a simple fix; you must be prepared for several procedures spaced months apart.
Unfortunately, Delaware is a very unregulated state in the field of tattooing. Permits are granted to anyone that has complied with the Body Art regulations, but these include only room set up, not technician review. There are no training requirements; no apprentice requirements; no pigment standards. The existing regulations focus on equipment and tool sterilization. So in other words, your tattoo artist or permanent cosmetic technician or your microblade technician could get their education from a 20 minute YouTube video and start practicing (on you) once their room permit is obtained.
As of February 21, 2016, there has been ongoing discussion on message forums regarding how newly trained technicians, as recent as October and November, 2015 are now offering training in this microblading technique. What a great travesty to an industry that is well established. Unfortunately, these new technicians are simply focused on making a lot of fast money – upwards of $1,500 – $2,000 for these 2 day classes. The “trainers” have even sought out opportunities to be featured on shows such as “The Doctors”. I assure you, if this segment airs as we professionals are concerned about, we will do our best to properly educate the public. We cannot support false information that aims to hurt our professional industry. We will not lower our standards.

Shanan Zickefoose, BSN, RN, CMM, CPCP; Melisa Ferriola, LE, CPCP
I am extremely grateful for the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals ( as they provide ethical standards for our industry. They have taken notice to the ‘microblading’ trend and have produced a fact sheet to better educate the public.  Click this link:  SPCP_Fact_Sheet_Microblading


Parabens in Skin Care

Parabens are a commonly used group of preservatives found in skin care products.  While they offer benefits to such products, including protection through antibacterial and antifungal activity and a longer shelf life, they also come with risks and potential side effects.  Parabens can mimic hormones in the body, disrupting the endocrine system.  In fact, studies show that Parabens actually bind to estrogen when applied topically to the skin.  Considering the average woman absorbs approximately five pounds of toxins through the use of beauty products, there is much to consider here.  Since Parabens, by nature, are fat loving chemicals, they build up over time in the fatty tissues of our bodies, which can lead to abnormalities such as early onset puberty and breast cancer.  The goal here is to educate consumer on products they use on a daily basis.  Talk to your aesthetician so that she can help you find safer, more effective products for a more confident, healthier you.

Lasting Looks uses A Natural Difference products for all spa facial treatments and retails the line for your personal home use.  A Natural Difference products do not contain Parabens.

Contributed by Kathleen Scarpitti for Lasting Looks.


As aestheticians, we see women regularly with Rosacea.  It is a very common condition, but often misdiagnosed.  Rosacea symptoms include redness on the cheeks, nose, chin and/ or forehead; increased skin temperature (not unlike blushing or hot flashes); pimples and papules; dilated capillaries; rough textured skin on nose and chin; and watery or irritated eyes.  It is easy to confuse other conditions such as blushing, overheating or even sunburn with rosacea.  So how do you tell the difference?  It is usually best to get a clear diagnosis from a dermatologist.  Rosacea is not blushing or hot flashes.  It is a more constant redness in the face that is exasperated by changes in temperature.  Broken capillaries on the cheeks and nose are a tell-tale sign.

What to do?  Proper skincare and trigger avoidance are paramount with rosacea.  A consistent gentle routine can help control rosacea.  Use a mild non-abrasive cleanser and rinse with lukewarm (not hot) water and blot the face with a cotton towel – no rubbing.  Dermatologists often treat rosacea as they would acne, with antibiotics, since acne often accompanies rosacea.  But this may not be necessary if a good skincare routine and trigger avoidance keep it under control.  Triggers can include sun exposure, hot weather, cold weather, drinking alcohol (especially red wine), exercise, hot baths, hot drinks, spicy food, and stress.

A Natural Difference has a wonderful Rosacea Care Home Kit:  Rosa-Derm Cleanser, P.P.E Nutritional Solution, Rosa Derm Solution (great for calming down the redness), EGF Select telomere protection and Rosa Derm Creme.  Retail:  $110  Available at Lasting Looks.

For more information, visit

Contributed by: Laura Berry @ Lasting Looks


Spring Shedding

Did you think this was just for your dog or your cockatoo?  Surprise!  We all do it.  And unfortunately that includes the hair on our head AND our eyelashes.

We see this in clients as Spring starts.  We go through a natural shedding.  Your lashes may turn over more quickly, hence, you feel like you are losing more lashes than normal.  You just well may be.  Sorry.

If you normally last 4 weeks, schedule a 30 minute session in 2 weeks and then an hour session 3 weeks from then.  A 30 min session will get you a nice refresh with about 20-25 lashes (60 mins yields about 40-50 lashes).  Signature Lash 30 min is $30; Mink Lash 30 min is $40.


Myth:  If I wax, the hair will grow back stronger, thicker and darker.

Truth:  Waxing cannot change vellus hair to dark, coarse, terminal hair.  When you wax for the first time, you remove hairs that are currently in their last stages of growth.  Below the surface, hairs are still in the bulb or just starting their assent to the surface.  About one week later, you will start to see only the hairs that are just peeking through the surface (This is NOT the hair you just waxed).  Because these hairs are younger and have not been bluntly cut off with a razor, they are finer and often lighter in color.  Continuing in this way, can actually slow the hair growth.


Extreme Lash? Novalash? 3-D Lashes?

We sometimes get the question from prospective clients, “Do you do Extreme Lash?”

At Lasting Looks, our aestheticians were not trained by Extreme Lash.  But does that matter?  Why are you asking this question?  Lash Extensions are only as good as the technician doing the service.  You want to find someone that is well trained, provides the look you want, and knows enough about the lashes and adhesives being used to not damage your lashes ongoing.  Sometimes this is hard to know.  We often have clients come in for fills that have been getting lashes done elsewhere.  They come to us eventually for a variety of reasons, but often they are happy with their lashes and are looking for a more convenient and comfortable location/spa.  Unfortunately, when our highly trained aestheticians begin the fill process they find a complete mess of lashes stuck together, mats of glue, lashes too thick and long for the natural lash – a potentially damaging situation.  We can sometimes fix the situation; sometimes we need to remove all the clients lashes completely and start over.  And yes, they are often coming from a technician that was trained by one of the big marketing companies listed here.


Eyelash Extensions – Wedding AND the honeymoon

Spring ahead into beautiful, effortless semi-permanent eyelash extensions for the upcoming wedding season!  We offer bridal packages to give your entire wedding party eye-popping lashes, no mascara needed – a perfect way to enhance your look for that special day and through the honeymoon!