It's been a few busy months for us here. Most people think that the colder weather would slow down business, but it's actually the exact opposite. The holidays are a time for family gatherings, office parties and with the new year rolling around, we all want to look good.
As many of us look into having work performed, whether it be permanent cosmetics procedures like microblading, lip and eyebrow shading, taming male pattern baldness with scalp micropigmentation, or even darkening and camouflaging thinning hair, we all want to know which provider is right for us. It's one of the most common questions I get asked when talking to new clients (or clients who have had bad experiences elsewhere). So for this blog, I hope to shed some light and share some of my experiences to help people looking to have procedures done and done properly.
1) Look at photos. A lot of them.
Although this ties in to #3, a good provider will have a lot of photos. It means that they've performed a lot of procedures and have mad many mistakes and (hopefully) learned from it. Avoid new and untested providers because, well, chances are you're probably their first few clients that they are still experimenting and testing the waters with. While everyone has to start from somewhere, good providers will do it to their willing friends and family and botch those procedures than to take money from someone and experiment.
Good providers, if trained properly, usually perform numerous procedures under the guidance of their trainer as well. When I trained and did my apprenticeship, I would watch and learn for several weeks before laying my hands on my first client. And even then, my mentor would be there watching throughout the procedure. After about 2 months of ongoing apprenticeship and about 15 clients later was I able to perform a procedure on my own. Nowadays, that's not the case because anyone can be trained in 4 days and start offering these types of service. Looking at photos and samples of the work is a good measure because you can see if it looks good. You can also compare it with other providers' work and see who is better. You can only tell if the work is good if you have something to compare it to.
2) Don't make decisions solely on reviews.
There are a lot of fake reviews out there. You probably already know this, but it's a good reminder and reality check. Google, Facebook, Yelp - it's easy to gather a bunch of friends and family (or even pay) to give fake good reviews. I'm sure you've seen it - brand new business just opened up with nothing but 5-star reviews from a person that writes only 1 review solely for that business. The owner of the business then replies to every single one of those reviews. Come on now.
A good provider takes his time mastering his craft. He cares about his patients and makes sure the work he puts out is the absolute best. If you're good at what you do, the business will come. Many new practitioners and providers are desperate for clients and they go this route so be careful with reviews. It doesn't mean much if your provider doesn't have the experience or work to show for it.
3) Experience matters greatly.
I can't emphasize this enough - like everything else, experience matters greatly in this field. Learning and doing are two entirely different things. When I had my training, I would always think "man this is so easy it's ridiculous" until I actually touched skin on a client for the first time. No fake silicone skin and no grapefruit practicing can prepare you for the real life experience of flesh, blood, skin and nerves. We all have to go through it and learn from our mistakes. While it can be argued that this field is very artistic and can vary depending on the provider, you can't argue that experience helps greatly. I have seen brand new providers that do amazing work and I've seen and fixed work from 10+ years experienced providers. It can range but, as I mentioned, looking at photos and asking questions will help dramatically.
4) Ask as many questions as you possibly can.
Even though your mind is set on having the procedure done, the question of "who" will provide that procedure is not. Take your time and find the right person. You do that by going through the first three steps, but when it comes to meeting your provider for the first time and doing the consultation, this is where it matters.
How long have you been in this field?
How many procedures have you performed?
Who trained you and how long was the training?
May I see and contact some of your clients that have their work completed?
If I'm not happy with the work and the results, what is your policy?
These are just a few questions I would ask. To be honest, the more you ask, the better. Providers that have a hard time answering, avoid the questions, or downright take offense from these questions being asked should be avoided. The questions are very straightforward and can gauge your provider's experience and how well he or she cares about the client. Don't be afraid to follow up and ask more questions - even after you started the procedure.
5) Your intuition is usually right.
I'll tell you a fun little story. Back when I started looking to start in the industry, I looked at a lot of different artists to train under. I did what I discussed here - looked at photos, looked at experience, asked lots and lots of questions and I even flew in to meet and moved forward with training. The trainer was very reputable and had years of experience. On the very first day, I was handed a 4 page training booklet and offered a melon to practice on. He went to another room to eat his lunch and then a client came in and he went straight to perform a procedure. In the back of my mind I'm thinking this can't be right. The guy didn't wash his hands, ate right on the counter with all of the equipment that was to be used, didn't sterilize or clean anything and was performing the procedure in some jeans, tennis shoes and a t-shirt? I haven't gone through all of my health and safety protocols yet at the time, but even then I knew it wasn't right. My intuition tells me something is not right and I walked right out of that training session. I'm glad I did because it was the best decision I made. I then trained under a plastic surgeon who was the exact opposite - he cared about cleanliness and his work and clients.
While this is not a definitive guide to judging a provider, it can certainly help. Your intuition is usually right when you don't feel comfortable with who you're working with. Even if they nail 4 out of 5 things right, it only takes one to have things go wrong. Use your gut and make sure you're happy that the provider will excel in every aspect from experience, cleanliness, service, pricing, and client care.