Tuyen Nguyen has found a new focus in her life.
While working in the commercial camera sales field for almost six years, the travel and the time away from home was taking its toll.
Wanting to settle down and raise a family, she realized she needed to change careers.
“How can I have kids and a family when I’m away from home so much?”
She had always had an interest in two seemingly different pursuits: Eyebrow care and tattooing.
“I have been tweezing friends eyebrows since I was 13,” Nguyen said. “All of a sudden, a light bulb went off.”
That was five years ago and after taking a course in cosmetic tattooing in Vancouver, the owner of The Face Studio in Newton hasn’t looked back.
“At first my dad wasn’t very happy,” Nguyen says.
He wanted her to use her university degree in sales and marketing.
“I feel I am using my degree. Now I’m marketing myself,” she says with a smile.
Cosmetic tattooing – also known as micro pigmentation or permanent cosmetics – is a relatively new field where pigment is injected beneath the skin using a rotary tattoo gun to add colour to a specific area.
Most of the clients Nguyen sees are women over age 40 looking to speed up the make-up application process or older women who find their hands aren’t as steady as they once were.
However, she also uses paramedical tattooing to camouflage scars, to cover up skin imperfections, or to add a three-dimensional look of hair for people dealing with hair loss due to cancer treatment.
Staring up at the ceiling of the small, neatly kept studio in Nguyen’s home, Susan, a graphic artist from South Surrey, has come to the studio to have permanent eyeliner applied to her upper and lower lids.
Using a tiny Q-tip-style micro fiber applicator, Nguyen applies a small amount of numbing jell to Susan’s eyelid. She is looking for a little more dramatic look to her eyes and feels she often doesn’t have time to spend applying make-up in the morning.
“So often you are running out of the house in the morning with no make-up because you are in a hurry,” she says.
The procedures can take anywhere from one to two hours depending on the size of the area and can cost anywhere from $300-$600.
But despite the “permanent” designation, these types of cosmetic applications are not like tattoos. Over time, the iron oxide based mineral pigment fades and is absorbed into the skin, meaning a touch-up could be needed every three to five years, depending on time spent in the sun.
As the only cosmetic tattoo artist at the West Coast Tattoo and Culture Show this weekend (April 15-17) at the PNE in Vancouver, Nguyen will be performing 15 demonstrations.
For more information, visit www.westcoasttattooshow.com