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Illegal Microblading or Permanent Cosmetic Practice

Maria (Mimi) DeSantis

American Academy of Micropigmentation Secretary / Ethics Chair

As Ethics chair for the American Academy of Micropigmentation, I am inundated with calls and emails regarding Microblading services that are advertising on social media and/or online discount sites offering this service in illegal locations—such as beauty salons, spas, eyelash and brow bars, waxing studios and private homes. New Jersey prohibits any kind of permanent makeup in salons and spas and in any facility that houses a cosmetology license.

For the practitioners that are practicing legally and have followed their state requirements regarding permanent makeup — which may include the investment of 100-hour or more of primary education, blood borne pathogen certification, an apprenticeship, passing grade to an exam, inspection and proof of insurance as well as a two-day advanced training in microblading — we understand your frustration with these illegal places popping up everywhere. We actually receive emails from frustrated members, stating they are dealing with three or four in a city block in some towns. This has had a significant and negative impact on our profession, and these illegal pseudo-professionals are damaging our industry.

A huge part of this has to do with the two-day Microblading companies that do not require students to have taken a primary training course before signing up for their classes. What we are seeing and hearing is that their students somehow feel qualified to work, regardless of their state’s regulations and the lack of information in a mere two days of instruction.

To try and help the AAM address this issue more efficiently, here are a few options to be

proactive in reporting illegal practices:

1. You must have any or all information, such as social media photos, videos, advertisements, web site, etc. verifying that the person or business is practicing illegally.

2. You should contact the town health department where that practitioner or business is located and submit the information you have collected, either through email or snail mail.

3. Only if the practitioner is displaying the AAM logo or stating he or she is an AAM Member, you should contact the AAM: and submit all the information you have collected. Please do not contact us if these persons or businesses do not display the AAM logo or any connection to the AAM. We cannot approach these practices, but their local board of health can and will.

Facility Training Complaints

If you feel you have not received proper permanent cosmetic training from the program you enrolled in, refer to your contract to make sure you received what you signed up for. In a case where you did not, contact them directly to discuss. If unresolved, report them to your local board of health or governing body—in writing! You can also report them to the Better Business Bureau.

Important Final Note

What should a legal permanent cosmetics, microblading or scalp tattooing facility have publicly displayed? Three important documents:

1. Annual Local Heath Dept Body Art License

2. Primary training certificate. In NJ, the primary training must be complete with an AAM Certified Micropigmentation Instructor (CMI)

3. Annual Health Dept Inspection Satisfactory Certificate

Let’s start a movement to protect our industry and SHARE this with your fellow practitioners. This will only stop when the local and state boards are as flooded with calls and emails as we are.

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