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The Art of Perseverance: When It's Okay to Fail and When It's Not

by Teryn Darling October 06, 2023

Written by Ren Taylor

Failure is a word that often carries a negative connotation, but in the world of permanent makeup artistry, it can sometimes be a stepping stone to success. The biggest part of my journey is learning when it's okay to have a failure, and when it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Given the opportunity to write this blog post, I'd love to give some insight and tips to help you strive even faster! 


When It's Okay to Fail:

  1. Learning and Experimentation: 

Early in your career, it's perfectly acceptable to experience setbacks as you experiment with all of these techniques and styles. You’ve never ever had a vibrating machine in your hand before! Oooh yes, I still remember that anxiety from years ago... Pendulum shading was the hardest thing I ever learned in my life. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out... was I supposed to be making a new circle inside the last circle, or make another circle directly next? 

How in the heck am I supposed to keep my pinky taut? Where and how am I supposed to eyeball my landing end? How do I even know what a slow movement is compared to going fast? Is it normal for me to be internally crying right now? 

Failure in this context is a valuable learning tool that can help you refine your skills and discover what works best for you and your clients. 

Practice, practice, practice. 

TIP: Unless you’re completely confident in your craft, and haven’t made any mistakes in a long time - stick with iron oxides. Any pigment brand that is carbon-based can make it incredibly hard to remove, and contains more of a risk that your mistakes will appear prominent even after the fading process of a client. 

  1. Creative Exploration: 

Artistry thrives on creativity, and sometimes, pushing boundaries can result in less-than-perfect outcomes. If you're trying innovative designs or color combinations, don't be discouraged by initial failures. These experiences can lead to breakthroughs in your art.


  1. Client Satisfaction:

While striving for perfection is essential, it's important to remember that each client is unique. Not every procedure will yield the same results due to factors beyond your control, such as a client's skin type or healing process. Be prepared for occasional imperfections and focus on addressing them professionally.

TIP: Steer away from only using single needles, I swear this was the best decision I ever made in my whole life. 

I have created some of the most beautiful work in my career using mags, 8RLs, and maaaybe putting some pointillism in the fronts. Rough skin, oily skin, mature skin, etc. will not regain as well as the client will hope. Remember, our clients are laying there for 2-4 hours in the trust of OUR hands and OUR knowledge. 


When It's Not Okay to Fail:

  1. Safety and Hygiene:

When it comes to the safety and hygiene of your clients, there's no room for error. Failing to follow strict sanitation protocols or using subpar products can lead to serious health risks. Prioritize the well-being of your clients above all else. 


  • Put concealer on your client’s freshly tattooed brows, period. This serves no purpose but for pictures and you are risking cross contamination like no other. 
  • Use any machines that do not contain a safety membrane. Many certificate classes can contain an unsafe machine to use on clients. This is only meant for practice - this does not have the protection from Blood Back-flow like high-grade tattoo machines do. My personal favorite machine ever, ever, ever is the PMU Bishop Pen
  • DO NOT have anything multi-use on your cart (the exception is obviously your machine - a thoroughly wrapped machine that is). Do know, using only grip tape does not count as sanitation. Pigment Seal, Witch Hazel, anything you’d like to wrap - I like to keep it on a separate cart that also has been taped down for sanitation. My separate cart is at the top of my Tool Box.
  1. Client Expectations: 

Failing to meet or manage client expectations can harm your reputation. Always have clear and honest discussions with your clients about what can realistically be achieved with permanent makeup. Misleading promises can result in unhappy clients. Do you have anxiety about your clients? Get your iPad and start drawing brows on your clients way before they come in, girl. This can help you know exactly what to expect before the big day comes. 

My recommended class would be Sofia Cruz @DreamyPMU’s ProCreate course! She is an amazing artist who specializes in ombré brows using Li Pigments, and the way she shapes brows completely makes me drool in my sleep. Run, don’t walk to learn the best ways to set up ProCreate on your iPad and watch the stress of setting up for your client’s appointment slowly fade away!

  1. Legal Compliance: 

Complying with local regulations and licensing requirements is non-negotiable. Failing to do so can have legal consequences that threaten your career. Stay informed about the laws and regulations governing your profession and adhere to them diligently. 

Say it with me: A certificate is not a license. 


Failure in the world of permanent makeup artistry is not necessarily a negative thing. It can serve as a valuable teacher, but only when it occurs in the right contexts, such as during the learning process and creative exploration. However, when it comes to safety, client expectations, and legal matters, failure is not acceptable and should be avoided at all costs. Striking this balance will help you grow as an artist while maintaining professionalism and integrity in your practice.

If pendulum or one-way whip shading is all you know, consider expanding your education and come hang out for a Brow Boot Camp with me - as I show you every way to achieve the best results for an Ombré or Powder Brow. 

In this one-on-one I show you: 

  • Very important voltage settings
  • Hand movements crucial to keeping your saturation consistent, therefore maintaining a great reputation for healed results regardless of skin type 
  • Things your certificate class didn’t teach you, including five needle configurations & nothing but hands-on learning!

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