Cosmetic tattooist warns of ‘inadequate training’

Rita Porreca, one of Sydney’s leading cosmetic/medical tattooists, has warned would-be tattooists that many courses currently available in Australia provide vastly inadequate training.

Rita, the managing director of the Sydney Permanent Makeup Centre, says many of the “crash courses” currently proliferating around the country don’t offer “enough theory or practical lessons for students to succeed professionally”.

“I believe the key to success is ‘practice, practice and more practice’ but sadly many courses don’t give their students that opportunity so they ‘graduate’ with no experience – and are unable to perform even the most basic procedure.”

Rita opened the Sydney Permanent Makeup Centre in Sydney’s inner-west 26 years ago after graduating from the International Institute of Permanent Cosmetics in the US. Five years later she opened the Sydney Permanent Make-Up School “to meet requests for classes from other beauty therapists”.

Since then she has undertaken numerous cosmetic/medical tattooing courses locally and overseas while running the centre and school, and completing thousands of eyebrow, eyeliner, lip and other tattoos on her clients.

Until late last year, Rita ran 10-week beginners courses in cosmetic tattooing, “teaching all the fundamentals of cosmetic tattooing including anatomy, health and safety, skin piercing, colour mixing, touch-ups and corrections”, but is now focussing on master classes instead.

She decided there was a need for such classes when students in her beginner’s classes told her “they had already spent a lot of money on cosmetic tattooing courses but still had problems performing treatments”.

“There is definitely a need for extra training for beginners in this industry as learning the skills required to become a professional cosmetic tattooist requires a significant time investment – and that is something that most of the courses don’t offer.”

However she stressed that even if a beginner’s course did provide adequate training, “one course is still never enough’ in a rapidly changing area like cosmetic/medical tattooing.

“We need to continually educate ourselves to stay on top of all the developments.”

Rita urges would-be cosmetic tattooists to thoroughly research prospective courses and education providers before enrolling.

“I think beginner’s courses should run for at least 10 weeks and students should do some work experience in a clinic to get their skills and confidence up to a reasonable standard… Ideally they [students] should have performed each treatment about 20 times before undertaking work as a paid professional.”

Rita’s masterclasses at the Sydney Permanent Make-Up School are designed for cosmetic tattooists who want to upskill their techniques or refresh their skills in eyebrow (feathering, powdering), eyeliner, lash enhancement, lip liner, lip blend, full lip and medical tattooing.

Most of the classes are “two days of intensive training” – not “crash courses”

“Success in this industry is related to the quality and professionalism of the service provided and this is directly been linked to the amount of training received.

“All beauty therapists (not just cosmetic tattooists) should regularly upskill their knowledge to become the best they can be.”

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