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Consumer Alert: WREG uncovers the dangers of microblading

Memphis, Tenn. — It’s one of the hottest trends in cosmetics, but WREG has learned microblading gone wrong isn’t just about bad brows.

The NewsChannel 3 Investigators found a salon accused practices so dangerous, it could lead to deadly consequences.

WREG has details on what women should know before getting microbladed brows, including a single piece of paper to look for.

“Brows can either make or break you,” says Andree Turner.

However, if you’re not blessed with beautiful brows, or a steady hand to shape them to perfection, that’s where a cosmetic procedure like microblading comes in.

Turner is the owner of Vanity Luxe, and these days, her brow business is booming.

“It appeals to every woman,” says Turner about certain semi-permanent cosmetic services for enhancing eyebrows.

What is microblading?

  • Microblading provides a semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo
  • There’s an initial service, plus follow ups
  • It can cost anywhere from $300 to $800 (depending on location, salon, brows) and typically lasts up to two years

“With microblading, you`re using a blade and you`re giving hair like strokes throughout the brow to give the illusion of hair strokes,” explained Turner.

Turner started with microblading, but now specializes in a newer technique called microshading.

“This gives them the same outcome as using a pencil, and also, microblading…we’re finding that it’s more damaging to the skin, over time you will more than likely develop a scar of those hair like strokes in your skin,” explained Turner regarding the difference between the two techniques.

Marlo Dunnick-Peyton says getting microshaded brows has been a big, time saver for her busy, morning routine.

“I did not have any eyebrows at first, but since coming to Dree I do have eyebrows now, and I don`t have to put on makeup, I don`t have to shade, I just get up and go!”

Dunnick-Peyton, a nurse, admits she was initially hesitant about the procedure.

“I researched it, because I had no idea about it, I was really scared. Plus it`s your face, so you have to be careful.”

A critical word of caution considering the problems WREG uncovered with microblading across the MidSouth.

In Tennesee, Arkansas and Mississippi individuals who provide microblading must be licensed as a tatoo artist.

(There are exemptions for medi-spas and certain medical professionals in Tennessee.)

Through open records, WREG found complaints turned over to state investigators where salons promoted and offered microblading without a proper license.

Turner said, “I had one client to come and her ink turned a reddish color. I had another client whose brow shaping was completely wrong.”

However, bad brows are the least of the problems.

“Safety is very important because if it`s done incorrectly, you could be putting people at risk of contracting diseases,” added Turner.

The Mississippi Department of Health sent CK Nails and Spa in Gulfport, MS a cease and desist notice after a former employee filed a complaint about alleged practices so dangerous, she said she quit.

She told state regulators by email, the salon offered microblading and tattooing without a license and didn’t properly dispose of blood contaminated needles.

In the email, the former employee said they threw needles into an open trash bin, that “overloads and spills on the floor.”

The complaint also alleged CK Nails re-used needles.

The employee said she quit after accidentally pricking herself cleaning a contaminated needle.

WREG reached out to CK Nails, and the salon manager said she wasn’t aware of the emailed complaint, but denied re-using needles.

She told WREG she was fully trained and licensed in another state, and was under the impression from her trainer that her license was good in Mississippi.

She also said she’s applied for a license (which state health officials confirmed) and the salon has since stopped microblading.

State health officials said there would be a follow up visit.

Dunnick-Peyton said safety is the reason she did her research and chose Turner for microshading.

“There are so many different diseases out there, especially coming from used needles. And just coming to her, seeing she used sterile technique, she uses gloves, she uses brand new needles, that is so important to me.”

So what should you ask before getting microbladed?

Turner suggested, “One of those things would be are you licensed? Another thing would be do you use disposable needles?”

In Tennessee, consumers can’t search for licensed, tattoo artists online, so customers should look for a license in the business.

Turner keeps her license, and other training certificates on the wall.

Other tips:

  • Be sure the artist conducts a pre-treatment screening – This is where clients discuss things like allergies and underlying health issues.
  • Inquire about post-care – This will cover what customers can and can’t do following the procedure, including products to avoid after microblading/microshading.

Dunnick-Peyton was at Vanity Luxe for her follow up.

“I`ve gotten so many compliments,” Dunnick-Peyton said.

She walked away with picture perfect brows, but women should do their homework to get the same results.

“It`s one of the best things I`ve done.”

There are also semi-permanent cosmetic options available for eyeliner and lip color, but the advice remains the same about conducting research ahead of time.