Permanent makeup genius Karen Betts shows us how it’s done
Walking into the Harley Street office of Karen Betts, we were warmly welcomed and surrounded by gorgeous photos of ladies who have undergone permanent make-up by the top lady herself, Karen. With such a high clientèle, including celebrities, you would think Karen doesn’t even have enough time for a social life; but the talented master of make-up is always finding time to work for charities that help men and women who have been devastated after suffering from burns, accidents and cancer.
Betts has just teamed up with Katie Piper – who regularly goes for treatments after her horrific attack – to work for The Katie Piper Foundation, which helps burn victims through their tragic story with things such as permanent make-up. Karen can work on a number of things for people, including areolas for breast cancer patients, which was both surprising and heart-warming to hear. Karen is obviously passionate about the help she gives; just talking to her, you can hear her warmth and kindness drenching every word and you know that getting permanent make-up from this woman would be the best choice to make. Her years of experience, skills and passion for it makes her hands the most trusting.
A trusting and three-year-long patient of Karen’s was lovely enough to let us watch Karen perform her artistry on her lips and eyes. Already having her lips done, she was there for a top-up – which is advised after 18 months – but colour will stay in the lips for years; the colour will just fade a little bit like any tattoo. Even then, before Karen had got to work, you could see how incredible her lips looked, with no application of make-up.
We sat down and were told about the aesthetic used. More can be applied throughout the procedure if Karen thinks it is needed. She used a gun similar to a tattoo gun, but a lot less bulky and powerful; it actually looked like a pen. Like a tattoo, different needles are used for different thickness and lines, and before anything was applied, Karen chose the colour that was best suited for her patient.
Mixing reds and pinks, Karen asked the patient if she was OK with the colour before going ahead and applying. It looked painless and effortless: small strokes across the lip line. Karen’s artistic talent and steady hand worked away with such precision and expertise; it was breathtaking. The patient looked so calm and relaxed she could have been mistaken for being asleep. It doesn’t even take very long, averaging on 30 minutes for top-ups, and when it’s a first application, usually around an hour and a half.
After the lips were done, we were astounded by the results; they will go down a little in colour and size, which is why Karen goes for a colour a tiny bit brighter than what is intended. They looked fabulous.
The patient also had a top-up of her permanent eye make-up, which in theory looks like a small amount of black eye-liner on her eyelid and under her eye line. It’s not for the squeamish to watch. If we were going to trust anyone with a needle near our eye it would be Karen, with her steady hand. This procedure is even quicker, and Karen adds a small amount of olive green to bring out the patient’s eyes that works incredibly.
After chatting with Karen, she explained that 80% of the treatments she does are on the eyebrows, and lips and eyes are an equal 10% each. We talked about the importance of eyebrows, how they define a face and how life-changing the treatments are for alopecia sufferers, cancer patients, or victims of burns. For those who don’t want the trouble of applying make-up every day, permanent make-up is the perfect solution.
After witnessing permanent make-up application first hand, and talking to the best about how it can change people’s lives, we don’t think this procedure gets enough recognition for its brilliance.
If you are thinking about getting it done yourself, it is nowhere near as scary and daunting as you may think. With Karen’s highly trained and friendly staff, you can see how at ease you are made the moment you step inside the building and how wonderful and warm Karen is herself.
With prices starting at £395, it is a cheap and flawless way to create the perfect features you have dreamed of. We wouldn’t go anywhere else for permanent make-up, and already we are saving our pennies for some lush lips and perfect brows.
Photos: Holly Ashe
For more on Karen Betts, check out her website here.