LA Native Mrs. Nicole Martinez Paves a Way for Women of Color in the Permanent Makeup Industry

SoCal native and woman in tech/branding guru, Mrs. Nicole Martinez, co-founded the annual PMU Women of Color Conference to recognize women of color in the permanent makeup (PMU) industry, both as artists and as clients.

“The idea of promoting inclusion for women of color has always been a passion of mine. But, there was a defining moment for me when I entered the permanent makeup industry,” Nicole says.

Nicole, the Owner of the branding/marketing companies Brand New Beauty and Sis, Start Your Business, and her friend/business partner, Jenny Lind, an expert PMU Artist, Educator, and Owner of Mystique Brows Permanent Makeup Studio, founded the PMU Women of Color Conference in Atlanta, GA, to recognize talented women of color in the permanent makeup industry, while educating artists of all levels and backgrounds on the specific needs of clients with darker skin tones.

As a creative artist, Nicole became fascinated with the growing trend of permanent makeup and became a certified PMU artist in 2017. Nicole explains that she knew right away, from her experience in working with other businesses, that when she entered the PMU field, a lot of the people that would come to her would be women of color.

“Naturally, we go to people who (we) identify with,” Nicole adds. “I wanted to get trained by someone who was familiar with working on women of color. And, surprisingly, I couldn’t find anyone.”

Nicole didn’t realize at the time that the training she had received was not ideal for women of color. Luckily, in 2018, Nicole met Jenny, an expert PMU Artist who has extensive experience with working on women of color.

The expert PMU Artist and Educator, Jenny Lind, educates women on the specific needs of clients with darker skin tones. One major point that Jenny stresses in her trainings is that Microblading is not ideal for darker skin tones.

Microblading is a cosmetic tattooing technique in which a small handheld tool made of several tiny needles is used to add pigment to the skin of the brow area, mimicking real hairs. It has become one of the most popular services to create a buzz, and according to Marine Agency – an insurance company providing insurance services to cosmetic tattoo artists – it is because of its durability, low cost (when compared to other options), short recovery, custom-look, and low-risk. 

“It wasn’t until I trained with Jenny that I learned that darker skin is more prone to scarring and really should not be receiving Microblading services at all,” Nicole explains.

“Microblading is not only more traumatic on the skin than other permanent eyebrow methods, but it has a shorter retention time, which means clients need to come back for more frequent touchups. These things just add to the risk of scarring. So, its definitely not what you want to do on skin that is already prone to scarring!” Nicole emphasizes. “Instead, for clients with darker skin tones, artists should offer services that use a digital machine, such as Ombré or Nano brows.”

Ombré and Nano brow techniques use a digital permanent makeup machine (instead of a handheld tool) to insert pigment into the skin, using tiny needles. The needles enter and exit the skin very rapidly while implanting tiny dots of pigment. The process is less invasive on the skin than traditional Microblading, which creates tiny slits on the eyebrow skin area, and the results last longer.

“In addition, I realized while training with Jenny that everything I had learned about color theory was completely wrong when it came to working on women of color!“ adds Nicole.

“I, myself, have permanent makeup on my eyebrows and the pigment is sadly turning gray! I am the perfect example of the importance of going to an artist that is properly trained on selecting the right pigment for darker skin,” Nicole adds. “There is just so much to it, Jenny and I agreed it was time to share this knowledge with the world.”

“Speaking of pigment, Jenny and I are so excited to be joining forces with LI Pigments to bring a pigment line tailored specifically for clients with darker skin tones. The new pigment line, called QUEEN Pigments will be launching this spring 2020. So stay tuned for that,” Nicole adds excitingly.

“In addition to educating artists on the needs of clients with darker skin, we also wanted to create a platform to recognize women of color for their talent as artists in the permanent makeup industry,” Nicole adds.

Women of color are severely underrepresented in executive leadership, according to data by Catalyst – a nonprofit group advocating for the advancement of women in the workforce.

“Just knowing the statistics and being women of color and business owners, Jenny and I understand the struggles women of color face and we want to promote recognition and representation for them in the PMU industry,” Nicole explains. “Just to put this conference together, we felt we needed to outdo ourselves, just to meet the standard. But, in the end, it was so worth it.”

Last year, the PMU Women of Color Conference was held at one of Atlanta’s most beautiful event locations called The Venue at Daisy Hill and united PMU artists and speakers of various backgrounds, supporting women of color.

“It was amazing to see. And hearing such positive feedback from last year’s attendees was the best feeling ever,” Nicole says. “Jenny and I worked our butts off to pull it off. We are so excited. This is just the beginning.”

Attendees of last year’s conference, who came from all over the U.S., shared their feedback of the conference on social media.

 “It was a great experience!” posted Kenesha Harper, a 2019 PMU Women of Color Conference attendee. “The venue was beautiful and everything was well organized. The speakers were amazing. We covered a number of topics from marketing and branding to scalp micro pigmentation, and areola reconstruction. We also got some nice goody bags to take home. I’m looking forward to the 2020 conference.”

Another attendee, who drove all the way from Florida, posted, “The PMUWOC conference was a great experience, I’m so glad I was able to be apart of it. It was worth the money and the long drive it took for me to get there. I gained jewels worth of knowledge that weekend that will help me and my business substantially. I encourage every woman who is in the field of PMU to attend this conference at least once. I hope to return again next year. Can’t wait to see who their speakers will be for 2020.”

“Jenny and I were extremely happy with the feedback we received after last year’s event, and we want to take this year’s conference to a whole new level,” Nicole explains. “We have some great perks that we have added this year for our attendees, such as a one-year membership to exclusive discounts with our affiliates and a PMU Women of Color Expert seal that we will be providing to each attendee.”

Register today for the 2020 PMU Women of Color Conference on June 22 & 23rd in Atlanta, GA, joining PMU artists of all levels and backgrounds in the permanent makeup industry supporting women of color!

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