In our latest blog we focus on a subject which can be emotionally overwhelming for many breast cancer survivors. The number of women undergoing immediate surgical breast reconstruction after mastectomies has risen sharply in recent years, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Nipple and areola replacement, whether surgical or cosmetic, is the final step in breast reconstruction. More and more women, exhausted by the thought of additional surgery, are choosing restorative cosmetic makeup. We recently interviewed Mahnaz Bahealou, an inspiring woman who owns Elite Permanent Makeup and Training Center in Los Angeles. She specializes in restoring breasts to their pre-cancer appearance.
Elite Permanent Makeup is all about giving women more confidence. Tell us how you got into this profession.
Almost two decades ago, when I was in my early 20s, I was going through a difficult divorce and needed something to keep me engaged. I really loved makeup, so I decided to learn how to do it professionally; I got training specifically in permanent makeup. After working as a MUA for over 12 years, I discovered my passion for teaching, got my instructor certification and opened my school the Elite Permanent Makeup and Training Center in Los Angeles in 2012.
Elite Permanent Makeup offers reconstructive cosmetic makeup for cancer survivors as well. How did this come about?
I find great satisfaction in bringing joy to my clients. Early in my career I learned and became an expert at drawing the areola. Other examples of reconstructive makeup could include, if a client has a scar on their face or the body, I try to match their skin tone and try to camouflage it. We also do scalp pigmentation for people who are losing their hair.
How long after reconstructive surgery can they get the service?
The safest minimum time after surgery is one year.
What process does Elite Permanent Makeup take before the service?
I have a lengthy consultation with prospective clients, to understand their needs. It is as much an emotional journey as it is a physical service.
How would you describe the emotional journey for your clients before and after reconstructive cosmetic makeup?
A lot of people are scared by the procedure and how it’s done, but in the end they’re very overwhelmed at how real the results look. Some clients start crying with. It’s life changing. I try to do my best and teach and pass on my experience to my students.
So you believe that reconstructive cosmetic makeup and tattoos in general can have a positive impact on self-confidence?
Personally, I had cosmetic surgery around 8 or 9 years ago and it was a really bad mistake. I went through surgery twice to try to fix the scarring and they couldn’t. I tried to remove it, but I couldn’t so I drew a really nice tattoo on it and it made me comfortable and accepting of it. So, I feel for any clients that have anxiety about their scars because I’ve experienced that insecurity firsthand.
What do you consider to be the best part of your job?
I love to teach so that I can impart the knowledge and skills that I have acquired to my students. The Elite Permanent Makeup team is a supportive community of like-minded individuals, who are committed to bring joy to their clients inside and out.
We always recommend natural products for skin care and our Laserine Botanical Salve is no exception – perfect for any tattoo aftercare. It is a 100% natural all-purpose balm and non-toxic alternative to products containing Petrolatum. It is perfect for anti-inflammation, soothing and moisturizing.
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