THE GOOD GEISHA
Toronto’s first premiere cosmetic tattoo shop
576 Dundas St. West
“Restoring confidence in someone’s life makes all the difference.”
- Amber Gotzmiester –
COSMETIC TATTOOING IN TORONTO
From permanent make-up, to medical and restorative procedures; cosmetic tattooing, known as ‘micropigmentation’ is becoming a common practice for both men and women living in and outside of the GTA. Responding to this growing trend, are Cosmetic Tattoo Artists, Amber Gotzmeister and Anna Chow, who have teamed up to bring Toronto its first premiere cosmetic tattoo shop called The Good Geisha. The pair is working hard together at quickly distinguishing themselves from the bad to THE GOOD by practicing voluntary standards in an unregulated industry with ongoing health and safety concerns.
“Many professionals in the industry, including myself, strongly believe that cosmetic tattooing does not belong in an environment where you'd get your nails done,” says Amber Gotzmeister. “Because the industry is unregulated with little enforced standards, you want to do your research before selecting someone to administer cosmetic tattooing. You have to be very careful. I would strongly advise against budget cosmetic clinics and day spas offering cosmetic tattooing.”
Gotzmeister has been a senior instructor at the Micropigmentation Centre since 2014, primarily focused on all “hands on” practical training for all of the programming. She also leads the Microblading Program teaching theory, design concepts and strategies. Gotzmeister has performed over 500 eyebrow and eyeliner services; 200 lips and 100 paramedical.
“We hear countless horror stories and witness mistakes up-close and personal; often having to correct errors from improper and unprofessional procedures,” says business partner, Anna Chow. “There has also been little positive media coverage on our industry. We want to change these attitudes by highlighting the benefits, but while addressing health & safety concerns such as infections, permanent disfigurement, and Hepatitis B and C. Not only can cosmetic tattooing be expensive to correct, improper procedures can also be detrimental to one’s health.”
“Many celebrities are rumoured to have had permanent make-up procedures,” says Gotzmeister. “When you live your life constantly in the spotlight and under a microscope, it seems like a viable option. The same goes for those rushing to get to work in the morning. Many people are turning to cosmetic tattooing to save themselves the time and hassle from applying makeup. The three most common procedures are eyebrows, eyeliner, and lips, in that order. However, it changes between cosmetic and medical based on demographic and market targeting. American insurance companies are even starting to include cosmetic tattooing in their coverage plans. Canada has yet to follow.”
“I absolutely love how natural my brows look after microblading with Amber,” says Melissa Andre of Melissa Andre Events. She was able to perfect my brow shape and give me perfect definition to highlight my eyes. I fly between Toronto and LA throwing parties for Drake and many other celebrities; cosmetic tattooing has helped me save a lot of application time. When you are constantly working in the spotlight and busy like me, the procedure was a wise investment that improved my business of being social.”
Why "The Good Geisha"?
“I really wanted to make sure I wasn't confused with the typical beauty bar so I wanted a name that reflected a traditional tattoo shop. I found a "tattoo shop name generator" on Google and just clicked a button to come up with names. The first click populated the name Bad Geisha. I liked it, but I didn’t want to give off a brothel impression. I changed bad to good and bounced it off my husband. He said I should put word "the" in front of it. When I bounced it off my girlfriends she mentioned the stigma of the geisha so I did some research. I found an article by Elle magazine that I think summed up exactly what made me fall in love with the name.”- Gotzmeister
"There are numerous reasons why geisha have remained icons of enduring enchantment since they first emerged in Japan in the 1700s. They are a very secretive group, existing in what is known as karyukai, or "the flower and willow world." To see one, even in their traditional home base of Kyoto, is rare, not only because there are now fewer than 300 of them, but because they perform their tea ceremonies only for the wealthiest and most elite (contrary to popular belief, geisha were never courtesans; the confusion stems from Western soldiers' reductive use of the term geisha girls for Japanese prostitutes during WWII). Living embodiments of mystery, serenity, and romance, there are perhaps no other women on earth so devoted to the pursuit of beauty in all of its forms." – Elle Magazine Source -
About Amber Gotzmeister
Amber Gotzmeister is a Colour Correction Expert, the Senior Instructor at the Micropigmentation Centre and the Co-owner of The Good Geisha. She started in the medical camouflaging makeup industry in 2003 teaching her clients how to cover their scars and birthmarks with makeup. Her directed focus in micropigmentation began in 2007, and since then she has performed countless procedures. As an instructor, Amber developed and implemented fundamental training programs as well as advanced workshops targeting the popular procedure, Microblading. Amber is known for her calming personality and her extensive knowledge on colour in the skin. Amber holds a CIDESCO designation in medical esthetics and a Marvel Makeup Diploma since 2003. Specialities: 3D Microblading, Colour Corrections, Cosmetic & Para Medical Tattoos. @microbyamber
About Anna Chow
Anna has always had a passion in visual arts even as a child. With a finance background and having worked on Bay St., she decided to quit her career and pursue her passion. She entered the industry by extensively training under numerous worldwide renowned artists before starting her own Studio in Vaughan and now a Co-Owner of The Good Geisha. Her strong belief of "when you stop learning, you stop growing" is why she continues to learn, share and instruct Microblading. Her love and perfection for the beauty industry is reflected through her work as she finds fulfillment by listening to her clients’ needs, assessing facial structures and helping recreate their image. Specialties: Microblading, Micropigmentation, Certified Slope Needle Specialist and Certified Eliminink Specialist. @annavictoriachow
1. What procedures does The Good Geisha specialize in?
We specialize in all forms of cosmetic tattooing, which include eyebrows, eyeliners, lips and beauty marks. We also specialize in para-medical tattooing, which includes density re-pigmentation for scalp, areola/nipple complex re-pigmentation and also camouflaging for skin disorders. Our most popular procedure is eyebrow Microblading, which lasts up to 1 year (for some, a little longer) and it gives a very soft, realistic look.
2. What is the main difference between The Good Geisha and typical beauty bars? The Good Geisha is Toronto’s very first Premiere Cosmetic Tattoo Shop. We specialize in only cosmetic/medical tattooing. No other services, no confusion. With over 10 years of combined experience, we aim to raise the bar in health and safety in our growing industry, by providing a standard in which you can trust and expect the highest quality of work using only 100% disposable tools.
3. Why should consumers avoid typical beauty bars? What health and safety concerns should consumers be aware of?
Typically beauty bars encompass a wide range of beauty services, which means their facilities may not be designed for a tattooing service. Beds or chairs should be linen free and appropriately wrapped in barrier film. All tools should be 100% disposable (including all hand pieces used for Microblading). Ask if your artist is Bloodbourne Pathogen Certified? This will ensure that they have had adequate training in the risks of tattooing, cross-contamination, and health and safety in the tattoo shop workplace. Consumers should do their research before committing to any type of tattoo. They should look into an artist’s work, ask to see their before and after photos, and check out the facility beforehand to ensure the highest form of safety measures are put into place.
4. What is the difference between micropigmentation and microblading?
MICROBLADING is a short term tattoo for the eyebrows. We use tiny pin like needles (not an actual blade) to implant pigment into the skin approximately 0.5 mm deep using a manual tool. This results in crisp realistic lines that resemble real eyebrow hairs. This style of tattooing is meant to last up to 1 year. You will require 1 touchup session within 4-6 weeks prior to initial appointment.
MICROPIGMENTATION is a permanent tattoo for eyebrows, eyeliners, lips, beauty marks, colour correction, scaring, areola/ nipple complex, and scalp using a state of the art electrical machine. Any form of tattooing on the face, palms of hands, and soles of feet will fade faster than anywhere else on the body. Therefore the longevity of the tattoo will be unique to each person’s needs, skin type, and lifestyle.
5. What is the average cost of microblading?
The average cost of microblading is anywhere from $450 - $650. The price varies depending on the artist and the artist’s experience in the field.
6. How long does microblading last (procedure and results)?
Microblading is a manual procedure that creates a hyper realistic hair stroke effect and can last anywhere from 1-2 years. The procedure takes about 90 mins. A person’s skin type and their innate healing process will determine their results. Everyone heals differently and some people’s skin/cell turnover pushes the colour out quicker or slower than others. There is no way to determine or guarantee what your individual experience will be.
7. Who is a good candidate for microblading? Almost anyone can be a candidate for microblading. The only people who we caution are those who are in need of significant corrective work. Or those prone to keloid scarring. We would then, in most cases, recommend Micropigmentation as an alternative.
8. How does the microblading procedure actually work (what materials/techniques are used)? We use tiny pin like needles (not an actual blade) to implant pigment into the skin approximately 0.5 mm deep using a manual tool. We do this by gently pulling the needles through/across the skin to create a hair stroke feathered effect.
9. Is there any aftercare or maintenance involved after the procedure? Yes, aftercare is very important. Just like any tattoo, the aftercare regimen determines the colour retention in the tattoo. At The Good Geisha, we ask the clients to use our aftercare product the night of their procedure, and continue to use it for the following 2 weeks. Using a clean cotton swab, lightly massage a thin coat over the area several times per day. This will help with healing, minimize crusting and aid in colour retention.
FULL LIST OF SERVICES AND PROCEDURES:
Microblading is a short-lived tattoo for the eyebrows. The Good Geisha uses tiny pin-like needles (not an actual blade) to implant pigment into the skin approximately 0.5 mm deep using a manual tool. This results in crisp realistic lines that resemble real eyebrow hairs. This style of tattooing is meant to last up to one year. Clients will require one touchup session within 4-6 weeks prior to initial appointment.
This is good for someone who is nervous or apprehensive to take the leap into a permanent tattoo. This is also what everyone is seeing on instagram so it is very trendy. It is actually a very old method of tattooing - like we are talking back to the bamboo stick days but it has come full circle and has been reintroduced more recently starting in Asia.
Micropigmentation is a permanent tattoo for eyebrows, eyeliners, lips, beauty marks, colour correction, scaring, areola/ nipple complex, and scalp using a state-of-the art electrical machine. Any form of tattooing on the face, palms of hands, and soles of feet will fade faster than anywhere else on the body. Therefore the longevity of the tattoo will be unique to each person’s needs, skin type, and lifestyle.
Eyebrows are the most popular procedure. Most women are unhappy with their brows either from over plucking or they are just naturally sparse. Our brows thin with age and disappear from the tails mostly from sleeping and rubbing in pillows. Then there is more a medical aspect like conditions such as alopecia (when you stop growing hair altogether). No eyebrows equals no expression. This is also a great option for those suffering through chemo treatments. I have done many brows prior to their treatment commencement and when they start to lose their hair it’s not such a shock because they still have "eyebrows".
Eyeliner is the second most popular and is primarily for cosmetic purposes except for those with alopecia. It saves women time (approx. 10 min per day) from having to put their eyeliner on evenly every day. There are so many meme’s and videos making fun of this fact. The Good Geisha posted one on the Facebook page MicrobyAmber and it reached over 60,000 views.
Lips are sought after to bring colour that fades away from the vermillion boarder with age, coldsore scarring etc. It is also for those who like to wear colour every day. It is more of a staining effect then an opaque coverage that you get with actual lipstick. Cleft palette augmentation is also possible but I haven’t personally done any of those before.
Beauty marks are still popular from the Cindy Crawford days. They are entirely cosmetic unless it is to match something that was there before some type of scarring or augmentation.
Colour Correction is my (Amber’s) specialty. Colour theory in the skin is completely different then traditional colour theory. I have spent the last 10 years learning and testing colour changes in the skin with thousands of procedures under my belt for all types of cosmetic tattooing.
Scarring is possible to camouflage if the scar is lighter then that rest of the skin, and it is completely flat or depressed (anything raised is hypertrophic and cannot be tattooed). We can also combine colour matching with micro needling treatments that smooth the structure of the skin as well. This is a para medical procedure for any place on the body or face.
Areola/ nipple complex regimentation is for women who have augmentation scarring or loss of areola melanin due to trauma from surgery. Reconstruction due to mastectomy for survivors of breast cancer. We can create a new set or match the bilateral pair.
Scalp is for women and men with thinning hair. We can implant pigment in many different patterns to create density which gives the illusion of fuller thicker hair. Either for long hair, mid-short and also bald heads. This is also beneficial for those with hair transplant scarring as we can blend the hair pattern into the scar to create an illusion of no scar and an even density of the hair.
Most procedures are 1-2 hrs for cosmetic purposes. Lips and para medical can run longer 3-4 hrs. It depends on the extent of the procedure in combination with the skin type of the individual. (An eyeliner with a thick line and wing will take much longer than an eyelash enhancement which is a thin line following just inside the lash line).
5 COSMETIC TATTOOING TIPS
1. When selecting an artist, ask how long was their training course? (2-3 days courses are insufficient for proper training).
2. Ask to see the artists’ before and after photos of the client sitting upright, not lying down and without filters.
3. Does your selected artist reuse their hand pieces? All tools should be 100% disposable including the hand piece (which is often reused). Make sure the facility is clean. A lot of budget nail and hair salons are offering these services (no regulation, no guided standards), and it is strongly advised that you find a professional specialist like Amber or Anna from The Good Geisha. *You can ask about their credentials and the standards they would like implemented.*
4. Know that no matter what anyone promises you, there are no guarantees in tattooing. Some keep colour longer than expected and some lose it sooner than expected. Everyone is unique and their cosmetic tattoo will be as well. That is why The Good Geisha customize each person's procedure according to their needs to ensure the best possible result.
5. Trendy makeup designs don't make good cosmetic tattoos. Take the artists’ advice when deciding on the design of your tattoo. They know best how to create the look you're going for without going overboard and potentially giving you something you may regret in a few years. Bring in your inspirational photos and allow them to create your own personal version.
Important Note: Tattoos do fade. This applies to both body art and facial art. Colour retention is affected based on numerous factors both internal and external. Internal factors includes how the skin heals, how the individual’s body receives/rejects the pigments, healing process (do they scar or keloid easily). External factors include lifestyle (are they always in the sun? Sun fades everything (think of a poster by the window and how the colour lightens up over time), are they always having facial treatments (laser, etc) which can impact colour retention as well.