Richmond Times-Dispatch
Mar 25, 2018

Merry Burney worked for years as a paralegal, but it was her side business as a makeup artist working on commercial shoots and doing bridal party makeup that was her passion.

Her side business is now her main business, though she has changed her business model as industry needs have changed and consumer preferences have shifted.

She recently opened Beauty Ink, a permanent makeup studio in the Short Pump area of western Henrico County. Her shop is in the Sola Salon Studios building off Pouncey Tract Road.

“I had previously owned a makeup artistry studio. I stopped that about three years ago. … As far as doing commercials, that work has calmed down. A lot of the people are bringing their own makeup artists to the set,” Burney said.

Beauty Ink specializes in semi-permanent tattooed makeup.

No eyebrows or sparse eyebrows? No problem.

Burney can give you a full, expressive pair with microblading — a technique that involves using tiny needles to make micro slits in the brow. Special tattooing ink is brushed over the brows, depositing ink into the slits. The excess ink is wiped off leaving neat, fashionably shaped brows.

“The microblading is done with feather strokes so it looks like real hair,” Burney said.

The results last up to two or three years before fading. Burney charges $550, which includes a touch-up visit after four to six weeks.

She also tattoos on lip color and eyeliner.

The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation licenses and regulates tattooers. Classes of license are tattooer, limited term tattooer, permanent cosmetic tattooer and master permanent cosmetic tattooer. Applicants have to pass an exam.

“I want to do eyelash extensions, and I cannot do them until I am finished with my aesthetician’s license,” Burney said.

Eyelash extensions are attached to individual existing lashes.

“They shed off during your cycle of hair growth. Then you go back for a fill about once a month,” Burney said.

Burney said she has invested about $50,000 in the business for training, equipment leasing and other startup costs.

Photo and article by Richmond Times Dispatch