Hailing from Russia, Perma Blend Select Team artist Elizaveta Surkova has been showing PMU artists around the world how it’s done for nearly 10 years. From her beginnings working with lashes and brows, Surkova has quickly risen to become one of the top PMU artists in the world. With over 350 certifications, she is a master of her craft offering cutting edge education to students from around the world at her studio, International Glance Academy Black Butterfly. We caught up with her to talk tips, technique, education, and more.
Q: You’re one of the top permanent makeup artists in the world. What’s the secret to your success?
A: Work, work, and work. Anytime and anywhere! My family helps me a lot, of course. My husband and I are always and everywhere together. Doing business is much more interesting as a couple. I am constantly learning and developing because the industry does not stand still, and we must constantly move forward. You can't stop.
Q: Tell us about your studio, International Glance Academy Black Butterfly.
A: We opened the studio in 2012 and it was very meaningful for us. We were the first, in our region, to position ourselves in the way that we did. We trained specialists who took our idea and later opened their studios. We have graduated over 3,500 students from around the world to date and it is inspiring. My students are completely immersed in the profession and quickly become the best. I am so proud of my students. From the very beginning of my permanent makeup career, my dream has been to be part of a global team. And it's cool that now I'm with Perma Blend!
Q: What is your approach to education? Tell us about your system.
A: Education is a very important part of my work. You need to improve constantly, especially since now all knowledge is very affordable. Webinars, conferences, forums, and you can buy courses online even without leaving home.
It’s very important to find an approach that works for each student. Things come easier to one person while with someone else you must work longer until they understand. I always provide support for my students 24/7 in our private chat.
My husband Aleksey helps me a lot in training. He has been working as an artist for about a year and is aware of the difficulties for beginners. In addition, when there are two teachers in practice, it is much more interesting. I try to convey the maximum of knowledge that I have collected over the past 9 years to the students, but, of course, it is simply impossible to tell everything within the course, although I really want to. Sometimes we train until 11 pm and until midnight!
If the artist is interested, ready to work, to make the effort, then everything comes. My students are gaining a client base very quickly, winning championships, opening their own studios, but this requires effort.
Q: How did you come to work with Perma Blend?
A: I am one of those masters who likes to use the best! I always strive to provide only high-quality services, goods, brands. I tried pigments from many companies in my work, but there were always many drawbacks: either there was no lip product line, they were constantly out of stock, or different shades came in every batch. There was no consistency in quality or availability. I have been working with Perma Blend pigments for 3 years now. I’ve managed to study the color scheme and the peculiarities of pigment styling during this time. I can say that I am in love with Perma Blend!
Q: What do you like about the brand?
A: It is important to work with a quality product for me. Perma Blend offers a chic palette, makes constant innovations, gives detailed product descriptions, highest quality certifications, great prices and predictable results. I like that these are not just bottles with colors, but each pigment has its own color scheme. They are created with understanding and love for the product. All this is very much felt in the company's policy.
And all shades mix perfectly with each other. It's so cool when you know the color will heal beautifully, every one of them. It will adapt itself to the client and will fit as needed. The only drawback is that you constantly want to buy them again and again!
Q: What are your favorite Perma Blend products?
A: I have a lot of favorites. Right now, I'm really enjoying the Blowout brown shade. My top shades are Dark Forest brown, Wild Sable, Tea and Toast, Espresso—these are just the best. I like to darken shades with Ebony, sometimes I use Bronzer and Tina Davies' Gold Sunrise correctors. And I love the lip line, especially the Envy and Lust sets, which were released in conjunction with Tina Davies. They are unreal! The colors are super, very concentrated, and heal perfectly. My favorite shades are Magenta, Pink Coral, Rose Pink, Peach. And I also really love Hen party, as it suits everyone.
Q: What is some of your best advice for working with Perma Blend pigments?
A: The Pigments absorb very quickly into the skin, so you need to work with them as superficially and easily as possible. This saves time and gives a beautiful result. A very important tip is not to deepen or condense!
If you need to add colors or slightly change the shade, there is always a correction possible. Correction lets us understand how we work: evaluate the result and bring it to the ideal. We, artists, must understand that we are working with a very complex system - the skin and the body, and we cannot know how it will behave.
Firstly: Learn from the best artists and understand what you are doing. It is better not to finish and add on correction, than to blush in front of the client and remove all your work.
Secondly: if there is a slight change in color you can always make a small color correction and bring it back to a beautiful tone with a help of a laser.
We use both methods: laser and remover. Depends on the situation. Sometimes we combine, alternating procedures.
In addition, it is very important to find your machine and select the equipment. When everything fits together—pigments, apparatus, technique—everything turns out perfectly. The work brings only joy to the artist and the client. If you get a thrill from what you do, you’ll want to develop further.
Q: What’s it like to be a part of the Select Team?
A: It was my dream to be a part of a global team, as I said above. When Perma Blend reached out, I was very happy. Being on the team motivates me to become even better— to work more on myself, to study and develop more. To make new acquaintances, new achievements, and new goals. I believe that all dreams come true, the main thing is to make them right and move in the right direction.