Professional Spotlight: Cara Maitland, Cosmetic Tattooist

4 minutes reading time

The people that make it happen

At Keia Wellness, we like to learn about the benefits and practice of all kinds of wellness therapy.  We believe that no-one knows the ins and outs of a particular practice better than the brilliant professionals who help people to look and feel better about themselves every day.

So, in our Professional Spotlight series, we talk to practicing professionals to get the real deal on them, their work and how we could benefit from what they do.

Meet the Professional

Cara Maitland is a semi-permanent make-up artist based in Manchester (UK) city centre in Chapel Street Salon. Having trained at the prestigious Melbourne College of Cosmetic Tattooing in Australia, she now dispenses her expertise in cosmetic and medical tattooing to satisfied customers making the pilgrimage to her Cosmetic Tattoo Clinic.

Q. Tell us what you do

When you say cosmetic tattooing, brows and eyeline are usually the first thing that comes to most people’s minds, but lips and beauty spots are also popular and I also do a lot of scalp micro-pigmentation. This can deal very effectively with alopecia and a lot of my clients are men who are going bald.

Probably half of my traffic is male actually. Another stat that surprises many is that 20% of eyebrows I do are men!

Medical tattooing covers a wide range of scenarios, from a nipple (following a breast reconstruction), to NCA (scar removal treatment) which is popular with people who have had breast augmentation or a caesarian.

Q. How did you get into this?

I finished uni, and was coasting through life, doing some promotional work – which was fun but not really where I saw myself long term – then moved to Australia for a couple of years. You know, just to see. I’ve always been a traveller.

While I was in Oz, I got my eyebrows done, and the lady did a phenomenal job. I was so impressed, and then talking to her about how she made her living, it just clicked – I was going to be my own boss, and do it in something I really enjoyed doing, something I’d jump out of bed for in the morning.

I asked her where she trained (Melbourne College), applied and got in.

When I came back to the UK, I followed up my training with Dermace and Phibrows, two of the most respected names in the semi permanent makeup industry, then opened the Cosmetic Tattoo Clinic in 2016, here in central Manchester.

I made it to the Makeup Awards final only two years later, which was a nice validation of my chosen path.

Q. What kinds of people do you help?

All sorts!  Over and above those looking for perfectly shaped brows and the like, I’d not really foreseen just how many people medical tattooing can help with. It’s been breathtaking at times, just brilliant – I love what I do.

Q. In what ways could cosmetic or medical tattooing help a client?

Confidence in your appearance is confidence in yourself. Sometimes that confidence comes from regaining something that many take for granted – hair loss as one of the most common examples.

Q. Describe a typical session with a client

The first thing we’ll do is have a chat about what you want doing and why (medical / cosmetic), as well as go through related medical questions and a consent form if needed.

I’ll explain the procedure to you, then do a patch test that we’ll usually leave for 24 hours.

The first appointment is about 2 hours and followups are 1 hour.  Most treatments are 2 sessions – nipples take 3.

Scalps obviously depend greatly on how much surface area needs to be done.

We put numbing cream on, settle down with a cup of tea, and get started almost immediately. It’s not nearly as complicated or daunting as some might think.

Q. Describe your typical week (if there is such a thing!)

I do 4 days a week at the Manchester clinic, and also one Monday in Doncaster, and one Thursday in Leeds.

Mondays are my admin day – after I finish at the clinic, I’ll hit the gym for a good workout, take the dog for its walk, then settle down with the laptop and catch up on paperwork and the like.

Work life balance is very important to me, and a key driver in my decision to be my own boss. I do meal plans (3 day cycles) and work out 5 times week including this amazing thing my boyfriend – he’s a personal trainer – does, called functional patterns training. Seriously, look it up!

Q. What do you think makes a good cosmetic tattoo artist?

Practice, practise, practise. You can get practise pads made of fake skin, so there’s no excuse not to put in the hours getting good at something you love.

Ongoing support from whoever trains you is important – many good tutors encourage you to send photos of brows you’ve done for comments, even after graduating.

Q. What are the highlights of the job for you?

When people get really emotional at the end of the treatment, especially following a traumatic experience like cancer.  For many, the areola reconstruction is the final thing they get done so it’s symbolic of their journey of healing and completion.

Q. What advice would you give to those who want to follow a similar line of work, or who are newly qualified in your field?

Invest in a good training school.  Look out for a well established one, with ongoing support. It certainly won’t be the cheapest but you get what you pay for.

Make sure the school is dedicated to making sure your work is at a high standard before they qualify you (some will qualify you as a rubber stamping exercise, whether you’re good enough or not).

Look out for VTCT certificates as they are recognised internationally and generally speaking very employment worthy.

Q. Do you have any success stories you’d like to share with us?

One lady who was recovering from cancer, had lost all the hair on her face and head.  When her eyeline and brow were finished, she cried – many do – and said she felt like a person again. She now comes back every 6 months.

Q. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A lawyer or a judge.  Business law though, not criminal law – I’ve alway been interested in businesses and how they work.

Q. What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt from life so far?

I’m a believer in hard graft – you don’t get anything without putting the work in.

I believe it’s possible to achieve work life balance if you have the passion and the motivation to do so. To me, quality of life is very imporant

Q. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Not to take too much notice of other people’s opinions.

Life experience is just as important as conventional education.

Q. What makes you happy?

Balance, flexibility, quality of life.

Q. How do you relax and take care of your own wellbeing?

I work out and I love to travel. In the last 2 years alone, I’ve been to every state in Oz, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, Iceland, New York, Vegas, Spain, Amsterdam, Dubai, and Qatar.

Q. If you could spend 1 hour having a treatment or session with any other wellbeing professional, what would that be? And why?

I’d like a nice facial please. I like the way it awakens your senses, and it’s got a lasting benefit that you can literally feel.

Q. What is your idea of the perfect day off or holiday?

Time with my boyfriend – we like to go walking with the dog.

Being outside in general.

Q. Do you have a motto, philosophy or bit of positive self-talk that you live by?

Be completely true to your moral centre and don’t compromise on things that are important to you.

It’s important to be kind to others.


To book a no obligation consultation with Cara, please click on the logo below.


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