These colors don't run

The Oak Harbor City Council’s decision to erase a ban on tattooing has allowed skin modification businesses to thrive in North Whidbey.

In fact, council hearings on the subject united three women who are working together to educate the public about the benefits and risks of permanent cosmetics.

Mary Tacia, Terre Zamzow and Chris Tenborg are each permanent cosmetic practitioners working on Whidbey Island. Permanent cosmetics, or micro-pigmentation, is a type of tattooing that looks just like regular makeup, but doesn’t ever wash away.

The practice was banned under the city’s tattoo ordinance until Tacia complained to city leaders.

Since the lifting of the prohibition, the women say business has boomed.

Tacia now offers permanent cosmetics and microdermabrasion at Studio M in Oak Harbor, as well as her own office outside of the city. Her business is called Bella Ve´.

Tenborg also offers permanent cosmetics at Bella Ve´ and hopes to expand the business into Skagit County.

Zamzow does permanent cosmetics and body piercing at the Gallery Salon and Day Spa. She also has her own businesses, called Awakening and Belly Up.

In addition, another tattoo artist is putting ink on skin within the city limits for the first time in a decade. Samantha Johnson works at the Gallery Salon.

With all the choices now available, the women warn potential customers to be careful about finding the right practitioner. They point out that there are no licensing or educational requirements for people who do permanent cosmetics or tattooing.

Tacia, Zamzow and Tenborg learned techniques from highly-regarded instructors in the field and remain current by taking advanced classes.

The threesome recently consulted with LaDonna Richardson, a potential customer who was hoping to get her permanent cosmetics fixed. Richardson wasn’t pleased with the results she received from another practitioner.

“People should be cautious and not just jump into it,” Tacia said.

She advises people to meet with at least a couple of different practitioners before choosing one.

Tacia said communication is key between practitioner and customer so there are no (permanent) surprises. All three women apply regular makeup to their clients before applying the permanent color.

“We’re trying to achieve natural beauty for people,” Zamzow said. “We’re trying not to put out cookie cutters.”

Permanent cosmetics can be applied as eyeliner, eyebrows, lip liner, lip color or even beauty marks. Color can be applied to mask scars or wrinkles. Procedures can cost from $175 to $550.

Tacia can be reached at 675-9560. Zamzow can be reached at 678-3245. Tenborg can be reached at 360-708-4942.

Or check out and

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 22
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates