Insider Interviews: Dominique Bossavy: Semi-Permanent Make-Up Artist

A true beauty pioneer who has spearheaded revolutionary techniques in the semi-permanent make-up industry for decades. From brows to scar camouflage, few can do it like Dominique.

by Amy Wilson Wyles
  • For three decades, Dominique has been the go-to semi-permanent make-up artist in the world. And art really is the appropriate term for her work. Well known for her innovative application techniques – her thin, patented, Nano application device means that her work is imperceptible plus clients don’t get any of the scabbing or downtime that’s usually associated with cosmetic tattoo treatments like micro-blading. Bossavy has also helped revolutionise ink formulas thanks to her award winning 100% organic NanoColor Infusion™, to ensure they look more natural, fade more evenly and last longer. So we were thrilled to be able to talk to her about how she mastered the art of cosmetic enhancement, while also pioneering an entire industry with her unmatched skills.

  • The Resume

  • Job Title: NanoColor Infusion™ expert

  • Famous For:  Eyebrows, Eyeliner, Lip Blushing, Highlighting and Stretchmark and Scar Camouflage

  • Clients/Fans Include: To name a few, Michele Williams, Lena Dunham, Jenna Dewan, Julie Bowen, Megan Fox.

  • Location: LA, NYC and Paris

  • Years in the Industry: Over 25 years in the business, Bossavy made her debut in Paris in 1989, after a 2 years internship under the scrutiny of renowned dermatologist Dr. De Ramecourt. She arrived in the states in 2001 to open up her signature business and now has clients in LA, New York and Paris.

The Backstory

I first knew I wanted to be a semi-permanent makeup artist after I was the unfortunate recipient of a bad procedure on my lips in France. The result was a dark line and a blurry, imprecise result that left me traumatised and for a while to a certain extent (temporarily) disfigured.

The frustrating thing was that I knew that the concept was an ideal way to enhance and define the features and give an overall youthful refresh, but I was disappointed with the outcome. I became committed (almost obsessed) with investigating and studying the process, the tools and devices, the pigments as well as understanding their composition. I studied for two years under renowned dermatologist Dr. De Ramecourt.

I worked with experts to reverse engineer the entire product and all of the variables and the effects of implanting pigments into different kinds of skin as well as techniques and protocol. I learned and studied with the best experts and trained on pig skin and practiced on friends and family to best understand every possible scenario to understand and improve what existed the industry.

I knew that I was on to something when I saw that I could deliver a result that was a natural enhancement, used the right colours, including stable pigments and vitally, the correct application techniques.

I was assigned to do the revision work by a top technician who said I was so good at it because I was able to see the smallest details within each colour, enabling me to give the perfect match with such a precise understanding the process.

My big break came after I finished my apprentice training. I “gifted” my services to several stylists and colourists at a prominent salon on Avenue Montaigne in Paris, and of course their clients were impressed and they started referring me to see their clients. After 6 months in business, I literally had women flocking at the door of the small space I rented in Avenue Montaigne. First, they would get their hair done, and then come straight round to knock on the ivy bordered bay window of the small next to the salon, asking (or even begging) for a service the same day! Before I knew it, it was a full-time business with a waiting list 3 weeks long!

Today my most popular treatments are eyebrows, lip blushing, scar and stretchmark camouflage.

The biggest misconception about semi-permanent make up is that it looks artificial. It can be extremely natural and soft, just “pretty enough” and offer a truly no makeup look to enhance the natural features. That is always the goal.

I see too many clients who are in front of a camera so keeping their most natural beauty is super important. Most of my famous clients come to me for a feature refresh, a “no makeup look”. They just want to look fresh and youthful without looking like they are wearing any makeup.

The treatment I find the most rewarding to do is Trompe l’oeil (breast) areola, for breast cancer survivors. I have heard poignant stories of sheer courage, from so many women who have had to have surgeries due to breast cancer and giving them back a feeling of beauty and normalcy is a gift for me. They are so appreciative and so surprised by the realistic nature of the work and it gives them a sense of confidence. It is so rewarding to be able to give them back what was taken away from them by their traumatic situation. The immediate boost of renewed confidence and the tremendous joy from acquiring back a look of normalcy, feeling complete again and ready to turn the page on this difficult chapter, is a very special moment for them and me.

The next big thing to look out for in semi-permanent make-up will be white roll lip border and Phillium column enhancement, an additional perfect pout protocol for the area at the cupids bow and above to restore the youthfulness we all lose over time. In fact, lips are at their perfect shape, proportion, definition, colour and volume at about 15 years old! So, we live a long time afterwards without that same look, but we can restore it!

The big thing to be wary of is permanent BB cream treatment! It is total madness implanting white hues under the layers of skin. The risks include floating white pigment molecules under the skin resembling Milia, broken capillaries, hyperpigmentation and never being able to do laser treatments. It will ultimately look unevenly, plastered and very unpleasant.

The Advice

The Top 5 Concerns that Semi-Permanent Make-Up Can Help Correct

1. Over plucked eyebrows: This treatment gives an instant boost of youth to anyone, at any age, who plucked away their youth or have lost their brows due to age and hormones. We can create the appearance of 3D definition, volume, shape and thickness that restores a great frame for the eyes. There is no downtime as such, a client can start collecting compliments right from the get-go. The results are slightly darker on the first two day and soften within the third or forth days.

2. Small and uneven lips: Asymmetry is always a part of our features. We are not a carbon copy side to side. This treatment helps the lips look more symmetrical and can compensate for shape or size discrepancies. It creates a voluptuousness, in a very natural way. I can bring back a balance to the smile.

3. Small eyes, lack of lashes or light lashes: After numbing the area, a soft colour mix is deposited into the actual lash line, to create the illusion of fuller lashes, without an eyeliner look. It is like the lashes are denser and more connected. It instantly brightens the eye colour for a younger look. Again, there is no downtime, redness or swelling, and clients are often surprised on how painless this procedure is.

4. Surgical scars: This treatment is the secret weapon to all the plastic surgeons I work with worldwide, it helps hide the telltale signs of plastic surgery and I like to call it the frosting on the cake. In this treatment, a skin colour match made up of 6-7 different shades are implanted into the scar to make it blend with the healthy surrounding skin. For a day or two , the scar will appear red and usually two sessions are required.

5. Stretchmarks: These are scars as well so it is a similar concept to the above, except often these have a different ridge that is depressed or a divot-like effect and as long as they are fully healed and white (lost their melanin) we use the same procedure to colour match them to the skin tone and the effect of the procedure helps to not only implant the colour but also improves the texture and tone. The nano-punctures engage the natural healing processes including production of collagen and elastin in the area so the skin look better both in terms of quality and colour.

The Kit

1. Dominique Bossavy custom compounded NanoColor Pigments

2. Numbing gel “Numbquick”

3. Dominique Bossavy Custom compounded salve

The Experts

LOS ANGELES: Andy Lecompte at Andy Lecompte Salon, West Hollywood
PARIS: David Mallett

Hair colourists:
LOS ANGELES: Tracey Cunningham at Mèche Salon in Beverly Hills
NEW YORK: Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger.
PARIS: Christophe Robin at Hotel Meurice

Workout Spots:
Lagree Pilates / Plate Fit – both in LA

Skin Doctors:
NEW York: Dendy Engelman
LOS ANGELES: Dr Rivkin / Dr. Shamban

LOS ANGELES: Natalie Aguilar at N4 Skincare, Beverly Hills
PARIS: Joëlle Ciocco

Get In Touch

Follow: @dominiquebossavy


  • 9615 Brighton Way,Beverly Hills, CA
  • 30 East 60th Street, Floor 22, NY, NY
  • 121 A v Champs Elysées, Paris, France

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