Permanently pretty

Michelle Thau

Photo By shannon rooney

Michelle Thau, 39, was never “a huge makeup person,” but about 10 years ago she discovered permanent makeup and was intrigued by the process. After 21 years working in the dentistry field (12 as a dental hygienist), Thau took permanent-makeup classes in the Bay Area. Shortly thereafter, she opened her own business, Le Beau Visage Permanent Cosmetics. In 2007, just as Thau was preparing for advanced courses in medical tattooing, her mother was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. “I went through every step of the process with my mom—I’ve seen it all,” she said. Thau decided that besides tattooing eyebrows, eyeliner, and lip color, she wanted to help women who were undergoing breast reconstruction. She learned how to tattoo the areola and, in some cases, the nipples onto reconstructed breasts. Call Le Beau Visage at 893-3937 or log onto

How did sharing your mother’s journey help you in the work you do with female cancer patients?

When my patients come in here, I may not have been in their shoes, but I’ve come as close as possible by going through the journey with my mom. I can empathize with my clients because of what I observed my mom going through.

How do your patients come to you?

My clients hear about me via referral, other professionals, and my website. I offer complimentary consultations to clients who want to come in and get information to help them decide what is best for them.

What do you use to tattoo areolas?

I work with a tattoo machine and pigments because they are soft-appearing. The same is true for creating natural eyeliner, brow, and lip colors—pigments make the look more enhancing and natural.

How do you feel after helping a woman with her reconstructed breasts?

If I can be just a little piece of the pie to helping someone feel whole again after something that is so life changing. To me that’s the difference between having a passion and having a job.

What are some reasons women come in for permanent eyebrows?

Clients can have thinning or missing eyebrows due to over-tweezing, thyroid conditions or medical treatments such as chemotherapy. I’ve had a few blind clients (who can’t apply makeup to themselves). Some women just want to free up some time every day. I tattoo individual little hairs, so the brow doesn’t look like it’s been penciled on. People are very attracted to that—it doesn’t look “done.”