New Wellesley business, Angelbare, puts hair in its place
by Anne-Marie Smolski
Wellesley now has its first permanent cosmetics practitioner. Formerly located in Newton Highlands, Angelbare Paramedical Cosmetics is now at 267 Washington St.
Angelbare’s owner, Shahla Whitmore, is a former Wellesley resident, having lived here when she was a student at Northeastern University, where she earned a degree in management information systems. She changed her career path and has been in the cosmetics industry since 1994, working as a paramedical instructor, esthetician, electrologist, laser hair removal technician and eyelash extension instructor. She received her certification as a paramedical practitioner in 2005, and in 2006 became a paramedical cosmetics instructor.
“Some of the ladies who come — they don’t want anyone to know, but they want to look good,” said Whitmore. Her clients, ranging in age from 19 to 87, seek her out for a whole range of reasons. Some come in after chemotherapy for eyelash and eyebrow treatment, or for an areola for a reconstructed breast. Others may have Parkinson’s disease and no longer have a steady hand for applying make-up; are dealing with alopecia; have over-waxed or over-tweezed their eyebrows; have oily skin, so that make-up wears off quickly; are bothered by burn, accident or acne scars, or scars from facelifts; or just don’t want to be bothered with having to apply make-up. Whitmore’s clients include both genders.
Angelbare provides FDA-approved eyebrow mico-pigmentation for children 8 and older who have lost their eyebrows because of chemotherapy, burns, alopecia or other medical conditions. The pigments used are semi-permanent and approved as MRI-safe. The service fees for the treatment are sent directly to the hospital where the child has been treated.
“Numbing cream helps. All they can basically feel is the vibration of the equipment. It’s a one-hour appointment,” Whitmore said about the time her youngest clients are likely to spend at her office for eyebrow treatments. She said she knows how self-conscious children and teens are.
“I go conservative as far as adding color,” said Whitmore, who has used permanent cosmetics for her own eyebrows, as well as lash enhancement. She tries to go lighter than eyebrow or hair color because she said it’s always easy to add a little more color if need be. Since the application is semi-permanent, she does a touch-up every two or three years, to match the size of the face and proportions of the growing child. She noted that both sizing and color are very important.
When a client comes to Whitmore for an eyebrow consultation, she takes a photo and then cleans the area and pencils the eyebrow in to show how it will look. If the client wants an eyebrow shape that Whitmore thinks is inappropriate, she tells them they should go elsewhere, she said, if they insist on that look.
Whitmore said that unfortunately she gets a lot of repair work for clients who have had work done elsewhere. “That breaks my heart,” she said, noting that she can fix it, “but not 100 percent — maybe 95 percent,” she said.
“It’s important to make sure the person who’s going to work on your face, they have good experience,” Whitmore said, “and have permission with the Board of Health.
Lenny Izzo of the Wellesley Health Department said cosmetic tattooing falls under body art regulations. Two permits are issued — one for the establishment and one for the practitioner. “We will do two inspections a year,” Izzo said.
What the clients have to say
On Monday, Lee Ann Earls of Plymouth visited Whitmore for the second time, and had permanent eyeliner applied. Earls said that she has fair features and doesn’t wear make-up well. “I’ve never really had good luck with make-up,” she said.
After Googling permanent cosmetics, finding Angelbare and visiting its website, she felt comfortable about making an appointment. “She (Whitmore) made me feel comfortable. The treatment wasn’t painful …” she said. “I’m very happy.”
“I’ve had many things done,” said Wellesley resident Susan, who didn’t want her last name used. “I’ve had my eyebrows tattoed, eyeliner tattoed, and then I just come for electrolysis, just to keep them in shape,” she said. She said she’s been going every two weeks for electrolysis, but expects not to have to sometime in the future.
“I’m very fair and it didn’t look like I had eyebrows,” she explained. “I’m not really a make-up person. I have green eyeliner. I never have to put it on; it’s there every day. It’s just really convenient. I’m really glad I had it done.” After her son, now 15, was born with “one funny eyebrow,” Judy Romano of North Reading, asked him several times if he wanted to have something done to improve his appearance. She said the answer was always, no until he was 13 and finally agreed. Romano said before visiting Whitmore, his eyebrown looked like a caterpillar was squished above his eye. After his visit, Romano said, her son’s eyebrows matched for the first time ever.
“I’ve had just about everything done,” said 70-year old Betsy Munzer of Brookline, who believes “70 is the new 50 ” (She said she just broke three ribs, the result of getting bucked off a horse when it crossed paths with a rattlesnake.) “I went first for electrolysis for those prickly hairs on my chin, and from there I moved to eyeliners, both above and below the lash on the upper lid and beneath the eye. Then I had my eyebrows tattoed, and I’ve also used the hair re-growth with excellent results.
Munzer said that the hair re-growth treatment has not only stopped her hair from receding, but the low-level laser light therapy combined with her massage oil treatments have caused her hair to grown back in.
“I had my eyeliner darkened a little because we started subtle, and then I decided I wanted to be less subtle,” she said.
Munzer also said that make-up coming off while swimming isn’t a problem anymore, and, “When you wake up in the morning you look good.” She’s contemplating having a lipline tattoo, she said, “but that will be a while.”
Whitmore said that one of her clients is already thinking of the future: “When I die I already have my make-up on.”
Whitmore keeps up to date about what’s new in numbing and what’s new in products by attending conventions and classes.
She has taught make-up classes in the American Cancer Society’s Look Good … Feel Better program, and has created many areolas for women who have had reconstruction surgery after losing a breast.That is an emotional topic for Whitmore. Wiping tears from her eyes, she said, “Almost everyone, after they get up from the table, they start crying. They say, ‘You have no idea how much I went through.