Cosmetic tattooing is nothing new, 2017 brought us the biggest trend of the year with Microblading and by now its safe to say most women have considered having the procedure at one point or another. Tattooed freckles are another cosmetic tattooing trend slowly creeping its way into your instagram feeds. Especially with the help of one Michigan based artist who is hiding astrological signs in her freckle tattoos.
In November of 2017, Jessica Knapik had the opportunity to get a little bit more creative with one of her cosmetic tattoo clients. The idea of tattooing star signs within freckles came to her months before, but she never had the chance to give it a try until an open-minded client walked through the door of her Ypsilanti, Michigan shop. Having been in the cosmetic tattooing game for roughly a year, Jessica knew she needed something to set herself apart from other artists in her field. Like most great artists, the idea came to her in the middle of the night and through the ether, AstroFrecks was born.
Almost overnight the idea became the newest trend in cosmetic tattooing and Jessica was finding herself at the forefront of a lot of media attention. After a few short months, Jessica (and her dog, Bean) have been featured in nearly every fashion and lifestyle magazine including Vogue, Cosmopolitan & Nylon. She hopes to help create a more personal and spiritual connection within cosmetic tattooing through AstroFrecks.
First off, tell us what "AstroFrecks" is:
AstroFrecks is a fun technique I created to add a secret personal connection within faux freckle tattoos. A client can use their own zodiac constellation, or their Moms, Dads, dogs...anyone they want. After I lay down the structured constellation, I then go back in and do random frecks in other areas, so the constellation is hidden in plain sight on their face. They know where it is, but someone on the street would never notice. I've done quite a few in the chest and shoulder area as well. And it doesn't have to be specifically zodiac constellations either, I've had clients do other constellations they love or feel a connection to.
Where did the idea for AstroFrecks come from and how did you decide on the name?
I'm very into crystals, and astrology, and metaphysical things. A lot of it is based around setting your intentions, and what you put out into the universe is what you get back. Be the best version of yourself, think happy thoughts.
I know the semi permanent and permanent makeup business is getting more and more popular, and there are definitely a few standout artists on social media, so I was just kind of sitting back thinking what's gonna be my thing? What's gonna be my contribution, what's gonna set me apart. I wanted to put some of me as a person into what I was doing. So late at night of course, AstroFrecks just kind of came to me. A way for people to make the experience more magical and personal, while keeping with my interests.
And the name came from Astrology & freckles obviously. I have a doggie who is the love of my life, and a lot of his nicknames are two words smashed together. I was throwing around Zodiackles, or I don't even remember what else, space frecks? But AstroFrecks seemed to flow...it was the clear winner.
Why do you think freckle tattoos have become so popular?
I just think it's another thing that people envy or find beautiful on other people. I don't know why internet trolls find it so hard to grasp. People don't have big butts…they get a Brazilian butt lift, they don't have boobs...they get boobs, they don't have 3 feet of hair…they get extensions, so if people want freckles, why is it different?? It's been driving me a little nuts. I have, and will continue to do any cosmetic or surgical thing that makes me feel better as a human. I applaud anyone who has the guts to add to, or subtract from, or tweak anything about themselves that they want to. DO YOU.
How do you decide the look and shape of the AstroFrecks? Describe the consultation process?
Honestly it's super organic. If people want regular frecks, I have them show me a few inspo pics, or they can show me where they usually draw fake ones, then I just kind of get to it. There's very little mapping. At this point people really trust me to just do my thing, and I love that. AstroFrecks take a teeny bit longer because I have to stencil where the constellation will be, then after that is tattooed I can move around and do the other random freckles.
How did you convince your first client to have their astrological sign tattooed into their freckles?
My client came in for her appointment and she had gotten regular tattoos from my coworkers before, so there was that friend of the shop vibe. She was super cool and pretty relaxed and I was just like I've had this idea for a while, would you mind if I go for it? And thankfully she was like “whatever you wanna do.” Haha .. it came out perfect, and the pics were great, so I was really excited to post. Neither of us could've dreamed it would blow up like it did. Lucky for me she was wonderful about having her face plastered online around the entire globe.
What’s your astrological sign? Do you believe in Horoscopes? If so, what does yours say for today and can you relate to it?
I'm an Aries, which funny enough is the LAMEST constellation. Haha...it only has 3 or 4 stars in most models, so I think it's funny this is my brainchild and I have the worst one.
As far as my zodiac sign traits, I am SUCH an Aries. I strongly identify with every mean and nice trait associated with my sign. Haha
While I do agree with my sign overview and profile, I tend to avoid daily horoscopes. If something bad is going to happen I'd rather not know, I'm a very “whatever is meant to be will be” type of person. But if I see an astrological sign quiz online you better believe I'm doing it.
Where or who do you draw your inspiration from?
I love old books and movies, anything that seems slightly spooky or magical. I have quite a few books on fortune tellers, hypnotism, dreams, crystals, healing, etc. My business card and logo are of a crystal ball, so it all kind of creeps into my branding and work.
And I'm very fortunate to have a tight-knit network of successful, unique and awesome friends. They root for me and I root for them. And I always strive to do my best so they're proud of me.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I fully recognize I haven't been in the game that long compared to some artists, so I just feel really fortunate to have gone viral, and to have carved out a little area that I created that I'm really good at. I also know it can be tough for pmu artists to drum up customers, so it makes me super happy that AstroFrecks are another thing girls would want to go get, besides brows. Just another cool way for myself, and other hardworking pmu artists to have fun and pay our bills.
In such a cut-throat industry, how does it feel knowing you created a new trend in cosmetic tattooing?
It's surreal. I knew I didn't have the biggest following, and Instagram is so crazy and fast-moving, I thought for sure someone would see my idea and copy it and the person with the bigger following would get credited and I would get left in the dust. But somehow the stars aligned wink and everything worked out for me.
The silliest moment came on Twitter when these boys in the U.K. were being kinda snappy at each other, and the one mentioned AstroFrecks, and the other seemed confused, so he goes “It's really embarrassing you're in the beauty industry and you don't know what AstroFrecks are yet.” haha! Like what?? My mind was blown that they were talking about something that came out of my brain. Life is just so crazy.
What are the most important things a client should know prior to Cosmetic Tattooing?
Do. Your. Research. Email them, ask a million questions, make sure all their photos look the same! Tons of artists steal other people's pictures and pass them off as their own work. If they all look like they were done in a different room, it's probably not their work.
Also you can't drink alcohol or coffee for 48 hrs before your appt, you can't be in the sun for extended periods of time for a couple weeks before and after, no oceans/hot tubs, no working out/sweating for a week after, etc… so plan accordingly.
What is the most common misconception people have about cosmetic tattooing?
I think people think the little sharp perfect strokes they see on Instagram are going to look like that healed and they kind of don't. The oils in your skin, face products you use, sun exposure, etc will make the strokes look a little softer or fuzzier. A touch-up every year or 2 will keep them looking crispier.
Also I think some people before they inquire about pricing think that this is going to be affordable, and for some people it's not. This is unfortunately, a luxury. Just like plastic surgery. Our materials are very expensive and appointments are quite long, we charge what we have to. The more popular it gets, the more prices within the industry have risen.
How much will it run me to have my star sign tattooed into my freckles and how long will they last?
Currently, I charge $250 for a freckle appointment. Whether you want random freckles or AstroFrecks, the price is the same. It seems a little pricey, but when you consider Botox is around $250 a session and only lasts 3-4 months, I think $250 for frecks that last way longer is quite reasonable.
I have 2 different pigment brands, one is a little more semi-permanent, one is a little more permanent. Kind of surprisingly most people opt for the more permanent option. More bang for your buck.
What level of pain should I expect and how long does the procedure usually take?
I use Zensa to numb the areas we’re going to work on, and then carefully cover with plastic wrap. With the Zensa on we wait about 30 minutes and go over ideas and pics, then I can get to work. Most of my girls say they barely feel a thing, they don't even flinch. They're all badasses, I swear. Appointment altogether takes about 2, 2 ½ hrs.
How does it feel having all of this media attention and how did it start?
So I posted it on my Instagram and it happened SO fast. Bustle must've been surfing through hashtags because they contacted me in under 24 hours. A lovely girl named Kali Borovic contacted me from Bustle and wrote the most shining article, and then it snowballed. Next strangely enough was Cosmo Australia, like it shot over to Australia that fast, what?? Then Allure, then Teen Vogue.. Buzzfeed was really a crazy “wow” moment. Everyone knows Buzzfeed. Mashable made a video, Unilad, AOL, Yahoo...it was on MTV U.K., Alyssa Milano and one of the Real Housewives had it on their Facebook...like it was madness. I wrote to Kali from Bustle part-way through it all and was like I just wanted you to know you changed my life.
Believe it or not, the most exciting part of all of it was showing my parents. You wait for that big moment in your life to say LOOK WHAT I DID MOM AND DAD. And that was my moment. I know they're super proud of me and I'll live off that forever and ever.
Which celebrity would you love to tattoo and why?
I think Miley Cyrus or Kesha. They fully embody the whimsy and positive universe vibe of AstroFrecks.
If you were a kitchen appliance, what would you be and why?
Haha the curveball question, I love it. I have a beautiful 1960’s turquoise stove. It's sassy and it gives me life, so I'd choose that.
What’s your biggest pet peeve when it comes to cosmetic tattooing?
I mean first and foremost, bad work. This isn't a joke, and I don't know how people sleep at night and charge actual money for some of the stuff I've seen on Instagram. You have to have some kind of natural understanding of beauty, and art, and composition. No matter how much you spend on training, this isn't for everyone.
Secondly I really can't stand how materialistic some artists have gotten on social media, constantly showing off their bags and shoes and whatever else. It doesn't sit right with me when most of our clients save up for months to come see us. Like look at me spending all your money you gave me. Ugh. It's a really bad look.
Sit down, be humble.
What are some of your guilty pleasures?
Keeping Up With the Kardashians, any psychic medium shows, garlic bread...ok all bread, true crime shows/books, leopard print, spending money on new tattoos when I should be paying down my credit card, extra sauce/condiments on...everything.
What advice would you give someone who wants to get into cosmetic tattooing?
Start saving your money. It is EXPENSIVE. Comprehensive professional training is going to run you 5 grand plus. Then you've got machines, pigments, needles, supplies, business cards, and if you're given a blank room you need furniture, decor, storage, whatever else… it's a lot.
Also follow the best brow accounts you can find. STUDY the hairflow, and the design. Learn for yourself what makes a good brow and a bad brow. If half your feed isn't brows you're not serious. Start doing your homework.
Why do you love Zensa Numbing Cream?
Zensa is honestly perfect for frecks. I've found that with other numbing brands it creates little white circles around every freck and ruins any possibility of good pictures. Zensa doesn't do that!
Also, it's obviously essential for brows, I don't think a client could even get through a brow procedure without it. I use before and throughout. Also, pro tip; I always use what I have left over to soak off the surgical marker dots on their face. Works like a charm.
To get your very own AstroFrecks follow Jessica and her dog, Bean on Instagram and Facebook @Magickbrows