Our History

Premier Pigments 
Founded by President & CEO, Sandi Hammons

Formulating the World's Finest Cosmetic Tattoo Pigments:
A History of Premier Pigments

Since its inception in the late 1980s, over 15,000 technicians have traveled from all over the world to attend training classes to learn about cosmetic tattoos at the headquarters of Premier Pigments near Dallas, Texas. The overwhelming majority of those surveyed reported that they had made the decision to train at the American Institute of Intradermal Cosmetics (AIIC) based on Premier’s preeminent reputation for high-quality pigments.

Most of them were referred from other practicing technicians who sang the praises of Premier’s permanent cosmetics. "I have tried everything on the market," one technician wrote, "and nothing - I mean nothing - works like your colors. Premier Pigments changed my procedures, and that changed my life!"

Permanent eyebrow makeup and lip makeup use is on the rise. Permanent cosmetic supply companies are popping up everywhere, increasing the demand for cosmetic eyebrow tattooing and lip tattooing technicians. Due to our commitment to the highest quality materials, Premier remains the micropigmentation industry sales leader. The AIIC also remains the leading choice for technicians seeking world-class permanent cosmetics schools.

What is it that makes these cosmetic colorants so special? Why would body artists pay five times the amount they used to spend on tattoo ink for cosmetic pigments designed for the face? Why is Premier the first name that is debated and slandered in the circles of competitive pigment suppliers even though it has been marketed very little within the permanent make-up community?

It's the technicians that are asking for more; more colors, more formulas, more applications, and now, for the Concentrated Original colors based on Premier’s Original formulas that the company has been marketing for its entire history. The company is thriving even after what Hammons refers to as the worst period in the history of Premier Pigments when in 2003 the company voluntarily recalled the complete line of True Color Concentrates.

“Clients were experiencing delayed allergic reactions – often months after the procedure was performed,” said Hammons.

Fortunately, the majority were corrected with the proper treatment from experienced health professionals. “We learned a great deal from that experience,” Hammons explained. “We returned to our time-tested Original Formulas that have served us faithfully over the last two decades.”

In spite of the recall, Premier survived with our reputation intact and technicians are elated with the new concentrated versions of the original formulas. So what's all the fuss about? What makes these colors different from other cosmetic pigments? Is it the ingredients? Is it the process in which the colors are manufactured? Is it the combination of raw colorants that makes these pigments unique?

It's all of the above and more. Creating safe, predictable, and permanent colorants that are backed by scientific integrity — and providing long term color stability was not a simple task. Premier Pigments was founded by Sandi Hammons by accident.

In the beginning, she relied on information from several cosmetic chemists who specialize in organic and inorganic chemistry. In chemistry laboratories, the chemists were analyzing specific ingredients in cosmetic formulas, cosmetic tattoo inks, and food dyes. Safety and a history of no known allergenic properties were the first considerations. The relationship between the specific ingredient and the bodies' absorption is equally as important as the safety of the materials used for cosmetic tattoo application.

Premier uses inert organic and some inorganic powders in the formulas. Many of the powders are FD&C or D&C approved. (NOTE: FD&C and D&C approved refers to FDA approval for uses in foods, drugs, and cosmetics. Currently, there are NO pigments that are FDA approved for use in cosmetic tattoo and tattoo formulas.)

Although a lot of information exists regarding safety, color predictability and long term stability of specific ingredients in colorants used in foods, drugs, and cosmetics there was little research that preceded Premiers in regards to the long term color stability of specific ingredients in colorants implanted into the skin. As pioneers in this research, Premier chemists often had to rely on limited information from the FDA and a practical application of specific ingredients in colorants and their color retention over a period of time. By collecting empirical data, specific ingredients have been identified.

As time passed, and as formulas were observed and charted, new formulations were created. Light Brown and Dark Brown are both very predictable colors and remain our most popular eyebrow colors. The Food Blue Dye in the original Medium Brown formula results in premature fading and many technicians were mixing Light Brown and Dark Brown to achieve a Medium Brown color that didn't fade. For this reason, the new concentrated Medium Brown formula does not contain the same Food Blue pigment. For more information on our cosmetic tattoo pigments, check out our products.

Other specific characteristics of pigment powders recognized by Premier and chosen for individual color applications include: the refractive index of the pigments, particle size, hiding efficiency, ph, bulking value, density, tinting strength, and impermeability (barrier properties). For the purpose of cosmetic tattoo application, die opacifying ability of each colorant is also an important consideration.

Declining particle size increases die opacifying efficiency of the pigments. The finer the grind of the powder, the better opacifying ability. However, if the particle size of the pigment is too small, the colorant will appear almost transparent and the opacifying ability decreases. In addition, pigments that are too small in particle size will migrate in the skin. The ingredients, the interaction between specific ingredients, and the process used to disperse pigments are also important considerations for pigment manufacturing.

The goal of the dispersion process is to produce a stable suspension of pigment particles homogeneously and uniformly distributed in the dispersant. The dispersion process includes three essential stages: wetting the pigments (removal of air or water adsorbed on the surface of the pigment particles), grinding (the mechanical breakdown of the pigment agglomerates and separation of the particles and stabilizing the dispersion (preventing the particles from rejoining).

Dispersions commonly used in cosmetic tattoo formulas include isopropyl alcohol, glycerin, propylene glycol, witch hazel, and distilled water. Properties of our new dispersions and the process we are now using to increase the pigment load in the creation of our new concentrated formulas are far superior to the dispersions used in the past.

Premier concentrated formulas are available in several shades and they were created after performing an extensive survey regarding color retention on over five hundred case studies of procedures performed from one to ten years ago. By charting this empirical data, and comparing the longevity of specific key ingredients in each formula, the powders used in the creation of the concentrated formulas, along with new dispersions satisfy Premier’s Mission to create superior permanent cosmetic pigments that are safe, backed by scientific integrity, and provide long term color stability to all recipients of cosmetic tattoo procedures.

For more information on our history of cosmetic tattoo materials, contact us.