By Megan M. Seckman

In a million years, Louisa Kleinert never would have guessed that her career as a classically trained oil painter would lead her down the path — over hills and valleys of loss and self-actualization — to her current destination: professional makeup and cosmetic tattoo artist. But here is where she has found her dream job.

Louisa, 30, became a freelance oil painter after graduating from Centre College with a degree in fine arts, but was bitten by the academic bug and decided to attend graduate school in Philadelphia. Shortly after her theory classes began, she burned out on all levels — her father passed away, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she had a difficult time finding purpose in her work amidst the emotional turmoil. She moved home to be closer to her mother and took a giant leap into the world of makeup artistry, trading one set of brushes for another.

“I had a friend who was a practicing makeup artist, so I signed up to go to the school she recommended in New York. I was into figure skating and dance and was always the girl people came to during prom season to fix their makeup. I thought this might be the perfect job for me — I get to deal in beauty all day and stay creative. It has been a dream come true!” Louisa beams with perfectly glossed lips and skin that radiates her found joy.

After returning home to launch her business Kleinert Cosmetics, a mobile makeup concierge service, she still had the yearning for more. Her father had been a surgeon, and Louisa envisioned herself following in her father’s steps and doing something impactful in the health field. Her mother suggested the world of permanent makeup, but there was one little problem — “I was scared of needles!” Louisa says. “I realized, though, that if I was good, I could eventually do reconstructive nipple tattoos and really make a lasting difference in people’s health and well-being.”

Again, Louisa packed up her art supplies, this time trading her eyeliner pencil for a tattoo gun, and headed to Texas to be trained as a cosmetic tattoo artist. There, she practiced tattooing on fruit, pig skin, and eventually people. Currently, Louisa provides microblading services, the newest trend in permanent makeup, which involves making tiny lacerations in the surface of the eyebrow skin and filling with an appropriate pigment to create natural, hair-like tattoo strokes that last up to three years before fading. The brow trend, Louisa explains, is all about framing the eyes (and also draws focus to the eyes and away from sagging skin). She also does permanent lip tattooing, lash-line enhancements, and permanent eyeliner at Kleinert Kutz Hand & Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and Trend Designs Salon.

But her next leap will be into the world of nipple tattooing, where her artistry and creativity can fuse with a lasting purpose. She has practiced on several nipples, but wants to refine her skills before solely working on this physically, and emotionally, delicate area.

“I’ve practiced tattooing for two years, but been an artist my whole life. This career has led me to stay creative, but to do so in a way that leaves a lasting impact on another life. If a woman feels good about how she looks, if she’s healthy and her face shows that, then God help anyone who stands in a confident woman’s way.”

So what does this confident woman do before she goes? Of course she applies her makeup: mascara, three blushes, light eyeliner, eye shadow, and a shiny lip gloss — all of which are understated and “naturally enhancing.” But if it’s a really bad day? “If I’m really feeling down, I wear a pair of fake Velour Lashes made out of real clipped mink hair. No one can feel down when they wear those.”

Products she’s using?
SOO AE Korean facial masks made out of fabric or rice paper and soaked in various solutions to enhance firmness, glow, or other outcomes. “A ton of stars use these and they feel great. Just relax and wear, then massage in the remaining product afterward.”

Photos by Sunni Wigginton

“My new favorite lip obsession is LimeLight by Alcone, a line out of New York. I’m absolutely obsessed with the lip gloss; you can apply it over other shades, and it is organic and animal friendly. I trust the ingredients…some products can throw off women’s endocrine systems and cause problems such as thyroid issues and cancer.”

Alba Botanica Towelettes for makeup removal. One side is exfoliating and the other is smooth. Louisa follows her makeup removal routine nightly with the LimeLight skin care line including Must Dew, her favorite moisturizer.

Latest Purchase she praises?
“I love my new Croc hair straightener. It vibrates so that the hair passes through easily without getting snagged.

“I’m also a habitual tattoo machine purchaser. It’s a fetish. I even have them in pink and purple.”

Favorite Accessory?
“I always wear the bangles my mother gave me. They have inspirational quotes on them, like “I believe in you…” and I wear my Fitbit watch for wedding parties that have multiple people getting my services at one time, so that we stay on schedule.”