• Action News Jax Investigates: Unlicensed people performing cosmetic procedures

    By: Jenna Bourne, Action News Jax


    The Florida Department of Health is making changes because an Action News Jax Investigation exposed a flaw in a system meant to protect you.

    Microblading is a beauty procedure that's skyrocketing in popularity, but it can lead to serious health issues if done incorrectly.

    It’s a semi-permanent eyebrow tattooing technique; a handheld tool with multiple needles makes shallow cuts to the skin, adding pigmentation in a way that mimics hair.

    In order to legally microblade in Florida, the technician must have a tattoo artist license and the place where microblading is performed must have a tattoo establishment license.

    Microblading can put your health at risk -- if it’s not done safely.

    “I have to make sure everything is sanitized, and everything is clean. And I just try to use alcohol on everything,” said Sudie Jebeli, who owns Sudie’s Brows on Jacksonville’s southside.

    Jebeli is a licensed tattoo artist and Sudie’s Brows is a licensed tattoo establishment.

    One woman, who asked not to be identified, spent three days in the hospital with an infection after having microblading done.

    “I was terrified, terrified,” she said.

    To become a licensed tattoo artist in Florida, you don't even have to know how to tattoo. All you need to do is pass a three-hour safety course on contagious diseases and pay a $60 fee.

    “When it comes to needles and blood, you can imagine what's going to happen. All types of diseases, contagious diseases can come out,” said Jebeli.

    Action News Jax found multiple salons in our area advertising microblading services without the required licenses.

    We found Fantasy Brows in Jacksonville offering a Groupon for microblading, and bragging about its “satisfied customers” on Facebook.

    Neither Fantasy Brows nor its owner, Homesha Davis, had tattoo licenses from the Florida Dept. of Health.

    Wearing a hidden camera pen that legally records video only, Action News Jax made a microblading appointment with Davis.

    When we showed up for the appointment, we asked Davis to see her tattoo artist and tattoo establishment licenses.

    She said she did not have any licenses with her, so we left.

    Action News Jax then came back in with a microphone to ask why the state had no record of any licenses.

    Davis walked away without answering any of our questions.

    We found two other Jacksonville businesses advertising microblading on Groupon without a license. 

    Action News Jax made appointments at both.

    When we showed up undercover, they admitted they weren’t licensed “yet” and said they could not perform the procedures.

    While the state of Florida lets you search doctors’ and contractors’ licenses, I found out there was no online license lookup for tattoo artists or establishments.

    Your only option is to search for inspection reports on the Florida Dept. of Health website.

    But Action News Jax found that search function was flawed.

    If we searched by address or missed anything in a business's name – even a comma – nothing came up.

    After we brought our findings to the health department, the state agency made changes to make searching easier, so now you can find what you're looking for.

    Jebeli said bargain prices are another red flag to watch out for.

    “If people charge you cheaper, there's something in it. Because microblading is expensive, licensing is expensive. Pigments – if we choose the good brand, FDA-approved brands in United States – is expensive. And it's art," said Jebeli.

    It’s a beauty treatment that comes with risk, and the best deal in town may actually come with the highest cost.

    Next Up: