- C Johnston
Lisa Manfredo: More than Skin Deep
Updated: Dec 4, 2022
Lisa Manfredo is a permanent makeup artist who painstakingly works on eyebrow microblading, lip blush and BB glow for women. Through her work on these and other beautification areas, she’s able to achieve natural looking results that are customized for the individual.
And she does a lot more than that. Lisa is a highly skilled and certified paramedical artist, permanently camouflaging scars and stretch marks so that they blend in with the natural skin tone. She’s also certified in areola restoration to help breast cancer survivors who’ve undergone mastectomy surgery.
The procedures all require skill, education and certification. And not many people are able to perform them.
“I believe God created me to be of service in this way – so that I can help people feel confident about who they are,” she says.
Her service-focused business, Effortless Beauty, is located in the Shadyside area of Pittsburgh. And the first thing she does when people call or walk through the door is listen. What are the goals of the people who come to her, hoping for help? They might be feeling insecure about part of their body. They may be dealing with scars that bring up pain from the past. Or they may want physical changes that will enable physical and spiritual healing.
Every person – usually women, although occasionally men – has their own story and desire for self-improvement. So Lisa Manfredo pays attention to what they have to say and tells them honestly what she can do. “Sometimes we can fix what bothers us. Sometimes, we need to accept it.”
She says, “When people walk through the door, my first job is to love them. I’m not here to judge them. I’m here to help.” And to Lisa, that’s a matter of the heart.
“If I’m helping you with your scars or stretchmarks or eyebrows, my hope is that I’m helping with your confidence and self-esteem. I’m not changing the world with eyebrows, but I can help you to feel good about who you are, so that you walk with your head a little higher, and you can go out and change the world. I’m blessed to play a tiny part to allow that to happen.”
While we’ve all heard the old adage that beauty is only skin deep, what’s skin deep can impact us to the core.
Lisa says, “If you have a scar that reminds you that you’re a survivor warrior, then own it. But if that scar somehow causes you to feel diminished, camouflaging can help.” The procedure doesn’t completely remove the scar, but it lessens it by about 75%.
Lisa had a client who was a former drug user and fought her way to sobriety. She had trouble dating because of the scars on her arms. Lisa explains, “She was tremendously strong to get clean and sober for 15 years, but she felt completely devalued when other people saw her scars. She felt judged by people who didn’t know her story. And the camouflaging procedure made her scars barely visible. Then she could put a period at the end of the sentence and say, ‘That’s not who I am anymore.’ She can hold her head up and move on.”
People want their scars camouflaged for a number of reasons. Consider cases of domestic violence. For women who’ve been hit and needed stitches, scars can be a reminder. Even when they have worked to get out of a very difficult situation, they can see themselves as a victim when they continue to see the physical reminders.
One client, Vicki, sums it up, “Lisa is a God send.”
Vicki explains, “I have scars all over my body. From breast cancer survivor, to disseminated shingles. Lisa was not only willing, but able to camouflage my scars! She has started a complete healing process. I am now able to go out in shorts and short sleeves again without having marks all over my body!”
Scars are the visible signs of wounds that can hurt inside as well as out. Lisa Manfredo says that of all the types of scars she works on, she finds self-harm scars to be the most rewarding.
Lisa says, “The self-harm scars tell the story of someone who suffered an internal battle and chose life. This person survived a moment when they felt all was lost. Do you know how difficult it is to pick yourself up from a place like that and decide that you are worth the work it takes to choose life?”
She continues, “When we’re in school, we learn to read, write, do math and science, but there’s no class on how to be happy. We’re just expected to figure out how to be happy all on our own. And being happy is hard work. So when I see survivor scars on someone, I say congratulations. Because they did the work. They’re still here. They survived the battle within themselves and they won! This person is another survivor warrior story. Choosing life. And choosing happy. Survivor scars remind me to be grateful. For the people I love. For the future I get to look forward to. And for all the happy times to come.”
Lisa says, “And for me, it’s an incredible thing to help people become their best self.”
Among the clients Lisa strives to help are also breast cancer survivors. She is able to camouflage the surgery scars. She is able to create permanent areolas and even use a 3-D pattern to add nipples. And the impact is life-changing for her clients.
Lisa stresses that the post-surgery or post-harm scars are dramatic, but that the other procedures are just as important for the women who get them. “I don’t care if you are getting eyebrows added, stretch marks lessened or automobile accident scars camouflaged. If you feel insecure about something, it makes a huge difference to make the positive change. It is empowering.”
She has poured her focus and time into becoming educated and trained in the newest techniques available. Initially she followed Portuguese videos because that’s where the technology was coming from. And then she attended intensive courses at the Academy of Advanced Cosmetics in Atlanta, Georgia and earned her certifications. She’s fastidious about safety and disinfection. She only uses colors that are plant and mineral based, vegan and organic.
Lisa has been in the beauty business, in some respect, all her life. Her first memory of getting in trouble as a child was when she’d used her mother’s mascara. She always liked to make things pretty. She started as a vo-tech in high school and earned her first license in 1994.
And throughout her life, she watched how her parents focused on serving customers with their clock repair business. [See Paul Manfredo: Timekeeping & Treasures.] She learned the importance of caring for others and being dedicated to excellence. She also learned more about how to run a business when she started working for them.
She remembers her life when she was raising her children and working in her father’s business. She was happy but felt unsettled, as if she was not doing what she was supposed to do. Knowing that God had a plan that she didn’t know yet, she sought God’s will and started praying.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33
After praying for five years to know and follow God’s will, she received an answer. In the wee hours of the morning, Lisa felt a shove in the middle of her chest, as if someone was waking her. But she wasn’t scared. With clarity, she knew what she was supposed to do.
She understood with certainty that she would open her own business, and call it Luxurious Lashes by Lisa. She got her cosmetology license and focused on eyelash extensions. She built up the business for over five years and, being open to doing more, wanted to add eyebrow microblading.
As she was ready to expand, she hit a snag. Eyelash extensions are certified by the state board of cosmetology, but permanent makeup is considered to be tattooing. With this separation, she couldn’t’ legally do both cosmetology and tattooing in the same physical space. She would need a separate space, entrance, exit and bathroom.
She had to make a choice. She closed the eyelash business and became a permanent makeup artist. “I knew I was following God’s will for me and I wasn’t doing it on my own. That’s when all the doors opened for me, and challenges amazingly resolved – even during COVID.”
Every day when she opens the door to Effortless Beauty, Lisa remembers that God empowers her. The tag on her keyring reminds her, “GOD IS WITHIN HER - SHE WILL NOT FALL."
She remains passionate about making a difference in the lives of her clients. “My goal is for you to walk out the door and feel more authentically you, allowing you to focus on what’s most important in your life.”
She finds her work to be enjoyable and fulfilling, not like “work” at all. Maybe that’s why her business has taken off. Effortless Beauty’s clients extoll Lisa’s professionalism, detailed explanation of all procedures, good work and caring heart. And she has won multiple awards since opening her doors at Effortless Beauty less than three years ago. Lisa also serves clients at a second location, in the office of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery of Pittsburgh with Dr. Liang.
One client, Heather, sums it up for so many: “This lady is a rock star . . . she is amazing.”
For more information go to www.EffortlessBeautyPgh.com.