When it comes to getting cosmetic tattoos, the long-held advice was a resounding “steer clear.” In recent years, however, thanks to procedures like microblading or micro-feathering, permanent makeup has been on the rise. Now, another form of cosmetic tattooing is quickly gaining mainstream momentum: lip blushing.
Lip blushing is essentially like always having the ultimate nude lipstick on. “Lip blushing is a semi-permanent tattoo that is performed by a licensed tattoo artist or an aesthetician,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Shafer Clinic in New York City. “The procedure uses small needles to deposit pigments into the lips and lip lines. Lip blushing is usually done to add more defined color and a sharper shape to the lips.”
If you’re curious about trying lip blushing for yourself, don’t worry—unlike many tattoos, this one isn’t a lifetime commitment. Lip blushing typically lasts for one to three years, though this varies from person to person.
This is totally dependent on who you’re going to see and what area you live in, as lip blushing tends to cost more in bigger cities (as is the case with most cosmetic procedures). You can expect a lip-blushing session to cost somewhere between $300 and $800.
There’s no doubt about it—lips are notoriously one of the most sensitive areas of your body. That’s because they have over a million nerve endings, rendering them even more sensitive than your fingertips. “Despite the lips being extraordinarily sensitive, people who have had lip blushing say that the process is minimally painful,” says board-certified dermatologist Sara Hogan, MD, FAAD. “A topical numbing agent is typically applied prior to the procedure to decrease discomfort.”
Engelman and Hogan both say it can take around 10 days for the initial healing process. From there, it can take 10 to 14 weeks to see full results, according to Carla Ricciardone, founder of Sculpted Studios. “During that time, only you will know they are healing,” she says. “The rest of the world will just think you have on the most beautiful lipstick.”
Yes, lip blushing is safe, but make sure you go to someone who knows what they’re doing. “Lip blushing is perfectly safe if done by a professional,” says Engelman. “It has the same risks as traditional tattoos and the biggest side effect, swelling, is the same for all medical tattooing. Lip blushing also lasts about the same time as all cosmetic medical tattooing.” The biggest risk is going to someone who is inexperienced or untrained for lip blushing, so make sure to do your research before opting to get your lips permanently tinted.
If you get cold sores, Hogan warns that lip procedures can sometimes trigger a flare-up. She also explains that if you don’t like the results of your lip-blushing procedure, the removal process for lip blushing can get tricky. “It is important to note that the FDA does not regulate pigments in tattoo inks,” she says. “Oftentimes, pink and ‘natural’ hues are composed of a variety of pigments, which may include metal components like zinc oxide or titanium oxide. When treated with lasers for tattoo removal, these metals can oxidize and turn black. This color often fades with additional treatments, but it may take weeks to months.” All the more reason to go to a licensed professional in the first place.
Lip blushing can be a great option for someone who wants their lips to look effortlessly tinted at all times. Just make sure you do your research before trying out this lip trend—the right provider can help you get the lips of your dreams.
Next: How to Apply Foundation so It Looks Undetectable, According to a Makeup Artist