What You Need to Know About Lip Blushing, the ‘Tattoo’ for Fuller Lips

If you’re obsessed with effect that lip tints give (aka an effortless touch of color that won’t smudge), then it’s time you think about lip blushing. The sweet-sounding name is basically a way to say a tattooing of the lips—but don’t let that scare you. New York-based celebrity dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank breaks down how lip tattooing works, if it hurts, and how, yes, it can actually make your lips look bigger. 

What Is Lip Blushing?

Lip blushing is a form of semi-permanent tattoo or makeup where people are looking to rejuvenate the color of their lip border or the actual substance of the lip,” says Frank. “It is not uncommon as we age to lose the pigment, particularly women, in their lips and lip lines. With loss of color and lip definition, a lot of women use lip liner to accommodate this and to make the lips look slightly bigger.”

Here’s how it works: a tiny mechanized needle deposits pigment into the lips, which builds layers of color. Sources explain that it can be a corrective service to help even out the tone of the lips, but it can also help with asymmetry. The service can cost anywhere between $500-$1,500 per appointment, depending on where you live.

How Permanent Is Lip Blushing?

Similar to a cosmetic service like microblading—which utilizes a blade to manually create small cuts in the skin, which are then filled with ink—the results vary person to person. Generally, lip blushing can last several years, although your lifestyle contributes to how well it maintains; smoking and sun exposure can speed up the fading process, and if you’re oil-prone, have an iron deficiency, or use a lot of exfoliating products in your skin regimen, the pigment could fade more quickly, too.

A tattoo on the lips sounds painful—especially for someone who might be looking for an alternative to getting injected with filler. “It can be done with topical anesthesia and is tolerable,” Frank shares for patients who are nervous. 

If you’re worried about your pain tolerance, a pain reliever like Tylenol can be taken prior to the appointment; but be warned, you should avoid aspirin and ibuprofen, since they can thin the blood and cause more sensitivity.

What to Expect From Your Appointment

First, there’s pout prep. A topical anesthetic is applied to pre-numb the lips for 20 minutes. Afterwards, the technician will draw the shape of the “new” lips so that you can evaluate and make any changes. 

The procedure takes place over the course of an hour to an hour and a half, if not longer, depending on the look you’re going for. Once the appointment is completed, your lips may be swollen—it is a tattoo, after all—so you can ice them if necessary. Over the next week, your lips will start to heal, meaning they may scab, so it’s important to time this carefully around your schedule. 

When it comes to scabs, it’s important that they fall off naturally—picking them can result in scarring or loss of pigment in those areas. Also, avoid workouts and sun exposure for two weeks, and if you plan on getting injections, wait a full month. Sleeping on your face could also cause the scabs to fall off prematurely. An occlusive ointment like Aquaphor should be worn to keep the lips properly moisturized. 

Important note: if you have a history of cold sores or herpes, the procedure could trigger an outbreak. Prescribed anti-viral medication should be taken in advance of the appointment, and it should be noted that cold sores can affect the healed results of the lip blush.

How to Find a Trained Technician 

The biggest con to lip blushing is if it’s not done appropriately, it could appear fake looking,” says Frank. That’s why it’s so important to do your research and find an incredible technician. To find a trained specialist, it’s important to ask the right questions and not base your decisions off of social media. Always ask how long they’ve been performing semi permanent makeup procedures—the longer, the better. If they have a Yelp profile, check for reviews within the last six months regarding the service you’re looking to get. Some states require technicians to obtain a blood-borne pathogen certificate or a body art/esthetician license, but each state varies, so check your state board to learn what qualifications cosmetic tattoo artists require. 

Instagram is a great discovery tool when it comes to learning about these procedures and potentially finding a technician to work with, but take caution and look at the tech’s body of work, not just one or two photos. 

How Long Does Lip Blushing Last?

Like any procedure or treatment, there’s maintenance involved. Not picking the scabs off your lips is key to an easy healing process—so is keeping them hydrated. (Again, Aquaphor!). “Once the desired result is achieved, patients may need touchups on a yearly basis,” says Frank. Basically, the same level of maintenance as microblading your brows. 

Can It Make Your Lips Look Bigger?

Look is the key word here. “Although lip blushing does not make the lips actually larger, one perceives them to be bigger—just like makeup,” says Frank. “It gives a plumper appearance or a more defined appearance. We must look at it as a semi-permanent form of makeup.”

ELLE

Brow Lamination Is Our Needle-Free Alternative to Microblading

Whether it be microblading, microfeathering, extensions, or a good old-fashioned brow pencil, there are tons of ways to groom your brows these days. While microblading and microfeathering are semi-permanent solutions for anyone who’s over-filling in their brows every morning, these treatments aren’t for everyone. If you have a needle phobia or are nervous that you’ll end up with irreversible botched brows, you’ve probably politely sat these two options out. As for eyebrow extensions, there are no needles involved, but your brows may start to look uneven as the fibers fall out — that’s where brow lamination comes in. It is the needle-free treatment for thicker, fuller brows.

Originating in Russia, but blowing up in England, brow lamination tames unruly hairs and sets them in place for a fluffy just-combed look. “Brow lamination is essentially a perm for your eyebrows, but without using the same harsh chemicals,” says Giselle Soto, a Los Angeles-based celebrity brow artist who offers the treatment stateside. “It’s a keratin treatment that not only stimulates growth while strengthening the brow hairs, but creates thick, fluffy, and full brows.” Lamination is also a good alternative to microblading because it works with your existing hair, giving you your ideal brow look without the use of needles, ink insertion into the body, and pain, adds Soto.

What Happens During Brow Lamination? 

First, Soto says she has an in-depth consultation with clients where she goes over the details of the treatment including the process and the desired results.

The actual treatment begins with brow shaping to create a clean slate. Next, a “style adjusting” product is used to style the hairs into the client’s desired shape, followed by a style neutralizer that sets brows in place. The last step is the application of a nourishing keratin oil that replenishes moisture after the chemical treatment process.

How Should You Prepare for a Brow Lamination Treatment? 

Soto says it’s best to avoid using retinol and topical over-the-counter and prescription acne treatments for at least 48 hours before your treatment. These products can sensitize the skin, and potentially lead to irritation. Arriving at your appointment makeup-free with clean skin also helps the process.

What Should You Do Post-Brow Lamination Treatment? 

Like microblading or eyebrow extensions, there are a few best practices to follow post-lamination treatment to protect your new brows. Soto recommends not wetting or rubbing the area and avoiding creams, oils, and brow or eye makeup. You should also skip that workout and the extra-hot shower you usually take afterward.

How Long Does Brow Lamination Last, and How Much Does It Cost? 

With proper care, brow lamination can last four to eight weeks. The price ranges from $80 to $300 depending on location and the artist who’s performing the treatment. Soto currently charges $300.

Who Should Get Brow Lamination? 

While brow lamination is generally for everyone, there are a few exceptions. “This treatment is not recommended for people who have scratches, burns, or scars near the eyes, have eye contamination, skin conditions, or inflammation in the eyebrow area,” says Soto. You should also stay away from brow lamination if you have allergies or past reactions to cosmetics, dyes, and semi-permanent tattooing such as microblading.

What Are the Side Effects of Brow Lamination? 

Brow lamination isn’t going to harm your actual brows, but while the chemicals used are more gentle than an actual perm, they can still irritate your eye area when skin is exposed to them. “Giving that the eyelid is the thinnest, most delicate skin of the body, it is especially prone to irritation,” explains Soto. “The chemicals from the brow lamination could cause eczema if skin is exposed, which is characterized by red, dry, itchy, and inflamed skin.” That’s why it’s important that your artist is experienced so they’re careful the product doesn’t spread down to the eyelid area.

Dr. Shari Sperling, a board-certified dermatologist based in New Jersey, seconds this warning along with what the chemicals can do to your actual brow hairs. “A downside to be aware of is potential irritation from the chemicals that are used when they touch the skin around the eyes,” she says. “While the results are not permanent, there are chemicals that are used on the eyebrow hairs which may damage the hairs themselves. Think of women who process hair on the scalp for years and end up with their hair falling out or thinning due to the chemicals and processing that was done in the past.”

Like with any new treatment, the results may be transformative, but there are also underlying risks. If you’re curious about brow lamination, make sure to do your research to find a skilled artist that works out of a licensed, clean salon before booking an appointment.

INSTYLE