The advancements in technology and technique are part of the reason why lipstick and lip liner tattooing is gaining in popularity. Despite being such a small and delicate area, professional inking can help to add definition, enhance colour and create symmetry.
Cosmetic tattooing has quickly become the norm, with more and more women adding microblade eyebrows, tattoo eyeliner and even permanent under eye concealer to their beauty menu.
And while the idea of permanent and semi-permanent makeup may still be scary to some, the reality is that cosmetic tattooing is now so intricate and precise, the results can range from subtle and natural to life-changing.
If it’s a treatment you’ve considered, but you’re unsure what to expect, here’s everything you need to know…
What is lipstick tattooing?
There are many different types and names for lip tattooing, including lip contouring, tattooed lip liner, lip blush, and a full tint.
Each of these “involves carefully impregnating a specialist colour pigment into the skin”, says Celebrity Skin Specialist, Cosmetologist and Elite Permanent Makeup Artist, Lesley Wilks.
“Working with a special tattoo machine that is at a lower speed and frequency than a traditional tattoo machine, ultra-fine needles gently deposit the colour throughout the lip area, using a selection of different techniques depending on the look you want.”
Lesley tends to favour the lip blush method; “it’s a far more beautiful finish of shading and blending, with a softer more natural look”, while Andrea Grollet, Permanent Makeup specialist for Neville Hair and Beauty prefers the ‘contour and blend’ treatment, which “aims to replace lost or faded pigment to the outer edge of the lips.”
“This treatment reinforces the shape and accomplishes a ‘natural’ look to the lip, while avoiding any harsh or obvious demarcation lines.”
What are the benefits of lipstick tattooing?
Aside from having a lip colour that won’t fade or smudge no many how coffees or cocktails you down, lip tattooing also defines the shape of the lips and depending on the technique, can make them look slightly larger too.
If you have uneven lips, Award-Winning Permanent and Semi-Permanent Makeup Artist, Sian Dellar says this can also be improved with tattooing, “Our advanced techniques can correct the shape of your lips to make them seem more balanced and symmetrical. We can also add definition to the edge of your lips to minimise the appearance of fine lines and give you a fresh and youthful look.”
Who is lip tattooing suited to?
Lip tattooing is suitable for most clients of all ages and lifestyles. “It’s for anyone over 18 who wants a subtle lip colour”, says Marie Selby, Microblading and Semi Permanent Make Up Expert. “It can be especially good for older ladies who lose pigment in their lips as they age.”
Any problems will be seeded out in a consultation, though Lesley says “I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone with too much lip filler as colour can be extremely difficult to take.”
Is the process similar to microblading for eyebrows or is it a different method?
While microblading is a popular method for the brows, Marie says lip tattooing is completely different.
“Semi-permanent makeup tattooing is applied with a needle and a machine, whereas microblading is a manual method which cuts the skin with a bladed hand tool”, she explains. “It is rare in the UK for microblading to be done on lips.”
What happens in a lip tattooing appointment?
A full consultation is always carried out before commencing tattooing, which will help to ease any of your anxieties. “We begin by discussing with the client exactly what they want to achieve including shape and colour, taking into account the clients natural colourings and giving our expert advice regarding what may suit them”, says Tracie Giles, Bespoke Permanent Makeup Expert, based in Knightsbridge.
“We then pre-draw the lips using a pencil, carefully measuring them and ensuring they are as close to perfect as possible before showing the client in the mirror. We don’t begin the tattooing until the client is totally happy with the pre-drawing, and then the tattooing itself usually takes around 45 minutes.”
Does lip tattooing hurt?
The question on everyone’s lips (literally) – how much pain are we talking?
First, the good news: “My clients always comment on how much less it hurts than they initially envisaged”, says Lesley. “It’s mine and any technicians job to ensure a client is as comfortable as possible and we try to manage any pain as much as possible.”
And the reality: “It can feel scratchy, but permanent make up is nowhere near as aggressive as conventional tattooing”, says Tracie.
Most places will apply a numbing cream to ease any discomfort, but when it comes down to it, your best bet is to stay relaxed. “Often if someone is tense it hurts more”, says Lesley.
How do you choose the colour of the lipstick tattoo?
If you have a favourite lipstick in mind, you can totally take this to your appointment as an example. In fact, it’s encouraged.
“I would always ask a client to bring or identify her favourite lipstick colour so I could get an idea of the tone and shade she has in mind, bearing in mind everyone sees colour differently”, says Lesley.
“Usually the remit is to keep the colour very close to the clients natural lip colour to achieve the most natural look”, says Andrea.
It’s always best to start off subtle, as colours can then be intensified over time and at touch-up appointments if desired.
How long does lip tattooing last? Do you need touch-ups?
Depending on the treatment and lifestyle factors, lip tattooing can last anywhere from 1-3 years. “The pigment will fade naturally and lighten over this time”, says Sian, who recommends a colour boost procedure every 6-12 months.
Is there any downtime?
There is no downtime for lip tattooing, but it’s important to note that the colour is much more intense on the first few days following treatment.
“Lips will be sore and tender for the first 48 hours and colour will appear darker”, says Lesley. Some people also experience flaking as the lips heal.
What’s the aftercare process?
A healing balm will usually be provided following your appointment and should be applied 2-3 times a day until the area is healed.
“It’s a big no-no to apply lipstick on top of your lip blush while it’s healing as you don’t want to risk an infection”, says permanent make-up expert, Laura Kay. “You would also need to avoid going to the gym or sitting in the sun for a week.”
“Avoid getting your lips wet and try not to eat any salty or spicy food”, says Sian, who also recommends avoiding kissing for up to seven days.
No snogging or ramen?! These lips better be worth it…