In the world of beauty right now, a pillowy pout might be more sought-after than ever. On top of that, the ongoing quest for non-invasive beauty treatments continues revving up. For these reasons and then some, lip blushing is currently all the rouging rage.
As noted by Insider, TikToks about lip blushing have amassed more than a billion views and counting. As more and more influencers try this semi-permanent makeup trend, injections look like they might be turning into a needlessly painful treatment of lips’ plumped up past. The question is, how does this globally trending cosmetic procedure actually work and how permanent is it really?
Here’s everything you need to know about lip blushing.
What Is Lip Blushing?
On its most basic level, lip blushing is a semi-permanent, cosmetic tattoo that’s meant to enhance lip color and define lip shape. Many former lip injection enthusiasts say it also gives the impression of fullness, but without actually plumping them up.
Plastic surgeons across the country are currently offering the procedure as means of “temporary enhancement.” In addition to being non-invasive, lip blushing has become popular for how long it can last. When compared to other semi-permanent and permanent cosmetic procedures, many beauty buffs who’ve tried it have declared this trend to be way more bang for their buck.
As noted by Cosmopolitan, lip blushing typically lasts “between two to three years and will gradually lighten and fade over time, until your lips slowly return to their natural hue.”
Lip fillers involve injecting synthetic products into the lips to provide instant, temporary volume. Different fillers offer different results, but all cost a pretty penny. Typically, fillers last 12 to 18 months. In contrast, lip blushing merely adds color rather than actually changing your lips’ form. It lasts significantly longer and comes with the price tag to prove it, but more on that in a minute.
Some have called lip blushing a “permanent lipstick.” And it’s offered in a variety of pigments. Lip blushing is also marketed to those who want to give their lips more symmetry or a slightly altered appearance. Skin experts and beauty buffs tend to advise keeping the inked color within the natural border of one’s lips.
While lip blushing only adds color, many find that the procedure leads to filler-like results, visually speaking. The permanent makeup artists work to create the illusion that the lips aren’t just blushed, but bigger. But since there’s no actual plumping involved, the result is often deemed way more natural-looking.
Many TikTokers have revealed they were pleasantly surprised with how big of a change they noticed. Overall, lip blushing benefits include long-lasting lip color, increased pigmentation, fuller-looking lips, enhanced symmetry, color correction for scars, concealing uneven pigmentation, and a remarkably natural-looking enhancement.
How it Works
Earlier this year, one formerly skeptical beauty consultant for Glamour declared she was completely hooked on lip blushing. And if you get on TikTok right now, you’ll quickly learn she’s definitely not the only one to go from “no” to pro-lip blushing. She noted being a little uncomfortable with the idea of “semi-permanent lipstick,” admitting that she didn’t really need a lip enhancement.
Once she tried it, however, her pout perspective completely changed. She now sees lip blushing as a way to “play up” what she’s already working with, and that seems to be the general consensus among those who also swear by this beauty trend.
First things first, the semi-permanent procedure shouldn’t be taken lightly. Through a method called pixelating, the lip tattoo is drawn on by a licensed and certificate-carrying artist who specializes in permanent makeup. Lip blushing services are offered by medical spas, makeup artists, and some dermatology clinics, so always check out your lip tattooers’ credentials.
Similar to other forms of skin tattooing, color pigments are deposited on the lips using small needles. Per Healthline, “While also sometimes called lip tattooing, this is more of a cosmetic enhancement rather than traditional tattoo art. Lip blushing focuses on altering both color and shape to create younger-looking lips.”
The artist takes a bright colored pencil and fills the lips in. With a shape decided on beforehand, the lip edges are outlined in white to clearly show where the lines will be drawn. The first lip blushing session typically takes between one and a half to three hours, depending on both on the artist and your lips. A numbing cream or localized anesthesia is applied to diminish discomfort. As for the pain itself, it’s most frequently described as “low” and “minimal.”
Results will be visible immediately, but achieving full results can take a while. On average, lip blushing can take about four to six weeks before the color completely develops for lighter-pigmented lips. For lips with a medium to darker pigment, it can take between six and eight weeks before you see the full result. During this healing/waiting period, those who’ve tried it and reported back via Tiktok say their lips shed, peel, scab over, and swell, with many later adding that the inevitable healing period proved well worth the wait and they loved their “new” lips.
Thus far, it seems lip blushing is ideal for those looking to enhance their pout without changing it. As long as you pick a natural-looking color, your lips will likely have a naturally saturated, healthy look, rather than an enhanced one. But like all cosmetic procedures, there are risks involved worth noting.
What Are The Risks?
Generally, skin experts tend to say that lip blushing is a safe procedure, as long as it’s done by a trained professional in a sanitary setting. According to the skin experts at Byrdie, side effects are usually mild and typically include peeling and swelling during the healing process.
With that said, lip blushing involves needles. Per Insider, “lip blushing is when a permanent makeup artist pokes tiny holes and injects color into the epidermis, or top layer, of the skin.” The skin expert goes on to note that where there are needles involved, there is always some risk of infection.
Lip blushing works with all skin types and is deemed generally safe for anyone interested. With that said, many lip blushing professionals advise that smokers quit before the procedure, primarily in an effort to aid the healing process.
“Additionally, lip blushing could trigger an outbreak of cold sores or herpes in people with a history of these conditions. If you have a history of cold sores or herpes, talk to both your technician and your doctor before undergoing the procedure. Likely, your doctor will prescribe a medication to lower the chances of an outbreak during lip blushing and recovery,” per Insider.
Post-Blushing Lip Care
As mentioned, the healing process can take up to eight weeks. The good news is, most of the swelling and discomfort occurs about 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. From there, experts say to prepare for the peeling and keep your lip blusher-approved lip balm nearby. If the swelling is serious, skin professionals advise icing your lips.
“I used up two full tubes of Aquaphor after my treatment. The good news is that four days later, my lips were once again moisturized and no longer crying out for extra coats of balm,” revealed the beauty buff at Glamour.
It’s also advised that you wash your lips after meals. Per PMU HUB, “the treated skin of the lips goes through a recovery cycle as it closes up the micro-wounds. In order for the pigments to settle into the skin, you need to provide it with enough moisture, and prevent contamination.”
During the healing process, you might notice that the color becomes patchy or uneven. Be patient through this typical process of exfoliation and regeneration. Above all else, skin experts agree that when it comes to lip blushing, “patience is key.”
How Permanent is it?
It’s important to note that results vary from person to person. But generally, lip blushing is designed to last for a few years. Still, certain lifestyle choices are said to speed up the fading process, including smoking, iron deficiencies, and sun exposure can speed up the fading process. If you regularly use lip exfoliants, this could very well speed up the fading process too.
While often dubbed an alternative to lip fillers, this semi-permanent tattoo is still a tattoo of sorts. So while pain is most commonly reported as low, it may still be a little uncomfortable, even with the lip numbing agent. Some TikTokers have even shared that they experienced no discomfort.
While lip blushing may not hurt your lips, it might be more financially painful. Beauty buffs will tell you firsthand; this popular, minimally invasive procedure is not exactly cheap. It can cost anywhere from $450 to $1500, per session. And the results will be more natural-looking than drastic. So whether or not you’re getting what you’re paying for is something only you can decide. But considering it lasts for several years, avoid rushing when it comes to lip blushing.
Read More: A History of Makeup From Around the World