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Lip Tattoos: In Depth Guide

What is a lip tattoo?

A lip tattoo is a professional procedure that involves inserting pigment and/or tattoo ink into your skin with small sterile tattooing needles.


What is lip blushing?

A semi-permanent lip tattoo technique that enhances your lips by giving a subtle hint or 'blush' of natural color. It varies from a bold or solid 'lipstick' look in that the color is more sheer and less intense. Lip blushing covers the whole surface area of the lip, compared to a lip liner, which provides merely an outline of the lips.



What are the benefits of lip tattoos?

  • Have more defined lips while still looking natural.

  • Look good 24/7 – wake up with makeup.

  • WATERPROOF and SWEATPROOF (beneficial for those with active lifestyles or oily skin that cause makeup to smudge and wear off quickly).

  • Convenience – improve daily lifestyle and save time.

  • Removes difficulties of makeup application (if you have bad vision or unsteady hands).

  • A possible option if you have allergies to cosmetics​.

  • Evens out lip discoloration caused by vitiligo, cancer treatments, illness, injury or naturally.

  • Create fullness and symmetry to thin or asymmetrical lips.


Who is lip tattooing suited to?

Anyone who wishes to improve their appearance or self confidence, while reducing time, inconvenience, cost or the difficulties of doing makeup. It's a great longer term solution that can reduce the hassle.


Do lip tattoos/lip blushing hurt?

Most cosmetic tattoo artists will apply a numbing product to your lips before and during the procedure to ensure maximum comfort. You may be able to take some Acetaminophen (Tylenol) before your appointment, so long as it isn't an NSAID drug (Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, Naproxen, etc.), which increases bleeding time. If you are on your menstrual cycle you may be more sensitive to pain. Sleep, stress and caffeine can also play a role in pain sensitivity.


How much does a lip blush tattoo cost?

The cost of lip tattooing varies based on a number of factors - shop location, technique, experience of the artist, amongst others. In general, the cost of permanent makeup lip tattoo ink ranges between $400 and $800 CAD.


How long does a lip blush tattoo last? 

Permanent makeup cosmetic tattoos will gradually fade with time. Typically, it's 2-5 years before a touchup is needed to refresh the color and shape. Fading is dependent on factors such as pigment color, sun exposure, skin type, general health and immediate and long term aftercare. Frequent smokers or those with iron deficiency anemia may have results fade sooner. Results will vary with each client.


What are the risks or side effects of getting a lip tattoo?

Despite the popularity of tattoos , there are still risks and side effects to consider. Discomfort, bleeding and swelling are common during and right after the procedure, as can be dry skin. Allergic reactions, infection, scarring, color shifting, hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation of the skin, are other possible outcomes. These risks can be minimized by choosing an experienced tattoo artist, ensuring you are a suitable candidate and following the aftercare protocol.


Who is a NOT a candidate for lip tattoos?

  • Under the age of 18 years

  • Pregnant or nursing

  • Diabetic on the needle (will require doctor’s clearance)

  • Have an autoimmune disease (will require doctor’s clearance)

  • On blood thinners

  • Have epilepsy

  • Have infections (localized to the area or systemic)

  • Have major heart problems

  • Had an organ transplant

  • Have skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis) or irritations (rashes, sunburn, acne, etc.) on or near the procedure area

  • Prone to keloid scars or hypertrophic scarring

  • Used Accutane in the past year

  • Undergoing chemotherapy or radiation (consult with your doctor)

  • Have sensitivities to dyes/pigments or local anesthetics (patch testing can be done)


Can lip tattoos be done on darker skin tones?

Those with darker toned lips may find this cosmetic treatment an appealing way to even out or lighten lip color however, those in a Fitzpatrick scale 5 or 6 have a higher risk of potentially permanent complications, such as color shifting and hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation of the skin. It's best to choose a permanent makeup artist that is knowledgeable and experienced in working with dark skinned clients.



What should I expect for my lip blush tattoo?

Your artist should consult with you prior to the procedure to determine if you are a suitable candidate; this likely includes completion of a health questionnaire and informed consent. Time should be provided to answer any questions you may have.


Next, your artist will map out the shape of your 'new' lips by drawing a well contrasting outline of what you can expect. Following your approval of the shape, a topical numbing will be provided for 15-20 minutes prior to beginning the cosmetic tattooing. Expect mild pain as well as some bleeding during the process. The procedure should take around 2-4 hours total.


Pigment will be intense and vibrant immediately after the procedure, but will soften and lighten in intensity over the weeks that it heals. Expect a normal 30-50% color loss between your initial and touch-up appointment - lip blushing is typically a two part process.



How do I prepare for my lip tattoo appointment?

Pre-care is essential for a good canvas for your artist to work on.

  • If you are prone to cold sores, you will be required to take oral antiviral medication for 2 days prior to treatment and 3 days following to prevent any outbreaks.

  • If you have an ideal color in mind, bring a few reference photos or desired lipstick color to your appointment.

  • Ensure you drink plenty of water and your lips are well hydrated/moisturized 1 week prior.

  • Exfoliate your lips for the week prior to your appointment at home using a drop of coconut oil and sugar to create your own scrub. Ensure you are using a lip conditioner/balm every day leading up to your appointment to ensure your skin is in optimal shape for the procedure.

  • Do not consume alcohol, caffeine or blood thinners (Aspirin, Ibuprofen, other NSAID medication, fish oil, niacin, vitamin E) 48 hours before your procedure, to avoid excess bleeding, which directly affects color retention.

  • Avoid sun and tanning bed exposure for 30 days before and after your procedure. As your skin exfoliates from a sunburn, it will take the tattoo pigment with it. 

  • It is recommended to plan any vacations a minimum of 14 days after the procedure.

  • Some cosmetic procedures such as lip filler should be completed at least 4 weeks in advance to your lip tattoo.


What should I do after my permanent makeup lip procedure (aftercare)?

Post - procedure, you'll want to be prepared for any aftercare instructions your tattoo artist recommends, including how to keep the tattoo clean and protected for optimal healing. Your skin will undergo several changes during the healing phase, including dryness, itching, scabbing and flaking. It is imperative not to pick, scratch, pull or prematurely speed up this process to reduce complications and achieve the best possible results.


As part of the healing process, avoid acidic food, spicy food, citrus fruits, excessive sun exposure, swimming or perspiration (working out), skin care products, makeup and exfoliation to the area, so pigment and healing are not disturbed. Make use of cold compresses to reduce swelling and discomfort and use your healing balm provided to moisturize and repair the skin. The healing time typically lasts 2 weeks for the superficial layers of the skin and up to 4-6 weeks for the deeper layers of the skin. Scabbing generally lasts 5-7 days in the first 2 weeks.


For long term care, always use an SPF chapstick when exposed to the sun. Sun exposure will fade your permanent cosmetics or can alter the pigments. If you are planning a chemical peel, laser treatment, plastic surgery or MRI scan, please inform your technician of your lip tattoo.


Are lip tattoos worth it?

Depends who you ask, but if you do your homework to find a reputable shop and artist that deliver you beautiful, natural results that save you time and offer you convenience and confidence, then we'd say that's a pretty good investment!




Have more questions or interested in booking this service? Visit our Lip Tattoo service page for more information or contact us to speak to a Registered Nurse/PMU Artist!