Lip blushing is a cosmetic treatment that tints your lips with a semi-permanent tattoo. It can last up to 3 years and is generally safe when performed by an experienced, licensed provider.

Lip blushing is a semi-permanent makeup treatment that leaves you with tinted lips for up to 3 years. During the procedure, your provider tattoos your lips with your desired shade. They may also enhance the overall shape of your lips to your liking.

Sounds great, right? But before you pucker up, it’s important to understand the possible results, risks, and costs. Here’s the deets.

Lip blushing is an in-office procedure that uses a small blade to deposit color into your lips. Just like a tattoo, this process allows color to seep under your skin, where it becomes semi-permanent.

Unlike some other makeup tattoos, which can produce a more dramatic look, lip blushing isn’t meant to be bold. Instead, you’ll notice a subtle color change and more definition around the lips. Also, it doesn’t involve fillers and won’t increase the volume of your lips.

That said, lip blushing can be a long-lasting way to achieve the look of a lip stain or tinted lip balm without the need for daily application. But if your main goal is fuller lips, it’s prob not the right procedure for you.

Don’t expect this treatment to give you tinted lips for life. Remember, lip blushing is only semi-permanent. A lip blushing procedure fades much more quickly than a traditional tattoo. Most people experience results that last 2 to 3 years, max.

Certain factors can affect the duration of your color too. Spending lots of time in the sun, smoking, and frequently exfoliating the lips may all contribute to faster fading.

Fortunately, you can take some steps to hang onto your contoured, stained look a little longer. Try these pro tips for longer-lasting lips:

  • Stay away from abrasive skincare products. Or, at a minimum, don’t use them on or near your lips.
  • Apply a high-SPF sunscreen to your face and lips daily and avoid direct sun exposure.
  • When eating acidic foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and pineapple, don’t let them linger on your lips. Their acid content may diminish your lip color.
  • Try not to lick your lips excessively.

Just like you probably wouldn’t trust just anyone with a needle to create your dream tattoo art, you’ll want to seek out an expert for lip blushing. For best results, go with a pro.

Look for a licensed aesthetician or tattoo artist to perform the procedure. Hint: You can search for “lip blushing near me” and sort through the results by provider qualifications. Yelp and Google reviews can also give you a clearer picture of a provider’s quality of work.

A few days before your appointment, your aesthetician may ask you to prep by using an exfoliating scrub on your lips. They might also have you take a break from caffeine, alcohol, and blood thinners a day or so ahead of the procedure, or request that you refrain from using certain skincare products like retinols or vitamin C serums.

Once in the office or tattoo parlor, your lips will be numbed with a topical cream that takes about 20 minutes to work.

Now the fun part! You get to chat with your technician to outline the ideal lip shape you’re going for. Using a gel pen, they’ll map out the perfect pout to guide their artistry. You can also discuss exactly what color tone you’re going for. Pro tip: Bring pics for reference.

And now… the not-so-fun part. As you lie back, your aesthetician or tattoo artist will use a mechanized needle to insert a water-based ink underneath the skin of your lips.

The numbing cream should help diminish sensations of pain, but since it is a tattoo on your face, don’t be surprised if you find the experience less than pleasant. But hang in there — you’re gonna be in the chair awhile! Since lip blushing can require multiple layers of color, you can expect the process to take anywhere from 1-3 hours.

As for aftercare, be sure to follow any instructions your provider gives. If your lips feel tender or swollen, try resting a cold compress on them. Or, apply a petroleum jelly-based lip balm for relief.

Finally, repeat after us: I will not pick at my lips! Even if you notice scabbing, resist the temptation to pull off extra skin. Doing so only increases the risk of infection — and could even lead to uneven color. Considering that lip blushing can cost upwards of $1,000, you probs don’t want to have to go back and do it all over again.

In general, lip blushing is a safe procedure, and many people don’t experience more than a few days of swelling after their appointment. But before you commit, be aware of the full 411 on potential lip blushing side effects.

As with a regular tattooNews: Bad Tattoo Ink One Reason to Rethink That Tat, after this procedure, you might have bruising or redness on or around the lips. An itchy feeling, rash, uneven color, or even scarring can occur.

It’s also possible — eek! — for the area to get infected. You’ll know an infection by hallmarks like pain, swelling that doesn’t go away, or pus coming from the lips. Contact your aesthetician or tattoo artist if you notice these signs. And if they escalate to infection symptoms like fever or chills, seek medical attention immediately.

To minimize the potential for infection, don’t hesitate to ask questions of your technician, such as their experience level with lip blushing and their office’s sanitization methods.

It’s also important to note that lip blushing may increase your risk of fever blisters or cold sores (HSV1) if you have a history of breakouts. To prevent a breakout, use a prophylactic treatment with an anti-viral medication such as Valtrex (Valaciclovir). You can also talk to your healthcare provider about other prescription treatments to reduce your risk.

Not sure if you’re ready to take the lip blushing plunge? That’s OK. You’ve got options! The following alternatives might suit you better.

  • Lip fillers. These injections of hyaluronic acid plump up your lips for better shape and contour.
  • Laser lip plumping. Ooh, so space age! Laser lip plumping pulses heat from a laser beam onto lip tissue to stimulate collagen production.
  • Lip flip: A lip flip involves an injection of botulinum toxin (aka Botox) around your mouth, relaxing the muscles and creating an upward flip that makes them appear larger.
  • Lip microneedling. During a microneedling sesh, small needles are briefly inserted into the lips, prompting them to create collagen. Just note that microneedling isn’t always recommended for lips, since their smaller blood vessels make them prone to bruising.

Don’t let the idea of tattooing your lips freak you out. This beauty-enhancing procedure is safe, long-lasting, and (for most people) comes with minimal side effects.

Lip blushing can make your makeup look on point even when you’re showering, sleeping, eating, or swimming. That’s not just lip service! If you’ve got the cash to spend on it, you’ll reap the benefits of this procedure for years to come.