All About Lip Tattoo: What to Expect, Cost, Risks, Touch-Ups and More

Written by Resurchify | Updated on: February 13, 2023

All About Lip Tattoo: What to Expect, Cost, Risks, Touch-Ups and More

Lip tattooing, commonly referred to as lip blushing, uses pixelating to give lips more aesthetically attractive hues and features. The term semi-permanent refers to the duration of this colour improvement which can last up to two years. With pixelating, the lips are painted with tiny, hardly perceptible hues like pink, crimson, or coral, using a tattoo gun, giving them a graceful, natural appearance.

After this procedure, the lips will have a more defined colour that is infused with organic pigments. Since it enables individuals to have lightly tinted lips every morning, this process is perfect for people having pale or pigmented lips. Even if one chooses not to apply makeup while leaving the house each time, one would still be pleased with the way one looks.

Because the area around the mouth is so sensitive, getting a lip tattoo, on the inside or outside of the lips hurts. One might also have a lip tattoo with permanent makeup. Professionals use tiny tattoo needles to perform a lip tattoo. This procedure and permanent cosmetics are applied through a process known as cosmetic tattooing. Complications can be decreased by selecting a trustworthy tattoo artist and studio.

However, because it is difficult to keep it clean, infections are more frequent with this kind of tattoo. The goal of lip blushing is to give lips a younger appearance by changing their colour and contour. Each person has a unique set of lips, but if one wants to alter the shape or colour of their lips, a lip tattoo might be a good option. It has a similar effect to lip fillers in that it makes the lips appear somewhat fuller just by defining and enhancing them with colour.

However, a lip tattoo doesn’t truly alter the appearance or feel of the lips, it is just an illusion. The only thing that will remain is soft, shaded-in colour, which can be used to improve the symmetry of the lips, conceal scars or areas of uneven pigmentation and create the appearance of larger fuller lips. Instead of generating volume or puffiness, this treatment is intended to define lips, particularly around Cupid’s bow, giving the impression that they are deeper and fuller.

The procedure includes outlining directly on the lip’s edge. Experts also shade the colour down into the lip’s center using a circular movement for giving it a greater blended appearance. No colouring is done in the inner portion of the lips. It is possible to find a lip hue that is quite similar to one’s natural lip colour, although it won’t stay as long.

Requirements for touch-ups will be more frequent if the colour is more natural. Experts recommend choosing the colour of the lip tattoo a shade or two brighter or darker based on the natural skin colour. Also, lip blushing is not for all kinds of skin tones. If one would like to change their appearance after receiving lip blush, one can still use lipstick or other lip colours.

Lipstick and lip liner tattooing is becoming more and more popular largely due to developments in technology and techniques. The majority of customers of all ages and lifestyles are appropriate for lip blushing or lip tattooing. Any adult over the age of 18 who desires a subdued lip colour should opt for it. It may be especially beneficial for older ladies who suffer from age-related pigmentation. Without using even a drop of lip balm, gloss, or lipstick, one can achieve gorgeously flushed lips.

Since the procedure is painful, lip tattoo artists apply a topical anesthetic cream to considerably lessen the pain. However, if one chooses an anesthetic option, the experience is most likely to feel like needles are pinching the lips rather than being too painful. To lessen the likelihood of experiencing pain during the appointment, one can think about taking acetaminophen.

One should avoid consuming aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen before the procedure as these medications might cause bruising and bleeding. Also, garlic, fish oil, vitamin E, and ginkgo supplements must be avoided. The procedure should ideally be performed in a studio by a certified artist. Additionally, one should confirm that the lip tattoo artist employs tattoo-specific inks and adheres to the correct cleaning and hygiene procedures.

An honest artist will put on gloves and use fresh trays, needles, and inks. Lip tattoos should only be done in a skin care center or doctor’s office. Although lip blushing is done via tattooing, a cosmetic tattoo technician or aesthetician, as opposed to a conventional tattoo artist, usually performs the process. When done by a trained and experienced expert, lip tattooing is generally a safe procedure.

The process makes use of organic colours and new-age digital instruments with multiple needle configurations as opposed to a single harsh setting. Most lip blushers advise obtaining a touch-up around eight weeks after the treatment. It is essential that one first goes through their skin history with their artist whether they have acne, cold sores, eczema, or rashes near the mouth.

This will help the tattoo artist to understand whether they require extra care to prevent irritability. Lip blushing won’t destroy the natural lips if it’s done carefully and appropriately. This process often doesn’t leave any scars, but the first week after the treatment might make the lips puffy, itchy, and covered in scabs.

There will be adverse effects from permanent or semi-permanent makeup, but thankfully, the impacts are lesser in the case of lip blushing. However, if the lip tattoo artist is not careful enough, one cannot completely rule out the possibility of an infection, inadequate application, or allergic reaction. Redness, bruising, swelling, bleeding, and other typical symptoms following lip blushing can vary from person to person.

One can have their tattoo laser-removed if they dislike it. Laser procedures can occasionally make the colour disappear, however, that could cost more and cause more suffering. The lips will look significantly darker immediately following the session than they will once they have recovered. The hue after healing will be 30% to 50% lighter than the first effects.

What to Expect During a Lip Tattoo

Before getting started, a thorough consultation is usually conducted, which should relieve any fears one may have. Depending on the schedule and technique of the artist, the entire process can take around 1-3 hours. At first, the artist will apply a numbing cream to the lips and allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes before cleaning it off so that a person experiences minimal pain and discomfort.

Next, they will discuss the desired lip shape and tone. Then the lip tattoo artist will sketch the design chosen and then they will draw it over the desired portion of the lips. They will trace the lip line using a white pencil and a gel pen so that the customer can give their approval of the contour before the artist begins tattooing.

Majority of the semi-permanent makeup artists would tattoo the lips’ edges first before colouring the middle of the lips. To reduce pain, they sometimes stop to apply extra numbing cream. Then, as the cream starts working, with fresh, sterilized needles, the artist would inject the chosen ink colours that appear natural by carefully and slowly making punctures in the skin.

To get an equal tone, this is done in several layers. One will notice a slight stippling feeling on the lips. A sterile bandage will be placed over the lips when the lip tattoo is finished to avoid infection. The artist will also apply a calming moisturizer to reduce irritation and guide about the aftercare recommendations.

During the procedure, one should prepare for pain and possibly blood. The healing process in the case of a new lip tattoo could take up to two weeks, therefore before leaving the studio, one should make sure they are familiar with all aftercare procedures. One will need an antibacterial mouth rinse since they can’t wash the inner portion of the mouth using soap.

One might require to start getting ready for the lip tattoo procedure a few weeks before the appointment and possibly consult the doctor before getting the tattoo to avoid complications. Prior to the consultation, one should avoid drinking, or brushing their teeth. The procedure is painful, so one must prepare for it.

Anesthesia is not used by tattoo artists since it could impede the procedure. More significantly, one should be ready for whatever advice the tattoo artist gives regarding aftercare, such as ways of keeping the tattoo dry on the first day, and methods to clean it correctly. Infections can be prevented by using such methods. Experts suggest avoiding lip tattoos if-

  • One is pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Consumes steroids, blood thinners, or Accutane (isotretinoin).
  • Has cold sores.
  • Is susceptible to post-inflammatory hypo or hyperpigmentation.

If one doesn’t have any of the aforementioned diseases, one should make sure their lips are typically in good health and hydrated before the service, mainly if someone is prone to seasonal flakiness. One must apply lip cleaner and balm to lips each day to prepare them a few days before the lip tattoo procedure.

The skin should be moisturized, supple, and smooth to enable even pigment saturation and appropriate healing in general. Lastly, one should refrain from drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours ahead of the lip-blushing service. It is better to avoid drinking alcohol the day before also. It is usually advised to get a consultation and patch test in case there are questions related to the procedure. Many cosmetic tattoo professionals offer free consultations.

The healing time for lip tattoos is 5 to 10 days. Applying an ice pack will help minimize swelling and pain within 24 hours of getting the tattoo. One should use clean, soft towels, and paper towels are preferable. The healing process will be simple to manage if the lips are kept clean and a skin-repairing lip balm is used 3-4 times daily during the initial weeks.

One can apply petroleum jelly on their lips for comfort and protection as required. Strenuous exercise, touching or licking the lips, direct sunlight, spicy food, sweating, kissing, cosmetics, swimming, sauna, sunbathing, all this should be avoided. One must expect their healed lips to peel.

However, they should avoid picking or scrubbing at flaky areas as this can affect the final outcome. The full effects of lip tattoos should be seen within a month. First, the colour becomes lighter, and once the skin has healed, it eventually returns. After almost two weeks, one usually notices the complete and deepest colour.

What Is the Cost of a Lip Tattoo?

Medical insurance doesn’t pay for lip blushing because it is cosmetic surgery. Lip tattooing is an expensive procedure. The cost of a lip tattoo ranges depending on the size, complexity, and colour of the ink applied. Permanent makeup ink generally costs $400 to $800 and covers the full exterior of the lips. The price may increase significantly because lip blushing requires numerous layers.

It may just cost $50 to get a little tattoo on the inner and outer portions of the lips. One should take into consideration that lip tattoos need to be touched up frequently, which could cost more in the long run. The place where one stays and the experience of the tattoo artist will both have a significant impact on the price. Touch-ups cost anywhere from nothing to $400.

One must not choose the lowest option just to save money as this is a critical procedure. The total price is ultimately determined by the expertise of the esthetician, the quantity of pigment required to dye the lips according to the required colour, and the level of service. In some cases, a lip tattoo may cost somewhere around $500 to $1500. Lip liner tattoos endure longer and are more costly compared to semi-permanent lip fillers.

How Long Does a Lip Tattoo Last?

Even though tattoo artists often use some of the vivid colours available, every tattoo ink will eventually fade as the dermis and epidermis repair themselves. The same holds for tattoos that are placed on, near, or in the inner portion of the lips. Due to constant exposure to food, saliva, and beverages, tattoos that are placed inside the lips disappear the fastest.

To make the colour linger a little bit longer, one can consult their lip tattoo artist for ideas on a particular style or colour. Smoking, excessive sun exposure, and repeated lip exfoliating can all hasten the fading of the colour. Lip tattoo is thought of as a semi-permanent treatment. To keep the results, one will require to redo the procedure every few years.

Lip blushing typically stays for 2-3 years, gradually fading and becoming lighter with time. One will observe a difference in the hue’s brightness after two years. In case one wants to redo their lip colour and prevent complete fading, the touch-up must be conducted in the second or third year. The majority of the centers substitute pigment for conventional tattoo ink, reasons why fading occurs. Because the pigment is thicker, the powdery finish it gives is more naturalistic.

However, 12 to 18 months later, it starts to come off the skin. It will also happen more quickly since one uses their lips to consume food and liquids. However, the length of the colour duration can vary based on how one keeps it effective. One doesn’t have to undergo the entire procedure or shell out for a complete service if only a portion of the lip colour is fading.

Benefits of a Lip Tattoo

Without the long-term commitment of a typical tattoo, lip blushing offers lips a beautiful, barely noticeable flush. Advantages of lip tattoos include-

  • Enduring lip colour.
  • Increasing the pigmentation of aging and pale lips.
  • Allows customizing the lip shade colour.
  • Lips that appear fuller without surgery of injectables.
  • Better lip symmetry.
  • Colour rectification of uneven pigmentation and scars.

Lip-blushing tattoos have become more popular than ever because of these immediate advantages, in addition to the acceptance of other semi-permanent makeup techniques like microblading and microshading. When performed by a skilled practitioner, a lip tattoo can look good on people with all different kinds of skin.

While working on melanin-rich lips, proper precaution must be used because there is a larger danger of hyperpigmentation if the region is overworked. Lip tattooing maintains the form of the lips and based on the method, it may also make them appear somewhat larger. It gives a lip shade that won’t budge or blur no matter how many coffees or beverages one consumes.

The lips’ form can be altered using cutting-edge techniques to make them appear more symmetrical and coordinated. To reduce the looks of the fine lines and give one a more youthful appearance, lip tattoo artists could also give the edge of the lips more definition.

Risks of a Lip Tattoo

The risks and negative side effects of a lip tattoo are similar to those of conventional tattooing. Despite the widespread use of tattoos, there are still dangers and negative effects to take into account. This is particularly true of the extremely delicate lip region.

Although they will lessen as the lips heal, small side effects can occur, like redness, rash, swelling, bumps in the skin, uneven colouration, sometimes bruising, and pain. The lips could get infected if they are not given the right maintenance and healing. Certain risk factors are-

  • Swelling- The skin suffers micro-injuries from tattoo needles. The skin will naturally swell in response to these injuries, but it is supposed to subside in a few days. Using a cold compress helps reduce puffiness.
  • Infections- Several things can lead to an infection following a lip tattoo. One must make sure their tattoo artist is using sanitized tools and needles. One must also adhere to the aftercare guidelines, which include using mouthwash. The risk for infections may also rise as a result of the lips’ frequent interaction with food, saliva, and beverages. Due to moisture and bacteria inside the mouth, inner lip tattoos are particularly vulnerable.
  • Scarring- Lip tattoos that don’t heal properly may leave scars. The danger of getting scar tissue at the tattoo site can also be increased by infections and allergic reactions afterward.
  • Allergic Symptoms- One should consider discussing the use of allergenic ink with their tattoo artist if they have experienced skin allergies or sensitivities in the past. Itchiness, redness, and hives are some symptoms of allergic reactions.
  • Anaphylaxis- Although somewhat uncommon, this acute allergic reaction has been recorded in a few people within hours after getting tattooed. It is typical to have lip swelling after undergoing a lip tattoo. However, one should head straight to the emergency department if one also developed breathing issues and observe inflammation around the neck and face. Anaphylaxis can be fatal if it is not treated.
  • Blood-Borne Diseases- Blood-borne illnesses like hepatitis B, HIV, and hepatitis C can spread when unsterilized needles are used. 

According to one assessment, only 0.02% of tattoo adverse effects are critical. However, to protect the safety, it is crucial to be aware of how to avoid these risks in advance. In the case of severe infections, symptoms like excess swelling, greater pain, lips covered in pus, fever, and chills occur.

One major drawback of lip tattooing is that it’s a semi-permanent technique. This means if one doesn’t like the results, it may be challenging, and occasionally impossible, to take the pigments out of the skin.

Touch-Ups of a Lip Tattoo

In comparison to other body areas, a lip tattoo fades more quickly. The majority of tattoos last for years, but one could require touch-ups after every few months. A person will ultimately require a touch-up to maintain the lip tattoo looking good as the first session. One should plan on receiving touch-ups due to the possibility of fading, after every 6-12 months to get the actual colour.

However, this doesn’t necessarily imply that one will have to start again from scratch. One might simply require touch-ups for specific colours of the lip tattoo based on to what extent it has faded. If one desires a completely new hue, one might also think about having their lips touched up. Occasionally, the skin on the lips is tougher. After the first session, this might make some regions appear darker, or blurrier than others. In these cases, touch-ups are required.


Hence, lip tattooing is a cosmetic procedure that is used to help generate more firm, flushed, and symmetrical lips. It is a fairly low-maintenance beauty procedure that can save valuable morning makeup time if one can afford the price and recovery time needed. If one believes a lip tattoo is the best option, one should work with a trustworthy, experienced, and licensed tattoo artist who will also go through any hazards involved in the process.

One should be sure to contact their doctor as soon as possible if they experience any problems after getting the lip tattoo. Doctors can offer them advice on how to treat an infection before it worsens or leaves scars. Therefore, lip tattoos might be a powerful form of expression when done by a skilled tattoo artist and given proper time to heal.

Thank you for reading!


  • ‘"Lip Blushing" Is the Cosmetic Procedure You Didn't Know You Wanted’ by Lindsey Metrus. Byrdie, May 13, 2022. Available from: < >
  • ‘Lip Blushing 2023: Your Guide to Permanent Lip Tattoos and Their Side Effects’ by Beth Gillette, Chloe Metzger, and Tanya Akim. Cosmopolitan, November 3, 2022. Available from: < >
  • ‘Your Questions About Cosmetic Lip Tattoo, Answered!’ by Mariyam. The Beautyholic, August 11, 2021. Available from: < >
  • ‘What to Know About Permanent Lipstick Before Getting Your Lips Tattooed’ by Renee Jacques. Allure, January 4, 2018. Available from: < >
  • ‘Lip blushing is the semi-perm lip tinting technique that everyone's talking about’ by Samantha McMeekin. Glamour, January 17, 2022. Available from: < >
  • ‘I’m Completely Hooked on Lip Blushing’ by Kate Foster. Glamour, January 14, 2022. Available from: < >



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