‘I’m an Esthetician, and Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Lip Blushing’

Photo: Getty/Steve Hammid
This one goes out to everyone who loses their lip balm at the bottom of their purse every other week. (I'm sure we'll find them in the Land of Lost Socks someday.) However, there's now a way to get the benefits of a swipe of tinted balm, sans the balm itself and it's called lip blushing. The trend has been around for a few years, and while there are some specifics you'll want to get straight (for starters it's a semi-permanent tattoo), it can be a solid option for those who like a rosy hue on their lips but are sick of toting the stuff around in tubes that disappear.

Here, Taylor Worden, esthetician and founder of Taylor Worden Skin, shares everything you need to know about this trend—and how to prepare if you’re planning on getting it done. Keep scrolling to learn more.

Here's everything you should know about lip blushing

What is it?

A semi-permanent tattoo...but for your mouth. Lip blushing, Worden explains, is a “form of semi-permanent lip tattooing that makes your lips look fuller, with a natural color.” It is for lips what microblading is for your brows.

How long does It last?

As noted, Worden says this is a semi-permanent procedure—but it lasts quite a bit longer than filler. In fact, it can last up to three years. That said, the coloring lightens over time, so some estheticians recommend getting an annual refresh.

Here’s a catch, though, if you don’t like it, it can be nearly impossible to remove, as laser tattoo removal on the lips can make the ink worse or cause more damage to the lip.

How should you prepare?

It’s important to choose an esthetician, practitioner, or surgeon who you trust and feel comfortable with, and also select one who has a good track record with photos you can see as examples.

Show your practitioner some examples of what you’re hoping to achieve, and discuss your dream end result from the procedure. Be very clear about color, shape, etc. (your lip color is different from another client’s lip color!). Though it's semi-permanent, it’s still a tattoo, and it’s your face! And, as mentioned, it’s hard to undo if you don’t like it.

Does it hurt?

Like most procedures involving needles (including, you know, other kinds of tattoos), lip blushing isn’t necessarily the most comfortable experience. “The esthetician will numb up your lips prior [using a numbing cream],” explains Worden. “It should feel like scratches but nothing too painful.” So no need to be afraid if this is a procedure you’re exploring!

If it does hurt, this is a cue to stop the procedure—it should definitely be uncomfortable, but not painful. If you’re experiencing pain, talk to the esthetician or practitioner immediately to prevent damage.

What should I know about recovery?

So here’s an important thing to know ahead of time: the recovery process takes a month or more, according to Worden. Don’t plan to get lip blushing and then hit the town or schedule a portrait session for your LinkedIn photo immediately after, alright? “You will have scabs for the first week or two, and for a few weeks after the procedure, your lip color will be very bright,” she says. “The recovery process takes a full month.”

In addition to scabs, you should bear in mind that if you’re prone to cold sores (even if you don’t get them super often!) you might want to look into getting antiviral medications to prevent an outbreak, which can make recovery even more painful. You can ask your doctor for Acyclovir or Valacyclovir prescriptions as a preventative measure.

How much does it cost?

Lip blushing, like all cosmetic procedures, varies in price depending on the metro where you receive the service. “It depends where you live and where you go,” says Worden, “but this procedure can cost anywhere from $600 to $2,000.”

Should you try It?

Who is a good candidate for lip blushing? Those with lighter color, thinner lips can likely benefit the most from this procedure. If you have concerns about fillers, this can also be a good alternative for you. Finally, if you can afford that $600 to $2,000 rate every two or three years, and you think you’ll feel more confident and happy with your appearance with a fuller, blushy pout, this could be an ideal procedure for you.

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