"Lip Blushing" Is the Cosmetic Procedure You Didn't Know You Wanted

Move over, lip filler.

Due to the amazing advances made in the professional cosmetic industry, you can now wake up and walk out the door without applying a stitch of makeup but still look like you've stood in front of a mirror, artfully touching up your face for the greater part of the morning. It's treatments like microblading, eyelash extensions, filler, and even tattooed eyeliner which semi-permanently alter your appearance just as a makeup pencil, concealer, and mascara wand would—but for an extended period of time, with no removal and reapplication necessary. Each is expensive, to be sure, but imagine the time you'd have back every day that you normally spend getting ready. And if you could extend that laissez-faire approach to your lips? Consider a daily wash of lipstick that never wipes off, come coffee or high water. According to Christopher Drummond of PFrankMD Skin Salon in New York City, this is possible with lip blushing.

What Is Lip Blushing?

Lip blushing is a type of cosmetic tattooing that semi-permanently enhances lip color by depositing colored ink into the lips with a mechanical needle.

First off, it isn't like the permanent makeup of the aughts. "Traditional permanent makeup (PMU) uses a strong machine, synthetic pigments, and is embedded deep in the dermis," explains Drummond. "The PMU of today is very different. We use organic pigments and modern, digital tools. The results are much more natural looking." By deepening the color of your lips, you're creating a fuller, healthier look.

Permanent or semi-permanent makeup for your lips isn't a novel concept (and no, we're not talking about '90s-era tattooed lip liner). Enhancing the color of your lips with a long-lasting pigment has been explored previously in the media like here, here, and here, but after we met with Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank (who owns PFrankMD Skin Salon, and, by the way, is Madonna's go-to derm) last week to learn about the future of cosmetic dermatology, it sounds as though lip blushing is going to make serious waves in the coming months.

4 Facts About Lip Blushing
Graphic by Cristina Cianci

Lip tinting treatments have historically followed more of a "color within the lines" type of procedure, but Drummond uses a methodology (safe for all skin tones) native to PFrankMD Skin Salon. "While others offer lip tattoo, we exclusively offer this special technique, which includes shading, lining and pixilating (small dots)."

How Do You Choose Your Shade?

Drummond suggests a "light tint" for that subtle, plumped effect—as people say about the perfect lipstick, it should be like your lips, but better. However, that doesn't mean you have to go with a light look if you don't feel that's what you want out of the procedure. "Each shade is customized to match your lip color, and what you want," he tells us. "As a professional makeup artist, I work with you to create your perfect custom shade."

How Long Does it Last?

Drummond shared with us you can enjoy a lip tint for up to two years without any retouching. If you don't like the shade that was chosen for you, it can be adjusted after the healing process (which takes about five to ten days) is over.

Does Lip Blushing Hurt?

A topical numbing cream is applied, so you'll feel only a light stippling sensation as the pigment is applied. As for side effects, Drummond says that if you're working with an experienced professional, you shouldn't have any issues. 

How Much Does it Cost?

Much like with most cosmetic procedures, the price is the kicker, unfortunately. Drummond tells us that depending on how much pigment you need, it could cost up to $1500. Remember, you're paying for quality as well as the materials. Think of it like you would any other tattoo—you don't want a $50 tattoo, just as you probably don't want a semi-permanent lip procedure that costs less than some tubes of lipstick.

How Long Does the Treatment Take?

You may be in the chair for about an hour and a half, according to Drummond, so be sure to block out an extra long lunch break.

Not ready to book your appointment just yet? Check out some of Byrdie's favorite subtle lip colors to test in the meantime.

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