Tattooed makeup has come a long way as of late, with techniques like microblading for brows and faux freckles becoming totally mainstream. The latest addition to that list? Lip tattooing. Created by Montreal-based cosmetic tattoo artist, Gabrielle Rainbow, this new type of ink—dubbed “lip blushing”—offers a new way to pretty-up your pout, sans makeup.
“Lip tattoos have been around for ages, but this specific technique was thought up by my partner Erick Holguin and I,” says Rainbow. “We combined both of our tattoo backgrounds to create a subtle lip blush.”
To that point, this isn’t the dated tattooed liner of the past. By mixing 30 different pigments, Rainbow creates a customized hue that’s surprisingly natural. Think more lip tint than lipstick—a just-bitten look with the perfect amount of color. (Check out some of her work here.) You can go bolder with the shade if you want, and the technique can also be used to help slightly define the shape of the lips. It may make your pout appear slightly fuller, too, especially immediately after when lips are still swollen, but it doesn’t yield the same plumping effect as injectable lip fillers.
The whole process takes about two hours (ouch!) and will set you back anywhere from $500 to $650. Results last between three to five years, says Rainbow, since she uses a semi-permanent ink that gradually fades overtime. Also important to note: “Those with lighter lips are the ideal candidates, since darker skin tones have a higher risk of hyperpigmentation,” she adds.
Tempted to ditch the lipstick tube and go under the needle? Make sure to do your due diligence to find a reputable cosmetic tattoo artist who is familiar with lip blushing to avoid any potential complications—and to make sure you don’t get stuck with a lip color you don’t like for years to come. #Beautynightmare.