MINI PENNY: AMA // I Got My Lips Tattooed

Friday, November 2, 2018

AMA // I Got My Lips Tattooed

At the beginning of last month, I took the leap and had my lips tattooed. As a cosmetic tattooer, this was something I had been considering for quite a while — my natural lips are nearly the same color as my skin, so I was constantly wearing tinted lip gloss or lipstick just to avoid looking washed out. Even though I was curious about the procedure, I didn't personally know anyone who had it done. However, I had full trust in my friend Krystle Harte to do a great job since her portfolio was already full of great, natural lip tattoo results! Click through for my experience, the healing process, and some of the most frequently asked questions I've been getting about the results!

Coming from a cosmetic tattoo background, I had a general idea of the process. Just like microblading, they applied a pre-numbing cream to get me comfortable while I did paperwork. Everyone's body is different, but I take really well to lidocaine, so I was feeling pretty numb pretty quick! The studio I went to was so comfortable and clean — more of a medspa vibe than a tattoo studio!

After the numbing (the left photo, don't I look attractive?), we got to drawing. The artist used a red pen to create the shape. Thankfully, my lips are mostly symmetrical to begin with, so this process was easy with just a few tiny tweaks. I was given the opportunity to okay everything before we got started with the tattoo!

For the color, I had brought in a few photo references of healed lip tattoos that I like. The artist was able to take into account my skin type, undertones, and requests to select a color that would work for me.

And then the fun part — the tattoo! I am covered in many body tattoos and was nervous for the pain level of sensitive lips. I have a high pain tolerance but was pleasantly surprised that this was a walk in the park. The numbing cream made me totally comfortable with the occasional few spots in which I felt a small pinch. Overall, I'd give the pain level a 2/10. At the end of the procedure, there was one spot that they had to go back over and even though the numbing had worn off, it was still only about a 5/10.

I was in and out in three hours — which, I gather is actually a little longer than normal. I was a model during a training course, so there were a few pauses to show technique or point out different things. If I had not been part of a training course, the process would have been much faster!

Lots of people are hesitant about cosmetic tattooing because of the healing process. While eyebrows can take a few weeks, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my lips were pretty much healed in about 5 days.

You can see from my process photos that before, my lips are super pale (with a cutie little freckle in them!). Immediately after I was S W O L L E N. I always swell after tattoos, so I totally expected this to be the case. They weren't painful, just felt puffy and a little weird. I had to drink with a straw and avoid spicy foods. Eating had to be done carefully and I only had foods that I didn't have to bite off or touch with my lips. That phase passed quickly, though, as the swelling went down and my lips because to lighten by the end of day 2.

As for aftercare, I followed my artist's instructions to a tee! This is such an important part of cosmetic tattooing. I'll spare you what my specific artist's instructions are because they can vary from practitioner to practitioner — always go by your own artist's guidelines and contact them with questions. Don't resort to Google!

I kept a little moist with a grapeseed oil-based aftercare product, but dabbed them dry to get clear photos. Overall, the "dryness" factor was very minimal! By Days 5-6, all of my flaking was gone and they continued to lighten over the next couple weeks. I had a small amount of tenderness for about a week, but it subsided and I loved my new lips!

I love my lips! This photo was taken today — one month after my procedure. They have softened to a really nice blushed pink. And yes! My cutie freckle is still there, which makes me so happy. Here I am only wearing a light layer of plain Glossier Balm Dot Com. I love being able to leave the house, eat, and do everything in my day without worrying about reapplying lip tint!

Just like eyebrow tattoos, I will have to go in for my touch up in a couple weeks. The initial touch up appointments are good for making sure that any spots which may have healed lighter than expected get a little boost! Check with your artist for their touch up policies.

After the touch up, I will most likely not have to get them touched up for about 1-2 years. Everyone's body is different, so it will vary depending on sun exposure, personal health, and skin type. They will continue to lighten over time.

Did it hurt?
Like any tattoo — yes, a little. But it was more like small pinches in a couple of areas. I was numb for nearly the entire procedure, so the most uncomfortable thing for me was just the necessary pressure the artist has to put on the skin to get a taut tattooing surface. :)

Is this "microblading"?
No. Microblading is definitely a big deal right now, but microblading is only for eyebrows. This term refers to the type of tool used. Lip tattoos are done with a rotary tattoo machine and are more of a solid fill of an area as opposed to microblading being hair stroke tattoo lines to give the illusion of hair.

How did you select a color? Are there different colors?
There are different colors! Personally, I think the best way to go with cosmetic tattooing is to keep it relatively natural. It always looks the most realistic! With that being said, there are a myriad of colors you can go with — consult with your artist and bring examples of your favorite lipsticks, photos of lip colors you like, and an open mind. As cosmetic tattooers there is only so much that we can do. For example, you cannot make your lips lighter. Light pigment won't cover dark skin, so if you have deeper skin tones, a pigmented hot pink is most likely outside the realm of possibilities.

How long does it last?
For most people, 1-2 years depending on a few factors (see above)

Why would you do this to your face?
Because it's my body and I want to do it! It makes my days easier and makes me feel more comfortable in bare skin. As long as you go to a trusted, experienced artist, it'll be roses.

What if you want to wear different color lips?
The great thing is that since they are healed, I can still wear any lipstick I want! All of my mattes and tube lipsticks aren't obsolete — I can still change up my look if I wish. But now, I can be bare lipped and still have some color!

How much did it cost?
Prices vary depending on market and artist experience. When looking for an artist, consider these factors and what city you live in. As I always say with tattooing — sometimes cheap is too expensive!

How can I find a good artist?
Do research using Instagram, Yelp, and even the SPCP directory. It is really important to do your due diligence and comb through portfolios and make sure your artist has healed photos! There are a lot of really talented artists out there, so pick someone who has a style that you like. If you have questions or hesitations, reach out to your chosen artist and see if they offer consultations. I went to Krystle Harte, LLC in the Chicago suburbs and cannot recommend her enough for lips and other cosmetic tattoo services!

What would prevent me from getting cosmetic tattooing?
There are a few factors that may prevent you from getting cosmetic tattooing — if you're pregnant or nursing, if you have rosacea, are on medications for serious health issues. Sometimes clients with autoimmune disorders can have a more difficult time healing, so it's best to consult your doctor and artist with concerns. With lips specifically, if you are prone to cold sores it is best to take medication prior to the procedure, as it can trigger an outbreak. If you have a history of keloids, please consult with a doctor.

Are you going to be offering this service?
At the time being, I do not plan on getting trained in this procedure. I highly recommend checking out Krystle Harte LLC if you're in the Chicago area. I currently offer microblading and freckle tattoos, and you can see my work here!

Are you happy with the result?
Yes! I love them so much and am very happy that I decided to do this.

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