Lip Blush Correction: Regrets, Expectations & How to Handle

By Katarina V.| Last updated on March 26, 2024
how to deal with lip blush corrections
⏱️ 7 min read

When a lip tattoo takes a dark turn and ends up with lips looking embarrassing or botched, a lip blush correction is the lifesaver that can fix the whole mess.

But, troubleshooting bad lip tattoos isn’t always smooth and easy. At some point, tricky problems with the old ink might pop up, sabotaging you on a mission to get the picture-perfect pout.

So, here’s what to expect when tough times happen and how to handle the situation to help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Normal Lip Blush Side Effects Vs. Lip Blush Mistakes

Generally, every lip blush treatment has its side effects, but these symptoms are all short-lived, normal, and to be expected.

For example, redness and swelling are not unusual, because the procedure is done on the delicate lip tissue, which triggers a natural inflammatory response that manifests as temporary irritation.

The real red flags are odd color shifts, pigment migration beyond the intended area, and irregular healing patterns.

And these anomalies are actually why most clients come in for a lip correction feeling frustrated and embarrassed.

So, let’s take a closer look at these lip blush mistakes and see why they happen in the first place.

Mistake #1: Pigment Showing Up Outside the Vermillion Border

A common and unfortunate event regarding lip blushing is implanting the pigment far outside of the natural lip border.

Over time, the pigment fades from the lip skin, but the exaggerated and often asymmetric overline stays in place, resulting in a total mismatch.

Plus, there is a high risk of the outer line healing darker and harsher than the rest of the tattooed lip area, leading to an embarrassing clown-face appearance.

Of course, overstepping the border is allowed to create fuller lips, but only marginally and no more than that! Even if we’re talking about a couple of millimeters only, that’s more than enough to create this disaster situation.

pigment outside of the vermillion borderImage source: Instagram @tesstattoo

How to Remove a Lip Tattoo over the Vermillion Border?

Well, there is a limited number of corrective treatments that can fix this situation, and it all comes down to the laser or the chemical solution.

Let’s take a closer look at these procedures and explain the pros and cons of each option:

Laser Removal

This technique targets the unwanted pigment outside the lip border with a laser beam, which breaks down the sharp outline into smaller and softer particles until they disappear completely.

To achieve satisfying results, the laser parameters, including fluence, repetition rate, and spot size need to be adjusted perfectly based on the color status of the lip tattoo.

The two most common and effective types of lasers used for tattoo removal are the PicoSure and the Q-switched lasers, but even in these cases, it might take between 2 and 5 sessions to successfully remove up to 90% of the old ink.

However, not all lip tattoos are suitable for laser removal. Colors containing titanium dioxide, the ingredient present in 99% of lip pigments, can’t be removed that easily.

Instead of going lighter, these specific pigments grow darker in color when treated with laser, leaving an awkward mustache-like shadow on the skin around the lip area. Therefore, a chemical remover becomes necessary.

Also, laser removal near the lips can potentially lead to tissue damage, hypopigmentation, and possibly even leave an unattractive grayish-blue outline around the lips.

To learn everything about laser removal, make sure to read this guide.

Chemical Removal

Chemical removal of lip tattoos, specifically using saline tattoo removal, involves creating incisions in the skin and introducing a saline solution containing sea salt.

The saline solution helps to gradually break down the original ink pigment used to overline the lips, which is then absorbed by the skin.

As a result, the treated area forms scabs, and the old pigment lifts and adheres to these scabs, ultimately falling off as the scabs heal.

Saline tattoo removal is typically considered safe, effective, and suitable for most skin types. It typically requires between 2–6 sessions to achieve complete removal, although individual results may vary.

Mistake #2: Lip Blush Color Looking Unnatural or Too Dark

The main motivation for getting a lip tattoo is the promise of waking up every day with beautifully tinted lips. Unfortunately, the pigments sometimes heal off color and end up looking dark, too cool, or too warm.

In the case of dark lips, the mistake is typically linked to the poor choice of the pigment hue, saturation, and value.

If the hue is less saturated, the lip blush results appear grayish. If the old pigment has a higher value, it’s going to heal darker. That’s how deep brown or even black lip tattoos happen in the first place.

Another common mistake is when artists forget to warm up the lip pigment, so the natural lip undertones shine through, leading to a purple, blue, or magenta.

lip blush before and afterImage source: Instagram @ashleelauraartistry

How to Color Correct a Lip Tattoo Gone Wrong

The answer is simple – by understanding permanent makeup color theory!

To fix the unwanted hue, you always want to use the complementary color because it can neutralize the original pigment.

For example, for dark lips, you want to do a freshen-up with more saturated colors that appear pure and vibrant — which is exactly what you need to cancel out the dark tones and brighten the lips up a bit.

If you want to neutralize purple, blue, or magenta lips, go for the complimentary orange hues that can warm up the cool pigments.

On the other hand, if the old work is too orangey or red, you can always use cooler pigments to neutralize and tone down warm hues.

Here you can learn how to choose the perfect blush lip colors for each client.

@alexandrahardeetattoos lip correction on tattooed lip liner and lip blush. This session was only to neutralize the blew and grey tones. #botchedpmu #permamemtmakeup #lipblushing #liptattoo #evenflowpigments #permablend #permablendpigments ♬ without me - favsoundds

Also, it’s important to note that both melanin-rich and white skin can develop pigmentation irregularities when exposed to trauma.

Mistake #3: Hyperpigmentation or Hypopigmentation after Lip Blushing

Depending on the client’s ethnicity, their lips can develop post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation after the lip blushing treatment.

This typically occurs because ethnic lips have a 60%–70% higher concentration of lipid cells per skin layer than other skin types.

The lip blushing process can inevitably cause trauma to the lips, leading to the over-stimulation or under-stimulation of the natural melanin production.

In cases of overstimulation, the skin responds by producing excess melanin, resulting in the development of darker pigmentation areas.

hyperpigmenation lip blushImage source: Instagram @seduireacademy

Conversely, in instances of under stimulation, the skin stops producing pigment, leading to the formation of white areas on the lips.

hyperpigmenatation lip blushImage source: Instagram @brendasbeautybar

How to Correct Hyperpigmented or Hypopigmented Lip Tattoos?

For hyperpigmentation, you can do a color refresh to address the dark spots and even out the pigments.

Also, you can use topical treatments containing ingredients like hydroquinone, retinoids, Kojic acid, or vitamin C to achieve a more even tone before the correction.

This may remove some of the original pigment, but the correction will be easier and more effective. Here you can find handy tips and hacks on how to treat hyperpigmented lips.

Once the correction is done correctly, it’s a good idea to avoid exfoliants, as they can lead to uneven color on the healed results.

For hypopigmentation, color correction treatment can be performed right away to even out the lip tone. This process involves using warm-based corrective pigments, such as red, orange, and yellow, to lift the base color.

It’s important to use pigments with a safe amount of titanium dioxide (TiO₂) because they do not contain too much white pigment.

Also, the technique is key — no bouncing, 2–3 passes maximum, and proper stretching during application — to reduce the level of trauma and prevent the risk of new post-inflammatory complications.

Mistake #4: Lip Tattoo Uneven Fading

The lip blush healing process may take up to 6 weeks, during which the color might seem more or less even.

However, poor aftercare, infections, and skin conditions triggered by viruses like herpes simplex virus (HSV), can disrupt the healing process after the initial treatment, leaving lighter patches across the lip area.

Also, repeated needling during lip blushing can cause a flare-up of the virus, leading to blisters, oozing, and adding up to potential pigment loss.

On top of that, the immune response to foreign-body substances plays a massive role in how the lips accept the pigments, affecting the overall retention and longevity of the lip blush tattoo.

lip tattoo uneven fadingImage source: Instagram @ashleyprovost

How to Correct the Uneven Lip Tattoo Fading

If the uneven fading is due to infections or a virus like herpes, it is essential to treat the underlying condition first before attempting any correction.

Antiviral medications like acyclovir may be prescribed to prevent or treat cold sores, which often emerge if HSV is triggered by intense lip stimulation during the treatment or if the virus enters the system after the appointment.

In cases of mild to moderate fading, additional strokes can be made to reinforce the pigment and coverage, ensuring even lip blush color.

uneven lip tattoo fadingImage source: Instagram @sjbrowslondon

However, if the fading is extreme, removing the old tattoo first via laser or chemical peels and then starting fresh may be a better option.

Lip Blush Correction – Key Takeaways

For a lip blush correction to succeed, clients and artists need to be aware of the factors causing the original lip tattoo to turn out differently than expected.

Different skin types, conditions, and undertones can react differently to pigments, affecting the final look of the tattoo.

Also, the correction technique should be personalized depending on the condition of the original lip blush. This can be as simple as adjusting the color balance, neutralizing unwanted tones, or using specialized pigments.

But, if the old lip tattoo is in really bad shape, the best option is to remove it completely and then start fresh with a lip correction.

And remember, the success of a lip blush correction relies on collaboration between the client and the artist. So, the more you trust each other, the more perfect the correction results will be!

Image source: Freepik

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