Lip Blush vs Lip Tattoo – Is It the Same Thing?

By PMUHub Editorial Team| Last updated on May 5, 2023
lip blush vs lip tattoo
⏱️ 6 min read

Lip tattooing has been a huge trend recently – but not the kind you may have in mind.

If you know anything about the permanent makeup industry, you know that the names can be confusing. There are so many treatments nowadays, and they go by a lot of different names, which can cause a lot of frustration in people thinking of getting a treatment.

One point of confusion is lip tattooing, AKA lip blush. Since the permanent makeup and decorative tattooing industries are related, it’s not uncommon for people to wonder what is the difference between lip blush vs lip tattoo.

Let’s explain.

What Is the Difference Between Lip Blushing and Lip Tattoo?

When a permanent makeup artist talks about a lip tattoo, they mean lip blush – a shading of the lips that gives the long-lasting (but not permanent) effect of enhanced lip color.

When a tattoo artist talks about a lip tattoo, they likely mean an inner lip tattoo – a form of body art.

So, since the term lip tattoo can mean both things, it’s all about context. Whichever you’re interested in, let’s go through some basic information about lip blush and lip tattoo.


Image source: Instagram @eyebrowgirlstudio

Is Lip Blush a Tattoo?

Yes, but not the traditional kind, as the purpose is different, and so is the procedure.

Modern-day permanent makeup, like eyebrow tattooing or eyeliner tattooing, implies a range of more advanced, more sophisticated techniques. Lip blush is now a gentle procedure which gives incredibly natural-looking results.

Lip blush will enhance your lips, give them a color boost, and perhaps even an illusion of extra fullness without fillers.

In the past, the effects of makeup would be recreated with basic tattooing, the kind that’s done on the skin of the body for decorative purposes. This meant very obvious results that didn’t look like the recreation of makeup – they looked like facial tattoos.

Now, the techniques have been adapted for facial skin, the tools and supplies are much more advanced, and the effects are not supposed to last forever.

Still, the principle at the core of lip blush is tattooing, but a cosmetic kind. A needle is used to implant color into tiny dots that add up to a shading effect. The skin is broken, and the color stays in the skin for a certain time.

So, lip blush can also be referred to as a lip tattoo. Confusing, we know.

Quick Facts on Cosmetic Lip Tattoos

Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know if you’re looking to get your lips blushed:

Fact #1: Lip Blushing Lasts a Couple of Years

The pigment implanted into the skin doesn’t stay visible forever, like body tattoos do.

The particles of the colorant are broken down by the body, plus the skin of the lips constantly renews itself, and as a result, lip blush gradually fades.

The results usually last around 2 years, getting lighter and lighter until they go away, unless you get them refreshed.

The longevity is very individual, though. Learn more about the factors that determine how long lip blush lasts here.


Image source: Instagram @art_pm_chicago

Fact #2: Lip Blush Can Be Done in Many Styles

Cosmetic lip tattoos are completely customizable, meaning they can recreate the look of your favorite lip product.

You can get just your lip liner tattooed, with sharp or soft edges, or you can get the whole surface of the lips shaded.

The shading can be more sheer or more opaque, so it can look like a lip stain or a lip tint. The full-on lipstick effect is also possible.

The ombre effect is also possible, although it hasn’t been as popular lately.

And the color is fully customizable, too, although vivid colors can require more sessions to achieve.

Fact #3: Lip Blush Is Safe If Done Right

Just like any tattoo is safe when done properly, without overworking the skin, and with high-quality supplies.

The lips are a sensitive area, but a skilled, trained artist will know how to implement the pigment gently.

The only risks are allergies and infections, both of which can be prevented. Doing a patch test before the procedure ensures you don’t react to any of the products used, and proper care after the treatment keeps the treated area from getting infected.

Common side effects like dryness, flaking and some swelling are to be expected – just like with any tattoo. The only thing we have to highlight is the possibility of getting a cold sore flareup if you’re generally prone to them, which is also not a big deal.


Image source: Instagram @ondikot_enchantress_artistry

Further Reading

If we caught your attention and lip blush is something you might be interested in, you can find more information in these articles:

You can also explore the lip blush section on our blog, or read the detailed lip tattooing guide.

What About Body Art Lip Tattoo?

Inner lip tattoos are designs inked into the tissue on the inside of the lower lip. Just like regular body tattoos, it can be whatever you want it to be, words or little pictures, or whatever, as long as it’s relatively simple.

Detailed work is not very likely to turn out crisp and durable, and mid-thickness linework is more or less the standard.

Inner lip tattoos are usually done in black, but they can also be done with colored ink, and even white.

The only limitation is the limited space.


Image source: Instagram @notamnomen_tattoo_and_art

A Bit About the Inner Lip Tattoo Procedure

The procedure is more or less the same as with any decorative tattoo. A tattoo gun with an oscillating needle is used to make tiny punctures in the skin and deposit ink into them.

Your lip is turned inside out, and the artist works on the mucosa. Either the artist holds your lip turned with one hand and tattoos with the other, or they ask the client to help and hold it.

The lips are a sensitive area, so inner lip tattooing can be quite uncomfortable. But the procedure doesn’t take that long, so the whole thing should be tolerable.

The complicated part starts after the procedure is done – healing and aftercare and be problematic, due to the location of the tattoo. The mouth is full of bacteria, it’s moist, and you have to eat!

To minimize the possibility of complications – primarily infection – you’ll have to make some adjustments to your lifestyle and routine for a few days. Your tattoo artist will give you specific instructions, and you should do your best to stick to them.

If you notice any symptoms of an infection developing, you should contact your artist immediately.


Image source: Instagram @logans.ink

Longevity of Inner Lip Tattoos

Inner lip ink doesn’t last forever. Due to the properties of the tissue, you can expect them to last up to 5 years tops. They start to blur and disappear at some point due to the fast rate of tissue regeneration.

Final Thoughts – How to Choose a Technician for Lip Blush vs Lip Tattoo

Regardless of what type of lip tattoo you’re looking for, make sure the person you choose for doing the treatment is properly trained, skilled, and has experience working on the lips.

Now that you know what is the difference between lip blushing and lip tattoo, it will be easier for you to find a technician to perform the treatment, as you know where to look.

It’s very unlikely you’ll find one artist who does both, so you’ll need to turn to either a permanent makeup artist who does lips if you want lip blush, or a tattoo artist who does inner lip tattoos if you’re looking for body art.

Cover image source: Freepik

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