Manual Lip Tattoo: How Is It Done and Are There Any Benefits?

By Emily M.| Last updated on February 6, 2023
manual lip tattoo
⏱️ 4 min read

Permanent makeup is at that point of development where it can be done in two ways: with a permanent makeup machine, which is similar to a tattoo machine, and a manual tool, which is usually a kind of blade with needles for blading and shading.

A manual tool is most commonly used for microblading, an eyebrow tattoo technique for creating natural-looking hair strokes. Another similar manual tool can be used for a very popular permanent makeup treatment – a lip blush or lip tattoo.

Let’s find out if manual lip tattoo is still done, what are its perks, and if it’s worth it.

What Is a Manual Lip Tattoo?

As opposed to a regular lip tattoo, which is nowadays done with the above-mentioned permanent makeup machine, a manual lip blush is a type of cosmetic tattoo done with a manual shading tool.

If you’ve heard of microblading, which is done with a blade that consists of tiny needles, dragged through the skin to create incisions that resemble hair strokes, manual lip blush shares only one similarity. That is, it uses a tool that is not electrical.

The tool is used for manual shading (not blading). Blading cuts the skin, while with shading, the skin is pierced. It uses a so-called soft tap technique. The pigment is tapped into the skin of the lips.

Fun fact – there’s also a tapping method of doing microblading, called pixel blading. Learn more about it here.

What Are the Results Like?

The results are pretty much the same as with machine lip blush. It’s a tattoo for the lips, it enhances their color, shape and adds fullness. It’s like wearing delicate lipstick all the time.

Lip blush, whether it’s done manually or with a machine, is also great for covering up scars and hypopigmentation, neutralizing dark lips, and balancing the symmetry of the lips.

Manual lip tattoo will also give great retention and last for a couple of years, and the technique itself is as gentle to the skin as the machine one.

manual lip tattoo results
Image source: Instagram @softap_inc

What Are the Advantages of Manual Lip Tattoo?

Those PMU artists who perform manual lip shading say that it is much faster to do the lip blush manually. Artists who prefer this technique also say that they feel like we have more control in terms of depth with the manual technique and that it’s easier to implant color.

Also, some of them noticed that there’s less swelling after the manually done treatment compared to the machine one. However, swelling is not something that should worry clients, since it subsides quickly most of the time.

Manual lip blush can be great for those artists who are already skilled with manual tools, but not so much with a machine.

There are also some permanent makeup artists who use the manual tool, even the microblading blade, for the outline, for more precision and they use the machine for the rest of the treatment.

Manual lip tattoo advantages
Image source: Instagram @spablisswv

What Are the Disadvantages?

The PMU artists who do this technique claim that it’s as good as the machine technique. The only problem can be that it’s not as popular as it used to be.

That means that PMU artists are switching to machine work, so it may be hard to find an artist in your area for manual lip blush.

Also, for those who want to learn lip PMU, there is so much to choose from when it comes to machine lip blush courses and very few manual lip tattoo courses.

Should I, as a Client, Go for a Manual Lip Tattoo?

If you trust your PMU artist and you are sure they have enough experience and knowledge, go for it. Those who perform only manual lip tattoo will say that it gives more natural results.

And if they know how to do it that way and they’ve done it for years with great results, then it should be fine.

But it will probably be much easier to find an artist who performs lip blush with a machine. Contemporary machines and pigments are nowadays very advanced and made for the most popular PMU procedures, lip blush being one of them.

Should I, As a PMU Artist, Learn Manual Lip Tattoo?

If you really love manual techniques and there’s a good manual lip tattoo trainer you can learn from, then yes, go for it.

But bear in mind that, according to recent surveys, machine work is the present and the future of PMU. It’s not only lip blush that is best done with a machine, but eyebrows too.

As we said, PMU machines are very advanced and PMU and tattoo professionals work on their improvements all the time. They are just going to be better, easier to handle and provide better results and retention.

If you already know and do manual lip tattoo, you can use its advantages for advertising this technique. It’s good for outlining, but lip blush is more commonly done with a machine.

To Sum Up

Technically, all PMU results usually achieved with machine work can be done with manual tools, too, as long as you have sufficient skill and experience. But that’s the hard way. Clients trust and request machine work way more, so we’ll see what the future holds for  manual techniques.

Cover image source: Freepik



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