Permanent Lip Makeup – Long-Lasting Lip Enhancement Options

By Emily M.| Last updated on May 19, 2022
Permanent Lip Makeup - Long-Lasting Lip Enhancement Options
⏱️ 5 min read

Makeup trends come and go, but one thing is evergreen – luscious, enhanced lips that draw attention to your smile. Lipstick is a staple in so many of our daily makeup routines – but what if you could have enhanced lips every day, at all times, without having to put makeup on them?

Well, you actually can. The permanent lip makeup treatment can give you the lip color of your dreams without smudging, no matter how much talking, eating, drinking, or kissing you do.

Sounds good, right? Here’s what you should know about permanent lip makeup.

Permanent Lip Makeup Is a Form of Tattooing

Permanent makeup is a huge trend in the beauty industry. It implies a range of cosmetic tattooing treatments that recreate the look of your favorite makeup products for the brows, eyes and lips, but in their long-lasting, smudge-proof forms.

Permanent lip makeup is done with a PMU machine, a small electric device that has a needle tip. The needle vibrates and punctures the skin in lightning-fast motions, depositing color in your favorite shade of lipstick into the skin of the lips. But as much as this sounds like traditional tattooing, it’s a more advanced technique suitable for lips.

Permanent Lip Makeup Is a Form of TattooingImage source: Instagram @anastasia_spiridonova_pmu

It Lasts a Really Long Time…

With pigments implemented into the skin of the lips, you’ll get a perfectly colored pout that doesn’t come off. It won’t come off during meals, you don’t have to drink through a straw so as not to ruin it, you can swim away in the pool or ocean, sweat it out in the gym, and your lips will stay flawless through it all.

…But It Fades Eventually

However, since this is a cosmetic tattoo, not a traditional one, your permanent lip color will eventually fade and disappear.

Lipstick tattoos can last out up to 2 years, and they can be refreshed and prolonged by repeating the treatment. Cosmetic tattooing is done with pigments rather than inks, which are formulated in such a way that allow the body to break them down and extract them, gradually fading the color.

So it’s not like you’ll go to sleep with your PMU lipstick one night and wake up with bare lips the next morning. The fade happens gradually, so the color of your lips will look less and less intense, but still good.

There Are Many Styles of Permanent Lip Makeup

Permanent lip makeup comes in many styles and can recreate a number of different lip makeup products and application techniques. Here are the most popular versions.

Full Lip Color

Recreates the full-on lipstick look.

The lips are outlined and colored in with the same pigment shade for an opaque look. It’s important to note, though, that certain shades are harder to pull off than others, since the pigments look 30-40% lighter once injected and healed.

The classic red, for example, will look bright and vivid for a short while, fading into a more subdued hue which still looks good.

Full Lip Color Style of Permanent Lip MakeupImage source: Instagram @prettyininkpermanentmakeupllc

Lip Blushing

Recreates a lip tint or sheer lipstick.

Lip blushing is the name of the technique used for all permanent lip makeup, but also for a specific style of lip tattoo. Namely, a sheer pop of color that blends into the lips rather than disguising them.

It’s a subtle enhancement, without a visible, sharp outline. The most popular colors are rosy hues that give a your-lips-but-better look.

Lip Blushing Style of Permanent Lip MakeupImage source: Instagram @madebymchl

Lip Liner

Recreates the – surprise surprise – lip liner.

An integral part of both mentioned permanent lip makeup styles, the PMU lip liner can also be done on its own.

It implies only coloring in the edges of the lips, outlining them and possibly modifying their shape a bit. But not too much, as the needle should never go outside of the so-called vermilion border, the border between the skin of the lips and facial skin.

It can be done in a clean line, or shaded into a lip for a more natural look. The sharp outline is a good idea if you wear the same opaque lipstick every day and complement it with an identical permanent lip liner, but the shaded version can also be worn on its own and look great.

Lip Liner Style of Permanent Lip MakeupImage source: Instagram @lipblush_bystacey

Permanent Lip Makeup Can Neutralize Dark Lips

Dark, cool-toned lips are something a huge portion of the population has, yet it seems to be a source of insecurity for many clients who come in for permanent lip makeup.

The good news is that the lip blushing technique can give dark lips a rosy tone. By injecting orangey pigments into the skin of the lips, the original purplish is neutralized, and the color of your choice can be added on top to color them into your favorite shade.

You can find more info here.

Permanent Lip Makeup Can Neutralize Dark LipsImage source: Instagram @foxelle.febluxe

It’s Quite Safe, But Not Risk-Free

Done with clean, non-toxic pigments and a machine that controls the depth and makes sure the needle doesn’t go too deep and damage the tissue, permanent lip makeup is completely safe if done by a trained, licensed PMU artist.

However, since the surface of the lips is broken, there’s always a chance of infection if the treatment isn’t done in sterile conditions and with sterile equipment, or the area can get contaminated in the days after the procedure (quick note: aftercare is super important), before the micro-incisions have had time to close up.

Another factor to be aware of is the chance of an allergic reaction to the pigment, but this is easily prevented with a quick patch test before your appointment.


If our quick run-down of the basic facts related to permanent lip makeup has caught your attention and the treatment sounds like something that you’d like to do, you can find more detailed info in our comprehensive lip tattoo guide here.

Cover image source: Freepik



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