Permanent Makeup for Lips – Is It a Good Solution & What Are the Options?

By Emily M.| Last updated on July 21, 2022
permanent makeup for lips
⏱️ 6 min read

Lip makeup is something most of us wear at least occasionally, and many wear it daily. While tinting up your lips and making them pop definitely brings out your beauty, lip makeup products can be such a nuisance, with all the stickiness and the smudging.

Permanent makeup for lips to the rescue! Thanks to the rapid growth of the PMU industry, you can now get your lips permanently enhanced with the so-called lip blushing technique. It’s a non-invasive, relatively quick and simple treatment which adds color to the lips and juices them up.

Let’s go through basic info about permanent makeup for lips.

How Is Permanent Makeup for Lips Done?

Lip permanent makeup is actually a form of cosmetic tattooing, meaning, the skin of the lips is broken, and dyes are implemented into it. However, the color isn’t traditional tattoo ink, but rather PMU pigments, specially formulated to fade away after a certain time.

The skin is broken with a PMU machine, a pen-shaped device which features a vibrating needle that pokes the skin over and over again, creating tiny dots of pigment that give the lips the desired shade from within.

Depending on the color saturation and the effect the client wants, the dots are placed in different configurations. This allows artists to create different styles and looks of permanent makeup for lips.

The treatment is always done over a course of at least 2 sessions, since not all of the pigment that is implemented into the skin survives the healing process.

The lips lighten up to 50% compared to the shade you get right after a lip blushing session over the course of 6 weeks, at which point more color can be added.

how is permanent makeup for lips done?Image source: Freepik

Does It Hurt?

We won’t lie – it can get quite uncomfortable.

The treatment is always done with a topical anesthetic which eliminates most of the pain of the needle puncturing the lips. But since the skin of the lips is so thin and delicate, it’s likely you’ll feel some discomfort.

It can feel like repeated scratching or extreme pressure.

But the treatment usually doesn’t last longer than an hour, so it’s bearable.

Learn more about what permanent makeup for lips feels like in this article.

How Much Does It Cost?

Permanent makeup for lips can cost anywhere between $200 and $1000, sometimes even more than that. The average is around $600, though.

It all depends primarily on the style you want, the location, the exclusivity of the salon where you’re getting the treatment, the experience of the artist, and finally whether you need any additional sessions.

What Styles of Permanent Makeup for Lips Are There?

The lip blushing technique is versatile and it can be used to recreate a range of lip makeup styles like lip liner, natural-looking lip tint, a more saturated look along the lines of a lipstick, or it can be used to neutralize cool-toned lips.

Permanent Lip Liner

Lip liner is something that can be worn on its own, or as a first step towards full-on lipstick. Done in its permanent version, it gives you the option to wear lipstick over it whenever you feel like it, but your lips will be neatly outlined at all times.

Permanent lip liner can be just a defined outline, or it can be shaded in towards the center of the lips. If you get the shaded version, the effect is similar to an ombre lip.

permanent lip linerImage source: Instagram @madame_endzi_pmu_proartist

Subtle Lip Blush

Lip blush is often used for both the technique used to perform permanent makeup for lips and the most popular style.

If we’re talking about lip blush as a style, we mean a consistent, nicely blended that covers the whole lip area. It’s most often done in rosy or flesh-toned shades, since these colors work well regardless of high pigment loss during healing.

There’s also aquarelle lips, a special style of lip blush that’s even more blended and subtle, with the outline of the lips not so sharply defined.

natural looking lip blushImage source: Instagram

Full Lip Color

The most saturated, most dramatic style, usually chosen by clients who wear the full-on lip liner + lipstick combo on a daily basis.

Darker, prominent pigment colors are used to significantly darken the lips and give them an opaque look. This one can be tricky to achieve, with all the expected pigment losses, and it can take more than the default 2 sessions to achieve the desired saturation.

full lip color lip blushingImage source: Instagram @inkbybritt_jessica

Dark Lip Neutralization

Finally, permanent makeup for lips can be used to neutralize the cool, bluish-purplish tone some people’s lips naturally have. By implementing warm-toned pigments, the coolness is canceled out, and the client can choose to keep their lips in the neutral shade they get, or they can add a different color on top.

dark lip neutralization lip blushingImage source: Instagram

What Does It Look Like Healed?

Lip blush fades a lot during its healing process – up to 50%. Out of all PMU treatment, lip blush is the one where the most pigment loss happens as the skin is closing up.

This is something that’s well known and artists work with this in mind.
Clients need to be aware of the fact that their lips won’t retain the shade they have right after the treatment, and that they’ll need at least 2 sessions to achieve the pigment saturation sufficient to give them the color they want.

So, be prepared for the artist to go somewhat darker with the pigment shade and don’t panic – the color will lighten up.

On the other hand, it’s important for you not to expect your lips to stay as prominent and as saturated in color as they are right after the session, even if you love the look. Follow your aftercare routine to maximize the retention, but a portion of the pigment will get extracted and there’s not much that can be done about it.

healed lips after lip blushingImage source: Instagram @lipblushbygeorgia

And What Does It Look Like After a While?

Permanent makeup for lips is supposed to last about 2 years, however, since the lips are constantly exposed to external influences (sunlight, food, drinks, sweat, etc.), the color can fade significantly by this point.

The pace of fading is very individual and there’s really no way of knowing in advance how long your lip tattoo will survive. You can get it refreshed once in a while with touch up appointments.

The things, even as the original shade of your lip PMU fades, your lips will still look enhanced. It’s not like they’ll go back to their pre-PMU color overnight.

What you can do to slow down the fading as much as possible is to follow the initial aftercare regimen, wear SPF-infused lip balm whenever you’re outside, avoid direct sunlight exposure, and don’t exfoliate your lips too often, if at all.

permanent makeup for lips Image source: Instagram @chassepermanentmakeup

So, Is Permanent Makeup for Lips Worth It?

Permanent makeup for lips works best for people who either have very pale lips they want darkened up a few shades, or those who are self-conscious about their cool-toned lips.

On lips that are naturally darker, it can be tricky and sometimes impossible to achieve the shade the client may want, and the results may not show very well. Still, some enhancement will definitely happen.

Whether lip PMU is worth it or not really boils down to your expectations. But be prepared to pay a not an insignificant sum, to muscle through some discomfort, to deal with the sometimes stressful color settling period, and potentially having to get frequent touch ups.

You can try it, and if it doesn’t work out, you don’t have to commit to it forever – just let it fade away.

If you want to learn even more about lip PMU, here’s our Comprehensive Guide.

Cover image source: Freepik



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