Permanent and semi-prermanent makeup treatments for lips are becoming more and more popular for obvious reasons. Many people recognized the convenience of not having to reapply lipstick several times a day. With the growing popularity of the original lip blushing treatment, PMU artists are getting creative and new spin-offs are emerging.
We give you all the details on Aquarelle Lips, the most sought after lip blushing technique at the moment.
What is lip blushing?
Like all permanent makeup tretments, lip blushing implies injecting pigments into the skin, or, more precisely, into the lips. The technician uses a machine with a fine needle to open up the skin of the lips in countless tiny jabs – this process is called microneedling. The pigment is implemented into the dermis, giving a color-from-within effect. The basic proceudre implies outlining or countouring the lips and filling them in with color, but aquarelle lips have emerged as a more subtle spin-off.
What are aquarelle lips?
Aquarelle lips are a special lip blushing technique which gives a lipgloss effect, rather than a full-on, opaque lipstick look (for more information on classic permanent lips tattoo, see our Permanent Lipstick – The Ultimate Guide). The most prominent difference between aquarelle lips and the traditional lip blush is the fact that there is no distinctive contouring with aquarelle lips, as the desired result is a soft, blurred effect. Think aquarelle or watercolor paintings, from which the treatment gets its name: subtle transition of shades, luminous, almost transparent colors with no sharp edges.
This effect is created by adding layers of shade in the chosen color in multiple passes, building the concentration of pigment to a desired saturation. By meticulous color placement, the technician can slightly modify the shape of the lips to take care of any possible asymmetry and diminish the look of any scars and discoloration. But remember, the point is for the lips to look natural, so they won’t be erased completely. Some particularly skilled techs can even create an illusion of extra volume reminiscent of subtle lip fillers.
What colors of aquarelle lips are there?
The desired result of aquarelle lips is a natural, your-lips-but-better look, so the shade range is mostly limited to natural, flesh-colored tones in pink and red. There are many brands of pigments out there and the range of shades is extremely wide, but the shades can also be mixed and customized. Many clients bring a lipstick or pencil as a sample.
It’s important to keep in mind that the healed result is about 30% lighter in comparison to the color right after the procedure, so you should consult your technician and take their advice into consderation.
How long does the treatment last?
The treatment lasts 2 to 3 hours. There’s usually a follow-up appointment 6 to 8 weeks after the initial treatment once the pigment settles in where more color is added and possible uneven fading is fixed.
It’s advisable to book a consultation appointment before the treatment itself so that you can discuss the desired shape and color, ask the technician whatever you’re curious about, and do a patch test to make sure there are no allergic reactions.
Who is a candidate for aquarelle lips?
People often opt for aquarelle lips as a way to enhance their natural beauty and get a confidence boost. The most common clients are:
- People with naturally pale lips or lips that faded due to ageing
- People with discoloration and scarring
- Anyone who wears lipstick daily and knows the troubles of smudgeing
However, as with every permanent makeup treatment, there are some limitations. Aquarelle lips are not suitable for people suffering from certain conditions:
- Psoriasis in or near the treated area
- Auto-immune diseases
- Anemia (pigment may not be retained properly)
- A history of keloid or hypertrophic scarring
- Ongoing chemotherapy
- Anyone using medication known to be blood thinners
- Pregnant or nursing women
How to prepare for the appointment?
In order for the treatment to give neat, natural-looking and even results, you lips shouldn’t be sunburnt, chapped, or overly dry. Exfoliated, moisturized lips absorb and retain pigments better and will make the procedure much shorter.
On the day of the procedure, avoid caffeine, alcohol, aspirin, ibuprofen, fish oil, niacin, vitamin E, and spicy foods, as they can make your lips sensitive. Avoid applying retinol-based products.
Can I have aquarelle lips if I have lip fillers?
Yes, but at least two weeks have to pass since your last injection.
Does the aquarelle lips treatment hurt?
At the beginning of the treatment, the technician applies a topical anesthetic onto the client’s lips. It takes about 30 minutes for the numbing cream to start working and the tech won’t begin the procedure until it does. They can also add some extra if necessary. So no, the procedure involves no pain per se, but there is bound to be some discomfort. This depends on the thickness of the skin and your general sensitivity.
What is the healing period like?
Improper aftercare can greatly affect the pigment retention, so it’s extremely important you follow the instructions your artist gives you.
In the first 24 hours after the procedure, you should wipe the lips with a moist cotton pad every half an hour to keep them hydrated, but you shouldn’t put on any lipbalm or cream. The next two days are the so-called dry healing period – you mustn’t get the lips wet or apply any creams, balms, vaseline. Don’t worry about the dryness. From day 4, you can use some vaseline to relieve the dryness and itching.
At no point should you rub, pick or scratch the treated area. The scabbing will go away naturally. You should avoid sun exposure for 3 to 4 weeks following the procedure and always apply sun protection even once this period elapses.
How long do the results of aquarelle lips last?
The results of the treatment last anywhere from 2 to 4 years, depending on the oiliness of the skin, the quality and color of the pigments (darker shades last longer), and your lifestyle. Exfoliation, long periods of sun exposure, swimming pools, ocean and hot tubs, as well as saunas and hot showers can make the pigment fade faster.
The effects can be prolonged with touch up appointments.
What is the price of aquarelle lips treatment?
The price of the treatment varies from artist to artists, and from state to state. It can be anywhere between $500-$1500 per appointment. Some artists charge extra for touch ups and consultations.