What Is Lip Shading? Everything About the Procedure

By Emily M.| Last updated on December 9, 2022
lip shading technique
⏱️ 4 min read

The permanent makeup community keeps coming up with new and exciting treatments to enhance not only our brows but our lips as well.

With so many lip treatments available like lip tattoos, lip blushing, aquarelle lips, and more, it can be quite a challenge to find the treatment that suits you best (and not get lost in all that terminology in the process).

Read this article to find out what is lip shading, how it’s done, and how to distinguish it from other lip PMU treatments.

What Is Lip Shading?

To better understand what is lip shading, we first need to understand what is lip tattooing.

A lip tattoo is a permanent makeup procedure that involves inserting pigments beneath the surface layer of the skin of your lips with a specialized PMU machine.

Lip tattooing is done with several established techniques, depending on the color coverage and the general look that you want to achieve.

Lip shading or lip blushing is one of the most popular lip tattoo techniques that has become synonymous with the procedure itself.

what is lip shading
Image source: Instagram @agnespermanent

What Does Lip Shading Look Like?

Lip shading is a very versatile technique that can be customized and adapted to each individual person.

It can be done in many different colors and degrees of opacity, and that’s why you can opt for various shading styles depending on your preferences.

If you like a more sheer pop of color, then the aquarelle lip style might be the best option for you, since it doesn’t have any dark and defined edges.

But, if you’re looking for something more noticeable that will at the same time make your lips appear fuller than they naturally are, you should give the ombre lip style a try.

what does lip shading look like
Image source: Instagram @naturalblushbynatalie


Keep in mind that the true look and color of your lips will be revealed once they have healed completely. They won’t look as opaque and dramatic as they do right after the treatment.

How Long Does a Lip Shading Tattoo Last?

The effects of permanent lip shading vary from person to person, but most commonly they last anywhere from 2 to 5 years.

The most important factor in the longevity of the results is how well your skin holds cosmetic pigments and how hard your system works to break them down and extract them.

Your lifestyle habits also play a role in lip shading longevity so try to keep sun exposure and frequent swimming in pools and the ocean at a minimum.

You can prolong the effect of your procedure by getting regular touch-ups, which should be done about once a year.

What Does the Lip Shading Procedure Look Like?

The lip shading procedure begins with a consultation with your artist on the look you want to achieve.

If you’re doing consults a few days before the treatment, they will do a patch test to exclude any possibility of allergies to the pigment or numbing solution used during the procedure.

Before the procedure begins, your artist will numb the treated area with a numbing cream, to make the whole procedure as comfortable as possible.

Using an electric needle device, the artist will tattoo a million tiny dots on the lips, gradually saturating them in pigment over multiple passes. Since your lips will be numb at this point, you might just feel slight pressure from the machine.

When the procedure is done, your artist will clean the treated area and apply a nourishing balm that will help your freshly tattooed lips stay hydrated.

what does lip shading procedure look like
Image source: Instagram @tesstattoo

Lip Shading Healing and Aftercare

Once your procedure is over, healing starts to take place. Since this treatment implies breaking the skin and creating micro-wounds with thin needles, it will take about a month and a half for your lips to heal completely.

During this time, your lips will go through phases of swelling, scabbing, and peeling, which will be over by the time you’ve reached 2 weeks after your procedure.

For your lips to properly heal and retain as much pigment as possible, it is important not to pick at scabs and apply an aftercare ointment prescribed by your artist regularly.

Find more in-depth information on lip tattoo healing and aftercare here.

What Are the Benefits of Lip Shading?

Lip shading is a permanent makeup treatment that comes with many benefits:

  • It can add color and dimension to lips that are naturally light.
  • It can make thin lips look more voluminous.
  • It can correct lip asymmetry.
  • It can neutralize dark lips.
  • It can camouflage lip scars.
  • It is long-lasting and smudge-proof.

But to get all the benefits without any of the risks, make sure to find a trustworthy, licensed artist for your treatment.

To Conclude

Permanent lip shading is one of the most popular lip enhancement treatments to date. It is also known as lip blushing for its ability to create delicate, natural-looking results.

This treatment is done by blending PMU pigments in a customized shade into the skin of the lips, where they can stay for up to 5 years, or until your body naturally breaks them down.

Lip shading is a great option for anyone who wants to add color to light lips, correct any unevenness in color or shape, or even camouflage lip scars.

Cover image source: Freepik



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