I have always wanted bigger lips. As someone whose mouth is on the thinner side, I’ve done my fair share of research when it comes to ways to enhance what I’ve got. Those options were: A) overdrawing my lip line, which can go from subtle to, well, not-so-subtle real quick, or B) fillers, which are a serious time and financial investment (touch-ups every four months? No thanks). But after some heavy online digging, I stumbled upon an underrated gem of a solution: lip blushing.
Lip blushing is the trend that’s guaranteed to take over the cosmetics world in 2019. But before you cringe at the thought of taking a needle to your lips, hear me out: it’s actually a quick and easy process. According to Christopher Drummond, Licensed Aesthetician and Microblading and Cosmetic Tattoo Master at PFRANKMD Skin Salon (the medical spa owned by Madonna’s right-hand dermatologist, Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank), this semi-permanent procedure is simply meant to enhance the color of your lips, not totally transform them. The process involves an array of tones and “pixelating” techniques to give your lips a faux-natural pigmentation, defined lip line, and slight ombré shading. With microblading being so popular nowadays, it’s surprising lip blushing hasn’t caught wind just yet.
“Most [people] think lip blushing is a traditional cosmetic tattoo,” says Drummond. “The ‘old school’ tattoos used different equipment, like a regular tattoo gun and tattoo ink–which only have the basic colors.” This makes people think that they’ll be left with big, blocky lips for the rest of their lives, Drummond tells me. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
When I stepped into the procedure room, Drummond whipped out a sleek, gunmetal-hued mechanism that he deemed as “the BMW” of micropigmentation tools—and honestly, I was a bit intimidated. After taking a few minutes to debate my new color—the popular “make them noticeable, but still natural” request—I sat back and felt the slight pinch around my lip line. At first, it felt like tolerable pokes that were more annoying than painful, but as time passed (and the added numbing gel started to kick in), I felt little-to-nothing as Drummond went at them with a steady hand.
An hour later, he lifted the mirror to my face and asked me how I liked my newly pigmented lips, and I had no verbal response, just a giant grin. My swollen lips were now a deep flesh-pink tone—think a permanent rendition of the Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Fig. They looked really good.
Other than the light swelling, there was no downtime or recovery—just a giant tube of Aquaphor on-hand at all times to ease the light itching. As the days passed, the excess pigment began to slowly flake off (like any tattoo would) as my lips transitioned into a more subtle mauve tone. I’ll admit, I did pick at them a bit, so that may have messed up the intensity of the color, but I’m perfectly content with the color of my (now fuller) lips.
Overall, this little journey didn’t meet my expectations—it went beyond them. I don’t find a need to constantly put on a coat of lipstick and overdraw my lip line, but I also know that I still have the choice to do so if I wanted. It was a fun experiment that worked in my favor, and if you have the $1,200 bucks to spare, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Sure, the procedure may not be life-changing, but it definitely is life-enhancing.