Why Permanent Lip Liner Is The New Filler!

Cosmetic Treatments


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Getting up every morning and throwing on a full beat isn’t ideal or always feasible, but thanks to advancements in the beauty realm it’s still possible to jump out of bed looking fresh AF. Truly, the whole high maintenance to be low-maintenance thing is a real godsend for those of us who want to wear makeup without the daily investment. You’ve got lash lifts and tints, microbladed brows, permanent eyeliner and, the topic of today’s conversation, permanent lip liner, which has magical powers for balancing and redefining the lips.

With help from Dominique Bossavy, a kickass celebrity permanent makeup artist who serves as a go-to for Megan Fox, Jenna Dewan Tatum, and Michelle Williams, we’re breaking down every single thing you need to know about permanent lip liner.

What is Permanent Lip Liner?

Permanent lip liner is simply a mild form of tattoo that’s placed on the lips. Bossavy says, “It’s the implementation of color around the vermilion border of the lips, where often, as we age, the contrast and definition or a youthful, 3D effect has flattened. This makes the lips seem as if they’ve faded or disappeared.”


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Usually, a permanent lip liner application is combined with other techniques – including highlighting lip definer and lip blushing – for a more natural effect.

“If performing a liner procedure, you want the technician to proceed with caution and blend the color of the liner so that it doesn’t over-contrast your lip’s natural color. It needs to be a gradient effect – a subtle contrast blending between border and lip tissue in order to not look overdone or too drawn on,” says Bossavy. “Too often, I see revision cases that resemble the heavy handed, very dark, or black-lined lip borders of the ‘70s.”

When applied with a highly skilled hand and blended beautifully, permanent lip makeup can create lips that look fuller, more defined, and therefore more youthful.

Is Permanent Lip Liner Actually Permanent?

Fear not, commitment-phobes. Unlike actual tattoos – which penetrate deep into the skin’s surface to create long-lasting color – permanent lip liner isn’t actually permanent. This is because it doesn’t penetrate as deeply.

Who’s the Best Candidate for Permanent Lip Liner?

“This treatment is for a client who’s used to wearing makeup and likes to use pencil, lipstick, and gloss, but wants to keep the time and effort to a minimum,” says Bossavy. “It is also for someone who has had their lip color and definition fade out, or their border flatten over time. I also recommend it for those with significant asymmetries since the technique can add balance.”


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What’s the Lip Liner Application Process Like?

First, your permanent makeup artist will apply a numbing cream to the area in order to prevent pain. This ensures that the level of discomfort is little to none. From there, the process is slightly varied from artist to artist, but Bossavy was kind enough to share her specific technique.


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“After numbing the area, I draw a line around the lips with a pencil, correcting any asymmetries if necessary. The line must be consistent in thickness throughout and placed on the outer and inner border, otherwise it will look uneven or crooked,” says Bossavy. “I will also match the client’s complexion and natural lip color with two colors that are in harmony with each other. The color for the liner should be maximum four shades darker than the lip’s gradient color.”

After applying the darker of the two colors, she’ll go back with the lighter color, slightly overlapping them. She says, “This technique creates a gradient blend toward the inside of the lips. This is what defines the lips but keeps a soft, natural effect. For liner treatments, this is key. For my work, while it may be called lip liner, the magic is the clients will never see a ‘line.’”

What Are Permanent Lip Liner Results Like?

Results vary depending on your artist’s technique and skill level, but Bossavy says the ultimate goal of permanent lip liner is to help lips look fuller, more symmetrical, better defined, and slightly more pigmented. Think of it as a YLBB lippie, but on steroids — and much more long-lasting.


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Adding other permanent makeup techniques can heighten the effects, too. “[For example], if I do a full lip blushing where the gradient colors are used over the entire lip tissue, I can create even more fullness, shading, shimmer, and dimension, as well as further modify the appearance of shape. The all-over color also restores a general youthfulness, eliminating the ‘washed out’ or tired look some women have without any lipstick.”

Can You Still Wear Makeup With Permanent Lip Liner?

Yep, of course! The joy of permanent lip liner is that you can still wear your favorite lip products, but that even if you don’t, you still look snatched.

“This technique is an instant face brightener,” says Bossavy. “A ‘wake up, no make-up’ fresh-faced look where the pop of color and subtle definer and highlighter are just the right amount of pretty without needing any makeup enhancement.”


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What Happens Over Time to Permanent Lip Liner?

As we mentioned, permanent lip liner isn’t actually permanent, which means that over time it’ll fade. Assuming it’s been performed with the right pigment and not over-drawn far away from your lips, it will slowly get lighter and slowly disappear. You can expect it to last for about three years with gradual fading over the course of that time.

Bossavy notes, “If performed with the wrong color match or wrong blends to make a color, it can start to look grey or purple with some color particles fading faster than others.”


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With that in mind, let’s move on to the last question…

How Do I Find an Awesome Permanent Makeup Artist?

As with any semi-permanent or permanent procedure – especially those that involve puncturing the skin – choosing a highly trained professional is super important. You don’t want to walk away with the obviously drawn-on, unmatched lip liner, which is a common mistake you see from amateurs.

First, make sure that the person you’ve selected has a wealth of experience that’s backed up with customer testimonials and before and after images. Setting and location also matters. The studio should look and smell spotlessly clean and should be a proper location versus a basement or living room. Finally, the artist’s aesthetic should vibe with your own to ensure that the end result is nothing short of perfect.

How Much Does Permanent Lip Liner Cost?

Depending on where you live and where you go, prices vary quite a bit. While Bossavy charges $3500+ for this service since hers is so detailed, we’ve also found prices online from other studios that range from $500 to $1000. The more detailed the work is, ultimately, the more expensive it becomes.

We don’t know about you guys, but seeing all these pictures is seriously making us consider permanent lip liner! Would you guys try permanent lip liner?