Everything to know about lip tattoos: If they hurt, plus where to go and how much they cost in Singapore

Everything to know about lip tattoos: If they hurt, plus where to go and how much they cost in Singapore

Kiss it better

Text: Emily Heng

Image: Instagram | @zuziazawada
Image: Instagram | @retouchingacademy

Nothing makes more of a statement than a tattoo — particularly so when it is in a region entirely unexpected. Ink on eyelids and earlobes never fail to demand a double take. A highly sought after tattoo real estate as of late? Lips. The kisser is reclaiming center stage in 2019, albeit it has a different agenda. The inner lip tattoo has made a comeback on pouts of celebrities Kendall Jenner, Miley Cyrus, and Ruby Rose.

A smaller surface region means that intricate, sprawling designs are out of question, but don't let that fool you into thinking this is a walk in the park. According to many an established tattoo artist, more upkeep, aftercare, and pain tolerance are prerequisites to getting inner lip tattoos. In fact, a majority of tattoo parlours in Singapore opt out of the service altogether, because lip tattoos a) run a higher risk of infection; b) fades faster; and c) cost more compared to tattoos done on other — more conventional — parts of your body.

As with most tattoos, knowing what to expect is, of course, half the battle won. To help you with that, we enlist the help of several ladies and lads who've undergone the procedure. They dish their war-stories (kidding) and advice, below.

Zoe, 23, student

"There's no particular reason as to why I opted for a lip tattoo, except maybe that it is in an area that can be concealed pretty easily. I did half of my tattoo at Ink By Finch, and the second half of it at a tattoo parlour in Far East Plaza. Personally, it didn't hurt as much as the four other tattoos I have; it felt like nothing compared to my finger and ankle tattoos. It's no different than getting a tattoo in a 'normal' place, really. Your lip might bleed a little, but it's not as painful or scary as most people would think. If you can tolerate root canal treatments or tattoos on your fingers, ankles, ear or hip, I'd say you're good. It cost me about $120 total for both tatts. I ate prata directly after the procedure, and it didn't hurt at all. There's a bit of a swollen sensation when your tongue rubs against your inner lip, but that's about it."

June Chen, 27, marketing manager

"My lip tattoo is actually my first tattoo, ever. I chose it because I didn't want it too big or somewhere too obvious, so I decided on my lips! I got it done at Daily Dozens Studio, and it cost me about $30. There was no pain involved at all. Ulcers are way more painful. Throughout the procedure, it just felt like something was lightly scratching against my lip, and I could eat anything immediately after with no issues."

Bryan, 22, student

"I didn't consciously go out to get a lip tattoo. It was definitely more of an impulsive decision; I walked into this super shady parlour at Bugis and just went for it. It hurt, but it didn't take longer than 10 minutes to get the design I wanted inked, and the pain passed really quickly. My tattoo faded soon after that though, so I'd say it was a definite waste of money."

If inner lip tattoos are sounding less appealing by the minute, here's a less painful (and slightly less permanent) solution: the Dior Lip Tattoo. A long-wear coloured tint that stays up to 12 hours, it promises a weightless, no-transfer finish by fusing the formula to the lips seconds after application. Glycerine, bamboo water, and mineral pigments ensure that painted pouts stay hydrated throughout use, so there'll be none of that unsightly cracking and peeling to worry about either. You know what they say — if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

Even if it's in name only...