Cheek blush tattoo (also known as cheek tint tattoo) involves injecting semi-permanent pigment into the skin to mimic your desired blush colour. The technique utilises micropigmentation, a form of cosmetic tattooing where precise and controlled amounts of pigment are deposited into the dermis (the skin beneath the visible layer of your skin). Injecting pigment into the dermis enables the pigment to last longer and look more subtle. The result is a natural flush that can last from one to three years, depending on individual factors and maintenance.
The tattoo’s placement (e.g., the angle, position and shape of the blush) can have a significant impact on your face structure, and even change the way your face looks. For example: blush applied in an upward, diagonal angle gives the illusion of higher cheekbones, whilst blush applied in a horizontal circular shape makes the face appear rounder. The template below demonstrates blush techniques many professional makeup artists follow, to best enhance and complement different face shapes. But remember: there are no hard and fast rules for applying blush, because it is ultimately up to you what kind of aesthetic you want to achieve!
Colour selection (much like blush placement) is an individual preference, however, there are certain hues that are generally considered more flattering for particular skin colours and undertones. It’s important to note that skin undertone (cool, warm, neutral) is not necessarily dictated by your skin colour (e.g. fair, medium, light-medium, dark and deep). For example: you can be cool-toned and have a fair complexion, or cool-toned and have darker skin. How do you know what type of skin undertone you have? People with ‘cool-tones’ will have more purple or blue in their veins, whilst those with warm-tones will see more green. People with neutral undertones will have a combination of both blue and green in their veins.
There is no one-size fits all for each skin undertone or skin colour, the right blush colour will depend on both your skin undertone and skin colour. For example: people with fair complexions and cool undertones, will generally suit different colours in comparison to those with fair complexions and warm undertones. Similarly, someone with a fair complexion and cool undertone, will generally suit a different colour to someone who also has a cool undertone, but a darker skin colour. The chart below provides general guidance on the blush colours that are most flattering for different skin undertones within each type of skin colour.
Consultation: The first step in the cheek blush tattoo journey is having an in-depth consultation with the cosmetic tattoo artist performing your procedure. During this session, the artist will assess your facial structure and skin tone, and your specific aesthetic preferences (e.g. the colour and the placement of the blush).
Customising the colour: Drawing upon an extensive range of shades, the artist then selects a hue that best complements you. Individual pigments can also be mixed together to create a custom shade – so there is no ‘one size fits all’ formula. Tattoo artists recommend that clients bring in their favourite blush, so they can accurately replicate the colour.
Practice: Before commencing the procedure, it is best practice for the tattoo artist to create a draft outline of the tattoo on your face. This involves showing you precisely where the pigment will be applied and shading in the area with the colour you selected — using a washable formula, not the actual tattoo pigment. This process might involve some trial and error, as the tattoo artist may alter the outline and colour depending on the feedback you provide.
Numbing: Once you are satisfied with the colour and placement, the procedure can actually begin! A topical numbing cream is applied to the cheeks for approximately 30 minutes to ensure a comfortable experience.
Precise Application: The artist will use either a microneedling tattoo pen or permanent makeup machine to carefully deposit the pigments into the dermis. The process involves controlled strokes to ensure even distribution and a soft and glowy finish. The type of equipment used will depend on the outcome you desire; the microneedling pen produces a more natural tint, whilst the permanent makeup machine creates a bolder effect.
Healing ointment: After the pigment has been deposited, a healing ointment is applied on your fresh tattoo to help accelerate the skin’s recovery process.
Immediate Results: Post-treatment, the blush may appear more intense than the final outcome. However, over the next few days, the colour will gradually soften and settle into a delicate and natural-looking flush.
Temporary Sensitivity: Following the procedure, the treated area may experience mild redness or sensitivity, similar to a slight sunburn. This is normal and will subside within a few days.
Proper Aftercare: As a general rule of thumb, avoid putting makeup on the area for at least 3 days post procedure. Try to refrain from activities that will cause excessive sun exposure, sweating, and contact with water during the first week of healing. To ensure the pigment heals evenly and colour retention is strong, replace acid-based skincare products (e.g. Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid etc) with gentle skincare designed for sensitive skin. Do not schedule any laser treatments for at least 2-weeks post procedure.
Longevity and Maintenance: The results of permanent blush tattoo typically last from one to three years, depending on individual factors, including skin type and lifestyle. To extend the longevity of the blush, touch-up sessions are recommended every 12-18 months.
Montana, the director of aesthetic clinic, Parlour Dala, provided a first-hand account of her healing journey during the first 7 days post cheek blush tattoo. Everyone’s skin reacts differently, so whilst her experience below provides a general guideline – your own recovery may look different.
Immediately after: The colour was very strong and intense, and there appeared to be minor swelling and bumpiness. The texture of the skin initially resembled a moderate allergic reaction.
14-hours: The colour significantly subsided, however, her right cheek was more vibrant than the left side. Unevenness or patchiness during the recovery process is normal, as each side of the face may heal at different paces.
2 days: The colour faded by at least 50%, but her skin started to feel slightly parched and rough (think of it like scaly, winter skin). When Montana smiled, the skin slightly creased due to pronounced dry patches.
4-days: Most of the dead skin and flakiness subsided. There was some very minor scabbing and dry spots that remained, but the colour significantly reduced.
7 days: Dryness completely dissipated and the colour settled into a soft rosy glow.
Time-Saving Beauty Routine: One of the primary advantages of permanent blush tattoo is its time-saving nature. No longer will you need to apply blush daily; your cheeks will be beautifully blushed, even and natural, from the moment you wake up.
Waterproof and Sweat-Proof: Unlike traditional blush that may fade or smudge throughout the day, permanent blush tattoo remains intact through sweat-intensive activities, such as swimming or workouts, ensuring a lasting rosy glow.
Customisable and Natural-Looking: Skilled micropigmentation artists can tailor the blush shade and placement to create a personalised and natural-looking result that complements each individual’s unique features.
Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may be sensitive or allergic to the pigments used in the tattoo, which can lead to skin irritation, redness, or swelling.
Infection: As with any tattooing procedure, there is a risk of infection if proper sanitation and hygiene practices are not followed during and after the process.
Colour Fading or Change: Over time, the blush tattoo may fade or change colour due to factors such as sun exposure, skin type, and individual healing processes. If you are unsatisfied with the results and wish to remove or alter the blush tattoo, the process can be challenging and may require multiple laser tattoo removal sessions.
Scarring: In some cases, scarring may occur if the skin does not heal properly after the procedure.
To minimise risks and ensure the best possible outcome, it is crucial to choose a certified experienced micropigmentation artist who follows strict safety and hygiene protocols. Following the collect after-care protocol advised by the tattoo artist is also vital to ensuring proper healing. Not everyone is a candidate for this procedure, therefore the artist must assess your suitability for the procedure. Generally, people with acne, may not be suitable for this procedure, as it could aggravate the skin and the colour may not look as even.
Story by Kristina Zhou. Holding shot via IG @rosiehw