The Lip Process & Care

The Process

All PMU Lips are a two-step appointment process. At the first appointment, the client is profiled and the colour and shape of the lips is discussed, so the look and design are approved before the process begins. Once approved, the PMU application process begins.

There will be mild scabbing and aftercare required, but your PMU Lips should be completely healed in about 4 weeks.

The second appointment is a touch-up (3-12 weeks after the first session). This allows enough time for the ink in the epidermis to naturally slough off, and the colour to settle into your skin. At the touch-up appointment, it’s possible to see how your skin has received the ink and make any necessary corrections.

Sometimes a client’s skin undertones may have unexpected effects on the ink’s colour, and there may need to be an adjustment to the colour used. These kind of corrections are normal with any PMU Artist, and an essential part of the process, as everyone’s skin is different and receives ink differently. The client may also wish to slightly alter the shape of the blush, or to fill in areas that may have rejected pigment.

During the healing process after your first appointment, the colour will be super vibrant, almost like a lip stain. In time, it may also seem like the ink and tattoo is fading away completely. This is normal and the pigment colour will return as the skin heals and exfoliates. The new skin that grows, after the scabbing sheds, often has an opaque appearance, and is referred to as ‘milk skin’, which can greatly conceal the pigment implanted below the new skin. Be patient for a few weeks and trust the process. The pigment IS there, and will mysteriously reappear once the new ‘milk skin’ matures and becomes more translucent again. 

Where the ink doesn’t take as well, these areas will be re-treated during the second appointment touch-up process.  We’ll also tweak any pigment choices, or any design preferences desired during the touch-up appointment.

If you have suffered from cold sores (Herpes virus – Herpes simplex) you may experience symptoms of the infection after the treatment to the lips. Anti-herpes medication is available over the counter or on prescription and has been shown to prevent or minimise such outbreaks if taken 5-7 days prior to your treatment. 

You may also like to take an antihistamine tablet before your procedure. This can help reduce swelling. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist first. 

If you are considering lip fillers, it would be best to have your lips tattooed first and your fillers injected after. If you implant colour too soon after a lip filler treatment, you will be implanting colour above the natural line. When the lips shrink and return to normal size, the lip line will be off.

Pre-Appointment Restrictions

The following restrictions are to ensure your skin is in the best possible condition for an amazing PMU Lip procedure.  Please read carefully!

✔ Please do not work out the day of the procedure, as the body heat will expand the pores.   

​✔ Avoid exposure to heavy sunlight for a couple of weeks leading up to the procedure – heavy exposure can make the skin more sensitive.

✔ Do not drink coffee, or anything with caffeine in it, on the day of procedure – this can increase the likeliness of you bleeding during the procedure, which can negatively impact your pigment retention.

✔ Do not take Aspirin, Niacin, Vitamin E and/or Ibuprofen, Omega-3, unless medically necessary, 48-72 hours prior to the procedure (Tylenol or acetaminophen is okay).  These supplements thin your blood, and increase the likeliness of bleeding during the procedure. 

✔ Do not drink alcohol 24 hours before the procedure – this is a blood thinner also.

✔ Ensure you have had no Botox treatments for 3 weeks prior to your PMU procedure. Please schedule accordingly to avoid complications.

✔ Ensure you have had no Accutane Treatments within the past 12 months. 

✔ Ensure you have had no Waxing or Tinting 3 days before the procedure

If you have any questions about these restrictions, please contact High Brow Beauty and Brow Studio and we’ll be happy to clarify as needed.

The First Appointment

Please do not wear any lipstick to your first appointment. A typical PMU Lips appointment lasts up to 2 1/2 hours, depending on the work needing to be done. A touch-up appointment lasts anywhere from 1-2 hours, depending on the amount of work that needs touching up.

A standard first appointment will have the following steps:

Profile the client:  

First, the artist will assess your lifestyle and taste in lips.

Do you want something bold or natural, dark or soft? Do you wear makeup every day or just special occasions? What face shape do you have? This assessment will help the artist create the best lips for you.

Before photos will be taken of the lip area:

Your artist will request authorisation to take and display before and after photos.

Map and draw on the lips:

The artist will draw the lips directly onto your face. This will be the artist’s guide for the PMU Lip procedure. This also allows the client to see the final look before any permanent work is performed. Nothing is performed until you love and approve the design!

PMU Lip Application:

After a very precise numbing process for your ultimate comfort, the artist begins the PMU Lip application of choice, following the design drawing agreed upon with the client. The treatment is not painful, with most clients reporting only minor discomfort.

Client approval of finished design:

No PMU Lip application is considered complete until the client is 100% in love with the finished design.  The artist will ensure that you agree that the design is final, and the lip structure is symmetrical. 

Remove the excess pigment:

Once the final PMU design has been approved, and the final pigment mask has been completed, the artist wipes off any remaining pigment left on the client’s lips/face. 

If you look very closely, you may be able to see very small, slight traces of the marks used to ensure the critical lip design remained mapped on the skin during the anaesthetic process (after the procedure), but rest assured, any potential marking shadows will disappear over the next day or two at most.

Photography & After-care:

Your artist will now take the ‘After’ photographs of your new lips, and will then apply any necessary initial aftercare ointment The artist will go over your after-care instructions with you. 

Immediately after the treatment, lips will appear slightly swollen and tender. You can apply a clean plastic-wrapped, cold compress can be applied to reduce swelling and soothe the area, for 10 minutes per hour as needed until the swelling subsides. Little to no redness occurs for most clients and they will be ready to go back out in public immediately. Any redness that occurs, will heal with correct after-care steps taken post procedure.

After-Care Instructions

It is essential that you follow these instructions after your first PMU Lip session.

 The day of the treatment

After the procedure, the artist will gently blot the area with a clean tissue to absorb excess lymph fluid. This process can be continued every 5-10 minutes until the oozing has stopped. Removing this fluid prevents hardening of the lymphatic fluids (minimises scabbing). 

1 hour after treatment (plus 2-3 hourly for up to 24 hours), gently blot your lips with a wet cotton pad and let them air dry. This is to keep the lips clean and to remove any bodily fluids that have surfaced and to prevent the fluids from forming scabs. Do not use any cleansing products containing acids (glycolic, lactic, or AHA), or exfoliants.  

Apply a very thin layer (rice grain amount) of ointment/aftercare balm as instructed, and spread it across the treated area. Be sure not to over-apply, as this will suffocate your skin and delay healing. Gently repeat this every hour or as often as possible to keep lips moist on the day of treatment (Day 1) up until Day 10. If you do not apply enough ointment/aftercare balm, your lips will become tight and pigmentation will come out. Never put the ointment/aftercare balm on a wet or damp tattoo. 

First 7 days

Continue to apply ointment every hour per day, through to Day 10.

Within the first 7-10 days, avoid excessive sweating, saunas, hot tubs, swimming, facials and facial massages, steaming, face creams/products, exfoliants, prolonged water contact and/or harsh chemicals near your lips. Avoid all make-up and foundation on the lip area. Avoid sleeping face down on your lips, as this can impact the pigment retention. Make sure you use a clean pillowcase, just in case you do roll over in your sleep, to avoid contaminants coming into contact with your new lips.

Do not pick at any scabbing or flaky skin on the lips. This may cause major damage, scarring and/or premature loss of pigment. Also try to avoid wiping or licking your lips, where possible, for the first 3-4 days.

Avoid greasy, spicy and oily foods as well as citrus fruits and juices for the first 7 days as this can change the lip colour. Do not use citrus/fruit-based lip balms or lipstick until your lips are completely healed (about 4 weeks).

Be careful when cleaning your teeth for the first 7 days. Toothpaste can pull the pigment colour out of the lip vermillion. 

Sorry ladies! No kissing or direct water for 3 days (drink through a straw).

​Always apply your ointment/aftercare balm before showering to protect your lips from the water. Limit hot showers to 5 minutes or take warm showers instead during the first 7 day period.  Too much steam will affect the pigment and healing process of your skin. This will cause the pigment to push out.

Day 8 and on-wards

Begin using SPF again (minimum SPF 50)

Continue to avoid getting your lips wet for the next 10-14 days (up to Day 17-Day 21) – the longer the better). You can avoid getting your lips wet by applying ointment/aftercare balm and/or washing your hair toward the end of your shower. If you accidentally get your lips wet, gently pat dry with a clean tissue. 

Avoid for 30 days post treatment

✔ Sunbathing/direct sun exposure

✔ Light therapy, chemical peels

✔ Microdermabrasion

✔ Botox

✔ Retin-A

✔ AHA’s

✔ Fruit acids

✔ Laser treatment on the face

Always Avoid

✔ Creams containing regeneration factors (Retinol, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Anti-Aging creams, Acne creams near the lip area

✔ Laser treatments over the PMU Brow area (Fraxel, IPL, etc), as they can destroy the pigments, and potentially cause burns


Use of antibiotics and hormonal therapy can lead to faster pigment fading. 

Although rare, consult a healthcare professional at the first sign of any potential infection.

What to Expect after your first PMU Lip Session

Your lips will go through several phases during the healing cycle. It takes about three to five days to recover after a lip tattoo treatment, depending on the size and depth of the treatment. You can expect the colour intensity to fade by 40-60% after the first session. Have them retouched within 3 to 12 weeks for the best tinted and full result.

There will be initial swelling and expected dryness to fade and form into the desired shape and colour. You can expect slight pain or discomfort during and after the procedure since the lips are a highly sensitive and prominent feature of the face. However, derma/health professionals often apply strong anesthetics to numb the area and make the process as painless as possible.

Days 1-4: The pigment will appear very vibrant at first. This is because the pigment is still sitting on top of your skin, and has not yet settled in completely. The colour of the pigment will soften gradually. Do not be alarmed if you see some pigment on a tissue or cotton swab used, as this is an excess pigment and/or body fluid that is naturally exiting your skin. Your lips may appear larger than expected during this time. You may also notice the skin start to flake. 

Days 5-7: Once the healing of the skin starts taking place, it will look like dandruff flakes or dry skin. This might give you the impression that the pigment is fading too quickly, however, this is just superficial colour and dry skin being naturally removed from your lips. If you feel the colour is completely gone, please note that the colour may actually come back in time. Be patient and wait until your touch-up appointment. Sometimes, the pigment can become darker over this time, but it will fade.

Days 8-28: Your lips may still look a little patchy or uneven, but the pigment will start to ‘reappear’ as the pigment settles and the healing continues. You may get your touch-up/perfecting procedure done no sooner than 3 weeks after treatment (at least 4 is recommended), to allow for complete healing of the lips first.

4-6 weeks: The skin is healed revealing the pigment below. Once healed, the colour will have faded approximately 30-50% (from the day of the first treatment) and also blends in with the natural lip colour.

Is the touch-up session necessary?

Yes! A touch-up session after the above specified time, after your initial appointment is necessary, as everyone heals differently, and the outcomes can vary beyond your artist’s control. Certain areas may not pick up during the first session and will need to be refilled.  Pigment colour may need to be adjusted and the shape of the blush may need refining.​ Maintenance is recommended yearly.

If, however, you do not like the final effect after your touch-up, you can have the tattoo removed by saline base removal treatment or let it eventually fade out within two-three years.