Women Are Tattooing This All-Over Their Faces in the Name of Beauty

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Move over permanent makeup, there’s a new twist on the trend: fake freckles—as in the tattooed variety.

Montreal cosmetic tattoo artist Gabrielle Rainbow says she’s not sure what sparked the trend, but she started doing them as a result of her best friend being tired of drawing hers on with makeup.

“Before tattooing her, I experimented on myself—I really don’t recommend tattooing your own face—but once I saw that it worked out, and I liked the effect, I decided to do hers.”

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Now Rainbow is doing them on a “wide range” of clients. “I’d say for freckles, it’s clients who naturally will get some in the summertime with sun exposure, but want them year-long.”

The type of cosmetic tattooing Rainbow does is semipermanent, and she says the “freckling” is typically completed in one hour-long session, with results lasting up to three years. “Depending on the artist, the price starts from the $250 range. This is for one session, and that doesn’t typically include follow-up appointments, which can range in price depending on the time spent.” 

“In terms of the freckles, when they are ‘freshly done,’ they will appear swollen almost like bee stings, and the swelling will go down within a couple hours and you’ll be left with your cute, fresh freckles. Over the course of one to two months, the color will soften dramatically and look more natural. They will fade naturally with time, and if you wish to keep them you can always get the color boosted whenever you like.”

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Like pretty much anything concerning your body, Rainbow stresses that you have to do your homework. “I think cosmetic tattooing or permanent makeup is really on the rise, and obviously with any trend, you will have people who will want to take advantage of that. Because this is your face, it’s important that you do your research and find artists who aren’t afraid to show their portfolio and healed work. Even if this is ‘semipermanent,’ there are risks, such as technicians who will go too deep or not use the proper inks.”

But as Beverly Hills, CA, dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD, points out, freckles aren’t necessarily a sign that your skin is its healthiest. “When you’re young, freckles can look adorable even though they’re a sign of sun damage. But when you’re over the age of 30, they are distracting to the eye and reduce attention to beautiful features in the face such as the eyes.”

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