I Tried A Lip Liner Tattoo For A Fuller Pout — Here Are My Honest Thoughts
The lip-plumping space is brimming with innovative technology to encourage volume, enhance color, and smooth fine lines—without so much as a tingle. I've tested my fair share of these offerings, but as someone who adores a pouty lip, I still resort to a smudge of liner on my upper and lower border (shoutout to Tower28's One Liner, my everyday go-to).
But here's the thing about liner: It rarely lasts. I'll certainly need more than a few touch-ups throughout the night after eating, drinking, talking, kissing, et al. I could always head to the bathroom or use my phone's camera to haphazardly recolor my lips, or I could take advantage of the beauty industry's new solution: a lip liner tattoo.
Skeptical? I was, too. Below, find out whether this new semi-permanent product is truly worth the hype.
What is a lip liner tattoo?
I stumbled upon it like most beauty hacks these days: down a TikTok rabbit hole. Board-certified dermatologist and mbg Collective member Whitney Bowe, M.D., stopped me in my tracks when she reviewed a video of someone using Maybelline's Tattoo Brow Peel Off Tint. Rather than applying the formula on her eyebrows, the user traced her lip border with the temporary tint. After letting it dry for a few minutes, she peeled off the tattoo and was left with a naturally plump pout.
"I can get behind this," Bowe says regarding the groundbreaking trick. "It's actually safer for the lips than most lip plumpers on the market."
Several more minutes of scrolling, and I came across Sacheu, a Los Angeles–based beauty brand focused on barrier health. The founder, Sarah Cheung, swears by this brow tint trick (her video was one of the first to go viral), so much so that she created her own peel-off lip liner tattoo.
It's the same idea as the brow tint (apply, let it set, then peel), but because it's meant for your lips, it includes nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and vitamin E. Imagine a lip liner and a lip stain had a baby—you'll find similar ingredients to both, like safe polymers and emollients to give the peel-off tint its staying power. Sacheu has even partnered with ClearForMe, a platform that allows shoppers to click on each ingredient and discover straightforward definitions and functions.
All that to say: I simply had to give this clean lip liner tattoo a try.
The brand offers three tattoo shades, but I decided to go with "MUAH-ve" since it closely resembles my Tower28 favorite. At first glance, the thin tube looks like any other lip stain—it even has a doe foot applicator for an easy glide. I traced the pigment along the center of my upper and lower lip lines, staying away from the corners (that's how you achieve even more of a pouty appearance, per makeup artists), and let it dry for around 15 minutes.
Aside from looking like I had a thin, wiry mustache, I have no glaring side effects to report. I'll admit the formula was a bit drying, but it was pretty similar to other lip stains I've tried. Unfortunately, lip stains do often leave my lips thirsty for moisture—but because the tattoo isn't actually going on my lips, I could apply a hydrating lip balm beforehand to prevent the chap. I tapped on mindbodygreen's lip balm since it has a simple nourishing formula, making sure to dab directly on the lips and leave the border bare.
Once I peeled off the tattoo, the contrast between my natural lip color was a bit stark. But after applying more lip balm and lip oil (I used Exa's All Smiles Universal Glow Lip Oil), it blended right in. And much to my delight, the color didn't budge at all, even after hours of eating and drinking.
If you regularly ring your lips in liner, I would totally recommend giving Sacheu's peel-off lip tattoo a try. It is a bit drying for your lips, so I personally wouldn't use it every single day; but for a special event or social outing, it's the perfect solution for lasting volume and color.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.