Dark Lips Correction

Dark lips color correction with lip permanent makeup tattoo


Lips come in all colors, sizes and shapes. Let’s talk about lip correction treatments, this could be a life changing procedure for many clients that struggle with discolored lips. Dark lip clients typically expect their lips to be even toned and lighter. While pale lips clients wish to define vermilion border and have more color coverage.


Every client requires a different approach to reach the best outcome, simply because every lip is unique. Especially dark lips correction has been controversial for many years in the pmu industry, however it keeps getting more popular with female and male clients who wish to correct or lighten their lips. Many artists don’t like to work on dark lips because it is hard to get a good result. This is for sure a specialty area of work.


Not every client is the right candidate for dark lips color correction

Many permanent makeup artists reject clients with darker lips. Not every client is the right candidate for this treatment. Melanin rich skin is very tricky to work on. Ethic lips correction is an extremely advanced technique that requires knowledge of color theory and right color selection.


During the first dark lips correction session it is important to neutralize cool tones and lift the darkness of lips with a help of warm based pigment and then work with red based colors.


In recent years, however, there has been a positive trend in dark lips micropigmentation. Many permanent makeup studios are now offering pigment colors that are recommended especially for African-American, Indian, Hispanic or Asian skin.

Before dark lips correction


Before lip tattooing is it important to ask the client during the consultation about the skin healing reactions to the wounds. Does their skin heal lighter or darker than their skin tone after scratch or injury?

If the darkness in the lips is associated with any trauma, you should avoid this procedure! The procedure could cause hyper or hypo pigmentation. African-American skin, along with Hispanic and Asian skin, is more prone to hyperpigmentation.

If the client has evidence of hyper, then the trauma to the skin can create more hyper spots. Moreover the trauma from the procedure can create darker pigmentation in already melanin rich skin, aside from pmu pigment implanted.

Hypo pigmentation refers to white patches of skin that are lighter than your overall skin tone. Your skin's pigmentation, or color, is based on the production of a substance called melanin. If your skin cells don't produce enough melanin, the skin can lighten or get light spots.


Most common causes of dark lips

Discolored lips can be the result of a few things that range from harmless, like staining from certain foods or drinks, to an underlying medical condition.


  • Trauma or injury. A bruise can form on one or both lips following an injury. This can cause your lips to be partly or entirely purple or black.

  • Smoking, the burns from the cigarette can cause a black spot on your lips

  • Lack of Vitamins such as B12

  • Dehydration-Inadequacy of water in the body resulting in lips during and cracking causing

  • Minor injuries, scars

  • Hyperpigmentation is also called Melasma. This is an abnormal increase of the melanin on the skin especially on the lips which is a result of prolonged exposure to the sun or licking your lips too much.

  • Hormone disorder in the body (the thyroid problems)

  • Certain medications also could cause darkening of lips for example phenytoin

  • Too much caffeine

  • Lip sucking

  • Allergic reactions to foods, toothpaste, lipstick or cosmetics

  • Lips that turn blue may be a sign that there’s not enough oxygen available from the bloodstream

  • Certain chemicals in lipsticks may also cause rashes and pigmentation so it’s good to know the ingredients and work with natural lipsticks


Spotted lips

Discolored lips can include spotting, too. The causes of spotted lips range from harmless sunspots to spots that are a symptom of a medical condition. Many clients complain about lack of pigmentation in the lips after multiple cold sores, caused by herpes simplex virus. Those white spots could be covered with lip tattoos, however sometimes it requires few sessions to implement the pigment.

Discolored Lips


Vitiligo is a long term genetic skin condition in which the cells that produce melanin, the substance responsible for skin color, die or stop functioning, causing white patches to appear. The goal is to make skin more even, bring back the color by tattooing with pigment matched with skin tone. Lips that are discolored or uneven in color can be filled in with natural lip colors.

There’s also the risk of koebnerization, which is the response of the skin to trauma that revels in new patches emerging, may result from either a linear exposure or irritation. The Koebner phenomenon, first described in 1876 by Heinrich Koebner, is the appearance of new skin lesions on previously unaffected skin secondary to trauma.

Any lip correction is not going to happen during one session, especially ethnic lips correction is a multiple session treatment. Only gentle technique and the right color match could do the work. It is important to choose pigments with a safe amount of Titanium Dioxide (white pigment) and high pigment concentration. Correction of bluish or purplish lips is not an easy case, actually it is a very challenging task!

Colors used for cool and dark lip correction


The best colors to neutralizecool and dark lips recommended by artists that specialize in this type of corrections include:

  • Gold/yellow tone - especially recommended for lips with deep, dark purple undertone

  • Orange/bright warm tone color, corrector light-medium dark lips with bluish tone. Orange heals pink.


After a neutralization session in most cases after 6-8 or more weeks, if the healed result is good, the artist can use targeted color. It is recommended to avoid cool colors like blue, violet or carbon black when working on dark lips.​

Dark Lips correction in steps

To cancel out the darkness and even out the lip color you will need multiple sessions 2-3 are required

  1. During first session, only yellow or orange will be used to create even coloured canvas

  2. At your second session, artist will check healed results and decide either to repeat the same process or use the targeted color


Pigment color + Skin undertones = Your final color result

Fitzpatrick Skin Scale


Fitzpatrick Skin Scale is a numerical classification schema for human skin color that estimates the response of different types of skin to ultraviolet (UV) light.

Developed by Professor Thomas Fitzpatrick MD of Harvard Medical School, is a classification system based on skin pigment to calculate sunlight burning.

TypeSkin ColorReaction to the Sun

The classification known as the Fitzpatrick skin type depends on the amount of melanin pigment in the skin. It is used before the micropigmentation process, since pigment implanted in the skin interacts directly with melanin, determining the final result of the color.


In the skin, melanin is produced by melanocytes. Melanocytes are cells found in the epidermis and their main task is associated with protection against ultraviolet radiation. When you implant a pigment in the skin, you must consider that the color you are applying will be mixed with the melanin in your client's skin. This is the reason why the same pigment sets in a different way in every person. In general the darker the skin, the darker the end result will be. Lighter skin complexion clients may have a bit more room to experiment with permanent makeup lip colors.

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