Why This Celebrity Tattoo Trend Might Not Be Worth Copying

It's not unusual for a celebrity to get a tattoo and then see that same tattoo become wildly popular among non-famous people shortly afterwards. Nobody really took face tattoos seriously until Post Malone inked "Always Tired" underneath his dark circles — and when celebrity tattoo artist JonBoy revealed Kendall Jenner's "meow" lip tattoo on Instagram in 2016, we couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to get one, too.
Not too long after, Jenner appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to explain exactly what the experience was like. Straight away, Jenner admitted she was drunk during her visit with JonBoy. (Keep in mind that most tattoo artists do not recommend drinking before getting a tattoo to avoid excessive bleeding and a compromised healing process.)
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She also said, perhaps surprisingly, that getting a lip tattoo wasn't nearly as painful as her experience getting one on her finger (she's not wrong; finger tattoos hurt). But even with Jenner's comments, we had to ask an expert whether or not this trendy tattoo spot was something worth considering for us. So, we turned to Fun City Tattoo artist "Big Steve" to tell us the truth. His expert advice on the pain, the placement, and the process, follows below.
Why does someone usually get a lip tattoo?
Similar to ankle or side-boob tattoos, lip tattoos are some of the easiest to hide. "Most of the time it’s people who want to do something rebellious without being blatantly defiant," Big Steve says. "[They want to] get a tattoo, but make it one that no one will ever see unless you flip down your lower lip for them."
Are lip tattoos as popular as celebrities make it seem?
"They definitely aren’t as common as they were in the past. We do a couple every six months or so at Fun City."
Does it hurt as badly as we think?
As always, pain is subjective. More than anything, the process is fussier than most other tattoos only because the artist is tattooing a moist area of the body. What's more, you'll have to flip your lip inside out to get it inked, so be prepared to play an active role in this one.
What's the most difficult part about getting, and giving, a lip tattoo?
"The hardest part is getting the stencil to stay on there before doing the actual tattoo," says Steve. "They have a tendency to smudge or wipe off before you start."
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Can I get my inner lip hand-poked?
"It’s possible to hand-poke a tattoo anywhere, but that doesn’t mean you should," Big Steve says.
What kind of designs work best for a lip tattoo?
While Big Steve says letters, you can get anything your heart desires, as long as it fits. For example, Miley Cyrus has a crying cat emoji on her inner lip, while Paris Jackson has "Mötley" on hers.
I hear they don't last long. Is that true?
Since not a lot of people get lip tattoos, there are two big misconceptions: Big Steve says most people either think it fades immediately or lasts forever, and the truth is neither are exactly right. "Everyone's body is different," he explains. "I've seen lip tattoos last years and I've seen them [fade] out within a few days. If you're going to get one, accept either possibility."
Now you should be ready to book your appointment — or call the whole thing off.
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