Semi-permanent makeup (SPMU), or cosmetic tattooing, is not a new phenomenon. In fact, over the last five years, more and more people have undergone SPMU procedures to ensure they look flawless from the moment they wake up to the minute they go to sleep. From eyebrow microblading to scalp repigmentation, semi-permanent makeup is one of the best ways to enhance our natural features without having to go under the knife.
One of the most recent semi-permanent makeup trends is freckle tattoos, otherwise known as ‘faux freckles’. Faux freckles have been designed to help clients achieve that constantly sun-kissed glow without having to expose their skin to excessive amounts of sun.
Semi-permanent freckles can be created using two different techniques. Technicians can use a rotary machine to insert pigment dots into the skin. Alternatively, they can use a manual device to make tiny, dot-like incisions that are later filled with pigment to create a beautifully natural freckle effect.
What are tattoo freckles?
Freckle tattooing is a semi-permanent makeup procedure designed to mimic the look of natural freckles. Artists can either use a tattoo machine or a hand-held tool to insert pigment into the skin.
Many undergo faux freckle procedures to emulate the sun-kissed look created by freckles. However, without constant sun exposure (which can be incredibly damaging for the skin), natural freckles will fade over time. Faux freckles, in comparison, can last up to three years, helping to enhance an individual’s natural glow all year round.
How are tattoo freckles done?
Faux freckles are achieved by opening the skin with either a PMU machine or hand-held needle and depositing freckle-coloured pigment into the face. The tattoo ink is normally injected close to the surface of the skin to create a very subtle, natural effect.
To achieve the best results, clients must undergo two treatment sessions. The first procedure is the most technical and involves injecting the first layer of pigment into the skin. The second session, performed 6-8 weeks after the first, is mandatory to top-up the pigment and ensure exceptional results.
It is important to note that the pigment will lighten by 30-40% after the initial treatment, ensuring a more subtle effect.
Tattoo freckles: step by step process.
To understand the faux freckle procedure process fully, it is best to go through the treatment step by step. So, let’s take a look…
Step One: Consultation.
The first stage of any semi-permanent makeup procedure is to set up a consultation between the artist and client. This is very important as it allows both parties to fully understand how the procedure works, and what results are hoped to be achieved by the end of the treatment.
During the faux freckle consultation, the client should choose where they want their freckles to be placed and how much coverage they desire. The technician should also assess the client’s skin tone and pick the most suitable shade of pigment for their complexion.
Step Two: Cleaning and Pre-Drawing.
Once the initial consultation is complete, the tattoo artist should clean the client’s face of any makeup or skincare residue. Skin must be clean as it will be broken with the needle and, if any product remains present, there is a risk of contamination.
Once the entire area is sterile, the pre-draw process can begin. Using a cosmetic pencil, the tattoo artist should map out the placement, shape, and size of the freckles.
Step Three: Numbing.
When the client is happy with the pre-draw, a topical numbing cream can be applied to the area. After about 15-20 minutes, the tattoo procedure itself can begin.
Step Four: Tattoo Time.
What technique an artist decides to specialise in will determine how the procedure itself is administered. If using a rotary machine, the artist will insert a first layer of pigmented microdots into the skin before passing over with a second layer. If using a manual tool, the technician will make lots of tiny dot-like incisions to the skin before filling with pigment.
The entire tattoo process should take around 25-40 minutes in total, depending on how many freckles the client desires.
Step Five: Cleaning.
After the artist has finished tattooing the face, it should be cleaned of all excess pigment.
The client should also be supplied with detailed aftercare instructions, as well as any aftercare solution recommended by the technician.
Step Six: Touch Up.
After the freckles have healed completely, usually after six to eight weeks, the client should return for a top-up treatment. This allows the technician to ensure the pigment has blended correctly with the skin, and to fill in any gaps that have appeared during the healing process.
It is worth noting that the initial pigment shade will lighten up to 40% of the original colour during the first couple of months following the treatment.
The healing time for faux freckles is relatively quick compared to a normal tattoo. Clients can expect the tattooed area to appear slightly swollen immediately after the treatment itself. However, any redness or swelling should reduce after a few days.
On around day three, the client will start to notice scabs forming on the tattooed area. Over time, these scabs will start to flake off to reveal beautifully healed results. It is incredibly important that the client does not pick or exfoliate the scabs during the healing process as this could lead to patchy, unnatural-looking faux freckles.
Below is a breakdown of what the client should expect to experience during the first two weeks following the initial procedure:
Day One: Redness, swelling and minor irritation around the tattoo area.
Day Two: The side effects of day one should have subsided. However, on day two, the scabbing will start.
Day Three-Five: A thin film of skin will form over the freckle tattoo. The area might begin to feel dry or itchy.
Days Five-Ten: After the tattooed area has healed, any scabs will start to fall off.
Days Ten-Fourteen: By the end of the two-week healing process, the scabs should have all fallen off to reveal natural-looking faux freckles.
How long do tattoo freckles last?
Freckle tattoos can last up to three years. However, like any other cosmetic tattoo, they will fade over time. Therefore, if clients want to keep their facial tattoo looking fresh, they will need to book in for an occasional top-up. After the mandatory touch-up 6-8 weeks after the initial treatment, most clients return for a faux freckle touch-up once a year, but this all depends on how fast they are fading. In short, clients can get a touch-up as frequently or as rarely as they want.
Whilst the tattoo will fade naturally over time, there are a few things clients can do to reduce the speed at which their freckles disappear. These include:
- Avoiding excessive sun exposure. If a client does want to sit out in the sunshine, they should layer up on SPF to protect their tattoo.
- Avoiding frequent swimming in chlorinated pools.
- Avoiding aggressive skincare regimes. Products that include retinol, AHAs, BHAs should not be used on the skin before or after a faux freckle tattoo. These products are used to exfoliate the skin, which can cause premature fading of the freckles.
Potential side effects of a freckle tattoo treatment.
As with any cosmetic procedure, there are some potential side effects to freckle tattooing. However, adverse side effects are very rare, and the risks associated with freckle tattoos are low. Potential side effects may include:
The above symptoms are completely normal, and to be expected during the first 48 hours following the procedure. If, however, such symptoms persist after two days, clients should contact their technician immediately as they could be suffering from an allergic reaction or infection.
Freckle tattoo aftercare.
Looking after a freckle tattoo is straightforward, and similar to the aftercare regime of many other SPMU procedures. Below are our top tips for keeping faux freckles looking fresher for longer:
- Clients must keep their face dry for at least 24 hours following the initial procedure. After the first day, clients should only wash their face with a very gentle soap. Skin moisturisers should be non-scented as any fragranced products may irritate the skin.
- Clients must not exfoliate the tattooed area too much. The scabs formed post-tattoo need to fall off on their own terms to avoid patchy results. To achieve a softer, more natural look, clients can gently exfoliate the area approximately seven to ten days post procedure.
- Clients must avoid applying makeup to the tattooed area for around ten days.
- Clients must not soak the area for at least ten days. This means swimming, saunas and steam baths must be avoided, as well as excessive sweating.
- Technicians can supply their clients with a small supply of aftercare cream to ensure the pigment can develop and heal correctly to reveal the best results.
How much do freckle tattoos cost?
Freckle tattoos can cost anywhere from £80-£350. The price of the procedure generally depends on how many freckles the client is after, and who the practicing artist is. More skilled technicians will charge a higher rate, whilst those starting out can charge a little less to practice their technique and build a portfolio.
Freckle tattoo round-up.
So, there you are! Absolutely everything you need to know about the amazing faux freckle trend! Freckle tattoos are a safe, simple, and effective way to achieve that youthful glow without exposing the skin to excessive sunlight. The treatment itself is straightforward and can yield amazing results if performed by a skilled practitioner.
Looking to book in for a faux freckle procedure?
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