Just don't tattoo them on yourself, as one unfortunate TikTok user did.
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Freckle Tattoos Are the New Cutesy Ink Trend — Here’s What You Need to Know
Credit: Getty Images

When I was a kid, I used to obsess over my best friend's freckles. They looked so pretty and almost American Girl-like — I was so jealous I didn't have them.

Fast forward a few years and faux freckles start taking off in the cosmetics industry. Now, you don't need to be born with them to get in on the fun. Instead, you can draw them on with makeup, create longer-lasting Henna freckles, or even get them tattooed on your face.

The latter makes sense considering the rise of cosmetic tattoos. People have been getting eyeliner and lip liner tattoos for decades, and even more recently, we saw the boom of microblading and lip blushing. Plus, with the launch of products such as Freck Beauty's Freckle Pen, Lottie London's Freckle Tint, Pseudo Labs' Phreckle Kit, and more, a bolder, more permanent version was bound to make its way into the mainstream.

Getting permanent ink is a serious commitment though, and considering it's going to be on your face, you have to be sure that it's A) what you really want and B) that you go to a professional. And while some people DIY their own ink, we urge you not to take this into your own hands as doing so could cause infections and cause scarring, as is the case of the below TikTok user who tried to tattoo freckles across her face.

"Unfortunately, with the rise in popularity comes a rise in poorly tattooed freckles," says Shaughnessy Otsuji, a cosmetic tattoo artist and owner of Studio Sashiko in Canada. "Freckle tattooing is meant to look very natural and undetectable. A random scattering and variety of tonal differences are what makes this procedure look the most realistic, and it should only be done by a trained professional and artist who specializes in natural-looking freckle tattooing."

So no, don't go to a general tattoo artist to get the job done. "Even though it is a tattoo, the process is a little different," explains cosmetic tattoo artist Zeta. "The pigments used are different from ink for body tattoos. The freckles are created using the same pigment that's used for eyebrow microblading, and they are hand-poked."

When done correctly, Otsuji says freckle tattoos can create a youthful, sun-kissed look, and she adds that they don't have to be limited to the face. "[They] can be done virtually anywhere on the face and body including the shoulders, neck, and arms and can be created in an array of natural colors, opacities, and even shapes — such as little hearts," she says.

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Before you book your appointment, both Zeta and Otsuji say there are several things you need to consider. You already know to look for a cosmetic tattoo artist, but your research should go further than that. "Look at plenty of portfolios, ask to book a consultation, ask questions, and choose an artist that suits you best," says Otsuji. Beyond that, Zeta also says to ask for photos of healed work.

When deciding on freckle placement, both experts say to experiment with makeup beforehand to see what you like — and they also encourage bringing reference photos to your appointment.

"In that vein, another piece of advice I have would be to start slow – a minimal amount or sprinkling of freckles is a good starting point," says Otsuji. "If you are happy from there you can always add more, but my best advice would be to take a conservative approach."

While skin type isn't necessarily the first thing you think about when considering a tattoo, it plays an important role with inked freckles. "While great results can be achieved on almost any skin type, it must be made aware that extremely oily skin generally produces a softer, more diffused look to the tattoo. Normal to dry skin tends to heal with the most crisp results," explains Otsuji.

It's also important to note that freckle tattoos will fade with time and are considered semi-permanent, which is why Zeta recommends going in for touch-ups every two years to keep them looking fresh. Otsuji adds that external factors such as regular sun exposure, face exfoliants, and brightening products can speed up fading. Sunscreen, she says, can help extend the life of your faux freckles.

Aftercare is similar to that of regular tattoos: "You need to wash them twice a day with a gentle cleanser and keep them moisturized. Most importantly, protect them from the sun at least for the first two weeks," says Zeta. However, since these tattoos will be on your face, Otsuji says to also avoid sweating and using makeup for at least 14 days.

"For most clients, the healing time is relatively quick, with freckles healing completely after two weeks or less," adds Otsuji. "Newly tattooed freckles will start out darker and will look slightly swollen and raised. Within five to ten days, freckles will develop tiny scabs, and start flaking off. Over the next three months, they will fade out to a more natural color."