A creator went mega-viral for documenting her $50 lip blushing procedure in Colombia.
The semi-permanent tattoo is meant to enhance the color of the lips and give a more full look.
After the swelling subsided, she said the results weren't what she wanted, and it wasn't worth the pain.
A travel vlogger who chronicled her experience getting lip blushing — a semi-permanent tattoo that enhances the hue of the lips — has gone viral for showcasing the alarming aftermath of the procedure.
But even after the swelling subsided, the creator said the tattoo, which cost $50 and was conducted at a "fancy" establishment in Colombia, ultimately wasn't worth it due to the pain, lengthy healing process, and unsatisfactory results, she told Insider.
In her initial TikTok video, with 13.7 million views, Kaylen, who declined to disclose her last name amid concerns for future career prospects, took viewers along with her to her May 5 appointment. On the way there, she shared that she was already having some second thoughts and that she liked the way her lips looked naturally.
"While I was getting the numbing thing, I was like, 'OK, I definitely should go home,' Kaylen said on TikTok. "But I did not go home."
She wanted a pink tattoo, but the tattooer insisted on a deep red that she said would fade to pink — to which Kaylen ultimately agreed. She said she forged onward despite her doubts because of a friend had gone to the same shop and raved about the results.
The application process itself was so painful she "had to beg her to stop," Kaylen said in her video. And when it was complete, Kaylen's lips ballooned massively, which became an especially jarring look with the ruby pigment. "I just looked the worst out of anyone I've seen get this done," she added.
'I realized I honestly just like myself the way that I am,' Kaylen reflected later
Kaylen, who is 23 and based in Georgia, told Insider she left her job as a social media strategist in February to found a group travel business and become a content creator. She has been in Colombia for two months, and didn't have any misgivings about getting a cosmetic procedure overseas because "so many people do," she said.
Living off the grid and spending her days unplugged at the beach also meant Kaylen was blissfully unaware of having gone viral for two days until a friend alerted her.
Commenters were shocked by the results and clamored for updates. "My DMs are just flooded with people being like, 'Are you OK?'" Kaylen told Insider. "'Why did you do this? How could you do this to yourself?'"
The swelling had gone down by 30% that evening, she said — enough that she was able to go out dancing at a nightclub. The next day, the swelling had gone down completely, but the reddish tint began peeling away and her lips looked "kind of purple," she said in a follow-up YouTube video. The color grew "darker and darker," she updated viewers.
Kaylen told Insider that she's learned a lesson about speaking up for herself given the practitioner's insistence on the red ink. "I don't dislike it. I don't hate my results or anything. It's just not the results that I went in for," she said.
But even if the results had been better, she's not sure she would recommend it.
"My verdict is that it is not worth it," Kaylen said on YouTube, citing the pain, swelling, recovery time, and peeling she had to endure. She also noted the procedure can be far more expensive in the US, which makes it even less justifiable. (Lip blushing treatments in the US can run patients hundreds of dollars, if not over a thousand dollars.)
"I'm happy I kinda had a fail and didn't get my desired results, because it showed me to be more appreciative of my natural looks," she told Insider. "I realized I honestly just like myself the way that I am."
Read the original article on Insider