On a June morning in Brooklyn, Chloe Saar almost fell asleep on a bed in a cozy room as a makeup artist used a needle dipped in liquid semi-permanent dye to prick about 20 microscopic dots on her cheeks.
Keila Cummings, artist and co-owner of browstressthe cosmetic tattoo shop, was wiping away excess ink with baby wipes as Ali Gatie’s “Used to You” floated on the 10th floor in the Dumbo neighborhood.
“Oh, it doesn’t hurt at all,” said Ms. Sari, a 35-year-old women’s fitness trainer who lives in Brooklyn. “Honestly, eyebrow waxing is even worse.”
Prior to her appointment, Ms. Saar had swatched herself with an eyebrow pencil to wear the latest beauty trend that thousands of people around the country are trying out: freckle tattoos. Available in the shape of hearts, stars or even astrological signs, melanin-laden skin tags have become TikTok’s latest obsession.
Freckle tattoos are created with the same pigment used in eyebrow microblading, another cosmetic treatment in which semi-permanent pigment is etched into the surface of the skin. The effect of microblading is fuller and thicker eyebrows.
These fake sun kisses take about an hour to perform and are less painful and more permanent than traditional tattoos. It lasts about eight months to two years, depending on skin type, sun exposure, and how often the recipient peels, and costs start at around $200 to $500, depending on tipping, location, and how many people get it.
Crystal Cummings, Kyla’s 36-year-old twin sister and co-owner of Browstress, said the freckle tattoos started popping up around 2018. She said she learned how to do them after a client’s request.
“She told me to call her when — not if — she started doing it,” said Crystal, who sprinkled her nose with freckles and tattooed herself.
Crystal, a former 911 worker, opened Browstress in 2018. She was inspired to learn more about microblading when her aunt was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy, which caused her eyebrow hair to fall out. She watched YouTube tutorials, practiced on herself and mastered the touch-up required to make her freckle tattoo look natural.
“You want it to be light and airy,” she said, “and you want the edges to be really soft.”
Throughout history, freckles have always been misunderstood seen as defects. There was a remarkable shift in the mid-to-late 20th century, said Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, a fashion historian who specializes in the early modern era, when a tan (and its accompanying freckles) became emblematic of a life of leisure. .
By the 1990s, freckles were associated with a more youthful appearance, thanks to model Twiggy and singer Jane Birkin, as well as the 1960s “youthquake” cultural movement. In the early 2000s, they became fashionable In advertising campaigns and runways. Then, in 2018, it was Meghan Markle’s decision to go more natural at her wedding to Prince Harry. led to a boom in mimicry of freckles.
In recent years, the rise of TikTok and the opening up of influencers Doing cosmetic work Procedures such as tattooing have promoted freckles to a larger audience.
For Browstress, Krystal said, the majority of clients have heard about tattoos through word of mouth, web searches, or social media.
Of course, not all press is positive. There are a number of women’s sports participation Bright red, Pippi Longstocking dots Right after the operation, which some people may mistake for the final result. (sake to meThis is mainly why she shared photos of her recovery, and the end results on them, said a Brooklyn-based artist who also offers tattoos. Instagram account.)
Ms. Lee said the worst inflammation usually recedes within 10 minutes, although redness can last longer for people with fair skin. For many clients, their cheeks usually look mildly sunburned immediately after the procedure.
At the end of the hour, Kayla advised Mrs. Saar to stay out of the sun and not exfoliate her face for five to seven days.
Oh, ringing Crystal, one more thing: “Did Kyla tell you you can’t work out for three days?”
“You didn’t mention it,” said Ms. Saar, who was dressed in a plump navy sweatshirt, black leggings and Crocs, looking like she was on her way to doing just that. “Why?”
“You’ll get rid of the dye,” Crystal said.
After agreeing to a compromise—she could work, but not too hard, and the sauna was definitely off limits—Ms. Surrey posed for some photos, admiring her new spots.
Kyla said the tattoo takes about two weeks to heal and begins to lighten from a darker color to a blonde-brown after the first week. Some may disappear completely.
“One to two will go off,” Keila said, “but we can add them back in.”
Sisters often err on the side of going lighter before adding more freckles or darkening them as desired.
Has anyone asked to remove it?
Crystal said, “No.” “In fact, people always want more.”