Freckle envy: Faux spots a growing trend at Metro Vancouver tattoo shops
Published Monday, June 11, 2018 7:04PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, June 11, 2018 7:21PM PDT
Ask most people with natural freckles how they feel about the tiny pigmentations and they’ll tell you how much they’ve always hated them.
But a growing number of women and men born without the spots are driving an increasing number of Metro Vancouver tattoo parlours to offer semi-permanent “faux frex” on their service lists.
A tattoo artist or cosmetic tattooer first places dots on a client’s face with brown eyeliner so the placement, concentration and shade of the finished work is clear.
“I usually start by doing what I think looks nice, and then I ask for feedback with what they're comfortable with because it's really a personal preference," says cosmetic tattooist Sarah Grisdale. She’s been offering tattooed freckles from The Fall tattoo shop in downtown Vancouver for more than two years.
With a fine art background, Grisdale takes care to have an asymmetrical, natural-looking spray of spots across the nose, upper cheeks and a scattering on the brow to make it seem more natural. Clients tell her where to add or remove the marks before she begins tattooing.
“I find when they first come to me, they don't want too many, they want to take baby steps but then when they come back for a touch-up they want to like cover their face in freckles."
CTV News was there when Grisdale applied fake freckles for Eunice Mitchell.
“My mom has always had freckles when I was growing up and I never did, so it was one of those things I always wanted," she said.
"I think it's extremely unique and I think it's very beautiful."
The pigment used for freckles is different from tattoo ink. It is inserted at a shallower skin level and fades away after about two years.
Grisdale customizes the shade to her clients’ taste and skin tone, with some preferring a bold statement and others a more subtle look. Sun exposure and one’s skincare routine can extend or shorten the life of the spots.
Grisdale charges $200 for an application with touchup, but some cosmetic tattoo artists in Vancouver charge up to $600 for the service.
“It’s not for everyone,” says Grisdale. “It's kind of one of those things like girls with straight hair want curly hair and curly-haired people want straight hair."
While the fake freckle trend has slowly been growing in North America, fashion magazine Elle UK reports it is exploding in popularity in London, where Meghan Markle’s fresh-faced style and proud display of her natural freckles has prompted a flood of women seeking the sun-kissed look for themselves.
“I don't think the beauty standard is one type of look anymore,” says Grisdale. “Freckles help people look a little more unique and that's why people like them."