Blame it on the long list of celebrities choosing to celebrate, not conceal, their freckles – names like Olivia Munn, Gisele Bündchen and Emma Watson come to mind – but the girl-next-door beauty trait is back in a big way.
So much so, that freckle tattooing is the latest trend to trickle down into the mainstream.
Miniscule tattooing techniques have already given the world micro-blading (the art of embellishing naturally skinny brows and even mimicking the effect of eyeliner) and now women are asking for a smattering of semi-permanent freckles on their faces.
Montreal-based Gabrielle Rainbow is one of the cosmetic tattoo artists championing the trend, which costs US$250 and can last up to three years.
“When they are freshly done, [the freckles] will appear swollen, almost like bee stings,” Rainbow said in an interview with New Beauty. “The swelling will go down within a couple of hours, and you’ll be left with your cute, fresh freckles.”
“Over the course of one to two months, the colour will soften dramatically and look more natural. They will fade naturally with time, and if you wish to keep them, you can always get the colour boosted whenever you like.”
Rainbow says her “wide range” of clients are usually women who freckle naturally in the sun, but want the look year-round.
But if you think this is one of those short-lived trends that won't make its way past the northern hemisphere, think again - it's already trending down under.
According to My Cosmetic Tattoo senior technician Atena Leon, whose practice is based in Gladesville, Sydney, she receives up to six requests for freckling a week.
“We’ve noticed a huge increase in requests for freckles, especially in the last four months,” she told The New Daily. “It’s quadrupled in popularity.
But be warned: not everyone in the tattoo industry is impressed. Cosmetic Tattoo Australia educator Val Glover-Hovan warns that the freckles can turn grey over time, “depending on what base colour is used,” she told The New Daily, and the procedure poses the same health risks as standard tattooing.
If you want to fake a freckly face, there are simpler, less painful ways to do it: using two shades of waterproof eyeliner – one pale brown, one slightly darker – dot across the bridge of the nose and lightly onto cheeks to give the impression you’ve spent a day in the sunshine – no skin damage or needles required.