Running out of flesh real estate for more tattoos? Or do conventional tattoos just seem too obnoxiously common and difficult to conceal? Well don’t despair, the latest fad in body scarification is lip tattoos. Nina Tran, a 22-year-old from Toronto, got her boyfriend’s nickname (“Baku”) tattooed on her inside lower lip “so I could hide it from my mom,” she says. The once happy couple has since broken up, but aside from brushing her teeth, Tran doesn’t have to be constantly reminded of her poor life decisions (both romantic and tattooed). For those seeking something a little less permanent and a little more gaudy, there’s temporary lip tattoos, like the kind sold by California’s Violent Lips. Patterns range from denim and fishnet to pink cheetah and origami, all for about $10. They’re a perfect accessory, says Violent Lips co-founder Jeff Haddad, “for a world where people are constantly changing their mind about everything.” No surprise then that Kim Kardashian, the national spokeswoman for changing her mind about everything, is a fan of temporary lip tattoos.
(This story originally appeared, in a slightly different form, in the December 9th, 2011 issue of the New York Times Magazine.)