lime crime freckle pen
photo: Lime Crime

When Lime Crime recently unleashed its 2019 summer collection on the world, fans' eyes skipped right over the sparkly new eye palettes and metallic lipsticks and landed right on the brand-new Sunkissed Freckle Pen — and not in a good way.

Comment sections across Instagram immediately swarmed with people who contemplated if the faux freckles created by the pen looked realistic or just plain silly. And still, the verdict on faux freckles as a whole seems to be pretty split down the middle between people who love and hate them.

As a freckle fiend who's tried just about every method in the books (even temporary tattooing), I knew as soon as this pen came out that I had to see its results firsthand, internet comments be damned. Trust me, this thing's not as silly as it looks online. 

Here she is in all her glory: Lime Crime's new Sunkissed Freckle Pen ($18, Ulta).

lime crime sunkissed freckle pen review
photo: Nicola Dall'Asen/Revelist

>> Get it here

Let's talk about that price point. For most people (myself included, honestly), the thought of spending almost $20 on something solely dedicated to freckles seems a little extra — but then I remembered that I've spend a lot more on much dumber things. Plus, $18 is standard for any midlevel eyeliner, which is pretty much what this is.

It straight-up looks and feels like one of those markers you colored with in elementary school — and that initially gave me pause.

lime crime sunkissed freckle pen review
photo: Nicola Dall'Asen/Revelist

It's this really thick tip, I gathered at first, that made the freckles on Lime Crime's Instagram looks so big and unrealistic — and that was the main complaint from fans and trolls alike. All other freckle makeup I've used (Freck, eyebrow pencils, eyeliner pens, etc.) works best when applied with a small, sharp tip. That being said, I began this freckle experiment already hesitant.

Frighteningly large applicator aside, I immediately fawned over the formula inside the pen. Still one problem, though.

lime crime sunkissed freckle pen review
photo: Nicola Dall'Asen/Revelist

This pen sets itself apart from other freckle makeup with a formula that's just sheer enough to create realistic-looking spots. I think where a lot of products (and people) go wrong with faux freckles is their severity. Freckles applied with most makeup need to be patted down or set with pigmented powder to give off the effect of realism. Even on first impression, I knew this pen wasn't going to need all that extra effort.

But there's one massive issue with this sheer formula. It honestly is only going to show on people who are really, really pale. This is great news for me, seeing as I fit into that category of people — still, Lime Crime could've done better by its customers of color by providing even just one or two additional darker shades.

Here I am pre-freckle pen, just for context's sake.

lime crime sunkissed freckle pen review
photo: Nicola Dall'Asen/Revelist

I'm wearing just a few light swipes of Fenty Pro-Filt'r Instant Retouch Concealer ($26, Sephora), Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Eyebrow Gel ($22, Ulta), Kat Von D Beauty Go Big Or Go Home Mascara ($23, Sephora), and a sheer layer of Fenty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick in Spanked ($18, Sephora). 

This is more or less my everyday makeup routine when I really just can't be bothered to try. Faux freckles are often a part of that in the summer.

First thing: The big marker applicator doesn't create nearly as large as marks one would expect.

lime crime sunkissed freckle pen review
photo: Nicola Dall'Asen/Revelist

>> Get it here

In fact, it actually allows for a wide variety of sizes and shapes — that's another huge factor that plays into whether or not faux freckles look good/real. If you apply really light pressure, the pen delivers tiny, lighter spots; press harder and you'll get darker, larger spots. Physics!

Second thing: Unlike other faux freckle products, Lime Crime's Sunkissed pen requires literally no time, effort, precision, or caution.

photo: Nicola Dall'Asen/Revelist

And isn't that pretty much everything you want in a summer beauty product? To be able to slap it on and forget about it for the rest of the day? When it gets hot and the city gets even more humid, I pretty much throw all my cares out the window, even when it comes to my beloved makeup routines. This pen lets me have it all, which is extremely satisfying in a strange way.

The result? Faux freckles I don't entirely hate!

lime crime sunkissed freckle pen review
photo: Nicola Dall'Asen/Revelist

These are certainly different from the ones I've done with eyeliner, brow pencils, Freck, and tattooing — whether you'll prefer this pen to other options is really going to depend on your skin tone, budget, and how you prefer your freckles to look.

When applied with haste, it is very possible to create marks that are too big or too dark with the pen. However, if you're quick-handed, you can easily wipe away mistakes before the formula dries down.

If big, bold, and eye-grabbing is your thing, this pen might be too much on the subtle side for you. However, if you want to give faux freckles a first try and want to avoid looking like Pippi Longstocking, this is exactly what you need.

Final thoughts?

lime crime sunkissed freckle pen review
photo: Nicola Dall'Asen/Revelist

>> Get it here

Frankly, the internet can pipe down with the harsh criticism of this pen. To be fair, it gave a rather bad first impression on Instagram, but in real life, it's not nearly as silly-looking as was accused. I'll give it three and a half fake freckles out of five — and those lost points are mostly due to this pen's lack of skin tone inclusivity.

All in all, Lime Crime's Sunkissed Freckle Pen has a durable formula, is quick and easy to use, and won't totally wreck your wallet. Whether or not I'll buy another one once it runs out is still TBD, though.

Even if you aren't super into the freckle-faced trend, I'd recommend giving this pen (or something similar) a try, at least once.

photo: NBC Films

I understand why a lot of people think faking freckles is a waste of time, but it's really as much a tool of expression and transformation as much as any other makeup product. When placed strategically, freckles can change someone's entire look — and aside from that, they're just a lot of fun to put on.

And if you still aren't convinced... I'm very shocked you're still here reading this. Maybe you're more interested than you lead on...