How to give a hickey

lips with pink lipstick poking through a pink piece of paper with a hole in it

We’ve all had ‘em. Sometimes bae gets a little rough, or some of us just bruise easy. The act of getting a hickey feels awesome, but scrambling to get rid of a giant bruise afterward sucks. Either way – even if you’re a fan of love bites, post junior high a bruised-up neck is usually not a cute look. Turtlenecks and scarves only get you so far (especially in hot weather!)

Hickeys are bruises caused by suction. We are particularly prone to hickies on our necks because the skin is much thinner there than on other parts of our bodies. Like most injuries, they just need time to heal. Of course – this isn’t always a luxury we can afford. While it’s impossible to get rid of a bruise immediately, there are a few tricks to improving circulation and healing the skin itself. Here’s 6 tips to heal a hickey ASAP so your can stop getting looks in the break room.

Preparation H.

Ok, this might seem like a weird one. People swear by hemorrhoid cream for everything from hemorrhoid discomfort to under eye circles. Hemorrhoid cream is just an anti-inflammatory cream, which means it reduces swelling, calms redness and soothes skin. Not the most glam product to keep in your makeup bag, but who cares? It works. (Heaux tip: if your hickey has broken skin, be sure to dab some Neosporin or antibacterial ointment on the area to speed up healing and prevent an infection!)

Color correcting concealer.

This product won’t heal a hickey, but it can make life more livable in the meantime. For color correction, use a color that’s opposite on the color wheel from the main color of your bruise. For example, if your hickey is red, correct with green. If your hickey is purple, correct with yellow. Be sure to blend! Then cover up the color corrector with a cream concealer that matches your skin tone. (Heaux tip: the skin on your neck is usually a shade or two lighter than the skin on your face, so try the shade of concealer you usually use for cream highlight). Another note on concealing – make sure you don’t wrap or bandage your hickey tightly – this will further constrict circulation, and will actually make your bruise hang around longer.

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Use a Lipstick Cap and a Toothbrush.

Sounds like a random assortment, but stick with me. This method works by stimulating the coagulated blood beneath the surface of your skin, and encouraging the blood to redistribute and reabsorb itself, which makes the bruise heal faster. Take a round lipstick cap and place it on the hickey, and gently roll it back and forth over the spot. Then, take a CLEAN hard-bristled toothbrush and gently brush from the center of the hickey outwards to get the blood flowing. Full disclosure, the site will look more red and puffy for a few minutes afterward, but will calm down after about 20 minutes (so maybe try this before bed and not before your shift starts). Make sure to be gentle and if it hurts too much, stop.

Get a Massage.

A neck and shoulder massage will increase circulation and encourage trapped blood to redistribute, which speeds up healing. If bae can stick around to give you a hickey, they can stick around to provide some after care!

Cool It.

This technique works best on fresh hickies, but can still be soothing and helpful on older ones. Stick a metal spoon in the freezer for 10-15 minutes (for extra chill, run the spoon under water before freezing). Then place the rounded end of the spoon on your hickey. The cold will restrict blood vessels and decrease redness, plus the spoon is a good tool for massaging the area and improving circulation.

Heat Things Up.

If you’re dealing with a hickey that just won’t go away, you may need to use some heat. Blood that’s been trapped in one area for a long time will need a little extra encouragement to get moving again. Make a hot compress by running a washcloth under hot water, and apply to the area. Once the skin is warm, try a little gentle massage. You deserve it!

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What Is the Main Reason for Giving Hickeys?

what does a hickey represent

While every person and relationship is different, there is one main reason why guys will give hickeys. In the majority of cases, they want to show everyone else that he owns you. It is a way to show other guys that you are his and they can’t touch you. In a way, it is like the techniques they use to brand cattle. As long as that hickey is on your neck, it brands you as his.

Because of this, hickeys are not generally a great idea. He might be insecure and want to show that he is getting busy with his girlfriend. He also might be starting a controlling, manipulative relationship where he “owns” you completely. If any of these reasons are why he asked to give you a hickey, you should really, really rethink the relationship. Controlling relationships rarely get better. In most cases, the guy will only get more possessive and controlling over time. And if he is trying to give you a hickey because he feels insecure, the hickey won’t actually help. His insecurities have to be solved by himself, and there is nothing that you can do to actually make him feel more confident about who he is as a person.

It Might Just Be the Heat of the Moment

If he never talked about hickeys before and doesn’t ask about them now, it might not mean much at all. In the heat of the moment, people often want things that they normally would not think about. He may have just been extremely aroused and wanted to take things a step farther.

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How he does it also matters. If he gives you a hickey without you letting him, break up with him. Someone who respects you will ask before they brand your neck with a hickey. If he gives you a hickey without you letting him (or after you tell him no), run the other way. This is only the start of what will soon be a bad relationship, so get out of it while you can.

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