Getting A Face Tattoo – Good Idea?
Okay, so if you ever bring up the idea of a face tattoo with your friends, at least one of them is gonna try to convince you it’s a bad idea. Because, let’s be honest, it could be. Your face is your identity, it’s public, it’s on display, and it’s usually the first thing people notice about you.
To get a face tattoo, you need balls.
We’re going to just quickly remind you about the problems with face tatts (they’re probably making your hands sweat already) as a quick reminder: face tattoos are permanent, hiding them with makeup is possible but time-consuming and expensive, removing them via laser tattoo removal is costly and isn’t an instant process either – you’ll be walking around with a half-faded tatt for a while.
So, don’t take this decision lightly.
Before We Start… Are You Sure?
Face tattoos are not suitable for everyone – although if you’re reading this, you probably already know that.
Removing a face tattoo can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the size and color. It may also leave discoloration which isn’t great! As the removed tattoo is on your face, any changes to your skin will be instantly noticeable.
Note: If you are unsure about face tattoos and the reception you’ll get to them, try temporary tattoos first. You can apply one to your face and walk around with ink for a week or two. Some people will compliment you on it, others will judge you. You don’t get a face tattoo if you want to blend in!
Still sure you want a face tattoo? Keep on reading…
Face Tattoos: Everything You Should Know
Face tattoos are quite popular. We were amazed during our research to find that face tattoos are not just popular with celebrities – many people around the world have face tattoos. We found that the face tattoo demographic is evenly split between men and women as well.
There’s also quite a wide range of styles, designs, and placements to explore. Your face has some distinct features which tattoos can play around and complement – namely your eyes.
Yes, it’s true that all tattoos hurt. However, face tattoos hurt a bit more than the average arm tattoo. The usual rule is that the more flesh and muscle between your skin and bone, the more cushioning you have for the needle, and the less it will hurt.
That’s not as applicable when it comes to your face.
Our faces are incredibly sensitive. The skin here is packed full of nerve endings and any tattoo, large or small, is going to hurt.
Popular placements for face tattoos include:
- Above one eyebrow,
- To the side of an ear,
- Small under the corner of one eye,
- Along the cheek bone,
- Over one temple,
- Under bottom lip,
- Entire side of face.
Cost of Face Tattoo
Cost is dependent on several things, including the status of the tattoo artist and the style of the design. If you want a famous person to tattoo your face, like Kat Von D, expect to wait patiently for a free opening and pay a lot for the session.
The larger, more detailed, and more colorful a tattoo is, the more it costs. This is because the more needle changes and different ink colors that are used, the more equipment costs are for your tattooist.
Generally, you’re looking at between $100 and $250.
Usually, session time relies on the size of the tattoo. Small tattoos can be finished in a single session while large ones may take several sessions.
But with face tattoos, you may want to take more breaks than usual. Getting your face inked is a very intense experience. You’ll see and feel the needle up close. Talk to your tattoo artist about timings and how often you’d like a break.
Celebrities With Face Tattoos
Okay, let’s kick start our face tattoo inspiration with these famous mugs!
Amber Rose has a very bold tattoo across her forehead. We love this look with her very short hair and arm tatts! Of course, the forehead tattoo can be covered easily with a hat if needed.
Amber’s tattoo is a beautiful script and a carefully selected font.
You might remember Amanda Bynes from Nickelodeon back in the day. Well, now she has a face tattoo. Around 2020, Amanda posted on social media for the first time in a long while with a small black heart tattoo on one cheek.
This symbol usually symbolizes loss.
Look closely. No, closer than that. Justin Bieber has confirmed that he does have a face tattoo, amongst all his other body tattoos. Just over his left eye you’ll find a tiny cross symbol. It’s a classic tattoo design, symbolizing faith, religion, and devotion.
Aaron Carter, the pop rapper and hip-hop sensation, has several face tattoos that are hard to miss. His face ink depicts medusa along the side of one face and “love” under one eye. He’s had the tattoo touched up to add more shading and contrast along the way.
Could this be the most famous face tattoo of them all? Even if somehow, you didn’t know Mike Tyson’s face tattoo, we bet you saw The Hangover! The simple tribal style tatt encircles one eye and looks totally badass… but not everyone can pull it off.
Presley Gerber’s tattoo is at a right angle with his neck tattoo – and it just looks so artfully placed. This simple cheek bone tatt reads “MISUNDERSTOOD” and is easy to miss. It could be hidden under thick-rimmed sunglasses too.
Recently, there have been rumors that Presley has had the face tatt removed via lasers.
Chris Brown has tattoos on both sides of his face. On this side, you can see the elegant script. On the other side, there’s an Air Jordan 3 sneaker and various other small tatts. Behind his ear, you’ll find three stars as well. Chris Brown prefers to work with the same tattoo artist, Joaquin “Ganga” Lopez, for all his ink.
10 More Face Tattoo Design Ideas (with Meanings)
It’s not just the placement that means a lot when it comes to face tattoos. The design is so important, especially as it will be on display day after day. Here are 10 very popular face tattoo designs and the hidden meanings they have.
Oh yeah, this guy is royalty. The crown tattoo is a popular tattoo as it can be scaled down small as a simple icon or expanded with more jewels and detail like this guy’s tattoo.
Above the eyebrow works well as the crown naturally curves. It could also fit under the eye, if inked very small, or beside the ear if rotated vertically.
As for the meaning, crown tattoos often represent being the king or queen. You’re at the top of your game, the ruler of your family, and life is good. Many face crown tattoos are matching, so your partner can get one too.
The Simple Design
These very simple face tattoos can align anywhere. A series of minimalist swirls, dots, lines, and patterns can fit across your cheek, in line with your eyebrow, beneath your bottom lip, or besides your ear like the photo shows.
The key with this face tattoo idea is to keep it small. These simple designs don’t look so great when they’re scaled up unless they can curve to the contours of your face (see Mike Tyson above).
The meanings of these tiny face tatts can be plain or hidden. Perhaps they’re just for decoration, or perhaps there’s a line or dot for every person they’ve lost in life…
Mandala Dot Work
We are huge fans of dot work for face tattoos. They allow great detail and intricate designs even in very small tattoos. You’ll need to be patient, of course, but the results are pretty epic. This face tattoo idea shows a half mandala style pattern spiraling out from the ear across the cheek.
It could just be a decorative tattoo (and there’s nothing wrong with that) or it could symbolize hearing something. Listening to others, the world, kind words, or love.
Just remember that for both men and women, light hairs tend to grow on this area which could cover the ink.
Moon symbols (and sun symbols, for that matter) are popular tattoos in several locations. Wrists, shoulders, and ankles are particularly popular for moon tatts. But your face is a wonderful canvas for them too.
The moon can symbolize a light in the darkness, or your dark side at night. It can also be quite romantic or cult-like (think of secret moonlit meetings) with many hidden connotations. You can also pair your moon tattoo on your temple with tiny stars around your eye.
Soft outlines and linework tend to look better for face moon tatts than heavy tribal lines.
Horseshoe for Luck
This gorgeous person has numerous face tattoos, but the one we are focusing on is the horseshoe between the eyebrows. This is a classic symbol of luck. It’s often found amongst four leaf clovers and skulls, symbolizing prosperity, gambling, and luck.
We love the placement here, right between the eyebrows. As the design is very simple, it can be a very small tattoo. Smaller than a fingernail! Good placements include around the eyes and above/below the eyebrows. It could also sit behind one ear or below your jaw, if you want to take the ink off your face.
Horoscope Star Sign
This is a great idea! A very tiny Gemini symbol lies just below this person’s eye. Gemini is one of the zodiac signs and it’s Latin for “twins” so if you and a friend or sibling are both Geminis, it’s a cool matching tattoo to get together.
The meaning is quite clear. It’s a celebration of the personality traits you were assigned at birth, if you believe in astrology. For any aspiring astrologers, it’s a great and very meaningful face tattoo to get.
The placement by the eye is great, but it can also look cool by the temple, ear, cheek bone, or eyebrow.
Dates and Times
This tattoo idea shows how you can go big and bold with a face tattoo. You only live once, so why not? The anchor part of the tattoo usually symbolizes something to do with the sea, but it can also be a symbol for love and stability. If your partner is your rock (or anchor) keeping you from drifting away, it’s a very romantic symbol to get tattooed.
But the date also holds a lot of meaning. If you don’t want your face tattoo to be as bold as this one, just take a specific date or time that has meaning for you and get that inked somewhere instead.
A simple line of text can be very small, along an eyebrow, or right where everyone can see it – see Presley Gerber above.
If your aim in life is to give people a scare, make people look twice, and be at the center of attention, check out facial ink like this. The spider is the star, in our opinion. It looks creepy and with all those legs, it can be tattooed to trail around your face.
It’s a versatile tattoo design!
As for the meaning, it is often linked to negative, scary, or angry meanings. Deception, for example, or a trap. Spiders catch insects and suck out their insides, after all.
Don’t be mistaken for thinking that heart shaped tattoos are all about love. They are far more complex than that. Different colors have different meanings, and an empty black heart like this one can symbolize loss or heartbreak.
If you’ve lost someone dear to you, getting an empty heart tattoo beneath one eye is a symbol of your grief. The placement is just where your tears would be when you cry, or slightly off to the side. Both men and women can get this small face tattoo.
Hugs and Kisses
Similar to the very simple design idea above, this hearts and kisses tattoo is really sweet but not too feminine. It doesn’t stand out too much and could be easily covered with makeup or a hat if you need to.
We also love the placement. Most small, thin tattoos like this are placed along the eyebrow, cheek bone, or eye. But to take things in a different direction, this tattoo artist has placed the ink along the hairline. It’s beautiful!
Face Tattoo FAQs
Are face tattoos a good idea?
While the world is slowly warming up to tattoos and the younger generations especially won’t judge you for it… you’ll still discover many problems with a face tatt. It will prevent you from starting some careers and you will definitely get some looks in the street.
If you get a face tattoo you need to have unbreakable self-esteem and confidence.
Other problems include:
- Painful to get,
- Painful to remove,
- Very costly to remove,
- Removal isn’t instantaneous – you’ll be walking around with a faded tatt for a while,
- You may end up with some skin discoloration, although scars are unlikely with modern lasers.
Why do people get face tattoos?
It’s usually to make the ultimate personal statement. A face tattoo is very bold and immediately seen by anyone you come in contact with. Like all tattoos, face tattoos are very personal and there will be hundreds of different reasons depending on who you ask.
Is it legal to tattoo a face?
Yes, in the UK and USA it is legal to tattoo a face (although like all tattoos, there are age restrictions). Some organizations and tattoo artists want to raise the age required for face tattoos, as they’re so much more extreme than tattoos elsewhere on the body.
Face tattoos may be illegal in countries where all tattoos are illegal, due to religious restrictions for example.