We get it.
Face tattoos look very, very cool…sometimes. But before you subscribe to the emo-rapper-turned-Soundcloud-sensation-aesthetic, let us walk you through everything you need to know about men’s face tattoos.
In a recent GQ feature, Post Malone addressed his proclivity for the ultimate permanent accessory: face tattoos. A favorite among musicians and those seeking to toughen their look, we’ve become all-too familiar with a tattooed visage, but Malone wanted fans to know he embraced face ink for a more relatable reason: the singer felt “ugly,” and wanted to well, not.
“It does maybe come from a place of insecurity,” he responded when asked to explained his various facial tattoos, “…I don’t like how I look, so I’m going to put something cool on there so I can look at myself and say, ‘You look cool, kid,’ and have a modicum of self-confidence, when it comes to my appearance.”
It makes sense (and no, Posty, you aren’t ugly! You are cute AF!). The taboo of facial tattoos means that they’re not necessarily congruent with a 9-5 existence. Some view who take a needle to the skull generally as people who lead a less conventional lifestyle (read: creatives). Others, see it as being privileged – you don’t need to play by any rules when you’re banking on your own.
Whatever the case, face tattoos, they’re here to say. Of course, face tattoos aren’t new. In the Mayan period, warriors inked their faces. Fast-forward to modern day, rappers like Lil’ Wayne to Birdman have rocked face tats for years. But it seems to be trending at tattoo shops everywhere. This, thanks to younger artists popping off. Whether it’s Dominic Fike’s Apple logo tear drop that takes your fancy, or Lil Xan’s ‘Zzz’ stamped cheek is a bit of you, where there’s a will, there’s a way to make it work — but before making any drastic moves, you should know everything and anything.
Not every artist is cool with men’s face tattoos
For many tattoo artists, the risk of customer remorse just simply isn’t worth the reward of a making the bear minimum for a small broken heart above your eyebrow — and you deciding a face tattoo shouldn’t have been on your bucket list after all isn’t their only concern.
Because skin on the face is much more fragile than the rest of the body, it’s much more difficult to tattoo. If the artist goes too deep with their needle, the lines will bleed just like on any other body part. But the face’s thinner skin makes it much easier to do so — leaving you with an indiscernible tattoo that’s impossible to hide. If you’re considering a face tattoo, you should find an artist who is well-versed in facial work and can all but guarantee your tattoo will emerge as you expected. Of everything we can suggest you consider, this is the most important. Also, before actually taking a needle to your face, many artists recommend using henna or applying a temporary tattoo so you can live out your dream before fully committing.
You should be more aware of face after-care
Post-tattoo care-taking doesn’t differ too much depending on the body part, but because you’re much more likely to apply product to and touch your face, you need to be much more aware in your approach to a facial tattoo. The design on your face is an open wound, and it should be treated like one. Leave the cover on your tattoo for the first 24 hours like you would any other, avoid scented lotions that might irritate it and no swimming for two weeks to avoid possible infection.
Ensure you’re more vigilant than ever with sunscreen in the healing stages to prevent premature fading, and do not — we beg you — scratch or pick it (this can bleed out the ink morphing your tattoo or leave the color patchy). We know it’s more tempting to touch your face than it would be say, your ankle, so make sure your hands are clean and you’re being cautious. If your tattoo does become infected: rest, clean the area and apply antibacterial ointment, and if you don’t notice an improvement or experience flu or allergic reaction symptoms, see a doctor STAT.
Face tattoos fades faster
One of the reasons Post Malone’s “Always Tired” cheek tattoos are very different to a hissing snake on your back is that it’s much less likely to stay in tip top shape as time goes on. Dealing with year-round sun exposure is par-for-the-course for a face tattoos, whereas other body parts see the light less frequently. That’s on top of the possible tattoo fading that can occur from cleansing your face once or twice, daily (think: hand tattoos’ proclivity to fade faster).
While artists will certainly redo the color in your tattoo for you, each time you retrace lines on your face there’s a higher chance of scarring or the tattoo becoming “blown out” (bleeding lines resulting in the loss of tattoo shape or definition).
Laser removal isn’t always chill as it seems, especially on your face
Say you do walk back on your decision, there’s a chance you might never really be fully rid of your face tattoo. While the the Q-tip laser advanced the tattoo removal process by leaps and bounds (it breaks down the ink for your body to metabolize), you should be conscious that what you’ll likely be left with is very light shadow of a design. While this might be easy to cover if you’re dealing a tattoo on another body part, but your face really makes that much more difficult.
Not every facet of society will be cool with what your face tattoo
This is the one that you’re likely already well aware of: face tattoos do change your life. Not only might your tattoo hinder job or romantic prospects, it could make life generally harder since facial ink has long-since been associated with gang culture prior to going mainstream. It’s an aesthetic decision that could be very cool, but you should always be aware of the implications.
Should you get a face tattoo?
Depends. If you have the income to tattoo and then redo it ever so often as it fades, or won’t regret it, sure. But for most people, a face tattoo means you have to face your decisions you made every day of your life. If that’s for you, sure, go for it. But if not, proceed with caution.