7 Tattoos Tattoo Artists Would Never Get On Themselves

by Eva Taylor Grant

Tattoo artists know a lot. And while tattoo artists are not there to replicate their own personal tattoos on clients, there is still a lot to learn from their perspectives on what the best kinds of tattoos are. If there's a kind of tattoo that an artist would never get on themself, there's probably good reason behind that.

Getting a tattoo is an intensely personal decision. The best artists honor that. "Almost all tattoo artists perform tattoos they wouldn't get themselves personally," tattoo artist Jordanne Le Fae, tells Bustle. "It's just a matter of preference on what the piece is. Everyone's aesthetic is different." There are, however, variables beyond aesthetic.

Most tattoo artists draw the line between tattoos they'd personally never get, and tattoos they'd never give, at hateful or distasteful tattoos. "As long as the art is good and the body placement is conducive to the design, tattoo artist don't necessarily reject a person's tattoo request unless of course the tattoo is really super offensive," Lisa Barretta, author of Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos, tells Bustle. Luckily, clients are generally looking for something much different than that — and want their tattoos to be a form of self-expression.

Even though a tattoo artist may still be willing to give some tattoos that they'd personally never get, it's still interesting to see where they'd never go with their body art, and why. Here are seven tattoos that tattoo artists would never get on themselves.


Finger Tattoos

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Finger tattoos can look really pretty. Celebrities love them. But this tattoo trend annoys artists, since the dainty designs really don't stand the test of time.

"[Finger tattoos] don't last, even with touch ups," Le Fae says. "They pretty much never look good, and are very hard to heal because you are constantly touching things and washing your hands. Any picture you see of a good inner finger tattoo on the internet (especially Pinterest) is a fresh tattoo picture, not healed." So if you decide to still go for this kind of ink, know that you may be needing touchups down the line.


Something Upside Down


While your tattoos are quite personal, most designs are being constantly viewed by the people around you. Because of this, tattoo artists may avoid upside-down designs.

"Never get anything facing upside down simply because it is 'for you,'" Le Fae says. "The tattoo is already on your body, automatically making it for you, having it upside down (especially faces or lettering) is just confusing to the rest of the world and looks aesthetically bad." Making sure your upside-down design looks good from both directions may help.


"Ironic" Tattoos With Dark Meanings

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There's no question that neither artists nor clients should have hate symbol tattoos, but there are other dark kinds of tattoos that live in a bit more of a grey area. Some tattoo artists may be OK tattooing these on clients, but wouldn't ever get these designs themselves.

"Believe it or not, some people think it is funny to tattoo the number '666' somewhere on their body," Barretta. "That number sequence carries an eerie vibe, something not necessarily favorable to attach to your energy." For people who believe in certain symbols or words having power or energy, this makes tattooing a more spiritual affair where some designs are off-limits.


Face Tattoos


Some tattoo artists rock a face tattoo. And face tattoos may be becoming more mainstream. Still, tattoo artists take tattooing on this location really seriously, and many may not be willing to have their own face tattoos, or tattoo the faces of clients.

"Triple think before getting a face tattoo," Barretta says. "What looks awesome when you are young will definitely look [worse] as you age. Additionally, face tattoos can make some employers uncomfortable hiring you for a job." If you're committed to a face tattoo, it's important that you find a tattoo artist who is realistic about the practicalities, while supporting your individual choice.


White Tattoos


White tattoos can look great — but are generally a tattoo trend that artists avoid. Artists, who work on both new designs and touchups, may be more cognizant of tattoos that require too much upkeep.

"White tattoos were trendy for a while, but white tattoos don't really hold up that well," Barretta says. White tattoos, then, may be best reserved for people who are aware of the negatives and OK with either letting the design fade, or going in for touchups. Artists may not be willing to take this chance, especially if it means letting another artist's hard work fade.




Tattoo artists may have some designs that they're perfectly happy seeing on others, but that they'd never get themselves. One of the reasons an artist may avoid certain kind of tattoos is that they prioritize originality over other factors.

"[I don't want cartoons] because I like original artwork created just for me," Tyson Weed, tattoo artist at Sentient Tattoo Collective in Tempe, AZ, tells Bustle. "This doesn’t discount what a cartoon piece might mean to someone else, [it's] just not for me." If you want a cartoon, it may be worth asking your artist how they feel, and seeing if perhaps an original artwork based on this image may be a better choice.


Significant-Other Tattoos


Getting a tattoo with, or about, your significant other, is a bold move. And some artists are incredibly superstitious about these tattoos as well.

"It is the literal kiss of death for a relationship," Le Fae says. "Especially ring finger tattoos." While the line between getting a partner's name tattooed and a breakup is not necessarily direct, some tattoo artists have really strong feelings about these.

You and your artist don't have to both have the exact same taste in tattoos. Many artists may even disagree with one another on where they draw the line. Still, keeping open communication with your artist may help you get to know more about where they're coming from, and potentially avoid some mistakes you'd regret later.