Up until fairly recently, it was considered pretty taboo to have a tattoo, which is why folks tended to get them in hidden locations that could be easily covered with clothes or jewelry. But now, tattoos in general are becoming more accepted, and tattoos in unique locations are even becoming more mainstream.
And that could be for a couple of reasons. "Because of the increasing number of celebrities and athletes who are sporting tattoos now, combined with [sharing] on social media, tattoos are not as 'renegade' and 'rebellious' as they used to appear to be," Leo Palomino, a tattoo artist at Atomic Tattoos in Orlando, tells Bustle. "And people are trying to do something that has a little shock factor to it or trying to stand out or be different." Hence the tattoos in more unique — and usually more visible — locations.
It's great that tattoos are becoming more accepted and celebrated in society, and that people are inspired to try new things. But it's still important to think twice before getting ink in a highly visible part of your body. "You really want to make wise decisions about your tattoo placement," Palomino says, adding that tattoos in a few of the locations listed below still aren't totally acceptable in certain work settings. With that in mind, here are a few "weird" locations that are becoming more mainstream.
1. Neck & Face Tattoos
While it's fairly common to see a tattoo at the nape of the neck, other types of neck tattoos are becoming more mainstream. And the same is true — albeit to a much lesser degree — for face tattoos.
The thing is, since they're so visible, many tattoo artists refuse to do them as someone's first tattoo — at least not on a whim. "Many tattooers won’t tattoo these areas or will encourage people to consider a different placement," Michael Stapleton, a tattoo artist at One Shot Tattoo, tells Bustle. The face and neck are definitely locations you'll want to think over.
2. Hand Tattoos
While not all career fields are 100 percent accepting of hand tattoos (just yet) that doesn't always stop people from getting them. In the past, folks may have worked up to this location, after getting ink in less conspicuous areas. Now, as Stapleton says, the hands are one of the areas that are "not just popular but becoming the first place people want to get tattooed — not the last."
3. Finger Tattoos
Finger tattoos are another popular trend among celebrities, which may be why they're catching on with the rest of us. While they're definitely difficult to hide, the fact finger tattoos tend to be smaller and more delicate makes them a relatively easy tattoo to get.
And thus they're super popular. As Stapleton says, "Of all those locations, fingers I’d say get asked for the most — the sides more so than the tops of them. I think celebrities helped make that a popular spot."
4. Inner Lip Tattoos
"Inside of your lips is another trend that has been gaining popularity, again probably because of its unique and different location that isn't traditional," Palomino says. "These only last about [one to five] years so that's something to keep in mind when getting this type of tattoo."
If you're looking for something permanent, it may not be an ideal location. But if you're looking for a novelty tattoo that'll fade in a few years, the inner lip is the best spot. "Inner lips are kind of reserved for the party tattoo," Stapleton says.
5. Forearm Tattoos
Another place to get a tattoo, that's interesting but not too out there, is the forearm. It's been popular for a while now because, as Stapleton says, this location is "easy to hide, easy to show off." But take one look at your Instagram feed, and you'll see that pretty much everyone loves this location — even among different generations.
Speaking to The Atlantic about how mainstream tattoos have become in general, tattoo artist Michelle Myers said, "A 57-year-old woman came into my shop yesterday and got a big snake tattooed on her forearm for her first tattoo [...] It's really crossed over into every class, age, gender, and background."
6. Full Sleeve Tattoos
Back in the day, a full sleeve tattoo might have been seen as quite the novelty. But now it seems everyone knows someone with this type of large scale work.
"Full sleeves have always been classic, and embraced," Stapleton says. "I think what’s shifted [is] the frequency and openness that women have embraced being tattooed."
7. Upper Thigh Tattoos
Another trend you've likely seen splashed across Instagram is the upper thigh tattoo. This is an interesting alternative to the more common leg tattoo locations, such as the calf or ankle. And it's definitely catching on, especially among women.
Which is true for tattoos in general. As Stapleton says, "Women embracing being tattooed, and tattoo culture, is [...] opening up the perception and accessibility of tattooing. It’s no longer thought of as something men do (and hasn’t been for some time)."
Tattoos are no longer something people necessarily have to hide at work, or when visiting family. And this is slowly becoming true for tattoos in "weirder" locations, too, as far more folks are choosing to get visible ink on their arms, hands, and neck.
While it's still a big decision, in many aspects, it's nice to know that it's not only OK to get a tattoo, but it's also OK to show it off.