There is no denying that face tattoos are for bold men, as they are considered one of the most controversial types of body art. That is because face tattoos were once associated with gangs and prisoners. Today they are becoming more and more popular due to celebrities like Post Malone, Offset, and Justin Bieber. If you’re ready to commit to a face tattoo, they can be surprisingly versatile – from small and subtle designs to oversized, artistic pieces.
1. Word Face Tattoo
One of the biggest trends recently is word face tattoos. Whether you choose a short quote or slogan, a word face tattoo makes a bold statement about who you are. Many guys ask for a one-word description – such as ‘lover’ or ‘misunderstood’ or ‘alone’ – for simplicity and maximum impact.
2. Heart Face Tattoo
Hearts have been popular inkings for men since the earliest sailor tattoos. They can be a subtle tribute to a loved one like a friend or family member. Alternatively, hearts can symbolize romance, heartbreak, or a love for life itself. In general, heart face tattoos are on the smaller and simpler side as the artist has less space to draw.
RELATED: 20 Heart Tattoos for Expressive Men
3. Cross Face Tattoo
A very popular tattoo for religious men is a cross. Having the cross inked on your face lets everyone around you know you are a Christian and take your faith seriously. It’s an ever-present reminder of God as you will see it whenever you look in the mirror. A meaningful placement for a cross face tattoo is at the corner of your eye – to represent God opening your eyes – or at your temple, to symbolize God guiding your thoughts and decisions.
4. Anchor Face Tattoo
Another classic tattoo design that’s been adapted for the face is the anchor. Traditionally, anchors symbolize safety, hope, and salvation. They can also represent Christianity, so they are a popular choice for men of faith. Other men choose the anchor tattoo after traveling as it represents crossing oceans.
5. Skull Face Tattoo
For the very bold and out-there guys, a full-face skull tattoo looks incredible and daring. Made famous by artist Rick Genest – known as ‘Zombie Boy’ – the skull tattoo is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a real commitment and suits those who are obsessed with tattoos while having a Gothic aesthetic.
6. Number Face Tattoo
Numbers are an enduringly popular choice when it comes to tattoos all over the body, but particularly the face. They can act as a tribute to a particular year or age in your life, to your kids, or just your lucky numbers. Number tattoos look best on your cheek, where you can adapt them to be either large or small.
7. Initials Face Tattoo
If you want a meaningful face tattoo that takes up a small amount of space, then an initials face tattoo could be ideal for you. A simple letter can pay tribute to a loved one. Some guys also choose the letter X to represent themselves. That is because an X is what men wrote in the past instead of a signature.
8. Name Face Tattoo
One of the most popular ways to pay tribute to a loved one is with a tattoo of their name – and it’s even more meaningful when that tattoo is on your face! Bold men could consider getting this type of tattoo to show their confidence and loyalty. Name face tattoos can be placed horizontally or vertically, depending on the length and text style.
9. Diamond Face Tattoo
Diamonds are the strongest natural material on Earth, so men often choose them to represent invincibility, integrity, and survival. Diamonds are also a well-known symbol of wealth and power. A diamond face tattoo shows you value yourself and lets others know you are a strong person.
10. Tribal Face Tattoo
Face tattoos are traditional in many cultures across the world, including Native American and Samoan tribes. Some of the most iconic tribal tattoos on the face are from Maori Ta moko tradition. Maori face tattoos communicate specific details about the wearer, including his family, social status, and achievements.
11. Tear Face Tattoo
Tear face tattoos are some of the most well-known prison inkings. In some gangs, a teardrop signifies that a person is a killer. Because of this meaning, tear face tattoos can often look intimidating, mysterious, and edgy. For men who are bold enough to choose a tattoo with a bad reputation, a tear face tattoo is a great option.
12. Sword Face Tattoo
A sword is an excellent option for a vertical face tattoo. It represents bravery, authority, strength, protection, and power. When placed on the temple, a sword tattoo symbolizes having a strong mind and intelligence. A flaming sword can represent Christianity due to its Biblical reference.
13. Moon Tattoo
Moon tattoos represent transformation and change, as they wax and wane over time. Men who have gone through complicated situations in life might choose a moon face tattoo to show how they have evolved. Crescent moons also symbolize letting go and self-reflection, adding to the powerful message of this bold, face tattoo.
14. Star Tattoo
Stars are a subtle and straightforward choice for a tattoo design. Because they are only visible at night, many people see stars as a symbol of guidance and hope in times of darkness. While you could choose a classic star tattoo shape, a four-pointed star has a more masculine look.
15. Small Face Tattoos
Considering your first face tattoo? Try a small tattoo in pure black ink. Stylish and understated yet masculine, small face tattoos look sophisticated and cool. Small face tattoos look great at the corner of your eye or your temple and make a subtle statement.
Are face tattoos a good idea?
Face tattoos require a significant amount of consideration before committing. They're one of the least common and socially accepted ink varieties. Face tattoos can be career-limiting depending on your industry and job goals. They can also result in a lot of judgment and preconceived ideas of who are you from others — a lot of people do judge a book by its cover. Finally, the skin on your face is very different from the rest of your body. As such, facial tattoos are prone to premature aging, increased sun damage, and faster integrity loss.
Why do people get face tattoos?
Generally, the biggest motivator to getting a face tattoo is to make a statement. This could be a personal statement for yourself, an act of rebellion, or a matter of image. Another reason, for heavily tattooed folk, is that that's the only blank canvas left. Lastly, facial tattoos play an important role in some cultures, particularly in the Pacific. For example, in Maori tradition, a face ta moko is the ultimate declaration of your identity as a Maori and tells the story of your life.
What jobs allow face tattoos?
Industries that don't mind face tattoos tend to fall with the arts, hospitality, and blue-collar jobs. There are plenty of artists, musicians, moviemakers, models, chefs, bartenders, and venue managers who rock face ink without a problem. Additionally, labor-intensive jobs from electricians, builders, and mechanics, to fishermen, truckers, and rig workers also generally don't care as much about your appearance, just as long as you're willing to work hard and get the job done. However, there are plenty of other roles and industries that won't have a problem either, as long as you're qualified and good at your job.
Do face tattoos hurt?
Yes, though not as much as the skull. There's still a bit of padding around the face, which can make it hurt less. Plus, generally, the tattoos are smaller, with less detail, so the duration is short. However, around the eyes is particularly high on the pain scale for both the physical pain and the trepidation of a needle puncturing the skin near your eye 1000 times per minute. Expect some eye-watering to happen.
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