Post Malone attends the 2018 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on October 9, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravit

Don’t Ink Your Mug Without Reading This First

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Artistic expression comes in many forms. We may choose to do something as simple as wearing floral-print socks or as drastic as dying our hair teal, but there is, perhaps, no more permanent display of personal aesthetic than getting a tattoo.

Despite once being considered taboo or rebellious, the popularity of tattoos has only been on the rise. In fact, nearly 30 percent of the country’s population is said to be inked. That’s a whole lot of red hearts with the word “mom” etched in them.

While some may opt for a tiny (and clichéd, sorry) Chinese character or an entire sleeve, one extreme iteration that has garnered recent attention is face tattoos. And no, you don’t have to go to Aaron Carter or Post Malone lengths to rock one.

We chatted with N.Y.C. tattoo artist Ariel Wei (whose minimalist tattoos are all the rage!) of Blindreason Tattoo to get her take on the trend and what interested customers should keep in mind before locking in that appointment date.

AskMen: Why do you think there has been a rise in face tattoo popularity?

Ariel Wei: There are celebrities who have them, so people saw them and they became a bit more normalized. Also, the stigma behind tattoos has slowly been fading. People who work in office spaces and companies seem to get tattoos, in general, more than before. I think face tattoos were infamous for being prison or gang-related, but now—with the various styles of tattooing — it has become more approachable to the public.

AM: Do you have to treat the skin differently if a tattoo is going on the face?

AW: Yes, the skin varies and it also depends on the person. Some people have thinner skin and some have thicker. The skin on the face is usually more sensitive than other parts of the body. I need to be extra careful and also go lighter [with the needle].

AM: How badly do face tattoos hurt compared to the rest of the body?

AW: Pain always depends on a number of things like the style of the tattoo, the client’s tolerance, etc. Because I do fine-line tattoos, I can only speak for my clients who usually say that the tattoo process doesn’t hurt as much as they thought, or that it doesn’t even hurt at all. Bolder and darker tattoos definitely hurt more. It can also depend on how heavy-heaved the artist may be.

AM: What are the best types of designs and spots for a face tattoo?

AW: It’s hard to say a type of design, just because everyone has a different style and look they go for. A smaller, delicate tattoo (something not so crazy in detail) is what I’d recommend for first-timers so that it doesn’t overwhelm you. You know never if you’d like to remove it one day.

When it comes to placement, I personally like the sideburn area or the side of the forehead, where the hairline starts. The area above the eyebrow and the upper cheek is cool, too.

AM: How much do face tattoos typically cost?

AW: Pricing always depends on the artist. I can’t speak for everyone, so I’ll just say that for me, areas that are more difficult to tattoo and require a specific skill set to achieve, usually cost more.

AM: What should people keep in mind before deciding to get a face tattoo?

AW: Any tattoo is permanent. I highly recommend thinking about the idea and all the factors that may affect you before committing to a face tattoo. A face tattoo, in particular, changes your appearance because you can’t really hide it. You don’t have to care about other people [or what they think], but giving it a second thought won’t hurt you. The stigma around tattoos is changing, but there are people who will still judge you by your appearance.

Best Products for Tattoo Care

Should you choose to partake in a face tattoo (or any tattoo, for that matter), nothing is more important than proper aftercare (i.e. cleaning the wound and keeping it moisturized). Depending on the size and body part, you may also have different preferences when it comes to soaps, balms, and creams, but here are three tried-and-true products that should essentially work for everyone during the healing process.

Tattoo Goo Cleansing Soap

Tattoo Goo Soap

You’re going to need to keep your tattooed area free of any microbes or bacteria that can lead to a nasty infection. Tattoo Goo is equal parts fun to say and effective, making it an industry leader for years. Its pH balance is also slightly acidic to help “buffer” the skin while providing its protective qualities.

Promising Review: “I have been working on a sleeve. The first part of the tattoo I got I did not have Tattoo Goo. The second session I used Tattoo Goo for keeping my tattoo clean and I feel like it helped cut down the healing time. I used the soap in conjunction with Tattoo Goo Salve for moisturizing. The soap and salve have a very natural scent to them. I liked that. I will continue to buy and use on future tattoos.” – Nichole

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Most tattoo artists are going to recommend the popular ointment as a way to keep the area moisturized and open to the flow of oxygen. Once your tattoo scabs and heals, you can also keep this tube to treat most of your most pressing skin care needs during dry winters.

Promising Review: “Perfect for tattoos. Didn’t see anyone mention this, but I’ve used this brand for all of my tats. Definitely recommend.” – Austin

Viking Revolution Tattoo Care Balm

Viking Revolution Tattoo Care Balm

If balms are more your vibe, this highly-rated blend of all-natural ingredients like grapeseed oil, shea butter, and chamomile extract is perfect for before, during, and after the tattoo process. It also smells great,

Promising Review: “I’ve never had a tattoo heal as quickly before! The balm isn’t greasy and doesn’t leave a film when you apply it. The day after I got my most recent tattoo, I applied it about ever 4 hours and the second day I applied it twice. I applied it intermittently for the next couple of days and my tattoo hasn’t even scabbed over; it’s mostly just dry and smooth.” – BattleD4D

Tattoos are an extremely personal decision, though the results don’t always come out as anticipated. Through laser or surgical removal and/or dermabrasion treatments, you can effectively get rid of the art that was once dear to your heart, but it doesn’t come without consequences. Tattoo removal is notoriously expensive and painful and may require multiple sessions to achieve a desired outcome. It’s important for you to research tattoo artists, their specialties, and what you hope to accomplish before sitting in the chair.

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