Tattoos are popping up everywhere these days, including the ear, eyelids, and fingernails (that last one is pretty pain-free, although it also grows out). Like facial piercings, facial tattoos are gradually becoming more accepted by the more uptight echelons of Western society. But a tattoo on the nose is significantly different from getting a nose piercing.
You can get a tattoo on the nose. However, the face is an incredibly sensitive part of the body. Even if you’ve had a nose piercing before, the pain will be greater due to the length of time it takes to ink in the design. Nose tattoos are more susceptible to sunburn and fading, too.
Facial tattoos are not new. In many cultures, tattoos are common, including the face. But modern Western societies are still a bit backward regarding body art. There are also some ultra-conservative countries where it is illegal to have tattoos, and a facial one is hard to hide. So, the question is more “should” I get a nose tattoo rather than “can.”
Getting A Nose Tattoo
Unless you live in a culture where facial tattoos are common, getting a nose tattoo is a bold statement. However, their popularity is on the rise in Western cultures, and Instagram and TikTok are full of people boasting of their new nose ink.
Some nose tattoos are delicate and simple, often mimicking the same adornments of nose rings. Others are bolder and brasher, such as a ram’s head. There are tiny ones on the septum to thin lines on the bridge of the nose. Then there are nose tattoos with more intricate patterns, often with cultural or religious significance.
Like any other tattoos, ink designs on the nose range in quality and artistry. The exception is, if you don’t like your nose art, it’s pretty difficult to hide. Thus, you will want to find an artist with a great deal of experience with nose tattoos. The skin is different in this area due to the cartilage’s various textures.
Why Some Artists Won’t Do Nose Tattoos
Not every artist will agree to tattoo a person’s nose. There are a few reasons for this. The first is, sometimes it isn’t worth the hassle. Unlike a full-on sleeve or a back piece, a nose tattoo is a pretty small earner. However, unlike a sleeve or a back piece, the artist is opening themselves up to a lot of potential blowback.
It isn’t just the nose but the entire face that will potentially bring artists a great deal of grief due to the client’s regret and the (misplaced) anger from the client’s partner, parents, friends, and so on.
In the second camp are artists who will do face tattoos but won’t agree to do a nose tattoo on a client who hasn’t any experience with other facial or neck ink. A tattoo near the hairline is less potentially “regretful” than one smack in the middle of your face. Also, the face is a sensitive area, and for some people (not all), the nose can be an especially painful placement.
Are Nose Tattoos Non-Electric?
Some tattoo artists prefer to use the non-electric stick-and-poke technique on the nose. It is a slower method, but they feel it gives greater control and precision for a challenging canvas. The nose has a lot of contours, and there is a breadth of texture, from fleshy to spongy, to hard, all on the same nose. But not all tattoo artists use non-electric methods for nose tattoos.
But it is always good to ask the artist what types of needles and methods they plan on using for your nose tattoo. Even if you don’t have a personal preference, it can be nice to know what to expect, especially when it comes to the amount of time you’ll be in the chair.
Do Nose Tattoos Fade Faster?
Nose tattoos have the potential to fade faster. Just as the nose is the first area of the face to become sunburnt on an unprotected face, a nose tattoo is the most likely to fade. However, being religious about sunscreen (after healing) and hats will help extend the life of any facial tattoo, including one on the nose.
Do Nose Tattoos Take Longer To Heal?
Aftercare of facial tattoos is often similar to anywhere else on the body. But of course, listen to your artist and their advice. The skin is thinner on the face, which some believe causes delays in healing.
The other issue is that many people touch their faces a lot. A facial tattoo makes a face itch for about a week, and this often causes people to touch their face even more. Touching tattoos while they are healing is frowned upon because it delays healing. Thus, if you are getting a nose tattoo, start practicing not touching your face well before your appointment.
Are Nose Tattoos Painful?
In general, facial tattoos hurt more than the outer thigh, lower back, or bicep. Faces are generally sensitive areas of the body, and the skin is thinner, which makes them more suspectable to pain. Nor is having a nose piercing a good indicator, as it is a quick, one needle experience.
But the nose isn’t necessarily the most painful place on the face to get a tattoo. Some find the cheekbone much more uncomfortable. It really depends on the person getting the tattoo. For some, the nose is actually one of the better facial areas, along with the chin. But others have an incredibly sensitive nose and say it is the most painful tattoo they ever had done.
The general guideline is that it will hurt more than your easiest body placements, such as the outer thigh. But it will be a less intense experience than having a cheek inked or the under-eye area.
Will I Regret My Nose Tattoo?
If you will regret a nose tattoo is a very personal question. A person with a facial tattoo will indeed find it harder to get a job in certain fields due to prejudice. It is also true that people with facial tattoos get more remarks than somebody with, say, a shoulder tattoo.
Will it bother you that nosey people will make tacky comments and ask questions that are none of their business? Do you mind much if people stare? These questions give some anxiety; others just shrug.
The world is changing, but it is also good to be realistic that change takes time. So it depends on your life and how you see it going forward.
There are people in high-powered business jobs that have tattoos from the clavicle down to the ankle. But they leave their neck, face, and hands untouched so they can cover their ink during their “work life.” There are people showing their ink off at the workplace and are living their best life. In the end, it is a profoundly personal choice in a world that is far from perfect.
Getting a nose tattoo is possible. Like any tattoo, it is essential to do your research and make sure you know what to expect and have an artist that has had experience inking this part of the body. Unlike many other tattoos, a nose tattoo cannot be covered up. This is not necessarily a negative, but it is worth thinking about.
Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you
Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.
Design and tattoo ideas
For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):
- Great Book of Tattoo Designs, Revised Edition: More than 500 Body Art Designs (Fox Chapel Publishing) Fantasy, Celtic, Floral, Wildlife, and Symbol Designs for the Skin by Lora Irish
- The Big Book of Small Tattoos – Vol.1: 400 small original tattoos for women and men by Roberto Gemori
- Tiny Tattoos: Over 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks by Rebecca Vincent.
If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).
The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):