Neck tattoos are not for the thin-skinned. They are painful and difficult to hide. But the neck is an amazing spot for ink you're proud to show.

Amazing Neck Tattoos

Of all of the places on your body where you can get a tattoo – which is pretty much all of them – there are few as controversial as the neck tattoo. Tattoo enthusiasts and normies without a single tattoo to their name both have opinions about them. Depending on who you talk to, you’ll either be encouraged to get one or looked at like you’ve gone mad for even considering it. And depending on where on your neck you get it, your tattoo may be viewed as feminine and dainty or masculine and tough.

So what’s the big deal? And if you do decide you want to get a neck tattoo, how do you get the best one possible? In this article, we’ll give you the 411 on neck tattoos, from why they’re contentious to what styles they look best in.

What’s the Deal With Neck Tattoos?

Let’s be frank: neck tattoos are not the most popular placement around. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t beautiful and cool; it just means that they’re not for the faint of heart. After all, a neck tattoo is one of the most visible forms of body modification you can get. While it’s rather easy to hide a tattoo on your arm or leg, a neck tattoo (unless it is in a place where it can be covered by hair) is out there for the world to see, immediately identifying you as a tattooed person. For that reason, a lot of people will warn you to think long and hard before committing to a neck tattoo.

And the truth is, they’re right. Neck tattoos aren’t for everybody. If you’re not willing to be discriminated against for certain jobs and looked at sideways because of your tattoo, you probably won’t want to get a neck tattoo. If you don’t want to look to the world like a tattooed person, you probably won’t want to get a neck tattoo. But if you love tattoos, are confident with making strong choices, know who you are and what you want, and like the idea of putting a tattoo somewhere where the whole world can see it, a neck tattoo might just be the best thing you can do.

Cons of Neck Tattoos

Another reason why neck tattoos aren’t necessarily the most popular is that they can really hurt. Not only is the skin around your neck quite sensitive, but it’s also a part of your body that is bonier, has thin skin, and has less fatty tissue to cushion the blow of the tattoo gun.

Neck tattoos can also be harder to heal than other tattoos, as this is an area of your body that sees a lot of wear and tear. From all of the moving around your head does and the friction of your clothes, neck tattoos can take up to twice as long to heal as tattoos in other locations.

Another point to consider is that the neck skin, being as thin as it is, tends to show signs of aging more than the skin on your arm or leg, for example. So as you age, your neck skin will sag and wrinkle, which will affect the appearance of your tattoo. It’s also exposed to a lot of sun, which means that neck tattoos are liable to fading and blurring.

But if you’re ready to grit your teeth, deal with the pain, and accept your body’s natural aging process as it is, then there’s no reason not to go ahead and move forward with getting a neck tattoo.

Covering Neck Tattoos

One thing you may want to think about is how you can cover a neck tattoo if and when you decide you want to do so. After all, a neck tattoo is very visible and a big commitment, but it’s not a face tattoo. When it comes down to it, you can cover up your neck tattoo if you want to. Depending on where your tattoo is placed and the length of your hair, it may even be easy for it to be covered by your hair. But if that isn’t the case, then you can always use a scarf or a turtleneck. Not only will it cover your tattoo, but it will also be a fashion statement. And if it’s the middle of the summer and you can’t bear wearing something warm, you can use heavy-duty make-up to do the job.

Neck Tattoo Styles

Of course, you can get a neck tattoo in any style that you want to. That being said, there are some that are more popular than others. Here’s an overview of some of the best tattoo styles for neck tattoos.

Tribal Neck Tattoos

One of the most common types of neck tattoos that you will see is a tribal style neck tattoo. There are a few reasons for this. First, tribal tattoos do a great job at complementing the curvature and the musculature of the human body, and the neck is a place that can be particularly curved or even particularly well-muscled depending on who is getting the tattoo. It also does happen to be the case that neck tattoos and tribal tattoos are a placement and style that are both more popular with men, which makes them pretty likely to coincide together in one tattoo.

Line Work Neck Tattoos

There are also multiple reasons why somebody would choose line work for the style of their neck tattoo. One is that line work tattoos can be very delicate and pretty, which may appeal to the people who are getting those intricate, back-of-the-neck, ladylike tattoos. It’s also impossible to ignore the fact that line work tattoos will generally hurt less than ones with lots of color and/or shading, and since the neck is already a painful place to get tattooed, it can be appealing to choose a style that doesn’t hurt too badly.

Hand Poked Neck Tattoos

For similar reasons, hand-poked tattoos are another style that is popular for the neck location. They can hurt less than a tattoo done with a tattooing machine. And, interestingly hand-poked tattoos, depending on how they are done, can come off in either a very feminine and delicate way or a very masculine and rugged way. Because many people getting neck tattoos are striving for either one or the other extreme, hand-poked tattoos can be popular for both.

Old School Neck Tattoos

Old school, or American traditional, is another style that you might see often in a neck tattoo, and this is because of a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s just one of the most popular tattoo styles in general, so it’s one that you see a lot in all body placements. But beyond that, old school is a style that is particularly favored by tattoo collectors, tattoo enthusiasts, and people who have a lot of tattoos. And because most people who get neck tattoos are people who have a strong love for tattoos and have already had a lot of other body parts tattooed, this is a group of people who is more likely to choose to get a tattoo in the American traditional style.

Neck Tattoo Placement

Although it’s a relatively small body part, the neck still offers many possible placements for tattoos. Here’s an exhaustive list of them.

The Front of the Neck

The front of the neck is one of the more hardcore options for neck tattoo placements. Not only is it highly visible and not able to be covered up with hair, but it’s also one of the most painful tattoo placements. This area has thin skin, lots of nerve endings and muscle mass, and – perhaps most challenging of all – can make it difficult to breathe as the tattoo artist goes over your larynx. For that reason, it’s not recommended as a first tattoo or for tattoo beginners.

The Back of the Neck

In contrast, the back of the neck is a pretty accessible tattoo location. In fact, it’s often chosen as a spot for a first and even only tattoo. This is because it’s easy to cover up with hair. Many women like to get small, dainty tattoos on the back of their necks in a way that highlights the delicate nature of the neck. This is also a good area for tattooing because it’s flat, doesn’t get a lot of sun exposure, and is big enough to be able to do relatively intricate designs if that’s what you’re looking for.

Under the Chin

Many people will get their neck tattoos up so high that they go under their chin. With this placement, all of the considerations of front-of-the-neck tattoos are relevant – but even more so. These will only hurt more and be even harder to hide than a front-of-the-neck tattoo, so it’s advised to tread carefully.

The Side of the Neck

If you want to get a neck tattoo but are afraid of the pain, the side of the neck is probably going to be the best spot for you. It’s actually known to be one of the less painful tattoo placements, and the skin here is much thicker than the front and the back of the neck. It’s still very visible, though, so this is probably not the best tattoo for somebody who is brand new to tattooing.

Right Under the Hairline

One of the more unique places you can get a tattoo, the final area of your neck that we’ll mention you can get tattooed is right under your hairline. This is essentially a very high neck tattoo. It may be easier to cover with hair, but it’s also likely to really sting, as the closer you get to your scalp, the thinner and more sensitive your skin. Plus, if you want to go into the actual hairline, your tattoo artist will have to shave your hair, which is worth thinking about and planning for ahead of time.

Examples of Neck Tattoos

Now that we’ve gone over the information you need to know about neck tattoos, you probably have a pretty good idea of whether or not this tattoo location is for you. If you’ve gotten to this point and still want a neck tattoo, this is a great time to look at some awesome, successful neck tattoos to get inspiration for and start thinking about what you might want to do for yours. So here are some neck tattoos that we love.

Large Neo-Traditional Neck Tattoo

This neck tattoo is a perfect example of the classic, bold, large American traditional neckpiece that goes on the front and side of the neck all the way up to the chin and hairline. As you can see, this is an incredibly bold and noticeable tattoo, but it’s on somebody who is already very well-covered in tattoos and even has a face tattoo, so you know this person isn’t worried about being denied a job because of his tattoos and that is he probably pretty committed to the tattooed lifestyle.

Mico Moon and Stars Tattoo on the back of a Woman's Neck

On the other end of the neck tattoo spectrum is this delicate dot work tattoo on the back of the neck. This is the type of neck tattoo that goes by quickly, doesn’t hurt too much, looks delicate and feminine rather than rugged and masculine, and is easily hidden by long hair.

So whatever type of tattoo lover you are – whether you’re covered head to toe in tattoos or have never had one before – you can see that there’s a type of neck tattoo that can work for you.

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