There’s a lot of talk about hand and finger tattoos these days, with more and more people opting for these kinds of ink – celebrities, musicians, and rappers are repping hand and finger tattoos now mo...

Pros and Cons of Hand and Finger Tattoos

There’s a lot of talk about hand and finger tattoos these days, with more and more people opting for these kinds of ink – celebrities, musicians, and rappers are repping hand and finger tattoos now more than ever.You can find quite a bit of info out there about hand and finger ink, not all of it is positive, but it’s also not always accurate. Just because your favorite celeb has them, doesn’t mean they’re a good fit for you, so before you take on this current tattoo trend, some research is key. We looked into it by asking some tattoo artists their thoughts on the matter. This is what we learned.

The Rise of Hand and Finger Ink

Hand Tattoos of Zombie Woman

Hand tattoos aren’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, according to UK tattoo artist Jim Beaumont, different parts of the hand offer significant advantages for tattooing, “The hand is a good round shape, so there [are] a lot of options [for] what is available (faces, heads, roses, birds, mandalas)…The palm is good for strong images with very bold lines, and [is] a mark of endurance, as it is a very painful area”. Finger tattoos are linked to the old school traditional style of tattooing, Jim says, and are best for “simple patterns or witty statement[s]”.

As far as the recent, widespread appeal of hand and finger ink, Jim thinks celebrities are partly responsible, “I think celebrity culture has an influence on tattoos as a part of fashion, so when a popular icon has a finger tattoo, it’s almost accepted now, and opens the gateway to be daring to have a finger tattoo”. They’re also great for anyone who can’t sit for a long tattoo session, “fingers can also give that simple message [when] the client doesn’t actually sit for any more than 2 minutes”.

Toronto tattoo artist CT believes that the appeal of hand and finger tattoos lies more in aesthetics, “I think the reason most people get hand tattoos is because [they’re] pretty hardcore, and one of the first things people will see”. If you want ink that’s going to be noticed, the hands and fingers are one place where you tattoos are guaranteed to be seen.

The Pros

We mentioned some of the advantages to hand and finger tattoos above, but there are a couple more pros to hand tattoos if you’re thinking of going this route. Being able to rep sweet artwork on a visible part of your body is a benefit on its own, according to Jim, “hand tattoos can look amazing and I get excited to work on them”, although he doesn’t feel the same about finger tattoos, believing they’re not worth the time and effort for how they turn out in the long run.

Healed Hand Tattoo

For CT, the cool factor in and of itself is a huge advantage, “If you have a sweet tattoo that was done properly and it stays…well your badass level just went up”. If you’re looking for an easy way to up your street status, hand or finger tattoos could be the way to go.

The Cons

Symbol Tattoos on Fingers

It may or may not come as a surprise, but there are more cons than pros to getting certain kinds of hand and finger tattoos. Fingers, especially, aren’t known for holding ink or aging well. Jim explains, “the fingers are normally a novelty area now, and 9/10 finger tattoos either look faded or the opposite (blown out)”. He calls areas like fingers and the palm of then hand ‘no guarantee’ spots, “which means more than likely to have a top up…The palm is almost impossible to look after as the skin type on this part heals differently”. He cautions that not all kinds of designs will work on these smaller areas, “if the design is too complicated or [the] wrong shape I will turn it away as the artwork has to look right…some people want lots of details in such a small place…or sometimes the design will not look good on the area”.

Jim also believes that certain career paths won’t always allow for people to have visible ink on places like their hands or fingers, “hand tattoo can [cause] complications with job opportunities, with certain code of conduct rules requesting for tattoos to be covered”. Although tattoos are becoming more widely accepted in many fields of work, this still doesn’t apply across the board. If you’re looking at becoming a police officer, for example, having tattooed hands might work against you in terms of acceptance onto any police force.

CT points out that the pain factor alone is a downside for most people, “it’s pretty painful, especially palm”. The fact that these kinds of tattoos don’t always hold ink well is another, “they tend to fade easily, and if the tattoo fades, [you] are now stuck with it on a very visible spot”.

Should You Get One? Advice From the Pros

Hand tattoos aren’t for everyone. They’re always visible, they send a certain message, and they don’t fit into all lifestyles or career paths. Jim points out that “Hand tattoos are mainly for tattoo fans who are already heavily tattooed, or someone who is wanting make a statement through a piece of art on show permanently”. He stresses that this kind of ink is a bigger commitment than most other tattoos, and “has to be a timeless piece of art on the hand, something you will not get bored [of], as it will be in your sight and everyone else’s in the open”. He cautions that for this reason, you should try not to get anything that could be seen as “too offensive”.

CT isn’t against finger tattoos altogether, and says that if you’re going to get one, go a slightly different route, “I highly recommend for finger tattoos to be done by someone with experience, or [a] professional stick and poke artist…stick and poke we can guarantee it will stay”. He’s seen the results himself, as there’s a stick and poke artist in the tattoo parlor he works out of. If you want a ton of detail in the design, rethink your placement or artists will likely turn you away, “some people don’t understand the amount of detail has to be very minimal [or] else it will be a blob. So I [would] rather not take those risks”. He always warns potential customers who ask him for finger tattoos that they don’t age well, so if they don’t last, “that’s all on the customers side, since I always warn them. But they look really bad when they are all worn out”.

Unless you’re prepared to get a timeless, lasting design for your hand tattoo, or a minimalist idea for your fingers, you might want to rethink getting inked in these areas. There’s a big risk that they won’t last, and you want to be sure that you choose a design that you won’t get sick of after a year or two.

There are some definite upsides to getting hand tattoos, and a few for finger tattoos, but it’s important to consider the downsides before making a decision. There’s a chance that these kinds of tattoo could impact a future job search or career path. Finger tattoos, in particular, won’t look good as they age, so they should be considered a more temporary form of tattoo endeavor, unless you want to deal with frequent touch ups. Hand tattoos last longer if they’re done properly, but you want to do some research before booking any appointments.

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