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Behind the Ear Tattoo is the new trend

Tattoo behind the ear

What links Adele, Rihanna and Princess Eugenie? Unbelievable wealth and personal connections to Prince Harry, yes, but they also all sport tattoos behind their A-list ears.

And so do more and more ‘regular’ folks, as the hairline spot seems to have become the spot du jour for tattoos.

Auckland tattoo artist Alvina Tang attributes the growing popularity of the placement to two factors: an ability to fly under the radar simply by wearing your hair down, which would certainly appeal to office workers or someone like Princess Eugenie who has to conform to restrictive dress codes, but also to a proliferation of the design across social media.

“People often get tattoos following the trend of social media,” says Tang.

“I believe people think that behind the ear is quite a ‘subtle’ placement – not so obvious – and girls can show them off when they [choose to] tie up their hair.”

Getting a tattoo to follow a trend can often be a short-sighted idea (just ask anyone who got a moustache or shhh… tattooed on their index finger circa 2010), so here are some things you should consider before taking the plunge behind the ear.

How painful is it to get a behind the ear tattoo?

You may think that because the ear rear sits right on the skull and reasonably fleshless, it’ll be a painful spot, but both Tang and Auckland-based tattoo artist Minnie Fanselow-Brown (of Mira Studio) say the opposite seems to be true.

Tang says her clients that have gone under the gun behind their ears report that the experience is almost painless – “most of them just fall asleep”.

Fanselow-Brown says that clients often describe the sensation as “weird” rather than painful. She does however provide a caveat that pain and individual experiences vary depending on designs and often, “colour tattoos can be more painful than black and grey”.

If you’re sensitive to the sound of the tattoo gun, keep in mind that because the work is so close to your ear, that buzzing noise will be amplified.

One thing works in the area’s favour: there’s not a lot of skin real estate to play with, so designs are generally small and therefore the tattooing, even when painful, will be over relatively quickly.

Is there specific ear tattoo aftercare?

Your tattoo artist should give you detailed aftercare instructions for your specific tattoo, and you should follow these to a T. But both artists I spoke to suggested you also consider these additional measures:

– You might want to wash your hair the day before you get the tattoo to avoid unnecessary irritation in the immediate aftermath.
– You are OK to shower but don’t soak the area for at least two weeks, so no baths or swimming.
– For a couple of weeks after, tilt your head to the other side to wash your hair and try to avoid getting any hair products on the tattoo, as these products can irritate the area. Rinse with water immediately if you do get product on it.
– Pat dry gently afterwards with a clean towel or paper towel, never rub it dry.
– Avoid any exfoliating products/gloves/cloths (if you need to, rub over the area with clean fingers, very lightly).
– While your new ear adornment heals, steer clear of earrings that could scratch your new tattoo. This is especially salient if you sleep on your side.

Other things to consider before inking your ears

Both artists warned that tattoos behind the ears are more prone to ink fade than other placements, with Tang explaining that because the skin there is thin, it doesn’t have as many pores to ‘grip’ the ink.

Because of this, Fanselow-Brown says ear tattoos may require touching up, especially if colour ink is used. She recommends letting the tattoo settle in to your skin for a couple of months before having it touched up. The good news is that most artists should offer a free touch up if it’s needed.

You’ll also want to take the time to choose the right design.

Fanselow-Brown says, “it is best not to go for something too detailed in this spot as this may not heal well – clearer, simpler designs work best”.

Tang points out that while many people gravity towards the area because of its ability to fly under the radar, that may not always the case. “Depending on the size of your tattoo and how you wear your hair, this may be quite a prominent spot, so make sure you have decided on something that you are not likely to regret!”

A good way to test out the visibility and placement? Try a temporary tattoo of a similar size and design for a couple of days.

Source: Stuff

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