Minimalist Tattoos Are Cool, But Are They Practical? We Investigate

From tattoos displaying our astrological signs to those tattoos honoring movements we're still fighting today, few things are better than getting our favorite things inked on our skin. After all, the tattoos on our bodies directly reflect ourselves and our interests! At the same time, though, not every tattoo has to be an elaborately planned or sketched-out idea. Nowadays, many tattoos being inked are barely noticeable from a distance. These are considered minimalist tattoos, which take up a small part of your body and often only have one simple design.  

According to Arizona tattoo parlor Chosen Art, minimalist tattoos are best described as using "crisp black or colored lines, negative space, and sparse color palettes, conveying a design that is both clean and simple." What also makes these tattoos unique is their use of a needle with one point instead of multiple, which is more commonplace in tattooing.

However, much like all tattoos, these minimalist designs might not be for everyone. In some cases, they may need more upkeep than you may have expected. However, they can still be a great option for you if you have the right design. You just have to ensure that you consult a tattoo artist that's trained in the style and the equipment needed to bring it to life.

The appeal of minimalist tattoos

As previously mentioned, there are multiple benefits to getting a minimalist tattoo. They are often easily concealable through clothes or light makeup, especially if you place them on your fingers or the inside of your arms. This makes them a good option if your job requires you not to show any visible ink. 

These types of tattoos can also be a great starting point for beginners – perhaps you've thought about getting a much larger job done but don't have any experience getting tattooed. By getting a smaller piece done before your dream job, you will get to experience the process of tattooing to see if it's something you'd want to do again. It's also great if you're not totally settled on a design. You can get an initial piece as a fine line work and go back for a later session for more detail or rework the design completely.

It'll also likely cost less than most other types of tattoos due to the lack of intricacies required in the designs. The simplicity of the design means you'll also spend less time in the studio. Since most minimalist designs use only one or two colors, the tattoo can work with a variety of skin tones.

Be sure to find someone who specializes in minimalist tattoos

Although simplistic in design, fine line tattoos require a ton of practice and skill to pull off effectively. For this reason, you'll do best to consult an artist who is experienced with these single needle designs. After all, precision is key with this style, and one tiny mistake from an inexperienced artist could ruin the piece. 

This piece of advice directly leads to our next tip. If an artist is unfamiliar with handling a one-point needle, they might not be able to provide the right tips for aftercare. With all of this in mind, it's essential that you find an artist that specializes in these fine line and minimalist designs. However, depending on your location, that could be fairly difficult. While it might seem fun to take a little road trip to get one of these tattoos, it may be impractical for many prospective tattoo recipients. 

Be mindful of placement and aging

We've all heard the "think about your future" line before, and while most of that is pointless fear-mongering, there is a bit of genuine concern to be had. Will a tattoo still look good throughout the years? That depends on two things: placement and aging. Placement is everything with a minimalist tattoo. Maybe you want to get a tiny word on your finger. Since that's likely the only tat placed there, it will likely be okay. But if you get tiny clusters of fine-line minimalist tattoos all over your arm, it may look cluttered compared to one cohesive design. That's why it's important to really think about where you want it to appear.

Even if you are totally fine with letting the passage of time affect your body and looks, it's understandable that you would want to preserve your tattoo in its best state. "Fine line tattoos are gonna age the same as normal tattoos age," says tattoo educator on TikTok @youareyouthful. "[But] The thing is you're putting less ink into the skin so it will fade faster versus bold line [tattoos] because there's more ink."

According to Ink Nurse, low-quality ink and tools might not penetrate your skin past the first layer of skin. The secret to a good tattoo is getting the ink down multiple layers of skin, so if an artist is only able to ink the first layer, it is more prone to fading and aging over time. Unprotected and frequent exposure to UV rays can also lead to more rapid tattoo aging. This means that if you get one of these tattoos, it's more important than ever to wear protective sunscreen while out and about.

Aftercare is important

Aftercare is essential to ensure your minimalist tattoo looks excellent and heals properly. After all, tattoos involve ink being precisely drilled underneath your skin – no matter what type of tattoo you get, it's going to need some t.l.c.. But because minimalist designs in particular are so delicate, taking extra care is essential so the design lasts. According to Massachusetts esthetician and tattoo artist Joanna Rosalee, you can do one of two aftercare methods. The first is the more traditional method, which allows the tattoo to heal openly in order to get used to the elements. She recommends regularly moisturizing and cleaning the tattoo with a damp cloth. However, she stresses that you shouldn't completely rinse the affected area with water, whether in the shower or a swimming pool, for around two to three weeks.

The other aftercare method Rosalee recommends is wrapping. Many artists can wrap or bandage your new tattoo to prevent excess fluid from leaking. After 24 hours, remove the initial bandage by loosening it in the shower. However, make sure you're quick to put another on afterward, which you can keep on between three and five days. Afterward, make it a habit to gently clean the tattoo with soap and water before applying antibacterial ointment.

As you can see, minimalist tattoos aren't just tattoos you can get and then promptly forget about. Despite their small size, they will require a lot of attention to avoid premature fading or aging. That being said, the same can be said for any tattoo. In order for it to be preserved, you're going to need a great tattoo artist and the proper care regimen.