If you love to use your nails to make a statement, a nail tattoo might just be right up your street.
Yes, you read that right. Nail tattoos are not only a thing, but a bold fashion statement that’ll help you stand out from the crowd.
Unlike a traditional tattoo, nail tattoos are semi-permanent, meaning you can switch things up whenever your tattoo has grown out.
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Everything You Need to Know About Nail Tattoos
Whether you’re covered in tattoos or are yet to have your first, you’ll love the nail tattoo trend taking everywhere by storm.
While nail tattoos aren’t a new thing, their surge in popularity is bound to get everyone talking about them. Get clued up so you can join in the conversation.
Here’s everything you need to know about nail tattoos
What does a nail tattoo mean?
When anyone talks to their friends about getting a nail tattoo, they’re often met with the same response – can you tattoo your nails?
It almost seems like something that can’t be done. After all, your nails aren’t made of skin. It would be fair to assume only skin can be tattooed, but luckily that’s not the case.
A nail tattoo means just that. A tattoo on your nail.
A specialist artist will use a tattoo gun to etch a tiny symbol or drawing on your nail. You could have them on just one nail, or every nail and they don’t have to match.
How are nail tattoos given?
As mentioned above, the tattoo is etched into the surface of the nail instead of the skin. Providing the nail tattoo is given safely by a properly trained person, it shouldn’t piece the nail or touch the skin.
Not all tattoo artists have experience in giving nail tattoos, so check their website or social media for examples of their work before booking in.
How long do nail tattoos last?
If you’re wondering how long nail tattoos last, it’s a how long is a piece of string? kind of question. It all depends on how quickly your nails grow. The average time is around six months, but if you have slow growth, it might be longer for you.
The nail grows out from the cuticle, upwards so it might look partially grown out for a while as your cells replenish.
How permanent are nail tattoos?
Although nail tattoos grow out, they are permanent on the piece of nail that has been tattooed.
What you’ll find is, they won’t last forever like a tattoo in skin, but they also won’t just disappear from the nail by any other means than growth.
In essence, they are permanent on the nail, but not on the finger it’s growing from.
How old do you need to be to get a nail tattoo?
Despite nail tattoos not being a permanent fixture, it still counts as a tattoo. This means if you’re in the UK or the US, you’ll need to be at least 18 to get one.
Do nail tattoos hurt?
Nail tattoos are considered to be surprisingly pain-free. The tattoo gun shouldn’t reach the skin below your nail, so the sensation should feel like a vibration.
People describe it as similar to having gel nail polished removed by someone using an electric nail file.
Are nail tattoos safe?
Tattooists are carefully trained in hygiene and how to handle the tools they use. Providing you use a professional tattoo artist; nail tattoos should be very safe.
As with all tattoos and body modification, they are not totally risk-free, but if you research the place you book in with and take their aftercare advice, all risks should be minimized.
How long does a nail tattoo take?
Depending on how intricate the design is and how many nails you’re having tattooed, a nail tattooing session can take anything up to three hours.
This might be a surprise as you’re asking for a tattoo on a relatively small area of your body. The thing is these types of tattoos take a lot of concentration and precision. Your tattooist is working on a small canvas with an entirely different surface.
Nails are rough and bumpy with grooves meaning whatever your chosen design, extra care needs to be taken.
One popular design is a cross of nails tattoo – which essentially looks like two nails crossed over. This is a very simple design so won’t keep you in the tattoo artist’s chair too long.
If you choose something more intricate, tattooing your nail can take a bit longer.
What nail tattoo designs are available?
Truthfully, there are thousands of nail tattoo designs available. There are likely to be samples on your tattooist’s walls. The tattoo artist might want to design something especially for you, or you might have ideas of your own.
Basically, if the design is small, it’s fine for a nail. Popular choices are love hearts, a cross of nails tattoo (either a 2 or 3 nail cross), stars, vines, and flowers. You might even go for something a little darker like a coffin nail tattoo or a bat.
Can you tattoo your toenails?
There’s no reason you can’t have a tattooed toe nail or two. The process for tattooing nails is the same on your hands and your feet, so you could technically have your fingernails and toenails tattooed in one visit – providing the tattooist has time.
Can you get tattoos under your fingernails?
It is possible to get tattoos under your fingernails, but it’s important to realise that these are not the same as nail tattoos.
Nail tattoos are etched into the outer surface of the nail plate and grow out – meaning they are not permanent. Having a tattoo underneath your nail means the tattoo is on the skin instead of the nail, making it permanent.
This type of tattoo is not for the faint-hearted. If you’re not satisfied with having the tattoo just at the fingertip, under the white of your nail, you might have to have some of your nail removed. This is definitely a much more painful way of doing things and most tattooists won’t recommend it.
Instead, try a nail tattoo first. At least it’s not permanent if you don’t like it!