Main image: Behind the ear tattoo by @emma.pm.tattoo
Whether you’re covered in tattoos or beginning your tattoo journey, a behind the ear tattoo should be your next one.
Who can resist the look of a behind the ear tattoo? The perfect spot if you fancy a small piece of ink, or a great starting point for a neck tattoo.
Nestled near your ear, these tattoos offer themselves to every style from fineline to trad colour. From stars to hearts, script to feathers, there’s no limit to what you can have. But how do you care for a behind the ear tattoo? And can you wash your hair after you’ve been tattooed?
We chatted to tattoo artist Emily Louise (@emilylouise.tattoo) to bring you everything you need to know about behind the ear tattoos. So let’s help you prepare for your next tattoo with top healing tips, designs and more.
Behind the ear tattoo by Emily Louise on Rosie
Do behind the ear tattoos hurt?
All tattoos hurt, but the pain you experience depends on your own pain threshold. The area behind your ear tends to be quite boney, with thin skin and not a lot of fat which means you’ll feel the vibrations of the tattoo machine on your bones. This can be an uncomfortable feeling for a lot of people.
But most behind the ear tattoos are quite small, so depending on how intricate your design is it should be done fairly quickly with a tattoo machine. If you opt for a hand poke tattoo your tattoo may be less painful but could take longer.
Most of the time you also get to lie down which is surely a bonus? Whatever position you get tattooed in, just ask your tattooer to make any adjustments to help you get comfy.
Do behind the ear tattoos fade?
A tattoo fading is every tattoo collector's biggest fear. Thankfully tattoo artist Emily is on hand to give us the lowdown:
"In theory, behind the ear tattoos shouldn't fade any more or less than any other. I suppose there are factors like sun damage in an area that maybe sees more of the sun than other places on your body. But, as long as they're cared for, then they should last just as well as anywhere else. As with any tattoos that see a lot of sunlight, factor 50 and try to keep them covered if you can!"
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Find out what else can cause your tattoos to fade and how you can avoid them in our journal.
Aftercare for behind the ear tattoos
Aftercare advice varies between artists so it’s always worth checking with the tattooer who did your tattoo for their aftercare recommendations.
"Behind your ear can be a fiddly place to get to," so Emily advises that "if you're able to wrap it for the first few days by taping cling film over the area then that's the best way to keep it clean."
"You could ask your artist to apply second skin (tattoo wrap) for you at the end of your appointment, if they're able to. If wrapping isn't possible, then just be really wary of not letting any hair products get onto your fresh tattoo until its healed. And mind you don't catch it with a hairbrush either!"
Her go-to tattoo aftercare routine is:
- Making sure to clean your tattoo.
- Air drying or patting it dry with a clean towel.
- Applying a thin layer of cocoa better, aftercare cream or whatever your artist recommends.
- Repeating this a few times a day for a few days.
As always make sure to keep a close eye on your tattoo for any signs of infection.
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How to wash your hair with a new behind the ear tattoo
This is a tricky one. Dry shampoo may become your best friend! You could wash your hair on the day of your tattoo before your appointment then wear it up for a few days after (if you can).
If you really need to wash your hair, see if someone can help you, they may be able to stop so much water getting on your tattoo. Remember not to soak your tattoo in the bath as well. You could temporarily tape cling film over your tattoo to create a barrier while you shower, just be sure to take it off and follow your usual aftercare routine.
How to prepare for your new tattoo
Preparing for a new tattoo is super important, Emily explains that you should "try and take care of the skin behind your ear as best you can if you're planning to get it tattooed. This just means keeping it clean and moisturised." Get ready for your next tattoo appointment with more tips in our preparation guide.
For anyone who is nervous about a behind the ear tattoo, Emily has words of wisdom to put you at ease:
"It can seem like a daunting place to get tattooed, as it's fairly visible and anywhere near your head, neck or face can seem a bit scary at first! To combat the nerves, make sure you research your artist to find someone who's going to do the best job for you of the style of tattoo you're looking for, and chat to them about any worries you have."
"A good artist will be more than happy to put you at ease and talk you through the process. (And be prepared that you might have to have a few of your baby hairs shaved, but we promise they'll grow back soon)."
How much are behind the ear tattoos?
The cost of a behind the ear tattoo will depend on where you are in the UK or world and your artist. If your design is small your tattooer may charge a minimum rate which could be anywhere from £40 - £100. If your design is more detailed, larger in size or uses coloured ink you could be charged based on an hourly rate: anywhere from £50 - £200 depending on your artist.
Again the cost of the tattoo depends on the artist you choose, your design and budget. Remember tattoos are for life, it’s worth investing in your body art. Kezz from Tattoo Smarter explains why tattoos are so expensive on the blog.
Are behind the ear tattoos easy to hide?
Sometimes there might be an event or situation where you need to cover your tattoos. It’s not ideal and we wish everyone loved tattoos as much as we do. But there you go. Behind the ear tattoos are simple enough to hide if you have long hair, you can leave it down or wear it in a side pony - you may even forget your tattoo is there. You could use foundation to cover it, wear a scarf or stick a plaster on it (this may draw more attention than the tattoo would).
Are behind the ear tattoos bad for jobs?
Visible tattoos can still be a bit taboo in some lines of work. You may even be asked to cover your tattoos with a dreaded blue plaster. But the working world is changing! It’s always a good idea to make sure tattoos in visible places aren’t offensive, choose your design wisely and you shouldn’t have an issue
What does a tattoo behind the ear mean?
Like with any tattoos you can assign your own meaning to a design. If you get a cross behind your ear this can represent your religion and spirituality whereas a music note can show your love of music. The meaning can be as personal and deep as you like.
Unless you’re actively trying to hide your tattoo, behind the ear tattoos are usually pretty visible. So it’s a good spot to show off what’s important to you whether this is a small symbol, a name or just something for fun - it’s up to you
Behind the ear tattoo ideas
Tattoos don’t always have to be super meaningful and when it comes to designs you should get whatever you love. Behind the ear is the perfect placement for dainty small tattoos as well as larger pieces. We’re always here to inspire your next tattoo with some of our favourites we’ve seen lately.
Stars behind your ears
We love these glitter star designs and the finger one matches these perfectly.
Lucky or angel numbers
Bring a little luck into your life or show your spiritual connection with number tattoos. We think 11:11 would make a good behind the ear tattoo too.
A timeless classic, butterflies look so pretty behind the ear, as if they’ve landed on you.
Florals behind the ear tattoo
Pop your favourite flower behind your ear for a burst of colour.
Men’s behind the ear tattoo
We don’t think tattoos should be gendered but sometimes a placement becomes popular with one gender in particular. From what we’ve seen on socials, more women tend to have behind the ear tattoos. But men, don’t let that stop you from getting one. Behind the ear tattoo ideas for men include feathers, script, wings, important dates or times. Or anything you want!
Behind the ear tattoos for women
Like we’ve said, we don’t think tattoos or designs should be gendered - it’s your body so have whatever you like tattooed. From what we’ve seen online, womens’ behind the ear tattoos include stars, flowers, insects, music notes, mandalas and more.
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