Despite tattooing‘s deep history in various cultures around the world, tattoos have been taboo for quite some time in the United States. In recent decades, the form of body modification has risen from its underground status, allowing folks to get creative with body art and, in turn, affecting the industry’s evolution and tattoo design trends.
Tattoo trends may not change as quickly as makeup or hair trends, but the popularity of certain tattooing styles and designs tends to ebb and flow. For example, tattoos of mustaches, infinity symbols, and practically anything related to the Harry Potter franchise were everywhere in the 2010s, especially on Tumblr. The Bronx, New York-based tattoo artist Julissa Rodriguez, also known as Art by Jar, tells Allure that back then you’d also come across plenty of geometrical tattoos. Minimalism and realism started gaining popularity, too, as tiny tattoos became en vogue for the first time. Additionally, Rodriguez says that “colorful tattoos definitely took a backseat and black and grey work definitely started coming back into the forefront.”
Barely anyone seems to be getting mustache tattoos anymore, but many trends for 2023 look to the past even as some techniques are pushing the industry into the future. Nostalgia is influencing the tattoo scene majorly, so plenty of designs that were popular in the 1990s are making updated comebacks.
A lot of exciting developments are happening in the industry for both tattooists and clients, making way for emerging styles that weren’t possible before. Artists are getting access to a better and wider variety of tools, including wireless guns and smaller needles that create finer lines. They are also reimagining their craft with tattoos that look like glitter alongside other colorful optical illusions. Hyperrealistic artwork continues to shrink in size, and neotraditional tattoos are rising in popularity. Ideas about who can get what type of tattoo are shifting to be more inclusive.
Here are the nine tattoo designs and styles you’ll be seeing all over social media in 2023 and beyond — if you haven’t already.