When J.Lo was asked to give her thoughts on her ex Ben Affleck’s vibrant phoenix back tattoo — besides leading with "Awful!" — she gave a piece of advice: “His tattoos always have too many colors. They shouldn't be so colorful. You know what I mean? They should be cooler."
Many people agree that body ink looks best when limited to a simple palette of black, gray, and other neutrals. However, there's one tattoo trend that might just change that misconception. Hugely popular in Japan and South Korea, watercolor tattoos are beautiful and vibrant — without overrunning the skin in hyper-color pigment. The technique mimics a watercolor painting with color that minimally bleeds outside the lines. Think: Wassily Kandinsky's Untitled or Paul Cézanne's Still Life with Blue Pot.
Tired of your simple line tattoo? Add a wash of pale pink or blue to the mix. Looking for a way to rock a little ink that’s only noticeable to those who look closely? Try a design made with the faint body paint.
But before you run to your tattoo artist, there is one thing you should know about watercolor tattoos: They have a bad reputation for not lasting long. Tattoo artist Jessica Valentine tells Refinery29 that these tattoos (that require a bit more shading than your typical linework design) can fade quickly. Her suggestion to keep your colorful ink vibrant: Be liberal with your sunscreen and daily lotion — it'll increase the longevity of that tattoo you just paid a lot of money for. After all, getting the tattoo is easy — maintaining an aftercare routine is the hard part.
Ahead, the raddest watercolor tattoo designs to get this summer.
This story has been updated.