We first started noticing them on Instagram, then Kanye West announced his plans to get one on Twitter, and now we're sure they're about to become a full-fledged trend: Even if the mere thought of bringing a buzzing needle that close to your ear makes your head spin, neck tattoos are officially happening. But before you book your appointment, there are a few things you should know.
So, what's the pain really like? Well, there are a few variables. First, the kind of art matters: Thinner lines might not sting as much as bold designs requiring a fill-in. Secondly, hand-poked art could make all the difference: Both Bruno Levy, co-owner of Brooklyn's Bandit Studio, and Montreal-based tattoo artist Romeo agree that, in their experience, hand-poke techniques cause less pain for their clients. As an added bonus, Romeo says since you're dealing with less equipment — no chords or machine — for hand-poked tattoos, the overall experience goes a little more smoothly.
Still, Levy and Romeo say that pain is always subjective and not everyone's tolerance is exactly the same — but compared to more sensitive parts of the body, neck tattoos aren't actually the worst. And more so than the potential for pain, the most challenging aspect of getting a neck tattoo might be the positioning. Romeo explains that the artist has to put pressure on your neck in order to stretch the skin and make for the most precise line. You might find your head hanging upside down to get it right, but hey, a little aerobics is a lot better than excruciating pain.
Now that you know you won't leave the parlor in tears, it's time to brainstorm your next neck tattoo. Ahead, some of the coolest designs we've spotted from our favorite tattoo artists on Instagram lately...