We Share Our Raddest Tattoos — & The Surprising Intentions Behind Them

Anyone who's discussed getting a tattoo with a conservative parent or friend knows the standard concerns. Read: Will you be hindering your chances of getting "a good job" if it's visible? Have you really thought it through? And perhaps the biggest one: What is the sentimental meaning behind the tattoo?

Surprisingly, not having answers to the last question — and still going through with the ink — is more common than ever. In fact, non-sentimental tattoos seem to be on the rise, characterized by a genuine love of the artistry, instead of representing something with deeper meaning. A bouquet of flowers on a forearm, a Popsicle on someone's derrière, or two faces in a full makeout session on a leg — ink is getting more playful than ever. Because for a lot of us, these designs match our aesthetics, not necessarily our inner emotions. And hey, it's okay to get a tattoo just because you think the artwork is beautiful — and we dig it.

Don’t get us wrong, sentimental tattoos can be just as gorgeous. But sometimes, adding a piece of art to your body for its own sake is just as awesome. Translation: There's no right or wrong reason to get some ink. In the spirit of pure self-expression, we've asked R29 staffers to share their non-sentimental tattoos — just for the hell of it. Hey, you just might get some inspiration along the way...
1 of 11
"I have a whole bunch of really lovely (if I do say so myself) gray-ink tattoos of botanical illustrations from old encyclopedias. I love them and think they're beautiful, but there is no secret meaning, and when I tell people that, they often don't believe me." — Amelia
2 of 11
Photo: Via @alyssainthecity/Instagram.
"I have a tattoo on my arm that doesn't mean anything. I also just got a rose on my side for no real reason. I'm a firm believer in the idea that not all tattoos have to be super-sentimental. Some should be fun and spontaneous, or just because you like the design or the artist's work." — Alyssa
3 of 11
"When I got this tattoo done, I had just asked my tattoo artist (@drztattoos) for pretty flowers and vine work, just 'cause! Most of my pieces are all just line work and earth tones to match my skin tone; subtle enough for people to ask me if it's henna. I don't think there needs to be a meaning. Some of mine do [have meaning], but most of them don't — it's just a way to express yourself and adorn your body." — Connie
4 of 11
"I have a pineapple I just got on the inside of my left wrist — I just felt like getting tattooed, and like the symmetry of pineapples. I also have a few other non-sentimental pieces.

"Some people can get a little judgmental about tattoos that 'don't mean anything,' which just amuses me. Tattoos are an inherently aesthetic choice. When tattoo-less people say, 'I would only get one if it meant something to me,' I'm kind of like, 'Alright. Cool for you. But also it's a picture of something on your skin. It's really okay for it to just be pretty. Or a slice of pizza.' (I may get a slice of pizza tattooed on me. I love pizza so much.)" — Jessica
5 of 11
"I have a heart tattoo on my left wrist that was not sentimental. I also have a shooting star near my right hip, which I got just to get the heart tattoo for cheaper." — Sam
6 of 11
Photographed by Rachel Cabitt.
"I got this tattoo a few months ago at Kings Avenue Tattoo in Manhattan. The artist Zac Scheinbaum is also a friend, and I cannot recommend him enough. He does most of my work. He's tattooed me about a dozen times now, and, in a way, we're sort of on a weird journey together. Finding an artist who both understands your aesthetic, while also possessing their own unique style, is extremely important for anyone on a path to being heavily tattooed in a cohesive manner." — Emily
7 of 11
"I have a little ghost on my arm. There's no reason behind it, other than that I like spooky things." — Samuel
8 of 11
"I have a pineapple tattoo for no other reason than I love pineapples. Some people seem very frustrated by that concept. I get a lot of, '...but, like, why?!' Honestly, most of the time, I forget it's there. I got it at 8 p.m. on a Friday night. I was totally sober — my friends and I just wanted to do something, and tattoos seemed fun. Their tattoos have since faded (they were small, and on the feet), but mine is still as bright as ever! The shading isn't amazing — I'm not enthralled with the artistry. But who cares? It's just a piece of skin." — Rebecca
9 of 11
"This toaster was my first tattoo. Like many other first tattoos, I was 20 years old and I'd had a little bit too much to drink. Unfortunately, the only thing I remember from the experience was waking up the next day and texting my roommate, 'Well, I just woke up with a toaster tattoo.'" — Jane
10 of 11
"I have a triforce (a symbol from a video game) tattoo. I got the artist to copy it off the box of the video game. No reason, really..." — Michelle
11 of 11
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!

More from Skin Care


R29 Original Series