Tattoo Trends: What’s Now and What’s Next?

Ink is in.

During no other time in history has it been quite as popular, or accepted, as it is now. People of all ages and demographics are hopping on the ink train, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

Read on while we explore some of the current trends sweeping tattoo parlors across the country as well as ponder about future trends in the industry.

The current trend and rise in popularity of tattoos may seem surprising, considering the inherently permanent nature of a tattoo, not to mention the pain involved in getting one.

So why are so many people willing to voluntarily undergo a permanent, painful and expensive procedure that has no health benefits associated with it?

The answer is largely individual.

To those who get tattoos which have some deep and personal meaning to them, the mention of a “trend” in tattoos might seem absurd. But for others, a good reason for getting a tattoo can be as simple as liking a design or needing to fill some skin space to get their ink fix on. Still others, just like the look of tattoos and think they’re cool, they want to get what’s trendy or they want to get a copy of a tattoo they see on a celebrity. For whatever the reason, people are getting inked and just like any other industry, it has its trends.

In the early 2000’s, the trend was lower back tats, tribal designs and Chinese characters. Currently, a big trend reported by tattoo parlors across the country, is old-school sailor stuff like anchors, ships, swallows, roses, gypsy girl heads and 1950’s pin-up girls. Another hot trend right now is copycat celebrity tattoos, particularly popular among women in their late teens and 20’s, who are requesting tattoos either identical or very similar to those seen on female celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox or Rihanna.

Media have played a huge roll in the growing popularity and acceptance of tattoos. Shows such as LA Ink, Miami Ink, NY Ink and Ink Master, are popular reality television shows that have allowed many people who may have been reluctant to step into a tattoo parlor for the first time, to peer into this culture. These shows may also be responsible for exposing many young people to tattooing.

Another trend is toward photo-realistic tattoos, like the face of a family member, celebrity or beloved pet. Anything Asian, Indian or yoga inspired is big, and you don’t have to have traveled to the Orient to justify getting one. Lastly, we see a curious “niche” trend towards the traditional form of tattooing practiced by Maori and Samoan tribes, where the procedure is performed entirely by hand using two sticks with spikes at the end, to deliver the ink into the skin.

So what does the future look like?

Skeptics say that the popularity of tattoos has reached or is reaching its peak and it can only go down from here. But considering the historical legacy of tattooing, it seems unlikely that the trend will go out of fashion any time soon.

A conversation about the future of tattooing would not be complete without the mention of laser tattoo removal. At first, it may seem like the increasing popularity of these procedures means that people are moving away from tattooing and back to the natural look. But tattooists need not worry. There appears to be a trend towards getting old, faded tattoos lasered off to make room for new, reworked designs.

All thanks to laser tattoo removal, you can remove an old tattoo and update it with something new. It looks like tattoos and lasers can continue to peacefully co-exist in the future, perhaps we could be so bold to suggest that tattoo parlors may even start offering laser removal services in the future.

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