Fingernail tattoos come in a wide variety. Some people use tattoos as temporary nail art, and others go a bit more...extreme. Here’s how some people are putting tattoos beneath their nails.

What is a Fingernail Tattoo? Everything You Wanted to Know About Fingernail Tattoos (And Were Too Afraid to Ask)

Tattoo artists get some odd requests for tattoo placements. But one of the more rare tattoo trends is the fingernail. 

Most kinds of tattoos are easy to understand. However, these tattoos come in many different forms, and plenty of people get them for different reasons.

In this article, we’ll explain the ins and outs of getting a fingernail tattoo, including:

  • Why a fingernail tattoo feels completely different from a “normal” tattoo.
  • What happens to nail tattoos after the nail grows.

Fingernail Tattoo Basics

needle nails

Image from Metro

When talking about fingernail tattoos, it can be helpful to define what fingernail tattoos aren’t.

Nail tattoos are not finger tattoos. 

Finger tattoos are skin tattoos, where nail tattoos are put on the actual nail plate.

There are a few big benefits to this kind of tattoo. First of all, it’s pretty painless: most people compare the process to removing nail polish, since tattooing at the correct depth for these designs will prevent the artist from actually tattooing skin. So, if you’re skittish about tattoo pain, this can be a good tattoo to get.

And second, these tattoos are very eye-catching. People will notice your colorful fingernails right away. 

There is one obvious downside (or upside, for some people). Your nails grow over time. Therefore, no fingernail tattoos will last all that long. Within a few months—maybe less—the tattoo will be completely gone from the nail, as long as you cut your nails.

An Extreme Option: Under the Nail Tattoos

nail tats

Image from BME

Some people opt for a more extreme version of nail tattoos. These tattoos are actually underneath the fingernail (on the nail bed) instead of on top of it.

The biggest issue with this kind of tattoo is that your nail needs to be partially or fully removed first. While it’s possible to have a medical professional do this for you, most people who get tattoos in their fingernail bed do so after a damaged nail falls off, exposing the nail bed.

Also, while a tattoo on top of your fingernail is pretty painless, a tattoo under your fingernail is extremely painful. In fact, this is one of the most painful areas to get ink done!

Finally, consider the obvious fact that the nail will eventually grow back. If you want to keep your new ink visible to other people, you’ll need to continue removing the nail.

All we can say to this? “Ouch!”

The Fake Fingernail Tattoos

Image from Riverfront Times

So far, we’ve focused on people getting tattoos over or under their fingernails. But these tattoos can be especially useful for those who don’t have fingernails at all!

Recently, Mark Bertram’s story (and his tattoos) went viral. Basically, he had two fingers that had been surgically shortened after an accident, and those shorter fingers lacked fingernails. He felt self-conscious about people looking at his hand.

That’s when inspiration struck. He had a local tattoo artist tattoo some fake fingernails directly to the ends of his fingers. And Bertram’s story has helped make the tattoo artist famous.

His ink was done by Eric Catalano. Previously, Catalano had used art to reconstruct nipples and areolas on cancer survivors. Thanks to the fingernail tattoos, he’s now got a rep as a body mod expert

Prepare for a Tattooing Career with the Artist Accelerator Program

fake skin tattoo

Learning about different tattoo placements (even fingernails!) is an important step in your journey, but it can also be pretty eye-opening to how difficult tattooing can be. Without the right knowledge, it’s impossible to level up your skills and become a professional tattoo artist. 

However, finding the straight-forward information you need to progress is difficult. And with so much out there online, it’s hard to avoid picking up bad habits from incorrect and outdated resources.

This is one of the biggest struggles new tattooers face, and too many talented artists have given up their goal of getting into tattooing because of the years it would take to unlearn their bad habits. 

That’s why aspiring artists are learning to tattoo with the Artist Accelerator Program’s structured course. As a student, you learn every step of the tattooing process from professional artists with the experience and advice you need to build your skills and create incredible tattoos. 

With the Artist Accelerator, you can stop wasting time searching through incorrect information. You just get the clear, easy-to-understand lessons you need to start improving fast… along with support and personalized feedback from professional artists in our online Mastermind group.

Over 2500 students have already gone through the course, with many of them opening up their own studios. If you want to join them and learn the skills you need to start tattooing full time faster…

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

Tattooing 101's Artist Accelerator 90 day program is the closest thing to a real apprenticeship

  • 500 video modules
  • Professional tattoo artist coaches
  • Private mastermind community
AUTHOR
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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