The Mystery (and Danger) of Hairline Tattoos

hairline tattoo top image

Image from Eye Candy

Here at Tattooing 101, we take pride in staying on top of the latest tattoo trends. And lately, it seems like hairline tattoos are coming back into style.

At first glance, such tattoos may look attractive to many people. Lots of men and women alike love the idea of a tattoo helping their hair look fuller and richer.

However, there is a bit of a dark side to these tattoos that everyone should know before they get their head inked.

Want to learn more? Keep reading to uncover the mystery!

What Is a Hairline Tattoo?

hairline tattoo bald

Image from Skalp

Curious as to what a hairline tattoo actually is? The answer is basically right in the name.

These are tattoos made using the microblading technique on a person’s head. The goal is to use the ink to create the illusion of more hair in a given area.

This isn’t limited to people going bald, though. Because a hairline tattoo can dramatically change the shape of someone’s face, many people want them for purely cosmetic reasons.

Different From Regular Tattoos

hairline tattoo before and after

Image from GQ

There are many purists out there that insist these hairline tattoos are not actually tattoos. Instead, they refer to this entire process as “scalp micropigmentation.”

One reason is that the needle is very different. Like we said before, this is similar to the microblading process and uses a much smaller microneedle than is used for standard tattoos.

Second, the ink is very different. Hairline tattoo ink is completely organic. This reduces the chance that someone will have a reaction to it while also making it easier to match the person’s actual hair color.

Finally, hairline tattoos do not go as deep into your skin as normal tattoos do. This actually helps the ink keep its shape, which is important for those using these tattoos to shape their face.

It May Fade (In a Good Way)


Image from Vancouver Scalp

With any tattoo, there is the risk that it may eventually fade. This can happen with hairline tattoos, but that sometimes ends up being a good thing.

The ultimate goal of a hairline tattoo is to blend in with your actual hairline. Because your own hair can change, a completely unchanging hairline tat would stand out.

Instead, a fading hairline tat may take on a more natural color that better matches your hair. And, like any tattoo, you can always get it touched up when you need to.

What Are the Downsides?

hairline tattoo fail

Image from Inked Mag

Thinking you might rock a hairline tattoo? Before you do, it’s important to understand some potential downsides.

First, even if it looks great, you’re basically “locked in” to a particular hairstyle. You’ll need to be constantly shaving hairs that do grow over the area and rocking a look such as a buzzcut for the rest of your life.

Second, the procedure is complex. Many people need three or more sessions when they initially get the tattoo. And they may need to get it touched up many times in the coming years.

Finally, the hairline tattoo color may not match your head. This can occur right away or over time as you age. The final result is that your head ends up sticking out in a terrible way instead of blending in.

Final Thoughts

We think everyone should do what they want with their bodies. But if you’re considering a hairline tattoo, just be aware of everything that can go wrong.

For more tattoo news you can use, be sure to bookmark Tattooing 101!

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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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