Explore the Newest Trend in Tattoos: What is a Waterline Tattoo?

» Tattoo Tips » Tattoo Meaning and Symbolism » Explore the Newest Trend in Tattoos: What is a Waterline Tattoo?

A waterline tattoo is an increasingly popular style of tattooing. It involves a tattoo artist inking a design onto the edge of the waterline, which is the thin line that separates the white of the eye from the iris. This type of tattooing has become a popular choice for those looking for a subtle and unique design, as the tattoo is typically not visible unless the eye is wide open. In this article, we’ll explore the history of waterline tattoos and discuss the various design options available. We’ll also provide tips for those considering getting a waterline tattoo for the first time.


Techniques Used for Waterline Tattoo

Techniques Used For Waterline Tattoo

Needles Used

Waterline tattoos are a unique style of tattooing, requiring specialized needles and inks to get the desired results. The needles used for waterline tattoos are typically thinner than those used for traditional tattoos, allowing for more precise and intricate lines and designs. It’s important to use a needle specifically designed for waterline tattoos to ensure the best results.

Inks Used

The ink used for waterline tattoos is also different than regular tattoo ink. Waterline tattoos require inks that are more watery and semi-transparent, as they are meant to be seen through the skin. This allows the tattoo to have a more natural look, which is why many people choose this style of tattooing.


The process of getting a waterline tattoo is similar to traditional tattoos. The area is cleaned and sterilized, and then the artist begins the process of drawing the design and applying the ink. Unlike traditional tattoos, waterline tattoos require a slower and more precise technique, as the needles and inks used are thinner and more watery. Once the design is complete, the area is cleaned and the tattoo is ready to be shown off.

Waterline tattoos are becoming increasingly popular as they offer a unique look that stands out from traditional tattoos. Whether you’re looking for a subtle design or something more intricate, this style of tattooing can be great for anyone looking for something a little different.

Benefits of Waterline Tattoo

Benefits Of Waterline Tattoo

Long-Lasting: Waterline tattoos have a tendency to last longer than other types of tattoos due to the fact that the area is less exposed to sunlight, sweat, and other elements that can fade the ink.

Painless: Since the area is relatively thin and delicate, the waterline is not as painful as other areas of the body when getting tattooed, which can be an advantage for those who are more sensitive to pain.

Discreet: Waterline tattoos are popular due to their discreet nature. The tattoos are located in an area of the body that is not often seen, so it can be a great way to showcase art without drawing attention to it.

Unique: Waterline tattoos are unique because they are located in an area of the body that is not often used for tattoos. This can be a great way to express yourself and stand out from the crowd.

Risks of Waterline Tattoo

Risks Of Waterline Tattoo


Waterline tattoos can be more painful than tattoos in other areas due to the sensitive nerves in the area. The sensation is often more intense than in other areas and can last longer. Pain management techniques should be discussed with the artist before getting any waterline tattoo.


Safety is always a top priority when getting a tattoo. It is important to choose an experienced artist who has a good reputation and is knowledgeable about proper safety protocols. They should be using sterile needles and equipment and following all safety regulations.


The risk of infection is always present with any tattoo, but waterline tattoos may be more prone to infection due to their proximity to the eye. It is important to ensure that the area is properly cleaned and sterilized before and after the tattoo is done. The artist should also use a clean, sterile needle and gloves.

Cost of Waterline Tattoo

Waterline tattoos are a unique style of tattooing and can range in price depending on the design, size, and location. On average, waterline tattoos cost $50 to $200 per hour. This price can also depend on the experience of the tattoo artist, their reputation, and the complexity of the tattoo. Smaller waterline tattoos will typically cost less than larger ones.

For example, a small, simple waterline tattoo on the arm can cost anywhere from $50–$100, while a larger, more intricate waterline tattoo on the back can cost $150–$200 or more. Depending on the size, complexity, and placement, waterline tattoos can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours to complete.

To get an accurate estimate for your waterline tattoo, contact the artist of your choice and explain your desired design. Many tattoo artists will give you a quote for the entire piece, but for larger and more complex tattoos, you may have to pay for each hour as you go.

Aftercare of Waterline Tattoo

Aftercare Of Waterline Tattoo

  • Keep the area clean – Clean the area with a mild soap and warm water twice a day. Be sure to wash your hands before and after cleaning the tattoo. Avoid using harsh soaps, lotions, and cleaning agents.
  • Apply ointment – Once your tattoo is finished, your artist will apply a thin layer of petroleum-based ointment. Reapply the ointment a few times a day to keep the area hydrated.
  • Keep the area moisturized – Apply a gentle, unscented lotion to the area a few times a day. Avoid using any lotions with alcohol, fragrance, or other irritating ingredients.
  • Stay out of direct sunlight – Avoid exposing the area to direct sunlight for at least two weeks. Wear loose-fitting clothing to protect the area from the sun.
  • Avoid swimming or soaking – Do not swim, bathe, or soak in a hot tub, sauna, or bath for at least two weeks. This can cause infection or cause the ink to fade.
  • Be gentle – Avoid picking or scratching the area. This can cause the ink to fade or become distorted.
  • Follow your artist’s instructions – Your artist may have additional instructions for you to follow. Be sure to follow their advice in order to ensure a successful healing process.

Popular Waterline Tattoo Designs

Popular Waterline Tattoo Designs

Design Description
Anchors A popular choice, an anchor tattoo can symbolize stability, security, and hope.
Letters and Words Tattoos of letters or words, often in a foreign language, provide a powerful and meaningful statement.
Hearts A simple heart tattoo is often used to symbolize love, friendship, and loyalty.
Stars Stars are often used to represent ambition and dreams, as well as hope and guidance.
Flowers Flower tattoos can represent a range of different meanings, depending on the type of flower chosen.
Animals Animal tattoos often represent strength, courage, and loyalty.
Feathers Feather tattoos are often used to symbolize strength, freedom, and spirituality.

Tattoos along the waterline offer subtle placement for those looking to keep their artwork hidden. Popular designs for this area of the body include anchors, letters and words, hearts, stars, flowers, animals, and feathers. Each design carries its own unique symbolism and meaning, making it easy to find the perfect tattoo for you.

Finding a Professional Waterline Tattoo Artist

Finding a professional waterline tattoo artist is essential for achieving the desired result. The right artist will have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the style of tattooing. They should also be knowledgeable about the anatomy of the eye and understand the various techniques and safety precautions associated with waterline tattooing.


When searching for a waterline tattoo artist, look for someone who has years of experience in the style of tattooing. This will ensure that the artist is well-versed in the various techniques and safety measures associated with waterline tattooing. It’s also important to make sure that the artist is certified and has received proper training.


It’s important to review the artist’s portfolio before committing to any waterline tattoo. A portfolio should include examples of their work, as well as a variety of waterline tattoo designs. This will help you get a better idea of the artist’s style and skill level.


The cost of a waterline tattoo will vary depending on the complexity of the design and the artist’s skill level. Generally, waterline tattoos are more expensive than other types of tattoos due to their delicate nature. It’s important to discuss the cost of the tattoo with the artist before committing to the design.


Safety is a major concern when it comes to waterline tattoos. The area around the eyes is very sensitive, so it’s important to make sure that the artist is following the proper safety protocols. This includes the use of sterile equipment, wearing protective gear, and using a topical anesthetic to reduce pain and discomfort.


Before committing to a waterline tattoo, it’s important to schedule a consultation with the artist. This is a great opportunity to get to know the artist, discuss your design ideas, and ask any questions you may have. It’s also a good idea to ask to see before and after pictures of the artist’s work.


When searching for a waterline tattoo artist, it’s also important to ask for references from previous clients. This will give you an idea of the quality of the artist’s work and their level of customer service. It’s also a good way to get an honest opinion about the artist’s skill level.

Finding a professional waterline tattoo artist is an important step in achieving the desired result. Taking the time to research the artist and ask the right questions will ensure that your tattoo experience is safe, comfortable, and satisfying.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best colors to use for a waterline tattoo?

Waterline tattoos are a unique and creative way to express yourself, and the best part is that you can make the design as bold or subtle as you like. But when it comes to choosing a color palette for your waterline tattoo, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.

Here are some of the best colors to use for a waterline tattoo:

  • Black: Black ink is a great choice for a waterline tattoo due to its boldness and versatility. It can be used to create dramatic designs or subtle shading.
  • White: White ink can be used to create a delicate and subtle tattoo that blends into the skin. It can also be used to create a dramatic contrast with darker colors.
  • Neutrals: Neutral colors such as gray, brown, and beige can look soft and subtle when used in a waterline tattoo. They can also be used to tone down brighter colors.
  • Bright Colors: Bright colors such as red, blue, and yellow can be used to create a bold and vibrant waterline tattoo. However, these colors can fade quickly, so it’s important to choose an artist who is experienced in working with bright colors.
  • Pastels: Pastel colors such as pink, purple, and light blue can be used to create a delicate and feminine waterline tattoo.

When choosing colors for your waterline tattoo, it’s important to consider the design and how it will look when the tattoo is healed. Choosing the right colors can make all the difference in the finished look of your tattoo.

How long does the healing process take for a waterline tattoo?

Healing Process:

  • A waterline tattoo typically takes 4-6 weeks to heal.
  • The healing will depend on the size and complexity of the design.
  • The area should be kept clean and moisturized to speed up the healing process.
  • The artist should also provide aftercare instructions to ensure proper healing.
  • It is important to keep the area protected from the sun during the healing process to prevent fading.


  • Waterline tattoos can fade faster than other tattoos due to the location.
  • It is important to use a high quality ink and to follow the artist’s aftercare instructions.
  • Touch ups may be needed over time to keep the design looking its best.

Is a Waterline Tattoo Painful?

  • Area: A waterline tattoo is placed in an area that is considered to be sensitive, which can make it more painful than other tattoos.
  • Tattoo Placement: Waterline tattoos are usually placed close to the eye, and between the eye and the eyebrow. This area is more sensitive than other areas of the body, so there can be a greater degree of pain associated with a waterline tattoo.
  • Needles: Waterline tattoos are usually done with smaller needles, which can increase the sensation of pain.
  • Duration: Waterline tattoos tend to be smaller and can take less time than other tattoos, so the pain is usually over quicker.

Overall, a waterline tattoo can be more painful than other tattoos due to the sensitive area and small needles used. However, the pain is usually over quickly as the tattoo is small and does not take as long to complete.

Are There Any Special Precautions I Should Take to Keep My Waterline Tattoo Looking Its Best?

To ensure your waterline tattoo looks its best, there are some key precautions you should take:

  • Avoid scrubbing or scratching the tattoo, as this can cause it to lose its details.
  • Wash the tattoo with a mild cleanser and lukewarm water only, avoiding excessive soaps and lotions.
  • Apply a thin layer of a fragrance-free moisturizer or a light balm to the tattoo to keep it moist.
  • Keep the tattoo out of direct sunlight and away from chlorinated pools and hot tubs.
  • Avoid any contact with harsh chemicals, such as cleaning supplies.
  • Avoid any activities that may cause excessive sweating, such as exercise or saunas.

By following these precautions, you can keep your waterline tattoo looking its best for years to come.

Are there any side effects associated with getting a waterline tattoo?

Yes. While waterline tattoos are becoming increasingly popular, they can come with a few risks and side effects. These include:

  • Infection: Since the waterline is so close to your eye, there is a risk of infection when getting a waterline tattoo. It is important to make sure that your tattoo artist is using clean and sterile equipment.
  • Scarring: One of the most common side effects of a waterline tattoo is scarring. This is because the waterline is a sensitive area and the skin is thinner than other areas of the body. It is important to speak to your artist about the possibility of scarring before getting a waterline tattoo.
  • Allergic Reactions: Allergic reactions to tattoo ink can occur when getting a waterline tattoo. It is important to discuss any potential allergies with your tattoo artist before getting a waterline tattoo.
  • Pain: The waterline is a sensitive area, and getting a waterline tattoo can be more painful than other areas of the body. It is important to discuss your pain tolerance with your artist before getting a waterline tattoo.

It is important to be aware of all of the potential risks and side effects before getting a waterline tattoo.


Waterline tattoos are a unique form of tattooing that focuses on tattooing along the waterline of the eye. Although it is a more difficult and complex form of tattooing, the results can be stunning, beautiful, and unique. Waterline tattoos are perfect for those who want to make a statement and stand out from the crowd with their body art.


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