It is no secret that facial tattoos have long had a very negative connotation to them; they are associated with gang activity, crimes, and in general socially unacceptable and deviant lifestyle. People who have ink anywhere else on their body usually have few issues hiding it if there is a possibility of them being marginalized or discriminated against. People with facial tattoos can attempt to hide them with make-up, however, in most cases they will never be able to detach themselves from the decision they have made unless they get them removed. So, let’s explore how and where the idea of a facial tattoo originated and what some of the most popular choices for such a commitment are.
Facial tattoos date back to ancient Rome, where slaves were branded after attempts to escape. They were also popular among Christian sects to exhibit lifelong commitment to God and channel divine strength. Devoted Medieval pilgrims were known to get ink after visiting the Holy Land, and facial tattoos were their common choice due to the statement that they make to anyone who can see the person. Those are only a couple of situations where people decorated their faces with tattoos, there were also many other occasions and cultural practices. While back in the day facial tattoos did not have a highly regarded social message, these days they are considered to be an even more outrageous statement and oftentimes can prevent a person from having opportunities others enjoy, such as employment, marriage or acceptable social status. That being said, facial tattoos have been gaining more popularity lately. It is brought about by the representatives of the hip-hop culture, such as Lil Wayne, who was one of the first artists of major significance to get facial tattoos. His and other artists’ similar to him influence was not fully seen until the mid-2010s, which is when the popularity of the facial tattoo started increasing. Models with facial tattoos are also oftentimes a desirable addition nowadays to most edgy and forward-looking fashion brands’ shows and magazine covers.
Teardrop tattoo is probably the most popular and the most widely recognizable one when it comes to facial tattoos. It is placed underneath a person’s eye and has many symbolic meanings. Most often it relates to having spent time incarcerated, a loss of a family member, a friend, or a fellow gang member. Oftentimes it is associated with heavy and inhumane crimes and thus has one of the most negative connotations out of any kind of body art. Short phrases or words are another very common type of facial tattoos and tend to be significantly less negatively charged. Words like “hope”, “faith” and similar are common among people who have faced significant life challenges, including prison time, and are attempting to have a new beginning. Although the usual negative reactions to facial ink are to be expected, in these cases facial tattoos can also be interpreted as a person’s wish to explain to the world they have changed.