What to know about getting a face tattoo – from people who have them

Lottie Moss, half-sister of supermodel Kate Moss, shocked fans after revealing she got her cheek tattooed while drunk.

Taking to TiKTok, the 24-year-old posted a series of clips and pictures, revealing her fresh ink, which reads ‘lover’.

In one clip she warned, ‘don’t drink alcohol kids’ and admitted she ventured into the tattoo parlour after a wild night of partying. 

But after receiving backlash for her spontaneous decision, she said: ‘You’ve got one life and you want to live it to make yourself happy and not others.’

It’s thought that nearly one in five British adults have a tattoo – although there’s no up to date information on how many of those are on the face.

But the stigma around tattoos still very much exists, even in 2022. While more women are inked than men, research has shown that women who have tattoos are perceived as less attractive, thought to drink more heavily, and be promiscuous.

When it comes to tattoos at work, different employers have different policies. In May this year, Virgin Atlantic became the first global carrier to allow visible tattoos on cabin crew – and yet, facial and neck tattoos remain banned.

In the police, different forces have different policies – although generally, facial tattoos are not accepted.

The Met Police website states that, ‘some tattoos will stop you working for the Met, these include tattoos on: the sides and front of your neck above the collar line; your face.’ 

Kevin Paul, 44, is a world-renowned tattoo artist, and is responsible for the ink on celebrities such as Rihanna, Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles.

After making his name in the tattoo industry, while he says ‘my tattoos are part of me,’ it might be surprising to learn that he regrets the ones on his cheeks and the side of his face.

Kevin, who lives in Derby, told Metro.co.uk: ‘I got my first facial tattoos on my cheeks when I was around 26 – but I’d already been covered in tattoos for many years by then. I think at that point, I’d just run out of clean skin and wanted more.’

In the years that followed, Kevin worked out a plan to earn the big bucks by tattooing celebrities. He infiltrated celebrity circles by tattooing agents, mangers and venue owners. Soon, he was inking the A-Listers.

He’s responsible for the lion on Ed Sheeran’s chest, as well as the ’17 BLACK’ tattoo on Harry Styles’ shoulder. He’s also the artist behind the pair’s matching Pingu tattoos.

But after meeting a wealthy client who introduced him to life-coaching, Kevin’s career took a different path. Calling upon his experiences as a child, witnessing violence and drug crime, he began speaking in schools, and was headhunted to speak in prisons, and work with the Home Office.

He says: ‘Some people in those worlds looked down at me, and I know the way I looked put some people off from working with me. I was often judged before I walked through the door.’

Now, Kevin is focusing on a career writing scrips for film and TV – and is on his way to yet more success. But he says his tattoos keep him in the past.

He said: ‘My tattoos are right there on my face – you can’t miss them. But I was a different person when I got them, I don’t even tattoo people anymore.

‘I’m a dad, and I love comedy – but I’ll often have people tell me I’d make a good James Bond villain because of the way I look.

‘As a writer, I’d love to work with names like Ricky Gervais or Leigh Francis, but the tattoos stop people from taking my work seriously.

‘It’s sometimes hard to move on from the person I was 20 years ago, because all people see is tattoos. I feel like they hold me back a little.

‘If I could take them off my cheeks – without the pain of getting them removed – I would.

‘I would definitely be against my children having any tattoos on their face, and if anyone had ever asked me to tattoo their face, I’d have been very wary.’

And has Kevin ever said no to tattooing a celeb’s face? He says: ‘I exchanged a few Twitter messages with Post Malone who wanted his face tattooed – I’d have done that because he’s already got a lot.

‘Rihanna also wanted a tattoo on her hand – it was a cover up which I didn’t like the look of, so I turned her down.

‘And I definitely wouldn’t have tattooed Lottie’s face.’

But while Kevin wishes he could go back in time, not everyone feels the same way.

Kolbie Alexis, also a tattoo artist, from Colorado, USA, loves her facial art, which she got last year. Like Kevin, she got the ink on her hairline and her cheeks, because she was running out of space.

She told Metro.co.uk that she wasn’t too worried about getting facial tattoos. She said: ‘I knew I would be in an industry where it was acceptable to have them so I wasn’t very concerned.

‘After I first had them done, I was scared I would grow to dislike them, but they’ve done well and I think they look good.

‘My family had no reaction – they’re used to me popping up with new tattoos – and my friends were big fans. Some said they wish they had the courage to get face tattoos.’

However, Kolbie, 29, says she does get negative reactions from strangers.

‘I know people judge me based on how I look initially,’ she says. ‘I’ve grown used to people gawking in public.

‘I get a lot of questions about them – multiple times a week – usually asking how much they hurt.’

But Kolbie doesn’t regret her facial ink. She says: ‘They make me feel more confident and that’s priceless.

‘The only instance when I cover them is before visiting my Korean grandmother. She’s very traditional and it’s still taboo in Korean culture.’

Kolbie is yet to tattoo anyone’s face, but says she would have some boundaries. ‘As with any tattoo, I’d urge people to think about how it will affect how you look, how it will age, and how it will affect people’s reaction to you.

‘If you’re confident, you can pull it off and likely won’t care about others’ opinions, but I know that isn’t always the case.

‘I wouldn’t tattoo a face unless the person was already heavily covered in tattoos and worked in a profession that allowed it.

‘That is out of basic consideration for my client and how it will affect them and their life.’

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