Read This Before Getting That Tattoo You Saw On Instagram

With so many rad tattoo trends as of late — including detailed dotwork, watercolour tats, and hyper-realistic 3D designs — it’s damn near impossible to scroll through Instagram or Pinterest without being seduced into going under the gun. But there’s a whole lot more that those pretty pictures don’t show, like how long a certain style might keep its colour or form, or exactly how painful a particular placement may be. (Those dainty finger tattoos all your favourite celebs are getting hurt the most.)
So we consulted with four impressive tattoo artists, who together have decades of experience under their belts, and star in tonight's premiere of Spike’s Ink Master: Angels. They helped us sort out the risks and rewards behind these hard-to-miss trends. And they're not afraid to give it to us straight:
“I hate to sound old and crotchety, but I'd have to say about 90% of [on-trend] styles are about guaranteed to not have a very long shelf life in the skin,” says Nikki Simpson, a White Plains, NY-based artist with six years of tattooing under her belt. “The problem nowadays is everyone is concerned about doing the most ‘innovative’ and ‘realistic’ tattoos. They get their Instagram picture, and yet, you never see how that tattoo heals or how it looks years down the line.”
She continues, “Most of these styles will become blobs, or won't even be there after a few years. But it looks cool now! I just think as a tattooist, there are certain responsibilities we should have to uphold the integrity of the tattoo in our clients’ skin.”
Ahead, Simpson and her cohort gives us the long view of what to expect when inking up with white ink tattoos, blackout tattoos, and everything in between. To see more of these artists in residence, catch the premiere of Ink Master: Angels tonight, October 3, at 10 P.M. on Spike.