Fine Line Tattoos – Everything You Need to Know Before You Get One

by Stephanie Yankova

Fine line tattoos have been growing in popularity in recent years due to their incredibly detailed, intricate, and realistic designs. Dr. Woo (Brian Woo) is an LA-based tattoo artist who began a worldwide movement with his unique single-needle awe-inspiring tattoo designs, and he quickly became the most sought-out celebrity tattooer, which quickly made people’s desire for fine line body art skyrocket. Along with their high demand, there are also many misconceptions about this kind of tattoo, the most common being that they are more prone to blowout, and fade away quickly. Let’s bust the myths and find out everything you need to know about the whole process of getting and maintaining a fine line tattoo that will stand the test of time.

What are Fine Line Tattoos?

Fine line tattoos are created by using a single needle, which makes it easier for the artist to make minimalist drawings or intricate, detailed designs on the skin. These tattoos are mainly done in black and white with very delicate, soft shading.

realism fine line tattoo process

Credits: zionele

How do Fine Line Tattoos Heal?

fine line tattoo half sleeve new old healed


Credits: zionele

Single needle tattoos are incredibly difficult to make, and it usually takes years for an artist to master this craft. When doing a fine line tattoo, most artists will usually use a thicker needle and mimic the single needle style, which is usually easier for them and less painful for the person who is getting tattooed. One of the biggest worries that people have when getting a fine line tattoo is about the way it’s going to heal. When done by a professional who is experienced in doing such tattoos, there shouldn’t be much difference between the healed and the fresh tattoo. However, when done poorly, these tattoos have the potential of not only fading over time but completely washing out with very few traces of what the initial tattoo looked like. There are specific techniques that tattoo artists apply when working with this style in order to avoid the fading process.

Can you Prevent Your Fine Line Tattoo from Fading?

fine line shoulder tattoo minimalist decorative design

The short answer is no. You can’t prevent any tattoo from fading. When getting a tattoo, the needle creates hundreds of small wounds on your skin in order for the ink to the dermis to absorb the ink. The way your body responds when getting wounded is very simple – your body thinks of the ink as a virus and sends a bunch of red cells to the wounded (tattooed) part to get rid of the ink. The secretion that you get during the first couple of days after getting a new tattoo is essentially the ink that these blood cells have forced out of your body through the lymphatic system. The way your skin is going to heal depends on a couple of things – the quality of the ink that was used during the tattooing process the technique of the tattoo artist and how deep into the dermis he pushed the ink (when the artist presses the needle too hard into the skin occurs a blurring called “blowout”), and how you take care of your tattoo once you walk out of the parlor.

Tattoo Pre Care and Aftercare

tattoo aftercare moisturize sun protection cream

Before you go to your tattoo appointment there are a few things you should do in order to make the experience more pleasant both for you and the tattoo artist. Under no circumstance should you consume alcohol before or during the tattooing process as it will make your skin bleed much more than it usually would. Drink lots of water and have a good meal beforehand. Most importantly – prepare your skin. Make sure you moisturize and exfoliate your skin thoroughly before your appointment – coconut oil and shea butter are great natural moisturizers that will keep your skin nourished throughout the whole day. It’s very important to continue moisturizing your skin after getting the tattoo as this will help prevent bleeding and cracking of the skin. It’s recommended to apply a moisturizing cream at least 4–5 times the first 2–3 days post getting the tattoo, and 2–3 times a day for at least a month. The aftercare continues long after your tattoo has healed. It’s vital that you avoid direct sun exposure, as this will most definitely make your tattoos fade much quicker. There are many sunscreens on the market specifically developed for tattoo protection, so it’s good to get your hands on one of those in order to keep your tattoos looking fresh and vibrant for a longer time.

Fine Line Tattoos – Fresh vs Healed

dr woo fine line tattoo design small realism design

Credits: _dr_woo_

One important thing to keep in mind when getting a fine line tattoo is choosing the right artist and having a realistic concept for your design. Just because something looks good on an image doesn’t mean that it will look good on your skin, as it is ever-changing and shaping. Consult with your artist beforehand, listen to their suggestions, and trust them with the process  – it might save you a lot of headaches in the long run. Here are some examples of healed fine line tattoos to give you an idea of what you can expect 2–3 years down the line.

Minimalist Beach Scenery Fine Line Tattoo

fine line tattoo before after landscape minimal design fail

Credits: ghealedvsfresh

While the fading is pretty obvious on this healed tattoo, the design allows for easy touch-ups.

Micro Ship Fine Line Tattoo

fine line tattoo before after minimal ship healed success

Credits: healedvsfresh

The single needle outline, soft shading, and most importantly – generous spacing – have allowed this tattoo to hold pretty well over time.

Floral Fine Line Tattoo

fine line tattoo before after rib flower design healedCredits: healedvsfresh

Adding white ink to a fine line tattoo is another way to create contrast which will help the tattoo heal better over time.



Embedded image

Copy code to embed the image: Big picture: Small picture: BB-Code: