About one in every four Americans has at least one tattoo. Of those, we assume something like 1% of them are bold enough to sport a face tattoo, but it seems like that number is growing. Just this month, Amber Rose, Post Malone, Chris Brown, and Cindy Crawford’s son, Presley Gerber, all have new face tattoos. What is going on? Tattoos, in general, used to be considered taboo and facial tattoos were the extreme. Decades ago if you saw someone with a face tattoo you usually assumed they belonged to someone who’d spent time in prison. Today, face tattoos are somewhat common for young musicians and others in the entertainment industry. The youth are literally changing the face of America folks! Here are our favorite celebrity face tattoos most of them we cringe about, but some are actually kind of cute.
25. Chris Brown
Rapper Chris Brown has a few face tattoos. He’s a sneakerhead and just got an air Jordan on one cheek. You can also find a pyramid near his hairline. Both of those are on the other side of his face. In this picture, you can see Chris has the word “Indigo” tattooed on his cheek which is the name of his ninth studio album.
24. Post Malone
Musician Post Malone has a bunch of ink on his face and we’re not really happy about most of it. “Stay Away” is tattooed on his forehead along with some barbed wire and playing cards. Beneath his eyes, he’s got relatable, “Always Tired” tattooed. The newest addition to his face is a buzzsaw tattooed on his left cheek.
23. Mike Tyson
Boxing champ Mike Tyson has a large tribal tattoo that wraps around his eye. Sports Illustrated asked him if he regretted getting the ink and he said, “A lot of stuff happened out of this tattoo, a lot of good stuff. Other young athletes come to me and said, It’s because of you they call it the Mike Tyson. People have to register their tattoos. You have to have the likeness of your tattoo.”
What does that even mean? Not entirely sure. Would you call your next face tattoo ‘the Mike Tyson’?
22. Kat Von D
Tattoo artist, reality star, and makeup mogul Kat Von D has stars tattooed around her eye. She does not call it the ‘Mike Tyson.’ She said the tattoos carry symbolic weight because they are “a symbol of being able to be heavily tattooed and still carry yourself in a feminine way.”
Members of Migos all have face tattoos. Quavo has tattoos above each eyebrow. Takeoff has a tattoo above his eyebrow and on his cheek. Offset has several face tats including the Eiffel Tower, “Kody” and “Blessed.” He most recently got “Kulture” tat on his cheek for his daughter, Kulture, whom he shares with Cardi B.
The singer Kehlani inked a small paper airplane on the side of her left eye to remember to “stay above” the rest. She also has four dotted tattoos, two below both eyes, and “Espíritu Libre,” which means “Free Spirit,” tatted on her right temple. These understated tattoos aren’t so bad.
19. Aaron Carter
Aaron Carter’s tattoo artist had to talk the former rapper into toning down his ideas for face tattoos. But it didn’t seem like those efforts were very fruitful. Aaron has a big tattoo of a Rihanna/Medusa hybrid that’s based on a GQ cover she did in 2013 tattooed on his cheek. There’s also the word “love” and a crescent moon on his visage.
18. Lil Wayne
Rapper Lil Wayne isn’t wasting a single solitary inch of his face. Nope! Almost every bit of it features a tattoo. If you study, you’ll see many symbols, some words, some dots, and a piercing for good measure.
17. Lil Xan
Lil Xan is a rapper. He’s got so many words tattooed on his face you could compose refrigerator poetry with them. The following words and phrases can be found on his face alone: Candy, lover, soldier, ‘xanarchy,’ you, memento mori, and ZZZ.
16. Gucci Mane
Rapper Gucci Mane has a ton of ink! It’s all over his body, why should his face be left out? On his cheeks, he has a couple of tear tattoos and you’ll find an ice cream cone. There’s also a dove and the word “Bricksquad” in the mix.
15. Travis Barker
Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker is another musician with a ton of ink. There’s an anchor, the word, “blessed,” and a star. He told GQ that 70% of his body is tattooed. “For me, it’s documenting part of my life or people, things, times in my life,” he said, adding, “When I’m dead and gone I want people to be able to look at my body and basically relive my life in some ways.”
14. Wiz Khalifa
Rapper Wiz Khalifa has over 400 tattoos. 400! He has “BASH” tattooed across his temple, in honor of his son, Sebastian, whom he shares with Amber Rose, and “JIMI” inked across his other temple.
Singer Halsey has the Queen of Diamonds playing card symbol tattooed in front of her ear. It’s a subtle tattoo that’s hard to spot. Her tattoo artist posted the photo shortly after it was completed. Other than that image, it’s really hard to spot on the red carpet and elsewhere.
12. CeeLo Green
Singer and former judge of The Voice has the word “Trill” on the side of his head, a cross by his left eye and a question mark by his right eye. We don’t think these tattoos are too Crazy.
11. Justin Bieber
Popstar and perennial pajamas-wearer Justin Bieber has debuted a couple of hard-to-find facial tattoos over the last couple of years. There’s a small cross next to his left eye and the word “grace” over his right eyebrow.
10. Rick Ross
Record executive Rick Ross has a total of ten tattoos on his face. Our favorite has to be the state of Florida right between his eyes. There’s also a Miami Heat crest on there so he’s sort of got a theme going on.
9. Lil Pump
Rapper Lil Pump has many celestial bodies tattooed across his face including a green flying saucer and alien inked on his temples, a red star, a red spade and a black pointed star tatted near his eye, and a rocket under his other eye. Lil Pump knows the truth is out there.
8. The Game
Rapper The Game already has some face tattoo regrets. Initially, he had a butterfly tattooed under his right eye. But after catching a lot of flack for it (toxic masculinity really is awful) the musician had the tattoo covered up. Instead of a butterfly, there’s a big red star with Dodger’s baseball logo, “LA.” He told Larry King about the tattoo and said he had some remorse, “I really, really was an idiot at that point in my life. It’s a star with ‘LA’, putting on for my city.”
7. Amber Rose
Model Amber Rose is the newest member of the face tattoo team. She initiated herself with the nicknames of her two children tattooed across her forehead. It reads, “Bash Slash.”
She posted a photo on Instagram and received a lot of backlash. She replied to the haters, “For the people that are telling me I’m too pretty for a face tatt are the same people that would tell me that I’m ‘too pretty’ even if they thought I was ugly and lie to me Lol.”
Do with that what you will.
6. 21 Savage
Rapper 21 Savage has the phrase “Death Before Dishonor” tattooed across his forehead. Underneath the phrase and in the middle of his face, there’s a dagger. He explained that the dagger was in tribute to his brother, who was killed.
5. Soulja Boy
Soulja Boy has already had one of his face tattoos removed. He used to have the Gucci symbol tattooed on his face but had it removed after the luxury brand released insensitive and racist apparel. There are still plenty of fun designs to enjoy.
4. Kendall Jenner
Reality TV personality and model Kendall Jenner got the word “meow” tattooed on the inside of her lip. Ellen Degeneres asked her about the tattoo and she said, “It was literally the first thing that came to my mind.”
Rapper Birdman has several face tattoos. There’s a large, red star on the top of his head that he wants to keep, but he told Wendy Williams that 50 Cent inspired him to have the others removed. That’s about a dozen tattoos that he’s planning to laser off.
2. Amanda Bynes
First things first, we’re not here to pick on Amanda Bynes. She’s had a tough time over the last few years. She joined Instagram back in September of 2019. By December, she had revealed her first face tattoo to her fans. Hearts are lovely.
1. Presley Gerber
Actor and model Presley Garber, who just so happens to be Cindy Crawford’s son, debuted his new face tattoo recently. He got the word “MISUNDERSTOOD” tattooed under his right eye. The word is spelled in all caps in case you didn’t get the message that this young man does not feel appreciated.
Coincidentally, the tattoo artist who did the work also did Kendall Jenner’s “meow,” Justine Beiber’s “grace” tattoos. He’s the Rembrandt of the celebrity face tattoo world.
Now you know a little bit more about famous face tattoos! We promise we don’t hate face tattoos. We just have questions. I’m sure there are perfectly reasonable explanations about what motivated and inspired these celebs to get their tattoos. It’s just not often clear. After all, if you have a face tattoo you don’t see it most of the time. You only see the tattoo when you looked in the mirror or at a photograph of yourself. Face tattoos are for other people in that way.
University of Chicago professor and theorist, W. J. T. Mitchell wrote an entire book about the push and pull images demand from their viewers. The name of the book is What Do Pictures Want? We’d love for him to write a sequel about these celebrity tattoos. We suggest the title, “What Do Facial Tattoos Want in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction?”