Some tattoo placements are considered more controversial than others, like on the hands, face, or lower back. But one location on the body has some unnecessary stigma attached to it when inked: the neck. Because visible tattoos used to be considered unprofessional, neck tattoos earned a bad rap. However, just with any design or placement, a neck tattoo acts as a means for personal expression. There are so many gorgeous pieces of inspiration to ink on your neck area, whether small and delicate or something that's louder and covers a bit more surface—many even gracing the necks of some of Hollywood's biggest celebrities.
Between skilled artists and the more progressive attitude toward visible tattoos, getting a neck tattoo has never been a more welcome idea. So if you're considering getting one, scroll down for 14 cool celebrity neck tattoos.
Lucy Hale's very first tattoo was this black ink ribbon on the back of her neck. In a 2012 interview with Maniac Magazine, Hale said she got the piece of ink after a break-up that made her want to do something rebellious. Tattooed by celebrity favorite Dr. Woo, the small bow is easily hidden by long hair or a high-neck shirt. However, Hale is known for her short bob haircuts, so the ink is normally on display. Luckily, the design's simplicity means it will match any aesthetic or style the actress chooses to rock.
Hailey Bieber flaunts not one but two neck tattoos. First, she has a tiny cross on the left side of her neck. Bieber has discussed her faith a lot over the course of her career, and the small symbol was her permanent way of showing her religious devotion. The second tattoo she has is the word "lover" in a cursive script, which the model got in 2019. There's no real explanation for the tattoo, but many have speculated that the tattoo is related to Taylor Swift and her 2019 album "Lover." Regardless, both pieces of ink make a statement—especially for a celeb like Bieber, who wears her hair pulled back a lot—but can also be hidden if needed.
Lovato took to Instagram to share her butterfly ink, saying, "Dear little me, I'm sorry that it took so long but baby your [sic] free.. " It's likely the tattoo is a metaphor for the progress she's made and her journey to prioritize her health.
If you're really into the look of a neck tattoo and aren't afraid to show it off, take a page out of Kehlani's book and go for a full-neck piece. Technically, the singer's neck is sprinkled with several different tattoos, but her neck appears to be covered with a cohesive piece when you look at it. If you're interested in a whole-neck tattoo that makes a major statement, the key is to make your pieces mesh in some way, like using the same color of ink throughout, getting every tattoo in the same style, or having the same artist do each one.
In January, Selena Gomez celebrated the release of her new album "Rare" by getting a tattoo of the album's title on her neck below her ear. The tattoo is placed in a spot that her hair can cover; however, because it's low enough down, the ink will most likely always be visible since hair has a lot of movement. The ink is dainty and slants downward, mimicking the angle of the earlobe. And because of the tilt, the tattoo disrupts the neck's natural shape for a bigger impact.
Ariana Grande has several tattoos and has even made headlines for her ink choices. This back of neck tattoo is a lesser-known one, with Grande herself even captioning the above Instagram photo, "I always forget about my lil tat." The singer's script ink reads "mille tendresse" (French for "one thousand tendernesses") and is a line from the film "Breakfast at Tiffany's," which Grande has called her favorite movie of all time. Even on the back of the star's neck, the tattoo always shines, considering her hair is mostly up in her signature pony.
Zoë Kravitz is another star with a few neck tattoos, including a "baby" tattoo on the right side, a "yes" on the back, and two sparrows on either side of her neck. The "baby" piece is inked just below her jawline, meaning it's essentially hidden by her own head when it's not extended (like in the Instagram photo). However, the other tattoos are slightly more visible and have made a few appearances on red carpets. But because they're placed on the back of the neck, they're easily hidden by clothing or long hair.
Model Sofia Richie doesn't have many tattoos—unlike sister Nicole—but the ones she does have make a big statement when shown. This side-of-the-neck tattoo reads "clarity" in tiny block letters. The letters are also spread out quite a bit, giving the words a light and dainty look, rather than making a major impact. Although the word is inked on the side of the neck, it's not directly in the center, so it will remain mostly hidden by hair but peek out at the right angle. This kind of tattoo is somehow both intimate and public, making it particularly interesting.
Rita Ora has an "R" behind her left ear, but she's also got another piece slightly lower down on her neck. The cursive script, which reads "zog," is a tattoo in honor of the singer's mother. "When I was younger my mum @veraora would call me her zog ‘Zogi mamit’ she would say, which means her little baby bird in Albanian," wrote Ora in an Instagram caption. The script is slanted up to mimic her jawline curve, but it's otherwise minimal—when not hidden by hair, the ink will draw attention without being overwhelming.
Rihanna is another celebrity with an affinity for tattoos, including the script ink on her neck's left side. The singer got the tiny piece of ink in 2010, which reads "rebelle fleur"—meaning"rebel flower" in French. What makes Rihanna's neck tattoo so unique is that the script itself is slanted, but the actual words are not, giving it a sense of movement despite text being such a static type of ink.
Halsey another celebrity with a faint script tattooed on the side of her neck. Lyrics reading, "I'm a loser baby," which come from Beck's song "Loser," are inked in a spread-out, curly cursive font. Because the tattoo is flat in the center of her neck's side, it breaks up the natural shape. This means the tattoo design really pops despite its daintiness and tiny letters.
Vanessa Hudgens makes a big statement with a blackwork butterfly tattooed on the left side of her neck. And despite being toward the back of her body, the thick black ink and size make it stand out as if it were front and center. Considering the ink is only one color, it doesn't feel overwhelming on the star's petite frame. The butterfly's natural movement only enhances that of the neck itself for a tattoo teeming with a sense of motion. If you're looking for a piece of ink that makes for a stunning pop, whether your hair is up or down, go for a blackwork design with some movement either from the subject matter or the tattoo itself.
Miley Cyrus got a small neck tattoo in honor of, well, herself! The singer got a small "'92" on the back-right of her neck in honor of the year she was born. "Year of the monkey," reads the Instagram caption under a photo of the singer's new ink. The design uses medieval lettering to give the tattoo a bit of edge—perfect for Cyrus. However, the ink also has a unique charm because it sticks with just the outline and does not fill in the letters with black ink. Because of this, the tattoo feels minimal and delicate despite using thick block lettering.
Although Ruby Rose no longer has the ink, she got a script tattoo on the left side of her neck in 2011. The design read "and breathe me," referencing lyrics to the Sia song "Breathe Me." The actress-model and the singer are good friends, though her reasoning for the tattoo—whether for her friend or just because she liked the song—is unknown. Something extremely unique about the ink is that the lettering's in a style that almost looked like an EKG from afar, signifying the lyrics' importance to the celeb.