Sophisticated Shoulder Tattoos for Women

Shoulder Tattoos for Women
Photo by: Med Badr Chemmaoui

Getting a tattoo on your shoulder is a popular placement pick, and it’s easy to see why. Shoulders hit the sweet spot of being work-friendly and easy to show off at the same time. Basically, covering your shoulders for work (if you must) is pretty simple, but you can also wear something sleeveless so all your friends can see your new piece. Let’s talk about shoulder tattoos for women: pain levels, planning your ink, and inspiration.

Considerations for Shoulder Tattoos

While shoulder tattoos aren’t the least painful out there, they are a big step up from some areas. Tattoo pain charts show that the tops of the shoulders will be more painful than the front or back parts of the shoulders, so keep that in mind if you are especially sensitive to pain. However, as long as you avoid the collarbone area, you won’t be getting ink in any of what are considered the most painful spots.

Remember, you’re going to want to be able to keep bra straps off of the tattoo for a few days, as they can irritate it and rub off the scabs, affecting the healing process. Consider wearing a strapless, just for a little while, so that your tattoo heals as neatly and quickly as possible. Shoulder tattoos age pretty well since they are often protected from the sun by clothes. Plus, shoulder skin is not as prone to wrinkling as other skin, so your new ink has a good chance of looking great for years to come.

Next, you’ll want to think about where on your shoulder will suit you the best. You can use the whole shoulder area if you’d like something that wraps around and has a lot of detail. Or you can pick a small spot for something daintier. If you’re considering getting a full sleeve in the future, make sure the design you choose will flow well into the sleeve without an awkward gap or transition. Picture how your tattoo will look with some of your most frequently worn outfits so that you’re sure you like the size and placement in general.

Lastly, consider the symbolism. The front of the shoulder, closer to the collarbones, is a way to keep something close to your heart. The back of the shoulder blade often looks like something is watching over you.

Shoulder Tattoo Inspiration

This eye-catching mandala-style tattoo shows how bold a centered, medium-sized shoulder piece can look.

These matching botanical shoulder caps are so lovely and feminine.

Holy mackerel! This little fish swimming up on a shoulder is too cute.

Loving this set of matching mandalas. So mesmerizing.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Melli W. (@froilein.melli)

This front-of-shoulder, black flower ornamental is bloomy and bewitching.

The vibrant colors on this butterfly piece really make it pop.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jooa ; 주아 (@jooa_tattoo)

Tattoos on Famous Shoulders

You might recognize these shoulders. The first one, Eve’s black widow, is super fierce.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by EVE @therealeve 🐾 (@therealeve)

Lady Gaga has a few shoulder tattoos, one of which is the fire rose unity survivor tattoo.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lady Gaga (@ladygaga)

Bella Hadid’s matching shoulder tattoos say “I love you” and “my sweetheart” in graceful Arabic lettering.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Doctor Woo (@_dr_woo_)

For more inspiration, check out the Tattooed Women gallery!