Surgical and laser tattoo removal isn’t for everyone. If you’re not ready to go under the knife (or the light) don’t worry, you’ve still got options. One route is to simply cover up the tattoo you regret with something you like a lot more.
Getting cover up tattoos is the way that a lot of people go, especially those who still love ink. If you’re needing to side your tattoo completely, you might decide that make-up is the best solution. If you have a small tattoo and want it lightened without having to go in for a procedure, natural methods might be more your speed.
This tattoo removal guide has support information for all three options. Our hope is that after reading, you’ll know exactly what you want to do and be prepared to move forward. So, pick your poison and get as much info as possible so that your results put your past tat experience to shame.
Tattoo Cover-up Ideas for your Body
If you’re left with a tattoo that you’re no longer happy with, we have tons of tattoo cover-up ideas for you. We’ve separated them into various sections since the location has a lot to do with what you can and can’t do when it comes to cover up tattoos.
Professional tattoo artists know exactly what to do when it comes to covering a ‘regret,’ but you’ll want to have a few ideas before your initial appointment. After all, proper planning and communication of your wants/needs are the two things that will (hopefully) stop you from having to get another tattoo cover-up in the future.
Tattoo Cover-up Ideas Sleeve
The arm is a common placement area for tattoos. It’s an easy area to cover with clothing and an easy area to show off as well. So, for many people, this is the perfect ‘mix.’ Unfortunately, many people get tattoos on the arm and then later wish they hadn’t.
If your tattoo is small, you could cover it with a tattoo just a little larger than the one you currently have. But most of the time, we see clients with tattoos that cover a good bit of the arm. One of the ways to fix this situation is to get a sleeve cover-up. A sleeve tattoo is exactly what it sounds like. It usually covers one’s entire arm from the top of the shoulder down to the wrist. For many, the tattoo wraps around the entire arm, even the inner side that is closest to the body.
The reason a lot of people look for tattoo cover-up ideas (sleeve) is that a sleeve doesn’t have to be one big tat. It can actually incorporate several smaller tattoos into one large piece. If the ink you have can’t be easily transformed into something else, having it camouflaged by other tattoos inside of a sleeve piece might be your best bet.
Here are some awesome sleeve pieces that can be used to excite the imagination:
The average time for this kind of tattoo is 10-15 hours, but if it is a cover-up, it can take a bit longer. We’ve known full sleeves to go up to fifty hours. Even so, for most people, it’s worth it because, in the end, you have one of these amazing designs.
Three-Quarter Length Sleeve Tattoo
This sleeve starts at the shoulder and stops just where a three-quarter length shirt would. It does not extend to the wrist like a full sleeve.
Half Sleeve Tattoo
Another option is a half sleeve. This kind of tattoo starts at the shoulder like a full and then continues down, stopping at the elbow.
Quarter Sleeve Tattoo
A quarter sleeve is even smaller. It starts in the same area but stops at the same place a short sleeve shirt would. For people who can’t have full or half sleeves because of their jobs, this is a good compromise as it can be easily covered.
Final Thoughts on Sleeve Cover-Ups
It’s important to note that sleeves can be expensive and take many sessions to complete. Of course, they’re worth it. Still, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re ready to commit to the process before getting started. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with another tattoo ‘don’t’ instead of a ‘do.’
Tattoo Cover-up Ideas for Wrists and Arms
If you’re not down for a sleeve tattoo, you can still find cover-up ideas for the arms. Lots of women get floral tattoos on the arm as the twisting vines and petals can easily cover-up previous tattoos. You may have to add in some dark shading, but even a pop of color can be included if that’s something that you’re into.
For a while now, wrist tattoos have been trending. These can be hard to cover because of the small area, but it’s not impossible. Here are a couple examples of cool wrist cover ups.
Traditionally, there are three different types of cover-up tattoos. These are complete coverage, creative reinvention, and blast overs. Complete coverage is exactly what it sounds like, it covers the entire tattoo. Creative reinvention takes the existing tattoo and reworks it. Blast over tattoos create a layering over the ink.
Here are few blast over arm examples:
Tattoo Cover-up Ideas for Ankle and Legs
It’s important to keep in mind when looking for tattoo cover-up ideas that this isn’t a ‘new tattoo.’ It’s a way of concealing. If you’re looking for a way to cover a tattoo on the leg or the ankle (or any area, really) consider the following tips:
- Some tattoos can be faded a bit by removing excessive ink
- There are certain illusions that can improve the overall look
- You can sometimes correct spelling without covering the entire tattoo
- You’ll want to keep the corrective design close to the old one for best results
- You may still see a bit of the old tattoo under the old one
Here are some of our favorite cover-up ideas for ankle and leg tattoos that you’d like to ditch:
Tattoo Cover-up Ideas for Chest
We’ve all seen chest tattoos, especially those over the heart, that profess undying love. Unfortunately, if and when the relationship goes south, what is left is a painful reminder of what once was. Thankfully, there are cover up tattoos that can put the past in the past. We just love the chest designs below. Hopefully, they can be a point of inspiration for you as well
Tattoo Cover-up Ideas for Back
One of the first tattoo cover ups I ever encountered was a back (shoulder) quote tattoo that read “This too shall pass.” It was severely faded, so I assumed it was a really old design. Although this was true, my client explained that the tattoo had been faded for as long as she had it. Not long after getting inked, my client could tell that something wrong with the design.
When it scabbed and peeled, what was left was a blotchy tattoo. She went back to the shop to ask questions of the artist. When she got there, the shop was completely empty. The artist had packed up and left town. Thankfully, we were able to update her tattoo and make it amazing like the designs below.
Tattoo Cover Ups Before and After Examples
There isn’t too much of an intro needed for cover-up tattoo before and after examples. With tattoos, the ‘proof is in the pudding.’ Only the end result really matters. With that being said, here are some out-of-this-world designs that prove that cover-ups can be just as amazing as an original tattoo.
Best Tattoo Cover Up Make-up
If you don’t want another tattoo or haven’t found the perfect design, there are other cover-up options. Special make-up has been designed to cover tattoos. Our four favorites (+ a bonus) are listed below:
Glossiva Full Cover Concealer
- TATTOO CONCEALER THAT’S WATERPROOF - Watch your tattoo and other dark spots cover-up fast for your weddings, special...
- USE FOR DARK SPOTS, SCARS, VITILIGO, AND MORE - Not only is it for tattoos, but also use it to conceal dark spots,...
One of the highest-rated cover-up make-up kits on Amazon, Glossiva’s full cover concealer masks tattoos, scars, vertigo and more. We love that it’s waterproof and that it is designed to match any skin color.
This mix-and-match product dries in about fifteen minutes and then, you’re good to go. So many of the reviews are from customers who needed to cover tattoos for work, weddings or other events and report that the results were flawless. Even on days when you don’t want to cover your tattoo, you can use the concealer to cover dark spots or blemishes. Such a versatile product.ORDER NOW
SegminiSmart Tattoo Concealer
- Concealer Total Coverage: It completely covers acne, loss of pigmentation, post surgical bruising, tattoos etc. It may...
- Professional and Safe: Concealer Set No alcohol, no poisonous chemical. Since it is very thin, make skin breath freely....
Coming in at under 20 bucks, this tattoo cover-up set is a steal. Similar to the product listed above, you mix this concealer yourself so that it looks just like your own skin. Since one of the containers is dark, this is a great kit for those with dark skin. Of course, fair-skinned people can use it as long as you mix it up well. It can cover tattoos, veins, bruising, and acne. There are tons of uses with this product.
It can be used on the face or on the body, so any tattoo can be covered with this kit. It’s also made from natural ingredients and includes no alcohol or toxic chemicals, making it totally safe. One reviewer wrote:
I couldn’t believe how amazing this stuff worked! I have yet to find a concealer anywhere that actually completely covered my tattoos/acne scars until this product! Don’t waste your time or money on those $100 high end, brand name products because this right here, blows any and every one of them that I’ve ever tried way out of the water.Amazon Review
Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation
Known for its insane coverage, this popular product from Kat Von D’s make-up line is a 4 and a half star hit on Amazon. Although a lot of people use it to cover up acne and unsightly bumps, it was created to cover tattoos, hence its name. This one comes pre-mixed, so there it’s a lot less messy than some of the others. Of course, you’ll have to buy a shade that comes close to your natural shade.
Amazon reviewers rave about this product, but also mentioned how hard it is to get off, which is a good thing when it comes to tattoo coverage. Especially if you’re wanting to wear it for an extended period of time. The arrival time is quick on this one too. So if you’re needing it soon, no problem.ORDER NOW
Mehron Makeup Tattoo Cover 5 Shades
- Easily apply to the desired area and gently
- rub until the glue begins to break down
Looking for a cheap option? This tattoo cover-up wheel by Mehron is one of the most reasonably priced ones on the market. Coming in just under 14 USD with free shipping, it is both waterproof and rub resistant. Its name comes from the fact that each wheel contains five different colors, so you can use it no matter your skin color.
One reviewer called it “the best coverage I have found” and suggested using Mehron’s setting powder between every and finishing with a Mehron Sealer fixative if you plan to wear it for a long period of time.ORDER NOW
Tat2X Full Arm Tattoo Cover Up Sleeve
- DO NOT BE FOOLED BY CHEAP IMITATORS ALWAYS CHOOSE "by Tat2X" which is proudly MADE IN USA and Built to Last -- Saving...
- NO SLIP GRIPPER -- No Tags -- No Chafe Seams -- Our full arm tattoo cover up arm sleeves are so comfortable you might...
Not feeling using make-up to cover up your tattoos but still need to temporarily hide your tattoos for work or school? Look no further than the best American Made tattoo cover up sleeve from Tat2X that comes in a wide variety of colors and styles to match almost every need.
Not only do these cover-up sleeves block 98% of harmful UV rays and wick away sweat but they also don’t have any visible logos on them. The Nylon/Spandex fabric blend keeps you super comfy whether it’s hot or cold and the no-slip elastic gripper keeps our sleeves firmly in place with a flat seam to protect your skin from chaffing.ORDER NOW
Frequently Asked Questions on Covering Up Tattoos
We get a lot of questions from our readers about tattoo cover ups and tattoo removal methods, which we will answer here for everybody to learn from.
What are some good tattoo cover up ideas?
There are so many good ideas when it comes to cover ups. You should take a minute to write down some of the things you love or that interest you. Are you a history buff? An old portrait or historical scene can serve as a cover up. Plant lovers might gravitate toward a floral motif. You might even consider a 3D design.
Does a cover up tattoo hurt more?
Maybe. Although many online articles will tell you that cover ups hurt worse, not everyone agrees. If you have a lot of scar tissue in the area that you are camouflaging, there could be more pain. But in general, all tattoos involve some pain.
Can any tattoo be covered up?
Yes, but some may need to be faded before another design is introduced. If you have a very dark tattoo that would be hard to cover with ink, you may need to first have some of the ink removed through the use of a laser. A professional tattoo artist can look at your tattoo and advise on whether this is the case for you.
Can you put white ink over a black tattoo?
Yes. Putting white ink over black ink is a cover up tattoo trend that lots of people are choosing. It allows the tattoo artist to create dimension and often fades to a slate grey. It is important to note that white ink is prone to fading and turning yellow, so extra caution has to be taken with this technique.
That’s a Wrap (or a Sleeve)
Have you found some inspiration from the tattoo cover ups shown above? We’d love to hear which one of the designs above is your favorite or which ones you might consider for yourself. Comment below and let us known your thoughts. Also, if you decide to try any of the cover up make-up instead, we’re dying to know how the products measured up.
Hey readers! I’m Jeffrey and your tattoo artist of the day;) I have been drawing and painting my whole life, and after graduating high school I decided it was time for a bigger challenge and I started drawing on people. I’m so fortunate I got to express my creativity through my body art and even more so to share my passion with my now wife Emilie. She started working with me in my tattoo shop as a piercer and I started writing about and photographing, my creations on this blog. I love to hear from you and hope you enjoy our work together!