Rihanna Makes A Case For Temporary Tattoos

Flash tattoos only exist in public within the realm of music festivals. This is probably due to a fortuitous combination of heat, beer, model-turned-celebrity sightings, and bands you really do need to hear live. Outside of that, what are you supposed to do with your 20 sheets of metallic foiled temporary tattoos? Really, it's a time and a place sort of thing.

But leave it to the one and only Rihanna to make flash tats cool again outside of the flower-crown cohort. As the face of Dior, it makes sense. This is the line that maybe singlehandedly elevated nail wraps with a limited edition collection last summer. Ri must have picked up on the house’s ‘Grand Bal’ 24-carat gold tattoos, because she just launched a collab with jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche on a set of temporary tattoos that come in black and metallic gold. Put simply, when a CFDA Style Icon tells you to get your hands on some temporary ink, you listen. Or maybe you eye roll, but buy them anyway.

Decidedly more interesting than your oft-played geometric shapes, Fenty Tattoo's got Gothic silhouette chokers, cuticle tats, and what we’re all really here for—knuckle letter tattoos. Sure you can delicately adorn your body with a chain running along your spine or arm, but who can resist a good one-two fist bump with your Bad Gal self?

Photographed by Tom Newton. One step closer to Rihanna, now all you need is the right outfit.

The post Rihanna Makes A Case For Temporary Tattoos appeared first on Into The Gloss.

Rihanna Makes A Case For Temporary Tattoos

Flash tattoos only exist in public within the realm of music festivals. This is probably due to a fortuitous combination of heat, beer, model-turned-celebrity sightings, and bands you really do need to hear live. Outside of that, what are you supposed to do with your 20 sheets of metallic foiled temporary tattoos? Really, it's a time and a place sort of thing.

But leave it to the one and only Rihanna to make flash tats cool again outside of the flower-crown cohort. As the face of Dior, it makes sense. This is the line that maybe singlehandedly elevated nail wraps with a limited edition collection last summer. Ri must have picked up on the house’s ‘Grand Bal’ 24-carat gold tattoos, because she just launched a collab with jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche on a set of temporary tattoos that come in black and metallic gold. Put simply, when a CFDA Style Icon tells you to get your hands on some temporary ink, you listen. Or maybe you eye roll, but buy them anyway.

Decidedly more interesting than your oft-played geometric shapes, Fenty Tattoo's got Gothic silhouette chokers, cuticle tats, and what we’re all really here for—knuckle letter tattoos. Sure you can delicately adorn your body with a chain running along your spine or arm, but who can resist a good one-two fist bump with your Bad Gal self?

Photographed by Tom Newton. One step closer to Rihanna, now all you need is the right outfit.

The post Rihanna Makes A Case For Temporary Tattoos appeared first on Into The Gloss.

Henna, For People Who Are Scared Of Tattoos

These days, when I visit Qatar, I usually come home sporting a rust-red, intricately patterned henna tattoo. Lucky for me, one of my former students, fashion designer Rabab Abdulla, is a henna artist regularly hired by our university for her talents during special events. She’s lightning fast and super knowledgeable, with years of experience decorating the hands and feet of Doha for weddings, festivals, and other celebratory occasions. I recently watched her take on over 20 patrons in a two-hour period, and no two of her beautiful, hand-drawn designs were the same (and she obliged my request for an ITG-lettered one).

I have never (and probably never will) go in for a real tattoo, so the weeks when I sport henna are a novelty—catching a glimpse of it while I go about my daily tasks is surprisingly exhilarating—like an accessory you're still over the moon about and don't have to take off because it's not weather appropriate or too delicate to wear every day. I’ve written in the past about henna’s religious and cultural implications. This time, I had the chance to talk with Rabab about various regional motifs.

“Arabic patterns are more open,” she explained. “They have larger designs flowing down the hand from a few fingers. But Indian mehndi [different name, same practice] covers the entire hand and all the fingers. We try to fill in all the empty space.” Both styles will incorporate patterns on the palm as well. Teardrops, paisley, flowers, and gestural vines are typical in Arabic henna, and they're incorporated in mehndi too, along with peacocks, intricate lattice work (think Rihanna), circular designs believed to deflect the evil eye, etc. Like any traditional form of ornamentation, preferred henna motifs are subject to trends and updates over time.

“Geometric styles from North Africa are becoming more and more popular today,” Rabab said of her current work in Qatar. “The patterns include squares and simple shapes.” The deeper the hue on the skin, the better, meaning the quest for the highest quality commercially sold henna is almost never ending in the region. She prefers to work with a cone of paste; the best she’s found is a brand her father discovered in Saudi Arabia—it’s very pure and takes almost no time to soak into the skin. As far as dye preservation is concerned, Rabab suggests that high quality pigment needs little beyond the average daily moisturizer for maintenance, though many tout the benefits of olive oil rubs or topical coatings of a sugar and lemon juice.

Here in the States, henna is a little harder to come by but by no means impossible. Whole Foods is a stockist of Earth Henna products, which offers both kits with patterns and individual henna applicators. Cheaper cones are also somewhat easy to find at local Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores. On Instagram, a number of international henna practitioners are making names for themselves as style-runners. For those in search of inspiration for either family affairs or festival season, consider checking out @bluelotusmehndi of Portland, Ore.; @gloryofhenna of Los Angeles; @henna_nurahshenna out of Birmingham, England; New York’s own @brooklynhennaco; and the world-traveling @maplemehndi.

—Lauren Maas

Photo courtesy of the author.

The post Henna, For People Who Are Scared Of Tattoos appeared first on Into The Gloss.

Everything You Could Ever Want To Know About Tattoos

If you have one hour, six minutes, and 53 seconds to listen to a good podcast episode, stop reading after the conclusion of this paragraph. “Tattoos: Not Just For Dirtbags Anymore," is the title of such a 'sode, from the not only informative, but interesting Stuff You Should Know 'cast, and everything below this shall henceforth be considered a spoiler. A few fun tattoo-related facts:

History

- Ötzi (also known as “The Iceman"), the oldest known preserved human body, has tattoos. Because there was joint disease found underneath each of his tattoos, it is thought that his ancient civilization believed the marks would relieve pain.

-It's believed that the word "tattoo" comes from the onomatopoetic Polynesian word, “tatau,” which means, “to strike.”

-Sailors—or the men who explored the South Pacific by ship—were the first Westerners to have tattoos. Since sailors were not necessarily considered upstanding citizens, the practice almost immediately became associated with counter culture.

-In a strange turn of events, during the Edwardian era, the society's elite began adopting tattoos as a sort of status symbol, largely due to the opening of the West to Japan and their extremely talented tattoo artists.

-The 1891 invention of the tattoo gun made getting a tattoo more accessible, and thus made the art form less appealing to the upper class.

-Martin Hildebrandt opened the first US tattoo shop in 1846 in NYC (we’re so cool), marketing to mainly members of the military.

-After the highly publicized Lindbergh kidnapping of 1932, Americans began tattooing their children with their Social Security Numbers.

-Tattoo parlors in NYC were banned between 1961 and 1997 (maybe we’re not so cool), and were illegal in Massachusetts until 2000.

Technique

-Tattoos are created by piercing through your epidermis (which you shed) into your more permanent dermis.

-The needle on a tattoo gun bobs, like a sewing machine, between 50 to 3,000 times per minute.

-Prison tattoos, however, a typically done with things like a staple or a guitar string attached to a toothbrush and dipped into pen ink, burnt shoe polish, or melted Styrofoam or plastic.

-Blue and black ink are the easiest to remove, while green is the hardest.

Safety

-Blood born pathogens are a serious concern when getting a tattoo—going to a highly trusted shop is always the best bet. That said, if the shop is following the three-pronged safety approach (more or less the same as any hospital or medical center), there is a very low chance of any disease transmission.

-According to the CDC, there have been zero reported cases of HIV transmitted via tattoo.

-Tattoos done as permanent makeup—like perma-eyeliner or perma-eyebrows—are frequently done with metallic pigment, which can cause issues with brain MRIs.

-In most circumstances, the American Red Cross will not accept blood donations from people who have gotten a tattoo within the past year.

Statistics

-In the US, the average cost of a small tattoo is $45.

-Approximately $1.6 billion is spent in the United States on tattoos every year.

-14% of all Americans have one or more tattoo.

-40% of 26-40 year old Americans have one or more tattoo.

-There are around 21,000 tattoo parlors in the US.

-17% of tattooed Americans regret getting one, 11% of tattooed Americans have theirs removed.

Dr. Woo’s Tattoo Basics

Right after a brief mention of Kat Von D, and before a discussion on the ethics of Mountain Dew's 2028 promotional campaign encouraging teens to ink QR codes on their foreheads, the tattoo textbooks of the future will devote an entire chapter to the fine-line fashion tats of right now. The delicate, precise black-and-grey designs, highly detailed on the level of a Langley Fox pencil drawing, represent a new wave of tattooing. One that's more widely accepted and palatable than, say, a grim reaper chest piece, or the words "You're next," scrawled below a dagger on some guy's neck. And they're refined and quite beautiful, a totally different feel from the cartoonish stuff of recent years (actual cartoon characters, if you're Marc Jacobs, and then just stylistically if you went through a slightly juvenile, hipster foodie phase—so. many. pizza. tats.). They're demure in their placement (think of Erin Wasson's tattoos, which aren't visible if she's facing you straight-on), and have an artistic, 'curated' feel.

And, as they say, all the cool kids are doing it. Langley, Erin, Emily, Nick, Drake, and Chiara Ferragni are all clients of Dr. Woo, the LA-based tattoo artist who's responsible for the popularity of the fine-line technique amongst said cool kids. With demand for his work escalating (when Nick saw him on February 1st, his next available appointment was "May 23rd at 5:30pm"), we solicited him for a run-down of tattooing today—what people are wanting, where they're wanting them, what body parts to avoid, how to keep tats looking good, what to know before letting some dude shove an inky needle into your skin, and how Instagram is changing the game.

That's correct, Instagram = major shift in millenniums-old art form: "Instagram really just changed it all. My mentor, Mark Mahoney, is known for his fine line, so I switched from using eight needles for a more traditional tattoo, and started learning single-needle tattooing. Then I started getting emails from people hitting me up for the fine-line stuff, and now I don’t think I've done a traditional tattoo in, like, six months. I remember when I first started my Instagram, I posted lots of images of tattoos on knuckles, and after that it was the only thing that people wanted. Then I did feathers and that’s all people wanted. Then I did small scripts and that’s all they wanted. It’s funny how it works that way."

Tattoos are like a sale on PS1 bags filled with nicotine: "They’re definitely addicting! There are people who get one that’s just for something special—and that could be it for them—but a lot of people say that, and then start finding empty spots on their skin and they decide they want more and more and more. Before, people were just getting sleeves and bigger tattoos that would cover their torso, but now people are just getting lots of small ones. They're like little accessories—they can complement your skin, and you can get them in all different places."

Where should I get a tattoo? My criteria is that I need to look like a badass but also hide them from my mom: "The inside of the arm is popular right now. I did a bunch of Erin Wasson’s tattoos, and just did one on her recently that’s only visible from the back, like the rest of them. It’s hard to see, you have to actually twist the arm and put it up to see it. Also for girls, along the neckline on the back is popular because you can’t see it when they put their hair down. The bikini area is obviously popular—that’s one that girls always get so they can hide it. Other than those, every other spot is going to be pretty visible. A lot of girls get tattoos on the side of their ribs."

Beware of the butt: "The ribs—that definitely hurts. The ribs, the fingers, and the butt really hurt. I thought the butt wouldn’t, but I've heard it’s pretty bad. Also behind the knee as well, I could imagine that would be pretty horrible."

Black and grey tattoos hurt less: "When you get a color tattoo, especially a bold, traditional color tattoo, the process is more traumatizing to your skin because the ink goes a little deeper. It breaks the skin more to let the color in, unlike the fine-line black and grey tattoos, which just kind of scratch the surface. If it’s solid lettering in black, it might scab a little, but generally the more delicate black tattoos should be a little easier on the skin than color."

Yelp your way to the tattoo parlor: "Word of mouth is important; get someone to refer you. Make sure that you see a broad spectrum of the artist’s work. These days, most artists have an Instagram, so you can get a good sense of their work beforehand. They may do an amazing portrait, but if you want, like, your grandma’s name, you have to make sure you see their technical side, too. Also, make sure that wherever you’re going is a reputable shop before getting anything done. You should look around and to see that it’s sterile and clean, and that they're using gloves and all that. All shops use new needles, so that should never be a problem."

Expect imperfection, and touch-ups: "People need to know that realistically, for a whole tattoo, there’s going to be some little thing that’s not perfect. When you break it down, it’s pretty rudimentary—you are just using a needle to push ink under the top layer of a person's skin. And I tell everyone getting knuckle tattoos, ‘You know, you have to be careful because there is no guarantee how the fingers heal.’ Although girls usually heal better than guys for some reason, but you can always get it touched up later. Sometimes it comes out perfectly, but that’s usually just a section—there is always going to be some kind of little inconsistency."

Support laser research: "I've had a lot of people come to me to cover a bad tattoo, but it’s kind of a weird tattoo-politics thing to not go over someone else’s work. I won't go over someone else’s tattoo if it’s a person I know and respect—or at least have heard of, but if it’s just some guy who learned how to do it in his garage, I don’t care about that. But in the well-established tattoo community, that's not OK."

Don't jinx your relationship, and also don't be a moron: "What I'm doing is more individual, specific to the client, rather than just choosing something from a tear sheet that someone might think looks cool but is actually offensive. Although now, too, some people will go straight to the knuckle for their first tattoo—I do it sometimes, but it’s really not something I like to do. Like, if a kid comes in and he doesn’t have anything on his arms or anywhere else, you’re not just going to tattoo his hands or his neck. But it’s not as taboo as it used to be. Though the ones I do on the fingers are so delicate that, even though technically it’s still the hand, it’s a different kind of thing than a traditional knuckle tattoo. And I will do a lover’s name, but I'll tell the person straight-up that it’s a curse. I’ve covered those a couple of times."

New tattoos are moody, scabby teenagers: "Right when you first get a tattoo, it will be red and a little puffy and the skin will be very raw and broken. Within the next couple of days, depending on the kind of tattoo you get, it should start to dry a little and get scabby or kind of flaky—that’s when you just use a little bit of unscented lotion. Then it heals, but it will still stay a little shiny because that’s new skin underneath—eventually that will even out. People tend to overthink the process of taking care of their new tattoo, and they actually end up getting it infected. When I started getting tattoos, five of them got infected, and I thought I was allergic to the ink. But it was actually too much lotion, too much anti-bacterial this, or anti-bacterial that, or keeping it covered or bandaged all the time—those things can be bad. Now I just use Cetaphil—fragrance-free—because my skin is very sensitive. A new tattoo's like having a teenager—you don’t want to mess with it too much or it will turn on you."

Photos 1-24 provided by Dr. Woo via his Instagram account: @dr_woo_ssc