Last updated on Nov 4th, 2015 at 02:24 pm

80% of the world’s sexiest women have tattoes

According to FHM’s annual results for the top 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2002, that is. In that year,  8 of the top 10 women featured on the list had one or more tattoos, a figure reflecting one of the fastest growing trends in the past decade.

Stemming from the Polynesian tatau which means â??to markâ??, tattooing is an age old tradition that can be traced to the fifth millennium BC. As the art form enters the mainstream, it has become somewhat socially acceptable; itâ??s no longer a slight on a womanâ??s moral character if sheâ??s tattooed.   

Tattooed celebrities are leading the way and whilst Angelina Jolie might be at the forefront of the trend, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Beyonce Knowles, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson are in on it too.  

Whether spiritual and ritualistic or decorative and cosmetic, we take a look at popular tattoos for women, their associations and some questions youâ??d need to consider before getting inked.

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Deciding on a tattoo design & where you’d want it displayed

A form of body art and expression, tattoo designs combine the symbolic and the creative.  To avoid a costly and permanent mistake, make a careful decision by sourcing images you like and showing these to the tattoo artist.

Researching and choosing designs is probably the most important step in the process. 43% of women regret getting tattoos, based on choosing artwork without giving it much thought.

Because women are generally prettier, smaller and more delicate than men, so too are the tattoos designed for them. Although itâ??s not unheard of for a woman to have â??sleevesâ?? (tattoos that completely adorn the arm) the more feminine ones are isolated and accent specific areas of the body like the tummy, lower back, ankle or neck. 

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Popular tattoos for women include butterflies, shooting stars and angels

The most popular tattoos requested by women are angels, butterflies, stars, crosses, eternity symbols, fairies, dolphins, dragons and the sun.

If you want to get a tattoo but canâ??t decide on a design it might be worth it to come up with one of your own. Get a professional, reputable artist to advise you on what would work best or to customize a design for you based on something you might’ve seen or already like.

  Popular tattoo designs for women & their symbolic meaning

Of the most popular, commonly requested tattoo designs by women the butterfly definitely ranks the highest.  Representing beauty and grace they also signal rejuvenation and rebirth.Equally as popular are shooting stars, flowers, fairies, hearts, zodiac and beautifully curved tribal signs. Whilst each flower has a different meaning, commonly requested designs incorporate roses, daisies, lilies, sunflowers and cherry blossoms.

As one of the oldest symbols used in the art form, stars are versatile and easily combined with existing styles. The symbol for truth and hope, they arenâ??t necessarily tied to a specific religion or culture, which makes them universal in that they represent different things to different people. Suggestive of wishes coming true, shooting stars are also the symbols for success and good luck.


Originating from Celtic mythology, fairies are magical female creatures reminiscent of childhood. Itâ??s no surprise then that they reference youthfulness. Dragons are another design enjoying a revival with styles ranging from the traditional Chinese dragon to the more mythical. Another powerful and universally accepted symbol for love and romance is the heart that additionally represents the soul, religious mysticism, the seat of emotions and spirituality. Angels and crosses are both considered an expression of faith and religion whilst symbolizing guardianship and protection. Crosses are especially apt as a tribute to a lost loved one.  

The #1 spot for a woman’s tattoo is her lower back 

Making as big an impact as the design youâ??ve selected is where your tattoo will be located. Some designs might work better with specific body areas depending on the size and style. Consider chest, upper and lower back, arms or feet as possible canvasses.

Tattoos placed above the ankle, on your feet, hips, below the panty line, on the back of your shoulders and on the inner wrist are the easiest to conceal. Other popular locations for womenâ??s tattoos are the hips, lower back, calves and the back of the neck. Beware of areas sensitive to stretching like the stomach, bum and breasts!

Tattooing procedures involve a needle dipped into ink, puncturing the skin in a motion similar to that of writing. The ink sinks below the outer layer of skin, the reason for its permanency and the whole point of getting one. 

Tattoos are forever…well, not anymore!

But if itâ??s barring you from being employed, keeping you connected to an ex or the design’s stretched beyond recognition then perhaps itâ??s time to get it removed. Removal methods range from chemical peels to laser treatments, the latter being the most effective and least painful. Expect to pay up to three times as much for this type of removal than what you did for the tattoo!

Alternately, you can avoid the expense of tattoo removal by opting for temporary art work by airbrush or Henna, which allows you try a design without the commitment.

And donâ??t forget to ask for proper care instructions. The last thing you want is for the beautiful design to fade or worse, to infect!

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