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Tattoos on tour: Inside Harry Styles' tattoo collection

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Harry Styles' tattoos offer a captivating insight into his life story. From the first piece inked onto his skin to the many now adorning him, each tattoo is an expression of individuality and identity - telling its own unique story and chronicling milestones along his journey.

As he continues to add to this ever-growing collection, Harry Styles' tattoos become even more meaningful and intriguing. In this piece, we take a closer look at Harry Styles' tattoo collection and the stories behind it.

Before we delve in, if you're passionate about tattoos and want to maintain the vibrancy and longevity of your own ink, consider incorporating high-quality tattoo aftercare products into your routine. You can check them out here.

Rising popularity of Harry Styles' tattoos

Harry Styles, the former One Direction member turned solo artist, is not only known for his music and fashion sense but also his extensive collection of tattoos. With designs that are as diverse and intricate as his musical styles, Harry's tattoos have garnered significant attention over the years and have even influenced tattoo trends globally.

 

Close-up of tattoo artist refilling tattoo gun.

 

If you are curious about how many tattoos he has, Harry has more than 60 tattoos adorning his body, with each design bearing a unique story or significance. Some tattoos pay tribute to his family members, while others reflect his personal experiences, passions, and the journey he's embarked upon from his One Direction days to his blossoming solo career.

This array of body art has resonated with fans worldwide, leading to a surge in the popularity of Harry Styles' tattoos. His tattoos have become a significant part of his public image, sparking curiosity and admiration from his dedicated fan base and beyond.

Harry Styles' most iconic tattoos and their meanings

Butterfly ink

The butterfly tattoo is significant among Harry Styles' many tattoos, which number in the dozens. Positioned on his torso, this large butterfly is hard to miss. Its symbolism is often interpreted as transformation and change, reflecting Harry's journey from a young boy band member of One Direction to a respected solo artist.

Beyond its transformative symbolism, butterflies are also associated with freedom, beauty, and resilience, all attributes that can be seen in Harry's journey as an artist. His evolution has been marked by a steady embrace of individuality and breaking away from norms, much like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.

It's important to note that Harry hasn't explicitly stated the personal significance of this butterfly tattoo, so while these interpretations make sense, they are largely speculation. Tattoos can be deeply personal, with meanings unique to the individual.

The skeleton

Harry Styles' skeleton tattoo, located on his left tricep, definitely stands out due to its unique design. The artwork features a detailed skeleton dressed in a suit and a fedora hat. As with many of Harry's tattoos, the meaning behind this particular piece isn't publicly disclosed. It could symbolise a fascination with mortality, an appreciation for a certain artistic style, or a reflection of his quirky sense of humour. 

The naked mermaid ink

Harry Styles' mermaid tattoo, inked on his left forearm, is indeed an intriguing piece of his extensive body art collection. The tattoo, which he got in November 2014, features a half-naked mermaid, adding a sense of whimsy and mystique. When asked about its meaning, Harry playfully responded on The Today Show, saying, "because I am a mermaid."

This statement, while cheeky, could symbolise Harry's affinity for mystique, unconventionality, and the sea, or it could simply be a playful addition to his unique tattoo collection. As always, the true meaning behind Harry's tattoos lies with him and might be more personal or nuanced than what is publicly shared.

The old handshake

As a representation of equality, Harry's handshake tattoo is a noteworthy piece. Displaying two hands firmly gripping each other, this tattoo employs fine lines and detailed shading to capture the essence of this universal symbol of agreement and unity.

The anchor

Harry Styles' anchor tattoo, located on his left wrist, is a nod to classic nautical imagery, frequently seen in tattoo culture, particularly among those influenced by maritime traditions. This design was used to cover up his previous "I can't change" tattoo. The decision to cover the old script with an anchor could symbolise his grounding and steadiness amidst the constant change in his life. 

 

Person Getting a Tattoo from a Tattoo Artist

The black heart

Harry's black heart tattoo, inked onto his left bicep in December 2012, is another one that's subject to interpretation. Some believe it's a symbolic reminder of his family back home, while others see it as a literal take on the phrase "wearing your heart on your sleeve". Both interpretations showcase Harry's love for his family and his emotional depth, although the actual meaning remains known only to Harry himself.

The Holy Bible

Harry Styles' Holy Bible tattoo, located on his left forearm, is another intriguing piece of his tattoo collection. Despite not being vocally religious, the Bible could symbolise a variety of things for him, including a connection to his roots, his family's faith, or his personal moral compass. This particular tattoo also served a practical purpose as it covered up his old tattoo, which read "things I can't." 

The "A" letter

The letter 'A' tattooed on Harry Styles is a sweet tribute to his mother, Anne Cox. Inked back in July 2012, this small but meaningful tattoo underlines the close relationship Harry shares with his mother, illustrating his family-oriented nature. It's an enduring symbol of the deep affection and respect he holds for her.

The ship

The ship tattoo on Harry Styles' left bicep is one of his more intricate designs. This traditional naval ship has prompted much speculation among fans, some suggesting it was inked about his ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift, given a similar tattoo appears in her 'I Knew You Were Trouble' video. However, Harry has refuted this, explaining that the ship is a reminder of travelling homeward when he's on his tours, indicating his affinity for the sea and his longing for home.

The theatre masks

The classical theatre mask tattoo on Harry's left side highlights his dedication to the entertainment industry. The masks, traditionally used to represent comedy and tragedy in theatre, could symbolise the range of emotions he explores in his music and performances. Accompanying these masks are the letters 'SMCL.' Though Harry hasn't explained, fan theories suggest it might be a homage to Simon Cowell, who brought One Direction together on X Factor.

Birdcage

Harry Styles' birdcage tattoo, positioned on the left side of his rib cage, is a large and intriguing piece. It may symbolise feeling caged or trapped, perhaps reflecting the pressure and scrutiny of his life in One Direction or his experiences with the press. Alternatively, given Harry's humour, it could also be a clever visual pun. Again, without his explicit interpretation, the precise meaning remains speculative.

The swallows

Harry Styles' swallow tattoos are another nod to the maritime world, reflecting his affinity for sailor-inspired designs. Traditional swallow tattoos symbolise travel and return, which fits perfectly with Harry's life as a touring artist.

For him, these swallows likely signify the constant journeying that his career involves while also symbolising the importance of finding one's way back home, regardless of how far they may travel. This imbues the tattoos with a deeply personal meaning that aligns with Harry's life and values.

The elusive thigh tattoo

Harry Styles' elusive thigh tattoo caught fans' attention when he posed for a photograph with Chelsea Handler in 2015. While initially, the focus was more on her choice of bikini bottoms, eagle-eyed fans spotted a new design on Harry's left thigh. Since this tattoo is not often on display, its details and the meaning behind it remain a mystery. 

The 'Gemma' tattoo

The 'Gemma' tattoo that Harry Styles has in Hebrew on his shoulder is another testament to his strong familial ties. Inked in 2012, it's a tribute to his older sister, Gemma, underscoring the close-knit relationship he shares with her. Harry's tattoos often reflect personal connections and values, and this tattoo, like the 'A' for his mother Anne, shows how important his family is to him, even as his career takes him across the globe.

Fern leaves

Harry Styles' fern leaf tattoos, positioned on his left and right hips, are among his more risque designs. While they may draw attention to his pelvis, they could also bear a deeper meaning. Given their rare visibility, these tattoos often take fans by surprise when they do appear, such as in his album artwork shot by renowned photographer Tim Walker. As with all of Harry's tattoos, the exact meaning remains his own, adding another layer of intrigue to his persona.

The cross

The cross tattoo on Harry Styles' hand, though small compared to his other designs, is notable for its traditional religious symbolism. Like pop star Justin Bieber, who also has a cross tattoo on his hand, Harry might use this symbol to express faith, spirituality, or a personal belief system. However, the precise meaning of the cross tattoo, like many of his tattoos, remains personal to Harry unless he shares it.

The "Brasil" one

Styles famously revealed a "Brasil" tattoo while on stage with One Direction in Rio de Janeiro in 2014. The script tattoo appeared at the very top of his left thigh, almost on his behind. A special moment those fans will probably never forget. 

Rose tattoo

Styles sports a rose tattoo on his forearm (presumably nearer to his heart?). The rose acts as a memento of the affection he received from both his grandparents. For Styles, the rose has always been a metaphor for love and exemplifies his tenacity and ability to rise above adversities.

The nails

The three black nails tattooed on Harry Styles' arm is one of his more mysterious pieces. Inked in 2013, their meaning remains unknown as Harry has not publicly explained this particular design. Given the traditional religious symbolism associated with nails, some might speculate a spiritual significance.

If you're inspired by Harry Styles' captivating tattoo collection and eager to start your own journey into the world of body art, consider using high-quality tattoo ink like the 1oz Radiant Colors Ink - All Colours or the 1oz Eternal Ink - All Colours to bring your creative visions to life.

 

Tattoo artist tattooing a smiling woman

List of Harry Styles' tattoo

Family and friend tributes:

  • “Mary” for his grandmother
  • “A” for his mother
  • His sister’s name “Gemma” in Hebrew
  • “Jackson” his godson
  • “R” for his stepfather
  • “G” and “A’ on his shoulders for his sister and mom
  • “1957” and “1967” his parent’s birth dates on his shoulders
  • Palm tree tattoo, matching his sister

Places and travel:

  • “NY,” “LA,” and “LON” (upper left arm tattoo)
  • California on his thigh
  • “Brasil!” on his butt

Animals and nature:

  • Swallows on his chest
  • Naked mermaid on his arm
  • Eagle tattoo on his underarm
  • Butterfly on his ribcage
  • Insect on his forearm
  • Tiger on his thigh
  • Two ferns on his hip

Music and art:

  • Theater masks
  • “SNCL” which means “smile now cry later”
  • “Won’t Stop ‘Til We Surrender”
  • Pink Floyd triangle
  • “Never Gonna Dance Again” from George Michael song on his ankles
  • Guitar on his shoulder

Symbols and images:

  • Pirate ship on his shoulder
  • Anchor on his left wrist (cover up for his previous tattoo "I can change")
  • Star on bicep
  • Handshake
  • Skeleton in a suit on his arm
  • Coat hanger
  • Green Bay Packers logo
  • Cross
  • “Late Late” after losing at tattoo roulette on “The Late Late Show With James Corden”
  • Anatomical heart on bicep
  • “You booze you lose” with a wine bottle
  • Bible
  • “Hi”
  • Crown on his toe
  • “Can I stay?”
  • “Silver Spoon”
  • “Arlo”
  • “17 Black” on his chest
  • A lock and key on his wrist, done by Ed Sheeran
  • Shamrock for LA’s Shamrock Social Club tattoo parlour
  • Aquarius sign
  • Broken heart
  • Black heart
  • “Big”
  • Screw on his ankle

Show your love for Harry Styles by getting your favorite tattoo from this extensive list. But, remember, aftercare is crucial. So, you can the MTS Tattoo Balm to enhance your skin's healing process after getting your new tattoo. 

Conclusion

Delving into Harry's tattoos provides a fascinating glimpse into the artist's personal and artistic journey. His tattoos, adorned with intricate designs and meaningful symbolism, reflect his experiences, beliefs, and artistic expression.

As Styles embarked on his tours, the influence of his nomadic lifestyle and encounters with diverse cultures became evident in the tattoos he acquired along the way. His tattoos have not only captivated fans but have also influenced a broader appreciation for body art, encouraging individuals to express themselves through tattoos inspired by Styles' iconic designs.

For anyone looking to embrace the art of tattooing, getting a tattoo aftercare is essential. Proper care and maintenance of your tattoos ensure their longevity and vibrant appearance. By taking care of your tattoos, you can proudly showcase your personal journey and unique expression for years.

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  • Mark Joshua Luz
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