25 Delicate Ear Tattoos That Will Have You Booking An Appointment ASAP

You could say that ear tattoos are having a moment right now. Despite their unusual location — or perhaps because of it — they have become increasingly popular over the last few years, especially as fine-line tattoos become more in demand. "Ear tattoos are exploding right now — very trendy," Vancouver-based tattoo artist Isaac Jeffs told New York Post.

The ear is a great place to get a tattoo because it can be easily camouflaged with your hair if you want to keep it out of sight, or easily highlighted with jewelry. And getting one is also not as painful as you may think. "A lot of people think the ear will hurt because of the spot and how red it appears but it does not hurt as much as it may look," Vancouver-based tattoo artist Denyse Labarca told Allure. "A lot of my clients fall asleep or say getting their ear tattooed is like a spa treatment. I have had two clients say it felt ticklish!"

Because of their location, ear tattoos tend to be on the smaller side, which you may think would limit your design options. But there are actually multiple tattoos you can get, ranging from minimal and delicate to extremely intricate. Here are some of our favorites.


Although not technically on the ear, this constellation of stars, by Seoul tattoo studio Playground Tattoo, is located just behind the ear and is still beautiful enough to inspire your own tiny ear tattoo (via Instagram). While tattoos have different meanings for everyone, star tattoos are often seen as a symbol of light and spirituality.


Less is more when it comes to ear tattoos and this simple leaf design, seen on Lina Kallinen on Instagram, proves that point. Tattoos of leaves and vines have been growing in popularity thanks in part to their clean aesthetic. This design is a great alternative for someone who doesn't want a piercing but still wants their ears to make a statement.


If you love the idea of an ear tattoo but prefer something more minimalist, these tiny dots, as seen on Kate-Louise on Instagram, are the perfect option. So delicate they could almost be mistaken for jewelry, tattoos like this will definitely get people talking. A few pin-size dots on the edge of the inner ear, also known as the anti-helix, is just the right amount of ink for those who know that a little goes a long way.

Red ink

Many fine-line ear tattoos are done using simple black ink. But adding a touch of color can really make these tattoos stand out. We love how Tel Aviv-based tattoo artist @volcharaart chose a deep red ink instead of the traditional black to create these small, intricate designs (via Instagram). It's a small yet impactful variation of the typical ear tattoos we usually see.

Tribal hearts

There are hundreds of versions of tribal hearts, in all shapes and sizes, but we love how this delicate outline by artist @repta.ink fits perfectly inside the upper ear (via Instagram). This is a unique take on what is a relatively popular tattoo design. Tribal heart tattoos typically represent faith, love, passion, and all-around good feelings.


Flowers are a popular choice for ear tattoos. There are so many different varieties and colors to choose from, but there's something about these fine-line flowers, as seen on the @equilattera Instagram page, that make us want to book a tattoo appointment right now! Just a simple outline of four flowers placed individually on the outside and lobe of the ear creates a simply stunning look.


Who needs jewelry when you've got a vine tattoo that travels around the ear and continues on the inside? This delicate yet bold tattoo by artist Juan Sanchez is definitely for someone who wants to stand out (via Instagram). Vines tend to be a popular design for ear tattoos because they work so well when laced around the ear.

Flowers and Vines

Individual flowers or delicate vines are popular designs for ear tattoos and we love how Elizabeth Fryer Tattoo combined both to create this stunning result (via Instagram). The design flows from behind the ear, onto the inner ear, and then over the ear onto the face, creating a stunning bouquet design that anyone would love to show off.


If you love astrology and know about your sun and moon signs as well as what each planet represents for your star sign, you may want to consider a planet tattoo. According to Astro Tattoos, Saturn is one of the most popular planet tattoos because it's "a huge leader in your astrological life" and "honors the special connection you have with time, change, and uncertainty." Fun fact: Adele has one inked on her forearm (via Instagram).

Angel and Devil

If you've ever felt your inner angel on one shoulder and inner devil on the other whispering in your ear and giving you conflicting advice, then this design, as seen on the @facemodified Instagram page, might be the tattoo for you! Perfect for someone who feels that constant push and pulls between good and evil, or for someone who just thinks this design is as clever as we do!


Don't be afraid to add a little color (or a lot) to your ear tattoo! While most of the looks we've seen are black outlines, adding bright pops of color to your ear tattoos, like this hodgepodge design by @tattoo_ciaociao on Instagram, really creates a unique look and gives this tiny space some big personality.


If you've been looking for the perfect, minimalist ear tattoo, look no further. This tiny, fine-line tattoo of a heart on the inside of the upper ear, seen on the @playground_tat2 account on Instagram, is so simple yet so stunning. Rather than wear your heart on your sleeve, try showing it off on your ear instead. 


The lavender flower has many meanings, including purity, devotion, love, and calmness, and those are exactly the vibes this tattoo by artist Melanie Smith is giving (via Instagram). We love the placement of this tattoo on the back side of the helix because it's so unexpected. This is perfect for anyone who doesn't want their ear tattoo always on display.


Don't want to pierce your ears? You can always wear your diamonds tattooed on instead, like this design by @trikona.tattoos on Instagram. While many ear tattoos are placed higher up on the ear or behind the ear — like Cara Delevingne's diamond (via Grazia) — the lobe is an ideal spot for those who truly want to wear their body art like earrings.


This tulip tattoo, by artist @tatooer_jina, on the inner ear is reminiscent of spring, giving off soft and feminine vibes (via Instagram). We love how it is accented with a starburst tattoo alongside the tragus. Tulips tend to symbolize a new beginning or a fresh start. Although simple in design, the impact this tattoo makes is a strong one.

Spider web

Not all ear tattoos have to be delicate or nature-inspired. This intricate spider web, by @SpannerzDanny on Instagram, is inked on the inside of the upper ear and is a striking way to make a statement. We've seen a lot of web tattoos on knees and elbows, but the ear is a cool, unexpected place to show off the spooky design.

Moon and stars

Start the car, we need to find a shop to get this tattoo right away! The celestial pairing of a crescent moon and two stars, by @alvina.tatooer on Instagram, is too cute. Moon and stars can signify family — with the stars being representative of children or siblings – and this is a beautiful way to honor yours.


This subtle rainbow tattoo by Tattoo Dave on Instagram is a fun, modern, and unexpected variation of a traditional ear cuff tattoo. While most commonly associated with pride, equality, and support of the LGBTQ+ community, a rainbow tattoo can also represent luck, optimism, and whimsy. 


The delicate outline of a lotus flower, as seen on @patcha_o_'s Instagram account, works perfectly on the upper inner ear. Lotus flowers have so many different meanings but it is often inked as a symbol of a new beginning. Katy Perry has a lotus flower tattoo on her right wrist which many have speculated she got after her divorce from Russell Brand, according to Body Art Guru.


Keep yourself surrounded by light and serenity with a lovely tattoo of a sunrise over the water, as seen on Cha Cha Lee on Instagram. We love that landscapes don't have to be large and colorful to have a calming effect, and even a simple black outline tattoo like this can create the illusion of a vivid sunrise.

Paw prints

This may be the most adorable way to honor your four-legged friend! Many people memorialize their dog, cat, or other pets with tattoos. If you don't want to commit to a large tattoo and are looking for a simple, yet sweet, way to show your love for your best friend, these tiny paw prints right behind the ear, by @kamicak_tattoo on Instagram, are perfect.

Palm trees

Palm trees don't just give off calming and tropical vibes but they are also said to represent immortality and are seen as a symbol of peace. While palm tree tattoos have been seen on celebrities like Zoe Kravitz (via Steal Her Style), the design isn't seen often on the inner ear. We love how tattoo artist Athena Georgia Dubique gave this palm some texture making it appear to be blowing in the wind (via Instagram).


Not all tattoos need to be objects, but since the ear is such a small canvas to work on we typically see tattoos in this area of things like flowers, leaves, or stars. This colorful swirl by @lorka.tattoo that transitions from green to purple to pink and is accented by two tiny microdots on each side shows that you can get creative even when tattooing on a smaller area (via Instagram).

The Pumpkin King

It doesn't have to be Halloween or Christmastime to show your love for Jack Skellington, à la Denyse Labarca on Instagram. If you love the iconic "The Nightmare Before Christmas" character why not consider this portrait of the Pumpkin King on your inner ear? Accented with two fine lines on the helix, this tattoo is a must-have for Jack fans.

Travel and Adventure

Sometimes you can't decide on only one design for your tattoo and that's okay. This example shows how multiple elements with the same theme can work well together, even in such a small area. For those that love travel and adventure, an airplane, stars, and planets make the ideal combination to accent this upper ear area. The fine-line design and delicate artwork by @playground_tat2 fit perfectly without overwhelming the area (via Instagram).