How To Hide Your Tattoos

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 21, 2019
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Having tattoos is an increasingly accepted form of self-expression with more and more employers welcoming tattooed employees. However, there are still some restrictions that exist. Some industries still don’t accept them, and there are some occasions where you might not want to show your ink off. 

Before you get a tattoo, it’s a smart choice to think thoroughly about whether you will want to cover it up at some point.

Hide a tattoo with:

  • Clothing
  • Makeup
  • Placement choice
  • Bandages
  • Bangles, bracelets and watches

Why Would You Hide a Tattoo?

If the point of getting a tattoo is to leave a mark, why would you choose to hide it? Even though you’ve taken steps to get marked, that doesn’t mean you might not have reasons for keeping it to yourself:

  • Fear disapproval from family, friends or society
  • Needing it to be covered for work
  • Needing to keep it hidden on special occasions
  • Personal preference might lean towards privacy 
  • The tattoo in question may be rude and/or not PG

The Go-To Guide on How to Hide a Tattoo

If you concluded on hiding your tattoo before inking, then you have the opportunity to choose a discreet placement location. If you decided on it after the fact, a combination of clothing, jewelry and makeup choices could help you hide it when you need or want to.

Bracelets, Bangles, Watches

A small wrist or arm tattoo can be covered with jewelry. Unless you’re committing to being a fulltime bangle addict, realize that this may be a bit of a temporary option. 

For men, this may be a bit more difficult. You can still choose the bangle route; there’s no need to gender-stereotype here. For both sexes, a watch is also a classy cover-up option.


If the weather allows, wearing sleeves that cover your ink is an excellent option for discretion. 

Leg tattoos can be covered with thick, opaque tights. If you’re concerned that your tattoos may show through dark tights, try a patterned pair. The pattern may confuse the eye enough to distract from the tattoo pattern underneath. 


If the tattoo is on an appendage, you can fake a sports injury and wrap gauze or an ace bandage around the site. Even a large band-aid may give you enough coverage, depending on the size and location.


There are many places on your body for a tattoo that only those really close to you might discover. Consider an area covered by a bathing suit if you want to make sure your tattoo is hidden.

Think of it from multiple angles. Day-to-day and special occasion clothing differs. Consider seemingly silly queries, like do you want your tattoo showing on your wedding day? We often hear of people saying they’d wish they thought of that when choosing a location on the body.

If you’re opting for semi-visible tattoos, a discreet place to get ink is the inside of your arm or leg. The art is less visible there. 


Covering your tattoos with makeup is an option for those very hard-to-hide areas. The advantage is that if you’re skilled enough, you should be able to cover any traces. 

The downsides are that makeup application takes practice, it isn’t waterproof, and may cost a little more money. 

Here is the full-on advice about how to adequately cover your tattoos:

  1. Color-correct: Do this by applying a full coverage primer opposite on the color wheel to your tattoo color. Most tattoo ink has a blue-ish color tone, especially black and grey tattoo ink. To counter that color, use an opposite color correcting primer, like a red-orange
  2. Loose powder: Cover the primer with loose powder to set it in place and keep it from rubbing off
  3. Foundation: Apply a layer of foundation over this to brighten the color corrected areas. This layer won’t look good, but it merely acts as a bridge between the primer and the top layer of foundation 
  4. More powder: Cover the foundation layer with powder
  5. More foundation: Apply a final layer of foundation that matches your skin tone. A thicker foundation in this case
  6. Final powder layer: The final step is a last layer of powder to keep it all in place

If you don’t want to go into all of the color correction, you can use layers of foundation with powder, but the effect will be less believable. 

No Shame in Hiding or Having Tattoos 

If you’re considering hiding your tattoo for a job or to avoid disapproval, consider that many people experience this kind of pressure. Frequently, sharing your artwork meets with much less censor than you imagine.

If you’re not in that position, though, no worries. You can use clothing, jewelry, placement, and make-up to camouflage your body art. Your tattoos don’t have to be for anybody but you, so show them off or cover them up as you want.