18 Delicate Ear Tattoos That Are Better Than Jewelry

If you're debating whether or not to get an ear tattoo, take this as a sign. While many people have recently opted for finger tattoos (à la stars like Hailey Bieber and Ariana Grande) and others have gravitated toward back-of-the-neck tattoos, behind-the-ear tattoos are growing in popularity. They're easy to hide if needed (for work, important meetings, or just because) and fun to show off when wearing an updo hairstyle.

With that said, there are a number of ear tattoo ideas to choose from, like nature-inspired motifs with celestial stars and suns to more modern designs featuring graphic shapes or dots. One of our personal favorites are ear flower tattoos, both in traditional black ink and color, because of how great they look with the natural shape of the upper ear.

If the only thing holding you back is wondering, "Do behind-the-ear tattoos hurt?" we have some unfortunate news. This area of the body is known to be particularly sensitive when it comes to tattooing because the skin is very thin and the skull is close to the surface. However, considering that designs in this location are typically on the smaller side, it'll be over before you know it. If this is your first tattoo or you're a bit skeptical about making a permanent alteration to your body, you can consider getting an ephemeral tattoo. This "made-to-fade" ink lasts for about a year and gradually fades until it's no longer visible, leaving your skin good as new.

If you need some inspiration for your upcoming design or you can't make up your mind on the exact placement (like an inner-ear tattoo versus one on the lobe), we rounded up some of the best behind-the-ear tattoo designs for you to browse. We've even got a couple inner-ear tattoos for you to check out.

Flower Bouquet Behind-the-Ear Tattoo

A bouquet of flowers fits perfectly behind the ear. You can choose to include the flower of your birth month (or the birth months of loved ones) for a personal touch.

Third Eye Inner-Ear Tattoo

Open your third eye with this ear tattoo adorned with small dots in a symmetrical pattern. For a more realistic look, you can add some color to the eye.

Airplane Inner-Ear Tattoo

Bring your love of travel to your ear with this minimalist plane tattoo. This small ear tattoo is so delicate, many people won't even notice it.

Leaves Ear Tattoo

Show off your love of nature with this intricate leaf design that rests behind the ear and in front of it.

Planets Ear Tattoo

If you're an astrology buff, opt for an ear tattoo of Saturn and tiny stars. This design extends to cover almost the entire ear for an artsy look.

Heart Inner-Ear Tattoo

This small heart is a great choice for a matching friendship tattoo. The delicate lines complement the jewelry in the ear.

Butterfly Behind-the-Ear Tattoo

Opt for a butterfly (or three) behind-the-ear tattoo if you want a physical reminder of a time of transformation, hope, or rebirth in your life. You can leave it as an outline or fill it in with color.

Behind-the-Ear Flower Tattoo

This behind-the-ear flower tattoo is an example of a colorful take on the trend. Whether it's a flower that has special meaning or just an image you love, the placement is perfect.

Rainbow Inner-Ear Tattoo

This rainbow tattoo is a colorful option to let your personality shine through. The sharp, crisp lines give it a clean finish on the outermost portion of the ear.

Hearts Ear Tattoo

Opt for traditional red hearts in a sporadic pattern for a unique ear tattoo that no one else has.

Celestial Designs Inner-Ear Tattoo

This tattoo features the moon, stars, and illustrations reminiscent of constellations. It's perfect for astrology lovers.

Flowers Ear Tattoo

Ear flower tattoos are a classic choice, as the flower's petals fit perfectly in the space. Whether you choose solid black ink or a more vibrant color like pink, purple, or blue, you'll love this tattoo.

Moon and Stars Behind-the-Ear Tattoo

A delicate, fine-line moon design with stars looks great behind the ear. You can fill it in or leave it hollow to make it a bit more discrete.

Dots Ear Tattoo

Dots are never going out of style, and this descending pattern is a simple yet chic option for an ear tattoo. You can opt for traditional black dots or try a different color (or a few) to change it up.

Geometric Pattern Ear Tattoo

Ear tattoos can be as finely detailed or as off-the-cuff as you want. This geometric pattern stands out, especially when your hair is pulled back.

Angel Wings Ear Tattoo

Honor a loved one with this angel wings ear tattoo, similar in style to one you'd see in the rock genre. You can add a heart or some dots to it to dress it up or simply leave it as is.

Wolf Ear Tattoo

Sci-fi lovers can rejoice with this minimalist tattoo of a wolf on the outer portion of the ear. With fine-line details, it looks like a sketch that you'd find in a movie.

Snake Ear Tattoo

This tattoo covers a large area of the ear with its multi-dimensional design. Whether you like snakes or simply want to try something different, this ear tattoo will make a statement.