13 Celebrity Tattoos That Are Small But Stunning

celebrity tattoos
Credit: Instagram / @vanessahudgens

Celebrities with tattoos are somewhat ubiquitous. Some of their pieces, like the massive phoenix that consumes Ben Affleck’s back, give makeup artists in film and TV hours of extra coverup work. Others, like Post Malone and Miley Cyrus, have so many tattoos that it can be difficult to keep track of them all. But thanks to the tiny tattoo trend, many celebrity tattoos are far more discreet than that (or they would be, if they weren’t fixtures on Instagram). 

When it comes to tiny tattoos, there are a few artists and studios popular among the celebrity set: JonBoy, Doctor Woo, Daniel Winter, and Bang Bang Tattoo, for instance. And some of the most famous musicians, actors, and models in the world are their clientele. These folks come in regularly to add new pieces of small, but nonetheless stunning, ink to their collections, including the designs below (which are some of our favorites).

1. Selena Gomez

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hi Cannes…you’re very pretty

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It was the praying hands tattooed on her hip that marked Selena Gomez’s return to the stage after spending time away from the spotlight to take care of her physical and mental health. But, it’s this semicolon on her wrist—a matching piece that she got with several cast members from the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why—that is most directly representative of mental health since semicolon tattoos are widely considered a symbol of persisting in spite of mental illness.

2. Emilia Clarke

Game of Thrones may have come to an end in May 2019, but the Mother of Dragons (AKA Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons) lives on. Emilia Clarke, who played the notable character, marked the end of the GoT era by getting a tiny wrist tattoo of Daenerys’ three dragons by famous LA-based artist Dr. Woo.

3. Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato, who just yesterday made her own return to the stage after a nearly two year break, is another actress-singer known for marking her triumphs over addiction and mental health with tattoos. This one, the word “me” in a serif font and done by Daniel Winter (AKA Winter Stone) on her ring finger, is Lovato’s permanent and private reminder to love herself. Plus, it’s placed perfectly next to a slightly faded smiley face tattoo on the tip of her pinky.

4. Vanessa Hudgens

Microrealism is a common style for celebrity tattoos, and Vanessa Hudgens is clearly into the trend, too. Last week, she debuted a new underboob piece that became the subject of dozens of headlines in major media outlets. The little sunflower design was done by DRAGON, a resident artist at New York’s Bang Bang studio who specializes in single needle, microrealism design. It’s thanks to the thin, single needle the artist uses that he was able to fit so much detail into such a tiny tattoo (seriously, take a second to appreciate the ribbing on the leaves and the individual seed florets). 

5. Adwoa Aboah

Activist and model Adwoa Aboah founded GURLS TALK, an online mental health support network where girls and women can share their experiences in a “judgement free space,” in 2015. And Aboah lives—and wears—the organization’s mission. On her hands, just below the fine line phrase “all the women in me are tired” (a design JonBoy tattooed across her wrists) are the words “GURL POWER”.

6. Kylie Jenner

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grandmothers name in my grandfathers handwriting

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If, like me, you are endlessly fascinated by all things Kardashian (and Jenner) and have lost countless hours to Keeping Up with the Kardashians, then this tattoo likely needs no explanation. For the uninitiated though, the red ink design reads “Mary Jo.” Mary Jo, or MJ as she’s more affectionately known, is Kylie Jenner’s grandmother (Kris Jenner’s mother); a breast cancer survivor who is both tough-as-nails and gentle as a lamb. All her granddaughters look up to her, so it’s no surprise that Kylie chose to get her grandma’s name tattooed (the beauty mogul also named one of her lip kits after MJ).

7. Zoë Kravitz

Following in the footsteps of her famous parents Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, Zoë Kravitz is covered in tattoos. Her designs tend to be on the smaller side, and include this black and grey snake (with white ink detailing) on her forearm done by Doctor Woo, “Mississippi *@!!? *@!” on her upper arm (which represents the late-singer Nina Simone’s song “Mississippi Goddam”, released during the Civil Rights Movement), and some hand poked geometric wrist tattoos from New Mexico’s Talia Migliaccio

8. D’Arcy Carden

D’Arcy Carden is best known for her role as the omniscient personal assistant in NBC’s hit television series The Good Place, and she seems to be just as bubbly and fun IRL as she is on the show. During a visit to New York last year, she stopped by a private studio to get a tattoo from hand poke artist Rosa Perr (AKA Bluestone Babe). She opted for a tiny wrist tattoo of the cent symbol (“¢”), in honor of her dog, Penny.

9. Simone Biles

We stan an athlete who continues to push boundaries and claim victories thanks to her hard work and raw talent. After winning four gold medals at the 2016 Olympics, 22 year old Simone Biles decided to partake in the (unofficial) tradition among Olympic athletes of getting the games’ five ring logo tattooed. Done at Body Electric Tattoo in LA, this was also the gymnast’s first tattoo, which is pretty damn badass in our opinion. It shows her pride for her record-breaking career; pride that’s rightfully deserved.

10. Justin Bieber

Some of us have been around long enough to watch the evolution of late 2000s baby-faced, preteen Justin Bieber to the rough-around-the-edges and very tattooed married man he is today. Tattoos are a passion that Biebs shares with his wife Hailey (who also has a bunch of tiny tattoos) but he’s the only one in the relationship with face ink. This face tattoo was controversial—some fans of the musician weren’t, in fact, fans of his new text piece from JonBoy, which says “grace” in a fineline, cursive font—but for the religious singer, it’s meant to represent his growth.

11. Lucy Hale (and her Pretty Little Liars cast mates)

If you’re a fan of Pretty Little Liars, you know that in the show, secret-keeping is key—it’s the glue that holds friendships together and keeps people safe. That’s why, to commemorate their time working on the series, Lucy Hale and her cast mates Janel Parrish, Sasha Pieterse, Shay Mitchell, Troian Bellisario, and Ashley Benson got the first initial of their characters’ names tattooed on the inside of their “shhh” fingers. The group took a trip to Los Angeles’ famous Shamrock Social Club, operated by father of single needle tattooing Mark Mahoney, to get their tiny matching tattoos. 

12. Miley Cyrus

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Neck tattoos are trending among celebrities (Selena Gomez recently got one, too) and regular folks alike. Jumping on the bandwagon, Miley Cyrus, who is no stranger to tattoos (she has so many that you could almost argue that she’s the poster child for celebrity tattoos) got her birth year, ’92, tattooed in a gothic-inspired font on the side of her neck back in October. 

13. Cara Delevingne

Now speckled with tattoos, model and actress Cara Delevingne’s first piece was this micro-realism lion on her knuckle. Like many other models and celebrities, Delevingne went to New York’s Bang Bang Tattoo (a studio is frequented by other people on this list, including Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens) for her the first-time experience. 

Liked our gallery of 11 Tiny Celebrity Tattoos? Be sure to check out our guide to all of Post Malone’s tattoos (he has 65+ pieces).

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