It would appear that all of TikTok is learning what a “twist tattoo is” at the same time — and users are having mixed reactions to the knowledge.
A twist tattoo is what it sounds like — it occurs when part (or in some cases, all) of a tattoo is still visible when the inked body part is twisted or rotated. For instance, many TikTokers have shown off their twist tattoos that appear on their forearm.
Although the tattoo was designed for the inner forearm, when the individual rotates their arm, the tattoo is still visible. Beauty influencer Kenzi Carter (@_lilheat) recently showed off her own twist tattoo, which she claims to “love.”
In some cases of twist tattoos, the tattoo itself appears to “twist,” while in others, turning the arm transforms the tattoo into something else, like an unintended phrase or even image.
“I have a dragon, he likes to move his tail,” noted @grownupgambino on Carter’s TikTok.
What causes a twist tattoo?
Custom Tattoo Design explains that a twisted tattoo on the forearm is most common with either a larger tattoo, a small forearm surface or a combination of both. The design experts explain that large tattoos on the larger side of the forearm will have to wrap around the rounded surface of the forearm.
“It may look a little warped or, at the very least, be difficult to see or photograph the entire tattoo from one angle,” the site cautions. “If you want to get a larger forearm tattoo, you’ll just have to get used to turning your arm when you show it to people.”
The placement of the tattoo in proximity to the forearm also matters. For instance, if the tattoo is placed too close to the outer forearm, some of the tattoos could show when the arm is face down, as exemplified by LSU gymnast and influencer Savannah Schoenherr (@sav.fs).
Some TikTokers also claim that a twist tattoo can actually be a sign of a tattoo done poorly. For instance, underneath Carter’s video, one commenter claimed that twist tattoos shouldn’t happen with the right tattoo artist.
“You’re supposed to line it with the elbow,” wrote @mamasgonnabelate. “Mine doesn’t twist thank god for my artist!”
“this would upset me,” wrote @.keeed0lll.
Another commenter on Carter’s TikTok noted that twist tattoos should never be a surprise, and a good tattoo artist should always explain exactly what the tattoo will look like when placed on a body part like a forearm, where it could change appearance with movement.
“My tattoo artists always warn me forearm tattoos are gonna twist with my arm and we test it with stencils. Thought that was standard practice tbh,” said @rerapops.
Sharing twist tattoo examples
In the TikTok trend, it appears that there are two camps of people: Those who are fully aware that tattoos can twist (and some that even purposefully choose a twisting design) and others who had no idea, finding out only after getting a tattoo in a place that can twist.
For instance, teacher @allhaleemily shared a TikTok about how she had just learned what a twist tattoo was, showing her own twisting arm tattoo as an emphasized example.
In her comment section, some users confessed that they weren’t exactly pleased when they found out what their own twist tattoos turned out to display.
“I have the word ‘simplicity’ tattooed on my wrist & sometimes at the right angle it looks like ‘simp city,’” said @m.4378.
“I have a huge sunflower from my arm crease to about 4 inches down and then rainbow lines over some scars and this is a curse for me,” admitted @skye.flye01.
Others have simply embraced all the nuances that a twist tattoo can bring and appreciate that the twist allows them varied options for visuals — both in showing off the tattoo or by keeping the ink more private.
“It’s dope, though. I purposefully chose to only let half my tattoo show. It’s just for me, and for me to decide to share or not if someone asks,” added @wennermarkk.
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