How to Cover a Tattoo for Work: Tips You Should Know

The Fashionisto

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Updated January 2, 2024

Man in Suit with Neck TattooPin
Explore how to cover a tattoo for work. Photo: Shutterstock

Visible tattoos have become increasingly common, but some companies do not allow employees to show off their ink. If you decided to get a tattoo when it was a non-issue but are considering switching to a company where it is an issue, you must find out how to cover a tattoo for work.

Sometimes, whether or not you can have a visible tattoo will depend on your role within the company. For example, a school system might not want a teacher to have a visible skull tattoo on their arm because the teacher spends their days with students. However, the same school system might be okay with an overnight custodian having the same tattoo because the custodian isn’t directly interacting with students.

If you have questions about your employer’s policies, check with the HR department. While an employer cannot prevent you from having a tattoo, they can ask you to cover it up—there should be a clear written policy about what is and isn’t acceptable. If you are asked to cover up, here are some tips to remember.

How to Cover a Tattoo for Work

In a world where appearance and first impressions often matter, concealing tattoos may become an essential consideration for many.

Check the Length of Clothing

Man in Professional Business Look with Hand TattooPin
One of the easiest ways to conceal tattoos is by using your clothes. Photo: Shutterstock

Tattoos on the upper arm or torso are easy to cover with clothing. For tattoos on the upper arm, ensure that the sleeves of your shirts will cover up the tattoo. You can wear a blazer or jacket at work if your shirt sleeve doesn’t fully cover your tattoo.

If your tattoo is on your lower back, ensure your shirt doesn’t rise while sitting. Your pants and your shirt should fully conceal the tattoo. Pants can also cover up tattoos on your legs and ankles.

Cover with Makeup

If your tattoo is in a hard-to-conceal location, such as your fingers or wrist, you might need makeup to help cover it. While covering up a tattoo with makeup takes time and patience, sometimes it is the only way to hide it short of removing it.

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t cover new ink with makeup. This can cause an infection. If you’ve only recently gotten a tattoo, wait until your skin is fully healed before trying to conceal it with makeup.

Hiding Neck Tattoos

Man in Suit with Neck Tattoo CloseupPin
Neck tattoos can be covered with clothing or accessories. Photo: Shutterstock

If your tattoo is on your neck, you can try concealing it in a few different ways. In addition to makeup, you can try growing your hair to a length that can easily cover the tattoo. If your tattoo is on the back of your neck, longer hair can easily hide the tattoo while you’re at work.

Another way is to use a scarf. Silk scarves look fashionable and are lightweight enough to wear indoors. Try a turtleneck instead if you don’t want to wear a scarf.

Using Cover-up Sleeves

If you have a tattoo sleeve but don’t want to wear long sleeves all the time, you might want to invest in cover-up tattoo sleeves. Cover-up tattoo sleeves come in various colors (including most skin tones), are made of a lightweight fabric, and come without logos.

Most cover-up sleeves are made of nylon/spandex so that the sleeve will stay on even if you’re moving around. However, remember that cover-up sleeves might not look as professional as wearing a blazer or a cardigan.

Hiding Ankle Tattoos

Man with Tattoos Putting on SocksPin
Use socks to cover ankle tattoos. Photo: FP

Some ankle tattoos can easily be covered up with pants. However, if your pants ride up and your tattoo is exposed, you must find another way to keep it covered. Most people with ankle tattoos wear longer socks. While this prevents you from wearing sandals, it does cover your tattoo.

Another way is to wear footwear with high-top footwear. However, wearing sneakers in a professional setting might be frowned upon. Some dress shoes for men go past the ankle, while women might want to invest in a good pair of ankle boots.

Final thoughts

There is no reason you can’t express yourself with a tattoo while remaining professional. If you love tattoos, you can express yourself artistically with tattoo-inspired clothing. Many work environments are becoming more accepting of visible tattoos. However, if you have a policy, use the above tips to conceal your tattoos. And if you’re going on an interview and are unsure what the policy is, always cover your tattoos before the interview.


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