by Tori Jones
Heart Tattoo

Hello ink enthusiasts and lovers of the eternal etch! This is Tori!

Today, we’re going to delve into the depths of the emotionally charged and universally recognized symbol: the broken heart tattoo. You see it in pop culture, adorning the biceps of gritty rockstars, the delicate wrists of indie poets, and even in the unconventional nooks of your suburban banker who just went through a divorce. But what does this ubiquitous symbol truly signify, and how has its meaning and aesthetics evolved over time?

In this blog post, we’ll dissect the inked anatomy of the broken heart. We’ll trace its jagged lines back to its roots, traversing ancient civilizations, and navigating the tumultuous seas of symbolism. We’ll also explore how it has been shaped by cultural and artistic influences from across the ages and around the globe. Spoiler alert: it’s more than just an emblem of love gone awry.

Broken Heart Tattoo
@kirabishoppp Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

Expect to embark on a journey that spans from the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt to the graffiti-ridden backstreets of modern cities, where we’ll unearth the rich history of this emblem of human emotion. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll understand why the broken heart isn’t merely a tattoo, but a piece of living art that encapsulates the raw and beautiful complexity of our human experience.

So, grab your metaphorical quill, dive into this living manuscript of inked tales, and let’s plunge into the world of broken heart tattoos. It’s not all tears and tissues, promise. Let’s shatter some misconceptions and maybe, just maybe, heal a few hearts along the way. The ink is permanent, but the heartache? That, my friends, is a story for another day… or perhaps, another tattoo.

Broken Heart Tattoo

Broken heart tattoos represent far more than mere badges of love’s casualties. They’re symbols of resilience and self-care, personal mementos of love and loss, trust and treachery. And there’s a certain strength that radiates from such honesty and vulnerability. Instead of surrendering to the impulsive desire of inking the name of a fleeting passion, many opt for a more profound representation of their emotional journey—a broken heart.

Broken Heart Tattoo
@conniegabbert Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

Because, at the end of the day, it isn’t about the loss—it’s about what comes after. It’s about the healing, the growth, and the courage to fall in love again, with others and, most importantly, with oneself. As we navigate the journey of life, collecting scars along the way, these tattoos serve as gentle reminders: we may have been broken, but here we are, still whole, still here, and stronger than ever.

Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve… or Anywhere Else!

Broken Heart Tattoo
@kleinwortattoo Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

You’ve heard it a thousand times: “Tattoos should mean something.” And boy, do these heartbreaking masterpieces fit the bill. A broken heart design ain’t just a casual trip to the parlor; it’s a personal, intimate exploration of who you are.

Whether you’re shaking off the chains of a nasty break-up or honoring a loved one you’ve lost, a broken heart tattoo carries your story. It’s your battle scar, a testament to your strength and endurance, wearing your trials and tribulations like a badge of honor on your skin.

Styles for Miles: Broken Heart Tattoo Designs

Now that we’ve covered the ‘why,’ let’s delve into the ‘what.’ You’re thinking, “A broken heart, eh? Must be a lot of red ink.” And you’re not wrong. But this design isn’t confined to just your classic bleeding heart. There’s a world of styles out there just begging to be etched onto your canvas.

Traditional Heart Tattoo

Traditional Heart Tattoo
@paleneptune Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

Ah, Old School! We can’t stray too far from our roots, can we? With bold outlines, a generous helping of red and a bit of black shading for dramatic effect, this style is a classic way to rock the broken heart. And hey, why not add a banner? Give that pain a name!

Geometric heart tattoo

Geometric heart tattoo
@jbeeink Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

If you’re a fan of lines and angles, the geometric approach is for you. Picture a heart broken into shards, each piece a different pattern or shade. It’s a metaphor for the multifaceted nature of emotions and healing.

Realistic Heart Tattoo

Realistic Heart Tattoo
@anjaassasin11 Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

For you detail-oriented folks out there, a hyper-realistic broken heart is an option that packs a punch. It’s your heart ripped open, blood, veins and all – a visceral reflection of your inner turmoil. Not for the faint-hearted, but hey, who said heartbreak was pretty?

Abstract heart tattoo

Abstract heart tattoo
@bo_mademoiselle Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

Now, if you’re a Picasso fan or a lover of the avant-garde, an abstract broken heart tattoo will catch your eye. The image is shattered and scattered like a cubist painting, giving a raw, fragmented feel that captures the chaos of emotional pain.


Abstract heart tattoo
@vojtaforejt Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

So, if you’re pondering the idea of wearing your heart, albeit a fractured one, on your sleeve (or your ankle, or nape, or anywhere you fancy), remember to put some thought into its placement. It’s not just about the aesthetics; your tattoo’s position could speak volumes about its significance. A discreet broken heart on the wrist might whisper of private resilience, while a bold one on the forearm can shout your triumph over heartbreak to the world.

Realistic Heart Tattoo
@moco_tattoo Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

Prices can vary based on the complexity of the design and the reputation of the studio, but a ballpark figure for a standard broken heart tattoo might be in the range of $50 to $200. However, it’s not a decision to be driven by cost alone; after all, this piece of personal art will be with you for a lifetime.

Broken Heart Tattoo
@nataliamarintattoos Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

Yet, it’s not all love songs and roses. Just like any other tattoo, a broken heart design carries the risk of potential skin irritations or allergies to the ink. Be sure to consult a professional who maintains strict hygiene standards, and don’t skimp on the aftercare – that newly inked skin needs all the TLC it can get!

Broken Heart Tattoo
@fresh_flower__ Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

And there you have it. Your broken heart tattoo – a deeply personal emblem of strength and healing – is not just a testament of past love, but a promise of growth and resilience. It’s a beautifully poignant way to turn your skin into a canvas, your experiences into art. So, if you choose to go down this path, remember this: each stroke of ink is not just a tribute to a love lost, but an homage to the love that remains – the love for oneself. Keep that at the forefront of your journey, and no heartbreak can hold you down.

What Are Some Other Styles Of A Broken Heart Tattoo

  1. Traditional American: Bold lines, vibrant colors, and iconic symbolism are the hallmarks of this style. Broken heart tattoos in this genre might feature a striking red heart cleaved in two, wrapped in a banner inscribed with a poignant message.
  2. Realism: For those who love lifelike art, the realism style is a perfect match. A 3D broken heart can be astonishingly detailed, resembling a flesh-and-blood organ torn apart, or a realistic-looking heart-shaped locket split down the middle.
  3. Abstract: This style breaks away from conventional heart imagery and uses geometric shapes, splashy watercolors, or even distortion effects to portray a heartbreak. Each tattoo is a unique interpretation, filled with personal symbolism.
  4. Tribal: Rooted in ancient cultures, tribal style broken heart tattoos incorporate bold black lines, patterns, and symbolic elements from indigenous cultures.
  5. Japanese: In the Japanese style, a broken heart might be intertwined with elements like sakura (cherry blossoms) signifying the fleeting nature of life and love, or kintsugi (golden repair) depicting brokenness and healing.
  6. Minimalist: The essence of this style is simplicity. A minimalist broken heart tattoo might be a simple, thin-line drawing or a small, monochrome design placed discreetly on the body.
  7. Neo-traditional: Combining elements of traditional and modern tattoo styles, the Neo-traditional approach to broken hearts often incorporates a broader color palette, illustrative techniques, and more complex scenes.
  8. Blackwork/Dotwork: These styles rely heavily on the use of black ink and intricate patterns or shading. A broken heart design might be shaded with pointillistic dots or filled with black, creating a strong, bold visual.
  9. Surrealism: This style plays with reality, bending and twisting it to create fantastical designs. A broken heart could be depicted floating in space, turning into butterflies, or slowly disintegrating, just to name a few ideas.

Remember, the artistry of tattoos lies in their ability to tell a story that is as unique as the person wearing them. A broken heart design can be tailored to reflect your personal experience of love, loss, healing, or resilience. As we journey through these styles, remember that the perfect design for you is one that resonates with your own story. And that, my friends, is the beauty of the ink we wear.

Where Should You Get Your Broken Heart Tattoo?

a broken heart tattoo can carry significant meaning. Some wearers choose their placement based on personal preference, aesthetics, or even pain tolerance, but others opt for specific locations because of the symbolism attached. Let’s explore a few common placements:

  1. Chest: Close to the actual heart, a broken heart tattoo on the chest can signify deep, personal emotions and heartbreak. This placement is often chosen by people who wish to keep their ink and its meaning close to their own heart.
  2. Wrist: Tattoos on the wrist are typically in a place of visibility. A broken heart tattoo here can denote an open expression of pain, loss, or heartache, and can serve as a constant reminder of personal resilience.
  3. Finger: Given their small size, finger tattoos can be discreet yet significant. A broken heart symbol here can denote a private struggle or memory that the wearer keeps to themselves or shares with only a select few.
  4. Shoulder or Back: Often concealed, a broken heart tattoo here may denote a past heartbreak that the wearer has moved on from, but acknowledges as part of their history. It’s like a silent acknowledgment of a battle fought and survived.
  5. Behind the Ear: This is a subtle, intimate location. A tattoo here could represent personal heartbreak that the wearer doesn’t necessarily want to display openly, but acknowledges in a discreet way.
  6. Ankle or Foot: In some cultures, the downward direction towards the feet represents letting go or moving on. A broken heart tattoo in this area could symbolize the wearer’s journey towards healing and moving forward from a painful past.

Remember, the placement of your tattoo is a deeply personal choice. While these interpretations can guide you, the most important thing is that the placement resonates with your own experiences, comfort, and aesthetic preference. There’s no right or wrong here, only what feels right for you in your personal journey of self-expression. After all, each tattoo is a chapter in the book of you, written in ink on the pages of your skin.


As we journey back from our in-depth exploration of the broken heart tattoo, we come bearing lessons etched in ink and steeped in symbolism. Just like the vibrant canvases that our bodies become through the art of tattooing, our understanding of this potent symbol is now a little more colorful, a little deeper.

When deciding where to place this heartfelt emblem, remember that location matters – not just aesthetically, but symbolically. Whether you want to wear your heartbreak on your sleeve or tuck it behind an ear, consider what each placement communicates to the world and, importantly, to you.

As for cost, a tattoo’s price can vary widely based on factors like size, complexity, color, and even the reputation of your chosen tattoo artist. Generally, a small, simple broken heart tattoo could cost anywhere from $50 to $100, while larger, more detailed designs can run into hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Remember, you’re investing not only in an image but in a story that will be part of you forever. Never compromise on hygiene, safety, and quality of work for a lower price.

Speaking of safety, it’s important to understand the potential risks associated with getting a tattoo. These include allergic reactions, skin infections, or even diseases if the equipment isn’t properly sterilized. It’s crucial to choose a reputable tattoo parlor and follow all aftercare instructions diligently.

And finally, let’s not forget the emotional implications. Tattoos, especially those symbolizing heartbreak, can be cathartic, but they’re also permanent reminders of a specific time, emotion, or event. It’s a decision that merits thoughtful consideration, especially when dealing with emotions as powerful as heartbreak.

As we part ways, remember this: the true beauty of a tattoo lies in its ability to narrate your unique story. Let your broken heart tattoo be a testament to your strength, resilience, and your journey towards healing. Because, as we all know, even the most shattered hearts can piece themselves back together, often emerging stronger, braver, and more beautiful than ever before. Here’s to telling those stories, one tattoo at a time.

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