small, heavily detailed tattoos, don't look good for long because the colors bleed and it becomes a blob. I have a friend who got a small celtic cross, like this link and the circle filled in after a few years, so now the tattoo looks like a blob with stick coming out of the bottom, and it's on her hand, which is a real bummer.
i have two small tattoos, I chose to use colors that aren't particularly bright and the tattoos aren't really detailed. my artist told me that the tattoos are such that instead of it looking sloppy in a few years, the colors will just fade and eventually (in like 40+ years) the tattoo will be nearly invisible. and that's ok with me, just so long as it doesn't look like some weird birthmark when I'm 35.
i also agree with weapon zero, be very conscious of how visible it is, because some people are prejudice against people tattoos. also, tattoos do warp irreversibly with weight change, so don't have one done on a fleshy part of your body or on an area prone to weight gain. that's why my tattoos are on my shoulder blade and rib cage.
most tattoo artists are very proud of their work and will not do a job that they don't believe will stay looking good over time. they will also be more than happy to discuss tattoos and how they look in the long run.
I can tell you don't get a tattoo on your stomach or the area above your vagina because when you get pregnant the tattoo will deform and never go back to looking like it did before, even after the pregnancy weight comes off.
Don't get a tattoo in a place that is visible if you're dressed professionally or for business either because a visible tattoo CAN cost you a job interview.
Tats are naturally going to fade over time. I have multiple tats that are visibile. I think the main thing is find an artist that you can trust. When you find this artist tip him or her well. There are three people you need to know if life...a mechanic you can trust. a contractor you can trust and a tattoo artist you can trust.
tattoos will change through time, but if you take care of them then they can be looking like new for years. Also people are right about tattoo's and the work place. Most people won't hire you because of visible tattoos.
Use A&D ointment or vitamin E lotion when healing.
Never scrub a fresh tattoo in the shower.
Sunlight can make tattoo's fade.
A touch up every few years will keep it looking new for ages.
Don't ask us and get a bunch of silly answers. Google it and you will get advice from a professional who actually knows what they are talking about. I do know for a fact that as you age and the skin stretches the tats get to looking like sh*t.
I got my tattoo over a year ago and it still looks great. But I know the place I went to does a great job. And I definitely don't regret my tattoo! But I agree with WeaponZero. Don't get it in a place where it can't easily be covered. Mine is on the back of my right shoulder so in a professional environment, no one has to ever even know I have it. Also, think long and hard about what you want. At 18 I decided I wanted one...never got one til I was almost 21. It took me almost 3 years to decide for sure what exactly I wanted. And I'm glad I waited because I LOVE my tattoo and am super satisfied with it :)
If they are done by an expert (which is rarer to find than you may think), they can last just as long as a person's life. If the right inks and mix is used then there is NO fading. This only happens when amateurs use the wrong inks or mix them wrong. This is where the notion of tattoos not lasting comes from. There are so many tattoo parlors around now and a lot of the artists may be excellent and talented as artists but not really very skilled or knowledgeable about inks, needles and other aspects of tattooing. There is a high art and high science to doing it right.
When ever I hear this question I mention my friend Alice. She is 86 years old and got several large tattoos and some small ones starting about 60 years ago and a few since then. She got all of them from a true pro who was trained for many years by a master. All of her tattoos are still perfect with no fading or color bleeding. Even the black colors are crisp and sharp.
My advice is to really shop around and do some serious research. Don't just settle for friend's recommendations either. Go deep and find out how the artists were trained and such. It is worth it to find a true pro and not just a popular well known inker. It will be the difference between a 3 year tattoo and a tattoo for life.
You know what? I'm a tattoo artist and I think you should really get your artists' opinion.
Where are you getting it? What are you getting?
Will it effect your job?
Lots of things you should ask yourself before you decide to go off and do these things. If your artist is good, you won't have to worry about it looking like crap, but most of the work after the tattoo is done is all your deal, sunlight damage, lotion, when its healing don't do certain things.
Touch ups aid to your tattoo staying beautiful so...really, all just depends. =)
as long as you take care of a tattoo, it shouldnt look like "crap" for a LONG time. my boss has tattoos from 20 years ago and they still look good as new. bright colors too with no touch-ups. plus, as long as you don't get some nasty black blotch of a tattoo, it usually won't fade into eachother. some colors over time of over worked or just plain done wrong will blend. always shop around and look at portfolios before getting ink. and NEVER get a tat from someone who works out of their house. BAD IDEA! if the wrong person tattoos you, you could end up f***ed for life.