Razor Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Razor Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Razor blades are both useful and sinister, all in one instantly recognizable package. They have a rich history and their use is so common around the world, that it’s no surprise that Razor tattoos are not only out there but really quite powerful stuff!

In this article, our intent is to tell you a little more about this phenomenon, like the history, common meanings, and even some popular presentation options when it comes to Razor tattoos. These beauties really get their point across, so get comfortable and read on,  because we’re about to tell you all about the ‘why’ of it!


What is the History of Razor Tattoos?

To get an idea of how long Razor tattoos have been around, one needs only to look at the actual history of razors. It’s a difficult task, as we’ve found items from as far back as 18,000 years – mostly shells that clamped and plucked or even shark’s teeth for a little closer trim.

As early as 4000 B.C. Siberians already had early razors and by 3000 B.C. until 332 B.C. the Egyptians were innovating the design, so that gold and copper razors even became a popular funerary item to ensure a smooth-shave in the afterlife.

By the 6th century B.C., Rome too had learned the value of a good razor, though it wouldn’t be a customary practice until the 5th century B.C., and once Rome got ahold of it then the razor’s popularity was set and by 1901, the disposable varieties finally starting coming into play.

As tattoo subjects, however, razors were easily adaptable to a number of meanings and while you might see a disposable razor tattoo, more likely than not you’ll spot a straight razor or even the iconic disposable blade. After all, while they revolutionized shaving, no one’s forgotten that razors are basically just the sharpest blades around.  


What Do Razor Tattoos Symbolize?

Razors can be symbols of pain or they can symbolize a sharp focus or even a very controlled sort of fury that the owner possesses.

They are also sometimes symbolic of sadness, as many have met their end at the kiss of a razor that they’d given to themselves.

Not all meanings are so negative, of course, as Razor tattoos have also been made where a razor was symbolically ‘shaving-away’ a negative aspect of the owner’s life. As with any symbolism, an important part of the process is deciding what to place with it, what it’s doing, whether or not it’s colorized – you know, the all-important context of it.

Ultimately, razors are what they do – they cut things and not just that, but they cut things precisely. As with any tool, their symbolism is going to be reflected by both their nature and use, but with a little thought this opens up a lot of avenues for expression in the form of your own Razor tattoos.


What Do Razor Tattoos Mean?

The meaning is up to you but some examples here might help a bit to get you inspired and to give you a little idea of the range of expression available with Razor tattoos. The popular metal band ‘Judas Priest’ has a bit of artwork that has made it’s way into fans tattoos, called ‘British Steel’.

In the depiction, an antique disposable razor blade is presented as symbol of innovation and of violent power, and it’s noteworthy that in the 18th and 19th century England was making steel razor blades with hollow handles – so this particular art piece also hearkens to the country’s cleverness in a patriotic fashion.

Razor tattoos are often darker, though, as the disposable blades are sometimes tattooed at wrists or other vulnerable areas, sometimes by the owner to remember how close they came to tragedy, or to show defiance in the face of death.

The most common meaning of Razor tattoos, however, is the owner’s cunning and fierceness. They aren’t just sharp, but ‘razor sharp’, and the only thing more frightening than a blade is one that you cannot even touch with the safely!


Where Do Razor Tattoos Usually Go?

Razor tattoos usually go where you can see them. While this is not a rule that is set in stone, the most common places that Razor tattoos will go are on the outer arm or even the wrists. Razors that are hidden or intimately placed, however, also have a lot of weight to their message.

They say that the owner has a hidden side and you definitely don’t want to see it – as they are quite capable of excising you efficiently from their life, just as the razor quickly removes unwanted hair but only in the places that you focus it.


Characteristics and Styles of Razor Tattoos

While Razor tattoos in black and white are certainly out there, this is not the norm. The metallic color helps to bring the art to life, after all, and getting it perfect also increases the aesthetic value that comes with the owner’s intent and actual message.

They don’t have to be photorealistic, though, and many like the New School tattooing style so that they may portray a razor almost comically – which delivers the same message of ferocity, but also indicates a sense of humor about it. The potential ‘threat message’ behind such tattoos is still there, but it’s a warmer way to deliver it.

Japanese tattoos styles often incorporate razor imagery and a straight razor is a popular motif – but always beautiful colored, so that the inferred violence also has an undeniable beauty to it. Be sure to check lots of styles once you’ve settled on your design – you really have more options than you might think.

It’s worth it, too, as these can take a rather ‘Spartan’ idea and elevate it into so much more. It only takes a few minutes to review a few examples of tattooing styles that are available, so be sure to at least take that long to know all of your options!


Some final words on Razor tattoos

Razors are swift, sharp, and deadly – and sometimes even quite beautiful. With Razor tattoos, you can show your pain or your prowess with a message that is simple, elegant, and direct. Just be sure to spend a little time finalizing your design until it feels right. Skin art is forever, after all, and It’s worth the time.

Whatever you finally decide on, rest assured that Razor tattoos are sure to get the point across!

Leave a Reply