Happy Sad Face Tattoo

The happy sad face tattoo is one of the most well-known designs that come to mind with various interpretations that go beyond happy and sad, comedy and tragedy meaning. This symbol dates back the Greek mythology and has been the main representation of the creative arts for decades. 

This post will dig deeper into what the happy and sad face tattoo means. So, without further ado, let’s get started?

What does the happy sad face tattoo suggest?

What Does happy Sad Face Symbolize

The tattoo of the happy and sad face symbol two faces or two masks with expressions that symbolize different or opposing emotions. That tattoo design is constantly linked with gangs and is known as a gang tattoo.

Even though it may be true, the tattoo design can also symbolize more. For example, the “laugh now, cry later “tattoo is also known as the “happy and sad face” tattoo.

The term was popularized by rapper Ice Cube. Nonetheless, the design is somewhat older than the artist. People also called it the following names:

  • comedy and tragedy masks
  • a drama mask
  • Sock and Buskin
  • theater masks (they were often depicted in old theaters)

These designs may be old. In fact, the sad or tragic face might be the muse of Melpomene, and the happy one might symbolize the muse of Thalia from ancient Greek mythology.

The happy and sad tattoo might also symbolize good and bad associations. However, they have different significance and interpretations.

For instance, somebody may pick one of these tattoo designs to symbolize mental illness, while somebody else might use the tattoo to symbolize their theatrical experience. So you simply never know until you ask.

Is a happy and sad face tattoo a negative symbol?

The happy and sad face tattoo meaning the good and bad in a person. Everyone makes mistakes, and nobody is perfect.

We frequently pick the wrong path, and situations may happen that impact us for the rest of our lives. Also, many individuals do not like to be reminded of the bad times, but it takes learning from such mistakes to grow as an individual.

This tattoo design can be a good reminder of the challenges we have overcome in our lives, among many other things. Meanwhile, it may also symbolize a positive or good situation.

History of happy and sad faces symbol 

If you go back to Ancient Greece, it’s considered that happy and sad masks were utilized in early plays to demonstrate the emotions the characters were feeling.

It was a lot simpler for the audience, who was sitting far away from the stage, to see the masks and the emotions the actors were portraying.

At that period, women weren’t permitted to act in any plays. Thus, the man can wear such masks, particularly if they need to play the female part. Moreover, people believe such masks were only designed or symbols made by early thespians.

However, it started as a substantial mask that was worn. It’s considered a costume piece and made itself more present until it became popular and a worldwide symbol.  

Historically, there are two names for every mask. For example, the name Thalia symbolizes the comedy or happy mask, and Melpomene represents the tragedy or sad mask.

People also relate the faces to Dionysus—the Greek God of wine. The mask symbolizes the happy and sad emotions that drinking wine could bring.

They also have been associated with the Greek God Janus, which is south as the 2-faced God of beginnings. It’s believed that Janus lent the name to the masks.

How can you take care of your happy and sad face tattoo?

If you plan to get a happy sad face tattoo, you should learn how to care for it. These tattoo designs can be meaningful and beautiful pieces of art that last a lifetime. However, they also need some care to stay looking their best.

Here are some tips you may want to consider after you get a happy-sad face tattoo:

  • Defend it from the sun 

Do not go out in the sun or to a tanning salon for 24 hours after getting your new happy sad face tattoo. That can result in blistering and sunburn. In addition, the sun will fade out its colors, causing fading of skin tones.

It can also cause stain from UV damage. It will help if you wrap it with clothing.

  • Wash your tattoo with water and soap 

Wash your new happy sad face tattoo with a mild soap, free of fragrance and alcohol. Wash it thoroughly to prevent irritation or infection, then dry it with a clean towel.

After washing, you can apply an antibiotic ointment twice a day for the first week after getting the new tattoo.

  • Keep the area dry and clean. 

Apply an antibiotic ointment two times a day. You can also use petroleum jelly to lessen the discomfort caused by healing the skin. Further, coconut oil has antimicrobial properties and other benefits, such as nourishing damaged tissues and cells.

  • Take cool showers

Did you know that taking cool showers can help lessen the itching and redness that often happens when a new tattoo is healing?

It also helps with scabbing, peeling skin, and blistering. Also, the cool water will keep the pores open.

Thus, if you are suffering from any of such symptoms, it will offer more relief than having a hot shower.


Many versions of the happy sad face tattoo have been made throughout the years, but they all portray the same basic feelings of happiness and sadness. Indeed, there are numerous modern takes on these designs but nothing totally out of the ordinary.

Whether related to ancient Greek times or general statements in the arts, it is associated back to the theater.

Again, the happy sad face tattoo can be a remembrance of a person’s challenges that they have overcome in their lives. Also, it may symbolize a positive or good experience. You may be interested to know more about 777 tattoo meaning.

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