You’re getting your very first tattoo. It’s an exciting time! But before you get too excited, it’s important to remember that getting a tattoo involves more than putting pigment in your skin. So before you get inked, make sure you’re prepping properly.
Here are five tips to keep you from a bad ink experience.
It’s easy to see a tattoo on Instagram and want to go to that artist right away. It’s also a bad idea to book with an artist based on a single design. Picking your artist should never be an impulsive decision. Instead, do your research! Follow a few artists whose work you’ve seen and liked. Even better, follow some artists in your area. Get a feel for their style, how their tattoos heal, and what kind of work they do most often. Pro tip: don’t go to an artist who specializes in one style and ask them to tattoo you in a completely different style. Unless you’ve already built a relationship with that artist and know they want to branch out, it likely won’t go over well. They may not even agree to tattoo you.
Visit the Shop In Person
Booking an appointment based on an artist’s work is great, but make sure you visit the shop they work at first. You’ll usually get to do this for your consultation, so take note! You should be looking for a clean, dry, and organized shop environment. If it feels damp or smells odd (unless it smells like cleaning products), there’s a chance there could be some sanitary issues. It only takes 48 hours for mold to set in, so be careful. Above all else, look for bags. A reputable tattoo shop will have all of their needles in unopened, sterilized packaging and their machines will be covered in bags. The more things you see encased in plastic bags, the better.
Listen to Your Artist
It’s important to listen to your artist and communicate when you need a break. If you find the pain is too much in a certain area, it’s okay to ask your artist to take a break. Other than that, it’s important to sit still and follow any instructions your artist provides. For example, they may need you to sit in a certain position to finish a portion of your tattoo. Tattoos hurt. There’s no way around that. Your best bet is to work with your tattoo artist to find a placement that’s a little less sensitive. In addition, make sure you follow your artist’s aftercare instructions very carefully. This will affect how your tattoo heals!
Tip Your Artist!
Above all else, make sure you’re prepared to pay for your tattoo and tip your artist. In many cases, they’ve created an original piece of art to put on your body. They’ve also listened to your feedback, made revisions, and then completed the piece on your skin. That’s no joke! Tipping your artist is an important way to thank them and share your respect for their work.
Roughly 45 million people in the U.S. have at least one tattoo. If you’re ready to join the inked up ranks, make sure you keep these tips in mind! They could make or break your experience.