I’ve wanted a tattoo for years, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that I decided to really pull the trigger. It was a magnificent journey to discover what exactly I wanted etched on my body forever. I wholeheartedly subscribe to the idea that getting your first tattoo should be an amazing and positive experience, so for those of you who are thinking of taking the plunge, here are my 4 pieces of advice on things you need to know before you get your very first tattoo.
1. Do your research on the shop AND the tattoo artist.
When I first started looking into local tattoo parlors, I wasn’t primarily focused on which artist I wanted; I was mostly looking at online reviews of the shop in general. These were some questions I asked myself: Do they appear professional? Does the interior look clean? Do they follow all health and safety guidelines? If yes, awesome! However, one should also pay attention to the artist names that reviewers use and any pictures they add. Since the tattoo I was getting was a very simple design, I was more concerned with getting someone experienced with a steady hand. Luckily, that’s exactly what I got!
2. Trust your gut.
On this past Friday the 13th, there was a shop in town offering small $13 tattoos. I was feeling really tempted to abandon all of my research and just get one, but something was telling me I shouldn’t do it. The shop had opened that week and had zero reviews; you could only use designs of their choosing and you were limited in your choice of placement. These sent up red flags and I’m so glad I decided to be patient and find a shop/artist that I felt 100% good about.
3. Ask the locals.
This tip can absolutely be applied to the first tip! If you have any inked friends, especially if they are local, don’t be afraid to ask for their opinion. Chances are they have a favorite place to go and can give you some pointers. I was very secretive about my desire for a tattoo (which is silly when I look back on it); my tatted friends would’ve loved to help me!
4. Don’t be shy about what you want!
I thought this was only something my self-conscious butt was concerned about, but apparently it’s a common issue for first time tattoo receivers. The artist is there to make you happy, so don’t be embarrassed to speak up if you want the placement a little more to the left or if you changed your mind about the font. This is on your body forever and I guarantee, your artist would rather spend some extra time making sure you’re content, rather than ending up with a dissatisfied customer.
As I said before, your first tattoo should be a great experience and if you follow these tips, I’m sure it’ll be a fantastic adventure you’ll remember forever!