Things To Do If You Want A Tattoo

We have all scrolled around Pinterest looking at the beautifully clean-lined tattoos of people who seem unattainably trendy. While tattoos are thankfully growing more acceptable, particularly in professional settings, there is a lot to consider before jumping into getting one. 

As someone who has always been obsessed with tattoo artistry, and who is slowly on the way to getting sleeves, I can say for sure that you cannot just walk into any tattoo shop and expect the outcome to be what was in your original line of inspiration or thinking. Similar to dying or cutting your hair, odds are you aren’t going to get front bangs without looking into salon reviews, checking out artists and stylists on Instagram, or thinking about the commitment of this change. The big separation between the two - your hair will grow out - a tattoo is forever.

With this in mind, here are a few tips and bits of insight if you are planning to get a tattoo!

1. It’s Art and It’s for Life - Treat it as Such

As someone who has probably seen almost every episode of "Inked", every tattoo artist out there seems to voice how disappointing it is when a client disrespects their practice. The biggest ways you can avoid being unintentionally disrespectful is by not trying to bargain, not insulting the flash on the walls, and by not referring to the practice of tattoo artistry as anything less than a real profession.     

2. Research Your Shop & Artist     

Walking into any tattoo shop to get a tattoo on the spot may result in not getting exactly what you had hoped for. Artists specialize in specific styles that tailor to their talents and strengths. If you are looking for Realism and walk into a shop with artists who specialize in Old School, Traditional and Neotraditional - odds are you might not be in the right place. Social media makes it very easy to find an artist that you love at a shop that suits your style. These platforms also ensure that you can read into reviews before walking in - ensuring the shop is highly rated, sanitary, and a welcoming environment. A tattoo is forever, which means you have plenty of time to research the best artist and shop for you before you take the leap. 

3. Save Up

I have a friend who made the lovely decision to get a cheap perm. Needless to say, two days later she had a pixie cut since her hair completely singed off. Bargain hunting for a tattoo falls into the same category. Most of the time, you get what you pay for. Trying to talk down your artist’s price is also frowned upon as it degrades their profession and meticulous work. If you want to get a tattoo, it’s better to save up and get one you will love having on your body for the rest of your life. Bargain shopping for a tattoo may leave you like the people on Snahpchat who, week after week, flaunt their terrible tattoos. 

4. The Care & Keeping of your Tattoo

Getting a tattoo is super exciting, but it also means taking on a responsibility. If you want your tattoo to look amazing for as long as you live, you need to take care of it. While your artist will explain the care and keeping of your tattoo, there are a few things they may not mention. For instance, it is normal for your tattoo to shed ink for the first few days of healing. My tattoo shed ink like a snake might shed their skin. My flower petals shed in the shape of each petal - worrisome at first, but this is a normal part of the healing process. I can also say that the itching during the healing process is far worse than the pain of getting the tattoo itself. As difficult as it may be, do not scratch the tattoo. Beyond taking care of the tattoo while it heals, make sure to moisturize and put plenty of sunscreen on the area regularly in order to prevent fading. When the time comes, go get your tattoo touched-up to make sure it retains its longevity and original look. 

5. Be Intentional      

Don’t just get a tattoo because it is trendy. If you really want your tattoo to feel worthwhile, get a piece by an artist you appreciate, or get something that is genuinely meaningful. Tattoos are becoming “trendy” and as exciting as that is, it’s also a big concern. Tattoos are lifelong and getting something just because everyone else is may leave you looking back wondering what in the world you were thinking - like Uggs and shorts or knee-high Converse. The last thing you want is to have a permanent mark of a trend that dissipated. If you are getting a tattoo - make it yours and make it something you will be proud to carry with you for life.

Photos by Bridgette Jasinski