Clues Before You Get Tattoos

Photo by Grace Madeline on Unsplash

As someone with a fair number of tattoos I feel it is my duty to educate the next wave of people looking to join #teamtatted. Heed these words of advice and you won’t look like a clueless asshole when it finally comes time for you to get inked.

Yeah. Its gonna hurt. Duh. It’s a needle (or a few of them) being jabbed into your skin repeatedly. Don’t be a bitch. You made this choice. And don’t go in for your first tattoo wanting a huge arm piece or something. Start small so you know how you handle the pain. Different areas of your body hurt more than others. It’s very important to know your pain tolerance.

Research isn’t just for school. It’s also for tattoos. Pinterest will be your best friend when looking for tattoo inspiration. Figure out what you want first then move on to phase two in your research: finding an artist. You need to look at their styles and portfolios. You could find a great artist, but they could not be an expert in the style you’re looking for. And NEVER ask an artist to make an exact copy of another tattoo you’ve seen. They’re artists. Not copycats. Also, if you want a face, neck or hand tattoo make sure you’re dedicated and know it’s gonna be a lot harder to get a job.

Don’t show up with your entire squad (or children). Bring one or two people with you. IF you show up with any more, things are gonna get crowded and your artist is gonna be pissed and uncomfortable. Most of the time, an artist has a small room where they do their work and to have more than 3 people in there makes things really cramped. They also don’t need anyone hovering over them watching the whole thing go down or taking pictures.

Sobriety is key. For the love of all things holy, don’t drink and ink. If you need liquid courage to get a tattoo you probably shouldn’t be getting a tattoo. Alcohol acts as a blood thinner, so when that needle hits your skin, you’re gonna bleed a lot. It’s also going to make the healing process harder. A lot of drugs are the same way. Besides that, this is something that’s going to be on your body for the rest of your life. You don’t want to make that decision drunk or you’re gonna wind up with the Tasmanian Devil on your ass (shout out to you, mom). Also, no artist wants to tattoo you if you’re being a drunk asshole.

Eat up! You don’t want to get a tattoo on an empty stomach. Your blood sugar and glucose levels could get too low and there is a very high possibility that you will pass out. No one wants you to fall out of the chair and bust your head open on the floor. So, please use this as an excuse to carb up.

Don’t try and negotiate on price. This is a service that someone is providing to you. Also, if I haven’t made this very clear, IT’S GOING ON YOUR BODY FOREVER! You don’t want to haggle on something that’s that important.

There is a special place in hell for people who don’t tip their artists. If you like their work and maybe want to get another tattoo, make sure to keep your artist happy by tipping them. If you’re a good tipper they’re more likely to get you in faster and you’ll develop a better relationship with them. It’s appropriate to tip 20% of whatever your tattoo cost. It’s just like at a restaurant. You should always tip your waiter, so always tip your artist.

Say goodbye to the tanning bed. If you want those bright colors or bold lines to stay bright and bold for as long as possible, avoid the sun as much as you can. The sun makes everything fade so sunscreen will be your new best friend.

And the pool. For 2 or 3 weeks after getting your tattoo you’re going to want to avoid chlorine at all costs. Water in general too. Wash it often, but don’t soak it.

Cleanliness is next to godliness. Aftercare is vital. Whatever your artist tells you to do, you do. Wash it, put ointment on it and keep it clean.