Questions Answered For The Tattoo Virgin

Getting permanently inked is a huge deal. Whether it’s a tiny meaningful symbol on your wrist or a mosaic covering the majority of your back, you want to have all the answers before you go under the needle. Tattoos are a modern art form and can significantly enhance your sense of self and express your individuality. Below are a few questions you might ask before getting a tattoo and a few things to contemplate!

What should I get? Is my idea worthy of being on my body forever?  This is the most important question you have to answer before getting a tattoo. My recommendation is to pick something that has immense meaning to you personally. Choose something timeless and something you know will never lose significance for you. Rethink the bold tiger on your shoulder and try a simpler design especially if it’s your first tattoo. The aim is always to create something that’s tasteful yet expressive.

Where should I put it? Depending on your design idea, placement can be a tricky decision. If you’re in a career that is a bit behind the times and there is a possibility of it posing a problem in the workplace, try a spot your piece can be easily hidden. Some ideas of undetectable placement include on the shoulder blade, rib, or ankle! If you’re looking to avoid pain try a spot that isn’t directly on a bone, so avoid, ribs, collar bone, or the top of your feet/hands. Talking to an artist about placement of your specific tat can significantly help since they know exactly what they are talking about.

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Ok, how bad does it actually hurt? This all has to do with placement and the complexity of your design. Speaking from experience, I found that black ink and intricate detail increases the pain. Personally, I would compare the pain to an ache. It’s painful, for sure, but bearable. The pain is tolerable and with a good tattoo artist your finished product will be more than worth it. If you’re doing a large tattoo, consider doing it in parts to avoid having to a) sit for hours and b) endure the pain for an extended period of time.

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Where should I go? Research, Research, Research. Always read reviews for tattoo artists before booking an appointment. You want to trust the person marking your skin forever. Try booking a consultation before the actual event to meet and discuss your design with the artist doing it. Make sure to bring inspiration pictures or ideas so you and your artist can begin creating your dream tattoo at the consultation. If you don’t feel comfortable, do not be afraid to walk out, I’ve done it! This will be on you forever and if the artist isn’t willing to put your comfort and happiness first there are hundreds of others that will. 

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What should I expect to spend? Again this is highly dependent on what you’re planning to get and where you go. Tattoos range from $50 to hundreds of dollars. Request a price quote when you go for your consultation so you aren’t in sticker shock at the register after your tat. While they can become pricey, the finished product will be a forever investment. Don’t forget its courteous to tip your artist just like you would for any other service!

How should I prepare on the day of? You’ve decided on your design, your artist, and are aware of your price estimate, and now the day has arrived for the actual event. Make sure you eat before you go and that the area you're planning on inking is easily accessible. Try not to stress beforehand: the more tense you are, the harder it will be to sit through the tattoo (increasing the amount of time you have to spend there). This may be an obvious reminder but remember to avoid alcohol or drugs beforehand to avoid thinning your blood.

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Finally, how should I expect aftercare to go?  Honestly there’s little to no aftercare for a tattoo. Your artist will instruct you to keep it covered for a few allotted hours and from there, there isn’t much you can mess up. Try to keep the area moisturized and take a few ibuprofen to help with any soreness the day after.

Getting a tattoo is a big life decision that you will carry with you the rest of your life. Be prepared, be confident and be excited about customizing your body to fit who you are. Good luck and tat on.