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Things to know before getting your first tattoo: A list. 

Things to know before getting your first tattoo: A list. 

So you’ve decided to get your first tattoo (proud of you). Now what? 

  • Research! Research styles you like, images you adore, where you may want it placed on you, if you want colour or black and grey. Collect references to show your artist to help explain your vision. 
  • Research more! Look at different artists and their styles, shops, locations and start forming some ideas of who you would like to create some art on you. Find out how much their deposits are, check if they’re cash only and be prepared to pop to the ATM if you need before. 
  • Once you’ve found your artist, discuss idea, size, placement, colour, and style and check everyone’s on the same page. Listen to any advice given from your artist – they’re the expert. 
  • Once you’re booked in, it’s time to get ready. Rub the lotion on your own skin and make your skin in primo condition – the better the canvas (you’re the canvas), the better the tattoo. Get involved with moisturizers, lotions, body butter – pick your poison and make way for softer, more elastic skin that’s more likely to heal nice and smooth. Make sure you’re free from rashes, sunburn and fresh scars before you get tattooed.  
  • Be alert not alarmed. Yes this will hurt a tad and it will 1000% feel different than you expected, but $1 says within the first 10 mins of getting started, you say “you know, this really doesn’t hurt as much as I think it would” (I accept paypal).  
  • Your prep starts the night before – don’t drink 24 hours before getting tattooed as it thins the blood and makes it more difficult for the ink to stay in the skin, plus can provide a complicated healing process. Also make sure you get a solid night’s sleep in and eat a proper meal. 
  • The day of your tattoo, make sure you eat something before and drink lots of water (which you’re already doing, you hydrated human). Bring some snacks to keep the sugar levels and energy up during the tattoo as well.  
  • Wear comfy clothing. This isn’t rocket appliances to know that wearing skinny jeans for a shin tattoo isn’t the best idea you’ve ever had.  
  • Take some entertainment – while chats may happen with your artist, don’t rely on them to keep you entertained while they also work on creating a masterpiece, so maybe this is not the time to talk your artists ear off about your hairdressers dog escaping. Don’t forget your headphones. Because you’ve researched the studio and artist, before you bring someone along to help entertain you, check in with your artist to make sure there’s the ability and space for your mate to hang out.  
  • Remember to breathe. You’ve got this. Don’t hold your breath and focus on the needles as it can heighten the pain. Focusing on breathing or letting your mind wander can help lessen the pain. This should be an enjoyable process! Enjoy it! Plus you want to be able to tell your friends how cool and brave you were. 
  • Aftercare is important! Aftercare is important! Aftercare is important! One would say healing your tattoo is just as important as the tattoo process, so don’t fuck it up. Listen to what your artist says and don’t just nod and smile, ask questions and confirm if you’re not sure. Don’t take tattoo aftercare advice from friends. Ever

BONUS ROUND:  

  • Prices will vary depending on size and design. 
  • Don’t go bargain hunting, you get what you pay for. Considering it’s something that will be on your for forever, is it really that bad to wait a few months for eternal art? 
  • You don’t have to rush your design. If you’re not happy with the design your artist has shown you, talk to them, ask your questions and adjustments can occur. Communication is key – you don’t have to get something you don’t like tattooed on you. Your tattoo your choices.  
  • I know you’ve seen every episode of Ink Master, but don’t assume that a half an hour show means tattoos are quick and you’ll be in and out.  
  • Oh, and don’t ever tattoo a person’s name on your body. Not ever your kid’s.