Tattoos have never had such presence around us and if you like them, it might be easy to get carried away and just get the second thing that comes to your mind inked in your skin at the first tattoo parlor you come across. The proper thing would be to hold your horses, take your time, think a lot and do your research: this is the only way to minimize the chances of a great desire becoming an even greater disappointment. Because remember, you are actually not planning out the few hours your skin art will be made in, you are planning an addition to your body for the rest of your life. And although you can never be sure how you’re gonna feel about it in a few decades, approaching tattooing thoroughly and professionally could be the difference between liking your tattoo forever, or hating it after a month, and that, you will agree, is a big difference. To help you on your way, here is a checklist of twenty-five things you shouldn’t overlook while planning to get inked.
1. Make sure you really know what you want
As obvious as this sounds, be certain your tattoo won’t be a spur of the moment thing. Make sure that you properly understand the permanence of getting a tattoo.
Source: Instagram | @themadisontattoocompany
2. It doesn’t have to be deep
It’s okay if your tattoo doesn’t have a deeply rooted meaning; liking it enough to wear it every day for the rest of your life is a good enough reason to get it.
Source: Instagram | @csj_dori
3. Do an in-depth research on tattoo artists
To narrow it down, look for someone with great reviews who has been in the business for a long time. It would then be useful to get suggestions from friends, check out Instagram and Facebook reviews, and always ask to see the artist’s previous work.
Source: Instagram | @massivetattoo
4. Be prepared to join a waiting list
For talented, in-demand professionals, waiting lists are not uncommon, but this is one thing you should endure in order to get what you really like.
Source: Instagram | @vithus2809
5. Hygiene and cleanliness
Make sure that the parlor you have chosen has been regularly inspected by the health department.
Source: Instagram | @bronsontattoo
6. Be prepared to put down a deposit to hold your spot
Getting a tattoo isn’t cheap, and moreover, it shouldn’t be. If you want to be inked by an artist instead of an amateur, you are going to have to drop some cash for that pleasure.
Source: Instagram | @celinewyr
7. Nothing wrong with consulting your artist
When it comes to picking out a piece of artwork, don’t hesitate to build upon your ideas by consulting the tattoo artist you’ve chosen: their creativity and years of experience might be just what you need to reach a decision.
Source: Instagram | @donciorek
8. Multiple people are a distraction
It’s advisable to come alone, but if you are willing to bring one person, ask if it’s okay first. Otherwise, bring a book, listen to music, or focus on breathing to keep yourself calm.
Source: Instagram | @tailormadetattoo
9. No alcohol
Although you may be counting on some bottled courage, do not drink alcohol at least 24 hours before your slot: it thins the blood and messes up with the healing process. Most parlors will check your sobriety before proceeding with the actual tattooing.
Source: Instagram | @curtis_housecct
10. Food and water
Drink lots of water and have a decent meal before you head to the parlor, but don’t eat or consume beverages excessively – the vibrations do make some people feel nauseous, so be prepared for such discomfort.
Source: Instagram | @suhailah_asfur
11. Give yourself a lot of time
Going for a tattoo appointment is not something you’ll want to get to while on your break at work. Some tattoos take hours to complete, so prepare psychologically.
Source: Instagram | @psychollama_art
Although different people experience different levels of pain, you have to be prepared that it’s going to hurt. Everyone has a different threshold though, but allow yourself to perhaps end up pleasantly surprised instead of shocked.
Source: Instagram | @basilbalaji3
13. Different body parts, different types of pain
The parts of your body with more nerves and less fat, such as the ankle, for example, are likely to hurt more. Deep breaths will soothe you and after the first fifteen minutes, the pain should start to subside.
Source: Instagram | @tattooist_ida
14. Be careful which anti-inflammatory medicine you take before getting a tattoo
Advil helps some people with the discomfort, but Aspirin is not recommended as it thins the blood. Some people like to apply a numbing gel beforehand, but be careful: in some cases, it can increase the risk of the ink bleeding, and you lose those crisp lines.
Source: Instagram | @zsuzska_kalman
15. Fading colors
Be advised that red ink tends to fade faster than other colors, white ink is prone to turning yellow, while those adorable watercolor tattoos tend to blur way faster than something with a sharp line.
Source: Instagram | @shea_loveink
16. Crisp lines bleeding
Tiny tattoos are cool and trendy, but you should know that the crisp lines will probably bleed much faster than something thicker. If you’re going for small, it’s best to go with minimalism, instead of something overly detailed.
Source: Instagram | @fine.line.tattoos
If you’re not entirely pleased with the size of your tattoo, don’t be afraid to talk to the tattoo artist about it: they can resize it for you before it’s too late.
Source: Instagram | @simplyfoxy82
18. A tattoo covering a scar
If you are doing this, there are a few things you need to consider: the ink may not be totally absorbed into the scar after the first session, and you may have to come back to get touch-ups. The scar has to be several years old first, and usually only colorful or busy patterns are going to disguise it.
Source: Instagram | @cassiepops
19. Consider the placement
If you want to be able to easily conceal your tattoo due to work commitments or with no particular reason, you should perhaps avoid tattoos on your face/neck/hand.
Source: Instagram | @cuzkia_saidso
No matter how strong you feel about someone, getting someone’s name tattooed on your body is not a good idea and you might end up hating yourself for doing it someday in the future. When it comes to family members, that’s a different kettle of fish, but still think long and hard first.
Source: Instagram | @andreamontejo_
21. The first two weeks are the most important
After you get your tat, plan your life around it for the next two weeks to avoid complications. Healing properly is crucial and you don’t want to go through all that pain just to mess it up afterwards.
Source: Instagram | @kima.xx
22. No vacations
You need to your the tattoo dry and as far away from the sun as possible, meaning you shouldn’t be booking any vacations immediately after getting one (or getting inked right before you jet off).
Source: Instagram | @indeed
23. Keeping it clean
This is very important, so don’t slack on it, even for a day. Tattoo infections are serious so don’t allow yourself to experience one.
Source: Instagram | @axst_tattoos
A fresh tattoo is going to itch, so be ready to fight the urge to scratch it – it is literally one of the worst things you can do, as the dirt from under your fingernails will literally be getting into your bloodstream.
Source: Instagram | @momi.nk
25. Getting used to being inked
Once you’ve finally taken that step, don’t freak out – getting used to this new addition to your body is going to take time. If you thoroughly planned for this and put a lot of thought into what you want, you didn’t make a mistake, no matter how you feel in the immediate aftermath. Give yourself a couple of weeks to adjust and everything will seem right again.