Deciding whether or not to get a tattoo is enormous. Unlike anything else, a tattoo is for life (unless you go through a painful and expensive removal process). When it comes to such a life-impacting choice, you better make sure you know what you’re getting into.
That said, here are our favorite must-know tips for getting your first tattoo!
1. Know What You Want
Easier said than done, right? Getting your first tattoo requires a lot of self-reflection (or not). Some people get their first tattoo just to get one, while others deeply contemplate the design. No one way is right, but you must know what you want before you consider getting it tattooed on your body.
2. Research Tattoo Shops
Don’t be stingy when it comes to getting your first tattoo. Nothing is worse than having a failed first tattoo only because you went to the cheapest parlor you could find. Instead, fork over the extra money to get a highly-reputable and quality shop with talented artists. Remember, your first tattoo (and any tattoo after that) is a life investment. So make it worth it!
3. Consider Placement & Size
Since you don’t know how much pain you can handle, consider starting with a small tattoo. You definitely don’t want to be under the needle for only 5 minutes realizing you hate it, but you got 3 hours left. That would be disastrous, but it happens! Not only should you consider size, but think about placement, too. Do you want it to be visible to the public eye? If so, get ready to get asked about it. A good rule of thumb is to go with an extremity, like a tattoo around your ankle/foot, which can be easily shown off or covered up.
4. Trust Yourself
Perhaps the most important tip for getting your first tattoo is to trust yourself. You may trust the artist in thinking she or he knows best, but actually you do. The tattoo is going to be on your body, so make sure you and your artist are on the same page. And definitely don’t hesitate to halt the artist at anypoint if you don’t like how things are turning out.
5. Prepare Mentally
Everyone experiences getting their first tattoo differently. Just because your friend had no pain, doesn’t mean you won’t (and vice versa). It’s better to expect it to hurt a lot than not enough, and have the experience actually be less painful than you expected. If you prepare mentally, you will be much more at ease when it’s time to get inked.
6. Tip Your Artist
If you love the result of your first tattoo, make sure to show your gratitude by tipping your artist. Anywhere between 15-30% of the price is a safe tipping zone. When tipping, consider exceptional circumstances, too. Did the artist take the proper care and time to inform you about the process and after care treatment? These types of questions will help you decide on just how much to tip. On the off chance that you don’t love your tattoo, consult with your artist immediately.
7. Remember Your After Care
Don’t neglect your first tattoo! A proper after care treatment is required to protect the ink, avoid scabbing and leakage, and permanent damage to the tattoo. Your artist will have all the recommendations you need to take into consideration (i.e. no swimming). She or he might even recommend a product to apply (much like Vaseline or something to keep it slightly hydrated). You can opt to purchase aftercare products in the store or go to your local pharmacy to buy some Aquaphor.
Are you ready to take the leap and get your first tattoo? Remember to be confident in the design you choose, placement and size, before ever letting the needle go near your skin. Be cautious of too-good-to-be-true deals and do your research of tattoo shops and different artists.