Getting your first tattoo is a fantastic experience. I LOVE getting tattooed. The buzz of the tattoo machine, the pain, getting to show it off after. I just love it. What is it about being stabbed over and over with tiny needles that is so addictive? I couldn’t wait to get my first tattoo when I turned 18. As it turned out, I didn’t actually get inked until I was 26and, I cannot tell you how glad I was that I waited as I liked some truly terrible designs back then. It’s scary to think about what I could have ended up with.
Another reason that I’m glad I waited is because I have found a tattoo artist that I trust at Scream’n Ink Tattoos. He has done all of my tattoos and, I won’t go anywhere else now. When I first wanted a tattoo when I was 18, I didn’t think about going to someone I trusted; I just wanted to get the best price. Actually, there were a lot of things that I didn’t think about.
Personally, I think researching before you get a tattoo is so important. A tattoo is forever. You don’t want to go somewhere dodgy or get it done in your mate’s kitchen now, do you? Dodgy places can lead to not only dodgy work but also infections. Do yourself a favour, and don’t Google infected tattoos. Or do, actually.
So, here are all the things to think about before getting your first tattoo.
Go To A Reputable Studio/Tattoo Artist
Try not to pick a studio or Tattoo Artist based on how close it is to your home or how cheap it is. You pay for the work you get. You pay cheap prices, nine times out of ten, you’re going to get shoddy work. Ask around your friends, family, colleagues. See someone on the street with quality ink that you like the look of? Ask them where they got it done!
Look up their reviews, check out their Facebook or Instagram page.
Book A Consultation
Don’t book an appointment with a tattoo artist just because you heard good things about them. Go and speak to them first. Something might not click. Whilst you’re there, get a feel for the place. Does it look clean and sterile? Speak to the tattoo artist; do they work that style regularly? Their work may be flawless, but if they usually tattoo in a Japanese style and you’re after a portrait, you’re going to be left disappointed. Although, to be fair, any decent tattoo artist wouldn’t tattoo in a style that they’re not 100% comfortable with.
Find A Tattoo Design That You Love
If you go for something just because it’s trendy right now, you might be disappointed with yourself in a few years when it’s no longer in. Pick something unique that you love. Get it printed or drawn up and keep going back to it. Do you get butterflies every time you look at it?
If you’re going for something small and detailed, remember that the ink will bleed after time. This means that the ink will gradually begin to spread out. So small writing or small designs may end up looking like a bit of a blob after a few years; it doesn’t matter how talented the artist is.
Also, think about colour. Do you want colour, or go with black and grey shading. Colour is great and can make a design pop but will fade over time and need topping up. Test your tattoo out both ways. Which looks better to you?
Just a little side note on colour here – remember that sometimes you can react to certain colour inks. I have some roses tattooed on my shoulder that was a nightmare to heal. It turns out pink doesn’t sit in my skin very well. I had the same issue with a tattoo on my back that used pink.
Something on your neck or hand can be nice, but how will your workplace react? Unfortunately, many places are still of the opinion that tattoos are unprofessional and do not like employees to have them on display. I think this is extremely outdated, but there we go. Don’t put your career in jeopardy just because you like the look of a tattoo.
The other thing to think about with regards to placement is how much you use that part of your body. For example, anything on your hands may be a bit difficult due to the number of times you wash your hands. A tattoo high on the ribcage or on your shoulders is nice, but this will be prone to rubbing for people who wear bras. Same with something on your foot. Can you go barefoot until it’s healed?
Also, don’t forget to think about how it will fit in if you want to add to it. If you’re getting something on your arm, think about how it will fit in if you decide to get a sleeve one day. Will you be able to fit elements around it? If it’s on the smaller side, will you be able to fit something big around it?
Something I also found when I worked in Superdrug was the number of women that came in looking for makeup to cover up a tattoo because they were getting married and didn’t want it seen.
Finally, think about your pain tolerance. Certain areas hurt more than others, such as ribs, chest, elbows – anywhere boney really. Anywhere more ‘fleshy’ tends to hurt less. For example, the tattoo on my thigh I sat through, no problem at all. However, everyone is different.
Your tattoo needs time to heal, so don’t book in for your new ink a few days before jetting off on holiday. Sun, sea, pool water, sun lotion – all bad for a healing tattoo. Also, think about beauty treatments such as massages, waxing, spray tans.
The Day Of The Tattoo
Breakfast – Make sure that you have a good breakfast – don’t go in on an empty stomach. Make sure that you have a drink with you too. You don’t want to be passing out in the chair now, do you?
Alcohol – Don’t drink alcohol for at least 24 hours before getting tattooed. Alcohol dilutes your blood, and you’ll end up bleeding more than if you didn’t drink. This means the ink will not sit in the skin very well, and the tattoo artist will need to go over the skin several times.
Outfit – Think about your clothes. Do the clothes you’re wearing allow easy access to the skin that is being tattooed? Don’t pick anything tight; you need to allow the tattooed skin some space as it will probably feel quite bruised. Finally, there is a chance that you will get ink or blood on your clothes, so maybe don’t pick your spanking white t-shirt.
Once the tattoo is complete, that’s the tattoo artist’s job done! It’s down to you to make sure that you’re taking care of it and keeping it looking top-notch. The tattoo artist will usually advise you on how to best look after your tattoo, but here is how I do it.
Once your tattoo is finished, it is typically wrapped in clingfilm or other protective material. I leave this on for approximately two hours before removing it. I very gently wash the tattoo and skin around the tattoo with lukewarm water and a gentle soap to remove any blood and ink. Very gently again, I pat the skin dry and apply a thin layer of Bepanthen. I do this approximately two or three times a day to help the healing process.
You have to be careful not to soak the tattoo for a week to ten days whilst it heals. Ensure that you do not wear clothing that will rub and irritate the skin until it is healed completely. The tattoo may become itchy, but it is VITAL that you do not itch, scratch or pick at the tattoo. You do this, and you’ll end up with a patchy tattoo!
There are my top tips of things to think about before getting your first tattoo. I hope you have found them helpful and they’ve given you something to think about.
You may get unwanted advice when it comes to getting tattooed because people have an opinion on everything. My advice – don’t listen to them!