If you’ve read my tattoo removal posts (parts one and two), you’ll know I have some major tattoo regret. Honest to god I wish someone had given me some tips before I went and got inked for life! So here are my top tips if you’re thinking of getting a tattoo:
1. Choose your tattooist carefully
Back in 2001, the Isle of Wight hardly had any tattooists; and as my mum and I were trying to get an appointment around Christmas, most of them were closed for the holiday. So obviously we chose the only studio that was open, with the tattooists who both had prison tattoos on their faces. I should have known then, but I was so excited to get a tattoo that I happily went ahead. I soon learnt that the tattooist had tattooed too deeply and my skin is now permanently scarred. Cheers buddy!
- Ask your friends where they got theirs done, ask random strangers on the bus or stalk Instagram for tattooists, just don’t walk into the first tattoo studio because it’s open or choose one just because it’s just down the road. A decent tattooist might have a bit of a waiting list, so be ready to wait it out, it’ll be worth it!
- If you find a tattooist you think you like the style of, book in for a consultation. That way you can meet them, check out some more of their work and talk in detail about what you’re looking for. If you don’t think you’d get on with them for a few hours, find someone else!
2. Spend time choosing your tattoo design
I really wanted a holly tattoo but I couldn’t find any so I found a couple of different tattoos I quite liked, traced them off my computer screen and merged them together. I wish I was joking, I really do. I really wish I’d gone and asked a tattooist to design something for me, it would have looked a lot better!
- Spend a lot of time on Pinterest, Google and Instagram to look for inspiration. Sometimes working out what you don’t like is equally important as deciding on what you do like.
- Don’t just find something on the internet and ask for an exact copy, the tattoo has probably been designed specifically for someone!
- Once you’ve decided on a design, why not get someone to draw it on you with Sharpie? That way you can see what it would look like on your body before taking the plunge!
3. Listen to your tattooist
I actually quite like this tattoo, except for one problem. It’s a bit on the small side. I wanted something really dainty on my wrist which is fine, but I chose something with a lot of detail to it so now the lines look smudged and blurred. (It also looks wonky as hell, but that’s just because my wrist won’t bend the right way to take a good photo). My tattooist told me that would happen, but I didn’t listen because I didn’t want it any bigger. I definitely wish I’d gone bigger now!
- I know it’s your tattoo and your body, but if your tattooist gives you some advice, bloody listen to it!
- You could always ask another tattooist for a second opinion, but if you go for it and it does end up looking shit, maybe that isn’t the tattooist’s fault.
4. Don’t get a tattoo on a whim
Don’t get me wrong, the tattoo itself has been done well, I just got it for the wrong reasons and that makes me sad because you think I’d have learnt by now. I’m now in the process of getting this tattoo removed which you can read about it here.
- Stop and think before you get inked! Do you really want your design on you for life? It might represent who you are now, but will it still be relevant in ten year’s time? Would you end up being embarrassed to show it or explain it to your parents/children/random strangers?
If after all that, you’re still hell-bent on getting inked, here are my final tips
- If it’s going to be a long session, ask if you can take a friend with you to distract you or hold your hand for a while. Don’t take someone who’ll make you laugh, you’re meant to sit/lie still!
- Have a really good breakfast and take some sugary snacks with you to eat throughout the day. Your body will thank you and will be less likely to go into shock!
- Don’t moisturise the area you’re having tattooed and do NOT using numbing cream before your tattoo! It can seep into the tattoo which could cause problems.
- Don’t take painkillers before you go, it thins the blood which makes you more likely to bleed.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing so they don’t rub on your tattoo on the way home.
- If you’re happy with the work, and especially if they’ve designed you a custom piece, don’t forget to tip your tattooist.
- Don’t make plans to go out that evening, you might not feel up to it.
I hope this was helpful, it might not be relevant for everyone, but I wish I’d been a bit more informed before getting tattooed. Are you thinking of getting tattooed soon? Do you have any tattoo regrets? Let me know in the comments below 🙂 x