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:
When I was 17 my mum decided to get a tattoo and asked if I wanted to get one too. It turns out my mum thought you could get a tattoo with parental consent. Lols. Took me years to tell her the truth.
Back in 2001, the Isle of Wight hardly had any tattooists; and as we were trying to get one around Christmas, most of them were closed for the holiday. So we obvs went for the only one 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 I happily went ahead; even when the other tattooist was leaning across my back stretching my skin. Yeah, I have no idea why either. I also later learnt that the guy 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, ask the Twitter mind hive, just don’t walk into the first tattoo parlour because it’s open or choose the only one in your town. A decent tattooist will probably have a long waiting list, so be prepared to wait it out, it’ll be worth it!
- If find a tattooist you think you like, 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 and if you decide you won’t get on with them or they don’t share your vision, find someone else!
2. Spend time choosing your tattoo design:
I’m ashamed to admit why I have this tattoo, but I’m totally sharing the story anyway. I was in an unhappy long-term relationship which I was trying to end and knew he hated tattoos. So I decided to go and get another one, didn’t I? Yeah, I appreciate this makes me a horrible person. I didn’t really know what I wanted so I did a quick Google search for holly tattoos. I’m such a bloody narcissist. 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. Anyway, turns out the boyfriend didn’t mind the tattoo so I had to end it like a proper grown-up and was left with a tattoo that could have looked so much better.
- Spend a lot of time on Pinterest, Google or tattoo websites looking for inspiration. Sometimes working out what you don’t like is equally important as deciding on what you do like.
- The previous tip being said, don’t just find something on the internet and ask for an exact copy. Just don’t do it.
- Don’t rush into it and get the first thing you can think of; chances are it’s probably an awful idea. Ask yourself if you could live with it for the rest of your life.
- Once you’ve decided, why not get someone to draw it on you with Sharpie? That way you can see what it’d look like on before taking the plunge!
3. Listen to your tattooist:
So apart from flagrantly flouting the above tip about not copying someone else’s design, but hey, their design was pink and not actually a tattoo, so it’s totally different, right? I actually quite like this tattoo, except for one problem. It’s a bit small. I wanted something really dainty on my wrist. Which is fine, but I chose something with a lot of detail to it, 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 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 looks shit, maybe that’s not the tattooist’s fault.
4. Don’t get a tattoo on a whim:
So here we are. The last tattoo. Don’t get me wrong, the tattoo itself is fine and it’s 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. Yes? Yes? No. I’m now in the process of getting this tattoo removed. You can read about it here.
- Stop and think before you get inked. Do you really want it on you for life? Does it honestly represent who you are and will become? Will it still be funny in five years time? Would you be embarrassed to show it or explain it to your parents/children?
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. Just 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 making you more likely to bleed.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing so it’s not rubbing on the way home.
- Don’t make plans to go out that evening, you probably won’t 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