I’m going to put it out there. I have major tattoo regret. I have one tattoo I absolutely hate and a few that just look a bit shit. I really wish that when I first started getting into having tattoos that 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. Research 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.
We therefore chose the only studio that was open The tattooists both had prison tattoos on their faces and there was a slightly grungy feel to the place. I was so excited to get my first tattoo (Faith’s tattoo from Buffy – the tattoo on the left side) that I just went ahead with it. I soon learnt that the tattooist had tattooed me too deeply and my skin is now permanently scarred (cheers buddy!) I’ve since had this tattoo refreshed, along with the mirror image tattoo on the right!
- Ask your friends where they got theirs done, ask random strangers on the bus, 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 you might have to wait it out but it’ll be worth it!
- Choose a tattooist that matches the style you want; don’t go for a tattooist who does delicate linework if you want a massive colourful tattoo.
- If you find a tattooist you think you like the style of, see if you can book in for a consultation. That way you can meet them 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 thinking about the design:
I really wanted a holly tattoo but I couldn’t find any on the internet 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 because it would have looked a lot better but I didn’t know that was a thing back in the early 2000’s!! I’ve now had it reworked by a lovely Brighton tattooist, Lou, you can check it out here.
- 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 find a tattoo on the internet and ask for an exact copy, the tattoo has probably been designed specifically for someone and could have a really personal meaning.
- 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 delicate 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 (although if he’d had smaller needles, it would have worked out #justsaying).
- 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’s not the tattooist’s fault.
4. Don’t get a tattoo on a whim:
Don’t get me wrong, the tattoo itself was done well but I got it for the wrong reasons and that makes me sad because you think I’d have learnt by now. I had a few laser sessions to have it lightened which you can read about it here. I’ve also now had it covered up and you can see my beautiful tattoo 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 years’ 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:
- Make sure you have clingfilm and microporous tape in the house before you get tattooed. Although all tattooists give different advice, you’ll probably want to change your dressing after a few hours and pop some fresh clingfilm on before bed.
- Speaking of bed, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you have fresh bedding and some clean pjs just to help reduce the risk of infection.
- Don’t forget to get some cream/balm to help your tattoo heal. A lot of people used to use Bepanthen (the nappy rash cream) but there are loads of fab products out there now. I personally use Protect The Hive balm.
- Have a really good breakfast/ lunch and take some sugary snacks/drinks with you to eat throughout the day. Your body will thank you and will be less likely to go into shock. Energy drinks are not a good idea lol.
- Don’t moisturise the area you’re having tattooed before you get tattooed! It can seep into the skin which could cause problems.
- Take some Ibuprofen before you go, it’ll help with the pain 🙂
- Wear loose-fitting clothing so you’ll be comfy getting tattooed and it ensures that nothing will rub on your tattoo on the way home.
- If you’re happy with the work, 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 and I appreciate 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