Whether you've been wanting a tattoo since you were a kid or just swooned over a gorgeous design on Instagram or Tumblr, doing a little research is a wide idea. As a lady with plenty of inked friends and her own permanent skin art, I'm pumped to share the essential things to do before you get a tattoo. The last thing you want is to not feel confident and prepared about what you're getting yourself into!
My favorite tattoo experience was not my own, but actually going with my sister. She had talked about getting a small Bible verse scribbled on her foot for ages, but had always been way too hesitant about how much it would hurt. After I got mine, I told her over and over that she was totally capable and my girl finally took the plunge last summer.
We ended up at this little biker vibe tattoo parlor in Dallas, TX, and her artist was named "Tigger." He was a man covered in old school punk tattoos. Laura was a little nervous, but he seemed very OK with just doing a clean and simple script on her foot. The best part was that, as the tattoo itself was actually happening, Laura looked at Tigger and asked, "Are you doing it?" She literally didn't even feel it all.
While I'm not saying you'll experience zero pain like my bold and braave sister, I say getting a tattoo is totally worth a little discomfort. Just don't skip the things to do before you get a tattoo below!
1. Look Around
Social media is packed with all sorts of tattoo inspiration. Definitely hit up Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest to get ideas if you don't have something in mind yet.
2. Scan Social Media For The Right Artist
Thanks to a little hashtagging (think #BrooklynTattoo #LosAngelesTattoo etc) on Instagram, the perfect artist might be closer than you think.
3. Make Sure Your Artist Has A Tattooing License
While tattoo artist licensing laws vary from state to state, it's important to find out your area's regulations and then call to confirm everyone in the parlor you want to go to meets those requirements.
4. Set Up A Consultation If Your Piece Is Very Involved
If your piece has serious details or is covering a large portion of your body, obviously don't just expect a walk-in. Go meet with your artist so that you're both on the same page with what you want.
5. Be Prepared For Multiple Sessions
Got a vision of a tattoo covering your entire back or leg? Be ready to make more than one trip to the parlor. If the possible level of pain scares you, start small with a piece you can always add to.
6. Understand The Cost
Make sure you know the total cost of your tattoo upfront. You don't want to discover that after two sessions you can no longer afford to finish your piece. This happened to my friend whose beautiful samurai on his back had to be left without any shading for several months. Plan (and budget) ahead!
7. Get Everything You Need For After Care Beforehand
Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy, $4.79, Aquaphor
Always check with your tattoo artist in case there are specific instructions, but generally speaking, you'll want classic Aquaphor to keep your skin hydrated as possible through the healing process.