8 Signs You Should Not Get That Tattoo, According To Tattoo Artists

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When you're consulting to get a tattoo, you may think that your artist will encourage you no matter what you're dreaming up — or even why. But tattoo artists are quite aware of the signs you shouldn't get a tattoo, and may even let you know their opinion about it. Even though it's your choice, there are still some nuances.

Tattoo artists have to be able to quickly assess their clients, so they have identified certain red flags to look out for. "It is up to the artist to try and figure out in the early stages of the consult as to whether [a] person is able to get tattooed that day," tattoo artist Jordanne Le Fae, tells Bustle. "Ultimately, we are not your babysitters and if you decide to get tattooed, then the best we can do is give you the information you need to make an informed choice. But, every artist does have the right to refuse service, it really is a case-by-case basis." Not all of these signs are easy to identify, however.

If a tattoo artist says something is a sign that you shouldn't be getting a tattoo, it's probably worth listening. Of course, you can always wait and get the same tattoo down the line, but certain circumstances are simply less likely to make a happy customer. So if you're considering getting a tattoo, it may be worthwhile to examine why and when you're getting it done.

Here are eight signs you should not get that tattoo, according to tattoo artists.


If You're Feeling Indecisive


While tattoos can be a good decision sometimes even on a whim, particularly indecisive customers are red flags to tattoo artists.

"If someone is completely indecisive and constantly changing their mind on what they want, they are probably not ready to get tattooed," Tyson Weed, custom tattoo artist at Divinity Tattoo in Phoenix, AZ, tells Bustle. Waiting until you're sure about your choice is the best bet.


If You're Not Considering Your Profession


If you want a tattoo on your neck, hands, or other highly-visible areas when you have a more traditional career, your tattoo artist may suggest otherwise.

"The last thing I would want to do is participate in doing something that would stop someone from fulfilling their professional career or personal dreams," Weed says. You may want to discuss with your tattoo artist how to get something you'll love that could perhaps fit better in a professional setting.


If You Want An Exact Copy Of Something You Found Online

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Tattoo artists are artists, and plagiarism when it comes to tattoos is real. Artists may be quite happy to help you come up with a design you love, but likely won't be excited if you simply want to copy something you saw online.

"[People] shouldn’t be getting a tattoo of a tattoo they found online," Michaelle Fiore, tattoo artists at NY Heart and Dagger, tells Bustle. "They need to understand every artist is different and will try to replicate a design or reference in their style." If you're not willing to adjust the design, then you may want to wait to get a tattoo.


If You're Underage

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Getting a tattoo when you're underage not only means that you may be more likely to regret your tattoo down the line, but also that you are potentially putting your tattoo artist in an unfair position.

"[People] shouldn’t be getting a tattoo if they are underage," Fiore says. It's worth the wait.


If You're Getting A Tattoo For Anyone But Yourself

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Couples tattoos, or tattoos of a partner's initials, are famously bad luck according to tattoo artists. This principle extends in general to getting a tattoo to please anyone but yourself being a mistake.

"Getting a tattoo for anyone besides yourself is a horrible idea," Fiore says. Tattoos are a personal decision meant for self-expression above all else.


If You're Getting A Face Or Neck Tattoo Before Other Tattoos

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Some of what influences whether or not a tattoo artist will think it's a good idea for you to get a certain tattoo is if you've been tattooed before.

"Another decision that some tattooers would suggest otherwise, is tattooing the face, hands, or neck of someone who isn’t already heavily tattooed," Fiore says. Starting with something else, and then potentially building up to a more bold tattoo down the line, may be a safer option.


If You're Under The Influence

While this may sound obvious, tattoo artists really want to highlight that getting a tattoo under the influence of drugs or alcohol is rarely a good idea.

"If someone is visibly under the influence of something [that may not be a good idea]," Fiore says. "A tattoo is a permanent decision that they may regret later." It's an act of kindness to your tattoo artist to not put them in the position of having to decide for you whether or not you're able to get the tattoo you're requesting.


You're Really Worried About What Others Might Think


Above all else, tattoo artists likely just want you to be happy with your design. There is less of a chance that this will be the case if you're too wrapped up in what others might think of your tattoo.

"In my opinion, if a client is making a decision about a tattoo that's personal to them, they are always making the right decision," Weed says. "If they are concerned about what others think or what others might perceive about their tattoo, they are probably getting a tattoo for the wrong reasons." So it may be worthwhile to do some self-reflection before finalizing your decision.

In the end, while tattoo artists can and do refuse service, most of the factors that go into getting a tattoo will be affected by you and you alone. Because of this, it's important to understand why you want the tattoo you want, and to make sure you're getting the tattoo at the right time — and for the right reasons.