Things to Know before you Get your First Tattoo

8 months ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

No matter how many tattooed pixies there are in this world, each and every story that has inspired it is different. Ink is yet another form of self-expression, the voice of an impervious identity that truly believes a symbol will bear eternal value in their unique story.

But from all the crucial crossroads and memorable moments in your life, how can you decide which ones should be a part of your living, breathing canvas, where will their resting place be and whom can you trust to do the honour of painting them?

1.     Money really does matter

Unless you’re lucky enough to have a cousin who is a reputable tattoo artist, any reliable tattoo parlour will have a price tag that speaks volumes about its quality. Do your research on the available artists, explore which ones fit best with your needs and inquire about their offers, price range and experience.

Bear in mind, some artists are experts in abstract images, others can do wonders with minimalistic behind-the-ear tattoos, while some are famous for less custom artwork and lean towards a templated painting model, and each and every one of them has a unique price.

2.     Location, location, location

It’s no secret that tattoos hurt like hell – but they are perfectly manageable, and if you’ve ever experienced a painful period, a tattoo is not going to be that big of a deal. However, certain spots on your body have extra sensitive, thin skin, and it’s best to avoid them at least for your first inking experience.

I wanted to get my first paw-prints right below my wrist, and then found out that it might not be such a brilliant idea to begin with that particular area. The inside of your bicep is also not a genius solution for a first-timer, but to be honest, every person will react differently, so it’s best to consult your tattoo artist before you make your decision.

3.     Be as specific as possible

Getting a custom tattoo means that you will have lots of added tweaks to the original notion – so although you know you cannot walk in and say “I’d like a bird on my ankle, please” and get your knickers in a twist if you get a black blur instead of your desired flamingo, you really should be as specific as possible.

It may seem annoying, but it helps the artist, and you’ll make sure to get exactly what you want. Although you can bring an image of what you’d like, always go over the specs such as the size, exact positioning, distance between specific segments or lines, shading, colours, angles, etc.

4.     Find the perfect match

While I was still on the hunt for the perfect parlour, a friend of mine and a body art enthusiast told me I could get custom Japanese tattoos in Sydney at the Tattoo Movement, which was precisely what I was looking for. A personal recommendation from someone who has already trusted a specific place with their design will not only let you see their art in person, but also hear about their experience first-hand.

Anything from online reviews, looking though portfolios, to interviewing the artists will help you decide. Some might even be open enough to show you how they work with their clients, walk you through the process and tell you about the equipment they use.

5.     Prepare for the healing stage

Unfortunately, some tattoos require more than a single session and they often take a while to heal. This also means you’ll see your tattoo in somewhat strange and disturbing stages of healing, with a bit of swelling, redness, itching and possible irritation. However, you need to be mindful of potential infection symptoms, and in case you notice any, head straight to your doctor.

Otherwise, you’ll need a specific skincare regime to help your tattoo heal properly and avoid any complications. As soon as you’re finished at the studio, your tattoo artist will cleanse and wrap your tattoo to prevent sun exposure and other irritations. Then, follow the instructions your artist gives you as to when, how often and how you should remove the bandages and put on lotions to moisturize the tattoo.

It’s a huge step, getting your first tattoo. Make the most of your first inking by doing the research and getting educated on the aftercare, and you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful masterpiece of your own body-art for the rest of your life!