9 Things Every Tattoo Artist Wants You To Know Before Your First Tattoo
Getting your first tattoo can be daunting and often even the idea of walking into a tattoo shop can be the most intimidating part of your first tattoo experience. It's also worth noting that tattoos are forever. Being adequately prepared for your first appointment will ensure you leave with something you really want - as tattoo removal is much more painful and costly than the tattoo itself.
To help you prepare for your first tattoo, we've compiled our top tips to help you be confident throughout the process:
1. Do your research
Social media makes it so easy for you to find the best tattoo artists in your city. Start by searching for tattoo shops and looking through their feeds for the style of tattoo you like. Once you find an artist whose style matches what you’re looking for and you’re confident they can give you the first tattoo you’ve been dreaming of, reach out to them. Most artists will prefer that you call the shop rather than sending them a DM.
2. Book a consultation
Once you’ve found the artist you like, book a consultation with them. This will allow you to have a chance to chat with your artist about your tattoo. Make sure to bring in a collection of visuals so they can create exactly what you're looking for. The artist will be able to give you tips on the best placement, size and colours for your tattoo. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, that is what a consultation is for.
3. You get what you pay for
A tattoo is no place to search for a deal. Typical pricing is anywhere from $150-$300 an hour depending on the skill level and experience of the artist. Skilled tattoo artists have to go through an apprenticeship with proper training for health and safety before they can be hired by a reputable shop. Make sure the shop and the artist have all of their health and safety certifications up to date and don’t be afraid to ask them about any health concerns. Try to avoid getting your first tattoo in your friends basement by an artist who has never apprenticed, as those situations are often a breeding ground for bacteria and infection and could ultimately lead to an unsatisfactory first tattoo experience.
4. Consider the time of the year for your first tattoo
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, it’s best to get tattooed in Fall or Spring, when temperatures are cooler so you can cover your new tattoo under clothing while it heals. If you do get tattooed in the summer, make sure to avoid the sun and keep your tattoo covered so it can heal properly.
5. Fear the pain? Use a topical numbing cream.
It is no secret that tattoos are painful. If this is your first tattoo and you have a low pain tolerance, or you’re getting tattooed on a painful spot, consider using Zensa Numbing Cream 30-40 minutes before your appointment.
Do not take pain killers. Pain killers will thin your blood, making you bleed more during the tattoo session. Bleeding makes the process harder for your artist.
Zensa numbs the skin on contact and does not change the texture of the skin or the settling of the ink. It contains 5% lidocaine to keep you numb for up to 2 hours. The cream can also be applied on broken skin mid-procedure for those long sessions.
Ask your tattoo artist about Zensa. Your first tattoo doesn’t have to be painful.
6. Eat before your appointment
Give your body the energy it needs for your tattoo session, with a healthy meal right before the appointment. Try to avoid drinking alcohol or taking any mind-altering substances, and make sure you keep your body hydrated in the days before and after your appointment. Hydrated skin is easier to tattoo and has much better ink retention than dry skin.
7. Don’t panic
If you’re nervous about the tattoo, don’t panic during your session. If you’re moving around or stressing out during your appointment, your artist is going to have a hard time tattooing you, which could impact how the tattoo turns out. Bring a friend to your session, preferably someone who has been tattooed, so they are familiar with the process and can walk you through it as it happens.
8. After-care for your new tattoo
After the tattoo is complete, your artist will wrap it in a sterile bandage to protect it. After a few hours, remove the bandage and clean your tattoo with lukewarm water and antibacterial soap. Pat it dry (do not rub) with a clean towel. Once your tattoo is dry, with clean hands massage a small amount of Zensa Healing Cream to the entire surface of the tattoo.
Zensa Healing Cream contains natural ingredients with anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Ingredients like aloe vera extract and calendula oil help reduce redness and dry, itchy skin so your first tattoo heals quickly and safely.
Continue to apply Zensa's tattoo lotion to your new tattoo 1-2 times a day as it heals. Avoid picking at any flaking skin, and clean the area daily.
9. Always tip your artist
If you love your new tattoo, show your gratitude by leaving a tip. Your artist will appreciate it and will remember a positive client-experience when you come in for your touch-up (tattoos can use a pick-me-up from time to time, especially if they’re colored) … Or your second tattoo.
Cover photo via shutterstock.