Tattoo Etiquette – Dos and Don’ts of Getting a Tattoo
Tattoos are a serious decision to make, so they take a lot of thought and consideration. You don’t want to show up randomly at a tattoo shop and expect to get yours completed right then. The artist is not one to make mad, so make sure you know the proper tattoo etiquette before you decide to make an appointment.
DO: Think Before You Get Inked
A tattoo is permanent, so make sure that it’s something you want on the skin forever. It might not always look as good as it does when you first get it. Within a few years, it can fade, and your skin might stretch. Do you think you can be happy with that?
Weigh out the pros and cons of getting the tattoo. Could it affect your life? Does it make you happy? How might employers react?
Once you’ve decided, sit on the decision for a few months (or longer). This is a momentous occasion, so take your time.
Spur-of-the-moment tattoos are often regretted, which is why many people are removing theirs. You don’t want to spend all the money and time to dislike it! Be sure!
DO: Schedule Your Appointment
While some tattoo artists accept walk-ins, most talented ones are booked months in advance. Even if yours is just starting or building their clientele, it’s polite to book an appointment. That way, your artist has enough time to prepare for your session.
DO: Have Your Design Ready
You might not be good at drawing, but you have an idea of what you want. People get tattoos for sentimental reasons, to immortalize something, or for other needs.
Therefore, know what you want, and tell the tattooist. They’re often artists and can help you adjust it to meet your needs.
Many artists also have pre-designed tattoos available that you can customize. (View our portfolio for great ideas)
DO: Use Proper Hygiene
A tattooist has to be close to you because they’re working on your skin. Don’t disrespect them by being smelly or dirty.
While you don’t have to shave in advance, you should make sure you’re clean, washed, and smell decent. However, don’t go overboard with perfumed products, as some people are highly allergic!
The rule of tipping indicates that you offer extra money for the person providing the service. Getting a tattoo is a service-based industry, so it’s customary to tip. However, some countries don’t tip. Make sure you know what the tipping etiquette is in your country/state.
DO: Discuss Medical Issues
Licensed tattooists ask about existing medical conditions for a reason. Don’t hide anything from them because they need to know if they can use their preferred ink or if you have keloids. Those with a low pain tolerance may need numbing agents or could be advised not to get a tattoo at all.
DON’T: Be Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol
Tattoos and alcohol don’t mix. You’ve probably heard of people drinking and getting tattoos, only to regret the decision.
With that, tattooists don’t want you to drink because it thins out your blood. This means you might bleed more than normal, making it hard for them to see. On top of that, the blood could thin the ink.
DON’T: Get Upset When the Artist Improves on Your Design
Tattooists often have their own style, and it’s easier for them to convert your design. Don’t get upset if they do this. If it’s not what you want, politely tell them that doesn’t work for you. Ask for a referral to another artist with a style you might like instead.
DON’T: Be Sick or Take Antibiotics and Get a Tattoo
Though it’s technically possible to be on medications or be ill when getting a tattoo, it’s not proper etiquette. Your body is fighting an infection, so it could take longer for the tattoo to heal. With that, you don’t want to risk getting the artist sick!
DON’T: Bring Your Friends/Family
Most tattooists don’t mind if you bring one person with you for support. However, you shouldn’t invite more than one because there’s not enough room. Plus, your friends are likely rowdy, which breaks your artist’s concentration.
Tattoo etiquette is even more important than who you choose as your tattooist and what design you prefer. You don’t want to make your artist upset or angry by being rude or not following hygiene protocols.
Observe the do’s and don’ts listed here, and you should have a great tattoo experience!