9 Things Tattoo Artists Want You To Know Before Getting Inked

by Sarah Bunton

Getting tattoos has become decidedly more mainstream and certainly isn't just for rebellious outsiders anymore. But, despite its popularity, you might still be surprised to know there are quite a few things tattoo artists wish you knew before coming in for ink. Sure, most everyone knows that when you're about to permanently put a piece of ink on your body, it's something that shouldn't be taken lightly. But what about the kind of insider info that's typically only known amongst fellow ink experts?

Getting a tattoo isn't as simple as picking a design and having someone draw it on your skin. There is a lot of work involved before and after the ink-age. Whether you're a first-timer who feels overwhelmed by all the options or a seasoned vet of the ink world who is just a bit curious, there is always more to learn about the world of getting inked. For instance, were you aware that, in a study published by the British Association of Dermatologists, nearly one third of people reported they regretted their tattoos? If you don't want to join those statistics, then check out these things tattoo artists wish you knew before coming in to get ink.


Be Honest With Yourself

Tattoo artist Deseo tells Romper in an email exchange that when, you need be honest about your pain tolerance. If you do have a low threshold for pain, then you should discuss your options with an experienced tattoo artist for the best choice for you.


Don't Drink

Having a few drinks with friends isn't usually a bad idea — except for when you're about to get inked. As tattoo artist Tyson Weed tells Romper, you shouldn't drink alcohol within 24 hours of your tattoo appointment. Why? "Alcohol thins your blood, dehydrates you and makes you urinate often," Weed says. Basically, alcohol and ink shouldn't mix.


Research The Placement

You may be surprised to learn that not all shops provide the same services. "If you're looking to get an uncommon place tattooed — like your face, fingers, or inner lip — make sure the tattoo shop can do that," tattoo artist Bob Marrama shares with Romper. Though it's not necessarily common knowledge, Marrama says that plenty of places have these policies in place and that's why you should check first.


Plan Accordingly

W lot of folks underestimate how long they'll be sitting in a chair. That's Weed suggests people, "bring a snack, water, and headphones — you'll probably be at the tattoo studio for a while." Better yet, bring a buddy if you're prone to boredom.


Don't Do Stages

If you're getting a large area tattooed, that's certainly not going to happen in just one visit. But, Deseo tells Romper that if you're planning a large piece and want to break it up for monetary purposes, it doesn't always work. He explains that line work can end up looking disjointed if it all wasn't done at the same time, due to the way your body heals or how the ink settles. You can certainly plot out your dream piece, but talk with the artist first about how to break it up instead of just calling it quits halfway through things.


Beware Of Trends

Though everyone has their own style preferences, some fads are better left on the pages of a magazine than your skin. As Marrama tells Romper, "white ink tattoos were 'in' for a while and — because of their popularity — people were going to whatever shop advertised for it." That means that, in a rush to be part of the latest trend, people can overlook the importance of finding a clean, reputable shop in favor of just getting the work done quickly.


Don't Be Vague

Would you go to a hairstylist you've never met before and tell them to do whatever they thought was best? Unless you're particularly adventurous, the answer is likely no. "Unless you're familiar with the artists' personal style, and you are open to getting their work, don't waste their time entertaining the possibilities of all the tattoos you've seen on Pinterest," Deseo says. Doing your research seems to be a key element.


Consider The Cost

"Most artists take home only a portion of what the client pays," Weed tells Romper. "Artists pay 'rent' or pay the tattoo shop owner a portion of what they bring in." That's why a considerate tip is greatly appreciated by the artist. Plus, it shows that you respect the time and skill that went into your piece.


No More Names

Although you can remove an unwanted tattoo, the process is neither cheap nor quick. "You probably shouldn't get a name tattooed on you unless it's a family member," Marrama says. "Tattoo artists want you to be happy with your piece. So if we make suggestions, it's because we don't want you coming in a few months from now upset that we let you get your ex's name inked on you." It's a grey area at best, but perhaps you should listen to what your artist has to say on the matter since they likely have years of experience under their belt.