April 26, 2023 16:40
Top seven things to think about before you get a tattoo
People come to NAAMA for laser tattoo removal for all sorts of reasons, so we’re pretty well-versed in the power of tattoo hindsight. Learn from our client stories and our own personal experiences (yes, we’ve been there too!) about what you need to know before getting a tattoo.
The aim is to get a design you’ll love looking at for the rest of your life. To improve your chances of a lifelong ink, there are a few things to consider.
First things first: the tattoo artist
Finding the perfect tattoo artist should be number one on your priority list when getting a tattoo. Yes, even before the design! A good tattooist will be able to create something perfect and unique for you, and choosing the right one is fundamental to the success of your tattoo.
You might not have nailed the details of the design, but you’ll probably have a style in mind (geometric, fineline or portraiture, for example). Every artist has a specialism, so use this as your starting point.
Next, find client testimonials, check out the studio reviews, and scour the artist’s portfolio. Don’t forget to look for healed photos of their work too, as this often looks different to fresh ink. Once you’ve chosen your tattoo artist, you can start working on the design! Some clients are quite specific about what they want, while others might have moodboards to use as inspiration. Either way, this is when your tattooist’s artistry really comes in!
Tattoo artists MeganDotArt and Terrie Titouu
Will you love the design for years to come?
Some people get tattoos for sentimental reasons while others are motivated by trends or styles. Both are fine! Tattoos are inherently personal and should be distinctly yours. If someone doesn’t like it, that’s fine; they’re not the ones wearing it. If you know you’ve got a tattoo that is absolutely “you”, you’re more likely to continue to love it.
However, we do advise caution around certain designs; the classic one being the name of a partner, for obvious reasons. At NAAMA, we occasionally also see clients with hate symbols they no longer agree with. We will never endorse getting hateful rhetoric tattooed on your body - and many artists will refuse to tattoo them in the first place - but we will remove them for free as part of our Second Chances initiative.
And of course, make sure you have “no ragrets” if you’re getting a text tattoo. Double, triple and quadruple check the spelling, and if you’re getting words in a foreign language, it’s well worth finding a native speaker (one that you trust!) to verify the translation.
Location, location, location
When it comes to getting a tattoo, the ‘where’ can be just as important as the ‘what’. Not only can the design of the tattoo affect where on your body it looks best (the curves of your body or the space the tattoo demands, for example), the placement is something to consider for personal reasons, too.
You’ve likely heard that sensitivity varies depending on the body part you’re tattooing. While pain tolerance should definitely be a consideration, ultimately the discomfort is temporary and your tattoo is forever. So if you really want your ink on a painful spot, we say go for it! Otherwise, you risk walking out the tattoo studio wishing you’d committed to the placement you actually wanted.
Another - slightly more sensible but still important - point is the visibility of the tattoo. While tattoos are generally more accepted in society nowadays, stereotypes do unfortunately still exist and some professions frown upon tattoos being on show. If this is something that concerns you, it’s worth considering a more subtle location that you’ll feel comfortable with long term. Plus, it can be fun to have the option of hiding your tattoo or showing it off!
What's the best you can afford?
Let’s be honest: a good tattoo will not be cheap. You don’t want to place yourself in debt, but definitely consider this as an investment. After all, you’ll (hopefully) have it on your body for a long time!
Avoid compromising on a design you don’t really love or a tattoo artist you’re not confident in and take the time to save up for something perfect. Future you will be grateful.
How are you feeling?
This is less about the tattoo and more about you. We often see clients regretting tattoos they got during a difficult time. Perhaps following a breakup, during a mental health crisis, or as a reaction to another traumatic event.
There are many reasons why people get a tattoo and one of them is that it can be therapeutic. However, you should still consider your motivation. Will it potentially become a painful reminder of a tough time? Impulsivity has its place, but that’s not necessarily a tattoo studio.
“The rose is a constant reminder of where I’ve come from. It’s something I’m forced to think about and remember when I see this tattoo."
Nicola, NAAMA Second Chances client
We always preach to our clients about aftercare - and it’s no different for tattoo artists. Looking after your new ink is key to a safe healing process.
Your artist will provide plenty of aftercare information, but something to consider when booking a tattoo is what you’ll be up to in the weeks following your appointment. Tattoos take around two weeks to heal, so make sure you’re able to maintain a nutritious diet, keep out of the sun, and avoid swimming during that time. Basically, hold off on the tropical holiday until you’ve healed.
Trust your gut
This one is all down to you. If you don’t feel comfortable and confident, don’t continue.
Whether it’s the tattoo artist, the studio, the design, or you’re suddenly wondering if you want a tattoo at all, these are all valid reasons to stop the process.
You should never feel pressured and should always have the final say at every stage of the process. The tattoo artist may be the expert, but you’re the one that’s going to live with it, so don’t say yes until you’re 100% happy.
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