Things To Do Before You Get A Tattoo

Things to think about before getting a tattoo (Photo: Alexander Mozymov/Shutterstock)
Things to think about before getting a tattoo (Photo: Alexander Mozymov/Shutterstock)

You’re keen to get some ink, but before you go for it, make sure you’ve done your due diligence when it comes to making your tattoo decision. A checklist of things to consider before you let any tattoo artist near your skin.

Consider your tattoo permanent

Yes, laser removal has improved, but tattoo removal is expensive and not necessarily 100 percent successful (not to mention it can hurt!). So rather than think of your tattoo as something you can always have altered or removed, think of it as something that will adorn your body for the rest of your life. Be absolutely confident with your choice before even researching tattoo artists.

Select your placement carefully

You may be keen on a tattoo on your neck, but will that be appreciated when pitching a client? Think about your career and the implication your choice of tattoo and placement will have. While it’s impossible to foresee your entire career path, ponder whether your current job track will necessarily be where you will be in a decade (just because you’re freelance now in a creative field doesn’t mean that down the line you won’t be working in a more corporate environment). If what you really are keen on simply doesn’t jive with what your lifestyle and career call for, decide whether you can settle for a tattoo elsewhere on your body or if that’ll always seem like a consolation prize.

Have a good understanding of your tattoo art

We’re mostly referring to tattoos of words in foreign characters or symbols. Do thorough research (hit up a library or ask your linguist pal for a favour) because choosing a Chinese character off of a wall at the tattoo parlour could possibly lead to some unintentional results. How can you be confident that the symbol they say means strength in fact doesn’t mean doughnut, for example?

Vet out your tattoo artist

Ask to see examples of their work. Talk to friends for recommendations.If you see someone on the subway with a fantastic tattoo, ask them where they got it (most people will happily chat about their ink). Research artists online. If you find an artist whose work you love in another city, you might want to budget time and money to travel for your tattoo (after all, your tattoo is forever).

Have a thorough consultation with your tattoo artist

If a tattoo artist refuses to have a consult with you, you’d be better off hunting for a new artist. You want to be able to make sure you get along, chat about precisely what you’re looking for, discuss and collaborate on the plan for your tattoo, and, of course, settle on the timing and fee for your tattoo. During that meeting you should also ask to see the sterilization equipment and get information on their safety procedures. If anything doesn’t seem on the up and up, even if you’re keen on this artist, you’d be smart to go back to square one rather than risk an infection.

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Flare, Elle Canada and ElleCanada.com, Glow, Metro, Huffington Post Canada, Travelife and Travel + Escape. She also runs her blog, HealthandSwellness.com, where she writes about health, beauty, fitness and lifestyle.

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