Your First Tattoo
All the necessary pre-care and information.
It's important to know what to expect when you come in to get your first tattoo, and you may be surprised to find out that proper prep starts the week before you get inked!
This guide documents what to expect when getting your first tattoo, and the steps you should take to ensure that your tattoo is the best it can be.
The Week Before
Drink water to keep your skin hydrated.
Start drinking lots of water! Aim for the recommended 8 glasses of water per day. It takes a while for water to do its job and properly hydrate your skin, so it's important to start the process well in advance.
If you notice any surface dryness, roughness, or itchiness, apply a gentle lotion and rub in completely.
Keeping your skin hydrated means your tattoo will heal better and look better. Oh, and it'll hurt less, too!
The Night Before
Skip the alcohol and get a good night's sleep.
Do not drink alcohol!
Alcohol stays in your system longer than it takes for you to sober up. Not only is alcohol a diuretic--makes you lose water, and thus hydration--it makes you more sensitive to pain.
Getting a tattoo while hung over is going to be a terrible experience for you. You need to be sober until it's over. Take it easy the day before, and save the drinks for celebrating after your tattoo is finished.
Just make sure you get a good night's sleep, and you'll be golden.
Eat right and drink water!
Eat well! The most important part of the day is making sure you eat a big, hearty, nutritious meal prior to coming in. Bring a drink and a snack to the shop with you just in case.
Coming in hungry will result in an awful experience for you. Tattooing is a stressful process, and your body needs fuel to weather the storm.
Finally, make sure you wear comfortable clothing that gives your artist easy access to the place you want to get tattooed.
During the Tattoo
Keep calm and carry on.
Tattoos take time to complete. Depending on how big your piece is, you may be in the chair for a few minutes to a few hours. It's important to stay still the entire time--fidgeting or fiddling with your phone can move your entire body and make it more difficult for your artist.
Communicate with your artist about how you're feeling. Getting a tattoo
isn't a strongman competition--if you feel like you need to stop for a moment, or readjust your position, speak up! We care about your wellbeing and we want you to have a positive experience.
Common questions from first-timers.
How much does it cost?
Pricing varies depending on the size and complexity of your tattoo. We don't charge an hourly rate--the best thing to do is stop by and get a quote in person.
Is it going to hurt?
Yes. The pain usually fades after about 10-15 minutes, when adrenaline kicks in.
Can I choose my tattoo artist?
Absolutely! It's important to look through portfolios and find an artist whose work you like. You can request specific artists.
Should I take painkillers?
No. Painkillers can make you bleed and will sometimes make you more sensitive to the pain.
How should I take care of it?
Instructions for immediate aftercare and continued care can be found on our Tattoo Aftercare page.
If you have any more questions, please check out our extended Tattoo FAQ or contact us!