for tattooed people, and those who want to be

Tattoo FAQ


Frequently asked questions about tattoos and tattooing:

How do I get a good tattoo?

It’s not a simple or instant process, so don’t go thinking you can just walk into the nearest shop and come out with something fantastic. You’ll need to do research. Go to as many tattoo parlors as you can and look carefully at the artists’ portfolios. Never mind the flash on the walls. Concentrate on what the artist puts out as examples of his or her work. Also, when you’re out and about, if you see someone with tattoos that appeal to you, don’t be shy. Most multicolored people are delighted to hear you like their artwork. Ask where they got it. Carry something you can write on so you can make a note of where to look.

How much does it cost?

This is something each artist determines for him/herself. Most charge by the hour, and many have a one hour minimum. You should get an estimate from the artist when you discuss your design. The final price may or not be the same as the estimate, but it should give you an idea of what to expect. And be sure to bring extra money to tip the artist. Good work should be rewarded.

Can’t I just find something on the wall in the tattoo parlor I like and go with that?

Absolutely, if what you want is something that’s on the tattoo parlor wall.

What do I need to do to prepare to get tattooed?

Bathe or shower that morning. Wear clothing that you can adjust or remove without flashing the neighborhood. Eat a light meal shortly before your appointment but don’t stuff yourself. Don’t drink a lot of water or soda, because you don’t want to interrupt the artist repeatedly to go to the bathroom. Do not, under any circumstances, get drunk. If you’re nervous, have a good friend or family member go with you for support.

What do I do after I get tattooed?

Besides pay the artist and tip him or her, you mean? 🙂 Be sure your artist gives you aftercare instructions. Don’t let him/her put plastic wrap over your new ink. You may want to keep the bandage on overnight so you don’t stick to your bedsheets. Wash your tattoo according to the instructions and keep it moisturized with the product your artist recommends, or with Burt’s Bees Hand Salve, which contains just about the same ingredients as proprietary after-tat products and is much more widely available. Do not pick the scabs off, do not scratch no matter how much it itches (and it will) and don’t be in a hurry to get out in the sun. Healing takes time and your body is unique, so don’t go by someone else’s timetable.

And the #1 frequently asked question: Does it hurt?

You betcha. But getting it removed hurts worse. So be very sure of what you want, where you want it, and whom you want to apply it before you start!

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Author: infmom

I got my first tattoo when I was 46. I hope the people who read this blog don't have to wait that long. I love talking about body art.


  1. DON’T Rule for Choosing Tattoo

    + Don’t limit yourself—not in the beginning anyway. Later, when you’re running out of skin, limit yourself
    + Don’t let somebody else pick your design. Let your next truck, wedding dress, or cell phone be a group choice, but not your tattoo. There’s only one person that it has to satisfy. To be a good design choice, it has to satisfy that person.
    + Don’t let the tattoo artist pick it. That’s just weak.
    + Don’t pick a design that you don’t understand—really understand, including runes or kanji or Sanskrit. Do your research instead of letting something get lost in translation.
    + Don’t get your significant other’s name.

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