Everything you need to know before your first tattoo

A guide that covers all you need to know about your first tattoo. From how to choose a design, how much does it hurt to get a tattoo, to how much does it cost to get a tattoo.

Blog author
Ink Public Team
June 14 2021

Getting a first tattoo might be a bit daunting and that is perfectly normal! If you feel that something is off or unsatisfactory with your new tattoo, you may consider removing it with laser treatment. Depending on the scale and colour of the tattoo, the cost of removing it may be high, it is often a long process that can be painful.


All of this can be avoided with a little research before going under the needle for the first time. Worries and questions about how, what, why, and where can hopefully be resolved with this guide. That way, you can confidently walk into the tattoo studio with nothing heavy bearing on your chest and leave with a huge smile on your face.


How to choose a tattoo design?


Choosing a design can be tricky if you are not quite sure what you would like. And on top of that, there are many things to consider - style, size, colours or no colours, and the list goes on. This stage might be the most important one because what you decide now will stay with you for a long time, so think it through!


You might start by searching what kind of artists are in your area and looking at their portfolios. If you already had a design in mind, the key here is to try and match the tattoo you would like to have with the artist’s style. That way, the blend of the two will yield magnificent results, and you’re on the right track to getting a tattoo you love. Perhaps you’re going into it with no design in mind, but you love the aesthetic that the artist has to offer, you can book in a consultation with the artist. That way, if you have a design in mind or not, you will be able to see if you feel comfortable with the tattooist. Bringing a reference photo to the consultation is encouraged, but do not expect to have the same thing tattooed! It is malpractice to copy other artists’ designs as your own, so be aware that some tweaks and changes will have to be done so that the work can be as authentic as possible. It is vital to keep an open mind about any comments that the artist might have about your tattoo design during the consultation. After all, they have experience in many tattoos, and most likely have one of their own. But do not be scared to speak up if there is something you do not like or have worries about. It is not the time to be shy, since you do not want to get a permanent tattoo that you dislike.


Last but not least, many people are worried that they might dislike their tattoo design in the future. Since there is no way for us to know what’s to come, there is no certainty in what will last and what will not. But in this case, you might choose something vaguer, so if you do not like the meaning associated with it, you can always change it. For example, if you want something to remind you of your family, but do not want to tattoo names, you can choose a tree design or a heart. That way, only you know the meaning and can change it as you please. 


tattoo salon male tattoo shop


How much does a tattoo hurt?


How much a tattoo hurts depends on several factors - placement, sex, and pain tolerance. Your biological sex plays a large part in the pain scale, although there are generally more and less sensitive areas for both. Generally speaking, the areas closer to the bone, not covered with fat or muscle, or just have thinner skin are more likely to hurt than others. So, if you’re a bit scared that it might hurt more than you can handle, some artists recommend going for a small tattoo to see where you are on the pain scale. 


There are things you can do additionally to ease the pain before starting the process. The most common tip to reduce the pain is to have a big meal before going under the needle. A full stomach is better than an empty stomach, which can be irritating and lower your pain tolerance. The last tip you might want to consider is taking some sort of pain medication. You can either get off the counter pain killers or try getting a topical numbing cream. We highly recommend discussing pain killers or numbing creams with your chosen artist beforehand!



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How much does a tattoo cost?


There is no simple answer to how much a tattoo costs. It depends on the style of tattooing, the size of your tattoo design, the healing process, and the artist that you’ve chosen. Once you get your design down, you can ask the artist for a quote on the tattooing price. If you’re looking for not to spend a lot of money, you can go around the local shops asking for a quote, and find the cheapest one. But this type of method is not recommended. You ought to see the tattoo as an investment, and a piece of art that is permanent on your body, so to skimp out on a tattoo is not wise. And lastly, when taking into account tattoo expenses, people often forget to consider the price of aftercare products.


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How long does a tattoo take to heal, and how do I care for it?


Tattoos usually heal in two to three weeks, but take a bit more time for your skin to heal at all layers. The amount of time can vary depending on your immune system, your body’s ability to fight infections, and how well you take care of your tattoo. Your tattoo artist will likely provide you with an aftercare regimen, since the aftercare may vary depending on what style the artist used, inks, and what colours were used to complete your tattoo. So, following that regimen to a T has the highest probability of giving you the tattoo you desire the most.

Although there are some general guidelines to keep in mind. First and foremost, you ought to avoid the sun as much as possible, as direct sunlight can be very damaging to your new tattoo. If you are going out in the sunlight, do not forget the sunscreen! Secondly, it would be best if your tattoo does not rub against items of clothing, so try to avoid any tight clothes. And lastly, do not submerge your tattoo in water, although running water is fine.


What if the tattoo turns out not the way I wanted?


By the end, if the tattoo didn't turn out the way you wanted, do not fret, as there are ways to correct the permanent. This might happen when the tattoo heals up and may not look the way you wanted it to, or the time has passed and your mind has changed, or even that it might be that the artist you’ve chosen did not do the design justice. If the change to your tattoo happened after it healed, you could get a touch-up. Most tattoo artists offer a free touch up approximately after the tattoo is healed if one is needed. When it’s the case of not liking the tattoo after some time, there are actions you can take to change that. One is doing an often more massive, cover-up tattoo. You can take this path if you wish to expand your tattoo collection even more or not want to go through the other route. The other option is to have the tattoo laser removed. This option can almost wholly take out the unwanted artwork from your body, but it most often can take quite some amount of sessions to complete. Each session can cost quite a bit, and it can sting. So, getting a tattoo you dislike might not be the end of the world, after all!

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