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Tattoo Etiquette: The Dos and Don'ts Of Getting Inked

Words by Adam Jolley
Tattoo Etiquette: The Dos and Don'ts Of Getting Inked

Look we're not massive fans of rules. And the word 'etiquette' is probably best left at the dinner table (although I will keep my elbows on the table if I want). But there's a few things that may just prove handy to know when you get your next tattoo - especially if it's your first time - eeek! 

So without further ado let's delve into the world of tattoo etiquette – the unspoken rules and guidelines that may just help you navigate the vibrant and diverse tattoo community with respect and understanding. And more importantly, ensure you're a little wiser heading into your first tattoo experience. 

DO: Research Your Artist and Studio

Pretty obvious one this, but before committing to getting inked, you should definitely take the time to research tattoo artists and studios in your area. Look at their portfolios, read reviews online, ask for recommendations from friends or online communities etc etc... Finding the right artist whose style aligns with your vision is key to a positive tattoo experience. 

DON'T: Haggle Over Prices

Choosing an artist means signing up to their pricing. We don't need to tell you tattooing is a skilled art form, and quality work comes at a price. Respect your artist's expertise and the value of their time by not trying to negotiate prices. Remember, you're investing in a piece of art that will last a lifetime – it's worth paying a fair price for exceptional craftsmanship. And ultimately if you don't like the price on offer, there's no obligation to take the tattoo.

DO: Communicate Clearly

In terms of Do's and Don'ts, we've already crossed off two of the biggies on the list. Perhaps the third main thing to remember is 'communiction'. Communication is pretty key when it comes to getting a tattoo. Be open and honest with your artist about your ideas, preferences, and any concerns you may have. Trust their expertise and listen to their recommendations – they want to create a tattoo that you'll love just as much as you do.

Tattoo artist at work in Stories & Ink studio, Falmouth

DON'T: Dictate Every Detail

Imagine trying to paint a picture and having someone stand over you and dictate every line and brush stroke. Pretty annoying, huh? And probably off-putting. It's bound to have an effect on the quality of the finished piece. Same for tattoos. While it's important to communicate your vision to your artist, avoid micromanaging every aspect of the design. Remember that tattoo artists are professionals with their own creative flair. Trust them to bring your ideas to life in their own unique style – you might be pleasantly surprised by the results!

DO: Practice Good Hygiene

Before your tattoo appointment, ensure that you're clean and freshly showered. This not only shows respect for your artist but also helps create a hygienic environment for the tattooing process. Additionally, follow your artist's aftercare instructions diligently to promote proper healing and maintain the integrity of your new tattoo.

DON'T: Touch Your Fresh Tattoo

Resist the temptation to touch or pick at your fresh tattoo, no matter how itchy it may feel. Your artist will provide you with aftercare instructions – follow them carefully to ensure optimal healing. Avoid exposing your tattoo to direct sunlight, swimming pools, or harsh chemicals until it's fully healed.

DO: Tip Your Artist

Not all artists expect a tip, and some countries differ on this. But generally, a respectful tip ain't gonna go down badly. Tattoo artists pour their heart and soul into their work, and a genuine gesture of appreciation for their skill and dedication should be much apprciated. As mentioned, tipping practices may vary depending on location but a tip of 10-20% is fairly standard. Failing that, a gift may do - although perhaps only if you know your tattoo artist well, else it might come off as a bit, umm, weird (Don't be weird is not on the list btw, but always a good one to remember!).

DON'T: Be Judgmental

Finally, the tattoo community is as diverse as the artwork itself, so avoid making assumptions based on stereotypes or appearances. Respect everyone's unique journey and perspective, regardless of their tattoo choices or background. Embrace the spirit of inclusivity and celebrate the beauty of individual expression and you'll not only ensure a positive tattoo experience for yourself, but also contribute to a culture of mutual respect and appreciation within the tattoo community.

Stories & Ink studio, Falmouth