Six Dos And Don’ts For Your First Tattoo

Dragonfly Tattoo

You’ve seen a design that has inspired you, and now you feel ready to book the appointment for your first tattoo. While you may feel excited – which you should, getting a tattoo can be an amazing experience – there are some practical tips to go through before your tattoo session. 

Just walking into a tattoo studio and going under the needle before any preparation could result in an unpleasant appointment and a tattoo design you no longer find appealing in a week. 

Black and White Tattoo Ink @original_tattoos

Here are six dos and don’ts to consider before making your very first tattoo appointment:

Do: Think About Any Future Tattoos You May Want After Your First Tattoo

Starting your tattoo journey with a small minimalistic tattoo can be a great idea – this way you can judge the pain and not have to sit too long in the studio during your first tattooing experience. However, the placement of this design is important as it can impact any future artwork you get. 

Compass Tattoo @pelinnsimsek

As tattoo artist Lisette Martinez explained to Inked, the size of your planned tattoo should match the area of your body where it’s going – one mini tattoo in the middle of your bicep may look odd, plus it’s going to be a problem if you want a full sleeve in the future.  

One area that Martinez does recommend for first timers is the inner forearm because it’s an area that, for the majority, isn’t too painful.

“That’s a great area to start your first tattoo. It does hurt towards the wrist, [but] it’s a little bit of pain and then it’s over.”

Clock Tattoo @x_moonhead

Tattoos do hurt, so make sure the design you’ve chosen is worth it.

Related Post: The Pros and Cons Of Forearm Tattoos

Don’t: Get A Tattoo That’s Trendy At The Moment (Unless You Truly Love It)

Trends come and go, but ink is (almost) forever. Yes, you can get laser removal, but the process is long, expensive, and offers no guarantees that the tattoo will be completely gone from your skin.

Tiger Tattoo @_gabta

This is one of the reasons you should be as sure as possible that you’ve chosen the right tattoo design based on what you like, not what fashion or society dictates you should like. This is not to say that you shouldn’t get inspired. 

Do: Go On Pinterest And Find Some Inspiration

Typing “tattoo” in Pinterest will pull up a ton of incredible designs. This can help you gain a better understanding of what kind of style of tattoo you want; but, don’t just print the image and go to your tattoo artist.

Flower Sleeve Tattoo @gilatattoo

Spontaneity is a lot of fun, but should maybe not be the driving factor behind the choice of getting inked, especially if you’re going under the tattoo gun for the first time. 

Look out for designs you love (but don’t copy them) and do your research so that the final design is one you’ve put a lot of thought into; this way the possibility of tattoo regret is slim.

Don’t: Ignore Your Tattoo Artist

This goes for before, during, and after your tattoo session. A professional tattoo artist knows what they’re talking about, so their advice and tips are well worth listening to. For five ways to save for your tattoo so that you can book your appointment with an artist whose work you love, click here.

When you have your consultation with your chosen artist, bring in as many references as you can so that they have a full understanding of what you want to get out of your tattoo appointment.

Once you’ve laid everything down and explained what you want for your design, your artist can advise what ideas will work and what ideas won’t – don’t be closed off, listen to the alternatives they offer you.

After you’ve been inked, your tattoo artist will give you some homework in the form of aftercare instructions – these aren’t optional suggestions.

Your body will have just been through a trauma and needs to heal – helping this process along by following aftercare instructions will go a long way in guaranteeing an amazing end result. 

“Any time you open the skin, you leave yourself vulnerable to scarring and infections. Caring for your tattoo can prevent those complications and ensure that the tattoo heals properly. Both you and your tattoo artist play equal roles in this process. Along with going to a licensed and reputable tattoo artist, you need to take care of your new tattoo at home,”


Do: Get A Good Night’s Sleep And Come Prepared

The day and night before your tattoo is preparation time.

During the day if the sun is out, don’t go outside too much, or, if you do, cover up. Sunburned skin is not the ideal canvas for a new tattoo because it can hinder the healing process and it will make getting inked a lot more painful. So, rather skip the beach.

Eagle Woman Tattoo @stlouis_art

Also, skip a night out and choose a chilled night at home followed by a full night’s rest. Authority Tattoo points out,

“Being tired will also make the session feel like it’s taking longer, so make sure you’re not spending the entire time in your tattoo artist’s chair yawning and feeling the urge to stretch and fidget. Sleep is an important factor for your body when it comes to the healing process afterwards, too; so get those z’s!”

A key way to prepare for your tattoo session is to eat a proper meal beforehand. A nourished body can bounce back quicker. Opt for foods high in protein and vitamin c.

Don’t: Go Partying The Night Before Then Bring All Your Friends To Your Appointment

A tattoo studio is a place of work and the artists most likely won’t want to get distracted by 10 of your friends crowding around and watching you get inked. One person for support is fine, but don’t make it a party. 

Bright Blue Tattoo @gillianmarietattoo

Don’t make the night before your tattoo appointment a party, either. Being hungover and tired is not going to help you have a smooth session. Plus, alcohol thins your blood which could result in you bleeding more than expected which can hamper the appointment.

“When you bleed more than normal, it can cause visibility issues for the artist, potentially compromising the quality of the design. Excess bleeding can also thin the ink,”


Getting your first tattoo is an exciting time. Avoid feeling too overwhelmed and ending up with a tattoo you’re unhappy with by taking your time to fully prepare for the experience.
For a guide on the entire process of getting a tattoo, click here.

Related Posts

Recent Posts Protection Status