Getting Your First Tattoo: What to Expect

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You’ve chosen an artist at a reputable tattoo parlor, you have your design planned out, and you saved up the money… now what? When you’re getting your first tattoo, it can be scary going in not knowing what to expect. So to ease some of your worries, let’s take a look at a brief step-by-step guide to getting a tattoo.

Filling out paperwork: First things first, you’ll need to fill out some paperwork. You’ll have to show your ID to prove you’re not underage and answer a few basic questions. Additionally, you’ll most likely be asked to put a deposit down before your appointment. This step is to ensure everything is squared away before the inking begins.

Preparation: Before the tattooing starts, the tattoo artist will clean their workstation and ensure everything is sterile. This step also includes wrapping the chair and setting it in the right position for the tattoo to be done. Additionally, the artist will set up their gun and get the necessary tattoo ink ready. And if you’re getting the tattoo in a spot that has body hair, that has to be shaved off.

Applying the stencil: This is one of the most important steps in the tattoo process. The artist will apply the stencil in the chosen area where they think it looks best. But it’s important to ensure you like it — if you want it moved, even slightly, make sure it gets moved. The artist would rather move the stencil around than have you hate the location or position of your new ink.

Tattoo time: Once the stencil is applied and you’re happy with the design and position, it’s time to finally get the tattoo. It’s important to know that, yes, tattoos do hurt. But tattoo artists will do everything they can to make the process as comfortable as possible, like putting ointment on your skin to help the needle slide smoother. But if you feel like you need to take a break or feel yourself getting dizzy, it’s important to tell your artist so they can stop and let you rest.

Aftercare instructions: After you’re inked up, you’ll be given instructions on how to care for your fresh tattoo. You should treat your new tattoo like a wound and make sure it stays clean and dry. If you fail to care for your tattoo properly, you could risk it healing wrong and not looking right. So make sure you follow any aftercare instructions you’re given.

And just like that, you have your first tattoo! The tattoo process is something that should be taken very seriously. With about 21,000 tattoo parlors in the U.S., it’s important to choose the one you think is right for you. If you choose the best tattoo parlor possible, then you’ll have an overall pleasant experience of getting your first tattoo.

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