Tattoo Etiquette: 7 Do's & Don'ts

Tattoo Etiquette: 7 Do's & Don'ts

Dec 07, 2022 | Bridget Reed

Getting a tattoo isn’t just picking out a design and withstanding the pain. There is a bit more that goes into getting a tattoo. 

We are here to ensure you don’t miss a beat in preparing for your tattoo, being on your best behavior for the tattoo session, and taking great care once your body art is permanent.

1. Wear the Right Clothes


Where are you getting your tattoo? Placement and the kind of clothes you’re wearing are going to matter. First, your tattoo artist needs to easily access the area of skin that will be tattooed on. 

Secondly, once the tattoo session is over, you’ll need to keep tight clothing away from the area for a bit. You’ll probably end up with a tattoo covering of sorts, but you still don’t want any tight clothing disturbing your new wound.

2. Drink Water and Eat Food

Check to ensure that the tattoo shop has no banned food or allergy worries, then grab a few snacks if it seems like your session might last a while. Bring water or another fun (but not alcoholic) beverage to sip on and a snack to gnaw on should you get hungry or need a little sugar to sustain you.

3. What To Bring

Besides a snack and a beverage, there are some other things you should think about bringing.

How are you going to pay? What kind of payment is accepted? Cash, card, crypto? Make sure if it’s cash only, you pull out some cash before going into the studio. 

Does your tattoo artist offer numbing gels or creams? If they don’t have their own, bring your HUSH Numbing Gel for your tattoo artist to use for your tattoo session.

You should also bring extra clothing like a sweater or loose clothing that would be helpful to cover you or keep you warm if you are getting your tattoo in a place that isn’t easy to access. If you’re not in the mood for chit-chat or silence, bring some music, headphones, or a book to keep you occupied.

4. Prepare for the Tattoo Session

Be sure of your design and where you want to put it. You don’t have to be exact, but it can be tough for the tattoo artist if you are indecisive or ask for last-minute changes. 

Don’t come into your tattoo session and spend the first hour asking your artist to make last-minute changes to the design or making them paste it on you a million times to figure out where you want it.

No matter where you get your tattoo, you will most likely experience pain, but depending on the exact location, you could experience excessive pain. Either way, you can diminish your pain by using a numbing gel and prolong your ability to last through a session. 

Fewer breaks mean a faster tattoo time and less probability of your skin getting inflamed. The numbing gel will also help with the red inflammation, making it easier for your tattoo artist to do their best work.

You’ll also want to prepare the area you’re getting tattooed. Shave if necessary, drink a lot of water, and ensure the skin is extra healthy a few weeks before the tattoo. You don’t want your artist trying to tattoo on your dry, crusty skin. Lotion up and drink some water!

5. Don’t Bring Your Friends

As fun as it is, don’t make your tattoo a social event. Bringing a bunch of friends to the studio is a great way to disrupt everyone's work and cause a little chaos. 

Chaos is not the vibe when you’re getting a permanent piece of body art. Plus, it’s just overwhelming. Instead of bringing a bunch of friends, maybe just bring one to help you confirm the design and placement, and then they can do their own thing until you’re done with your appointment. 

6. Tip Your Tattoo Artist

Tattoo artists get tipped too. Depending on your artist, where they work, and where you live, you should tip your tattoo artists between 18 and 25 percent. It’s always great when you have that tip in cash but if you don’t, make sure your tattoo artists accept card or Venmo tips.

7. Follow Aftercare Instructions

Tattoo Etiquette: 7 Do's & Don'ts

The absolute best thing you can do for your tattoo is to follow good aftercare instructions. If you do nothing else, follow your aftercare instructions to a T. 

Once your tattoo artist sends you off bandaged up, you’ll want to leave the bandage on until you are home safe and sound. Some bandages should stay on for a full day or longer, and others should be removed once you get home. Let your artist direct you in when you should remove that first bandage.

Once you remove that bandage, get into the bathroom and give your fresh wound a wash. 

  1. First, clean your hands with some antibacterial, fragrance-free soap.

  2. Then start rinsing your fresh wound with lukewarm water and try to remove as much debris as possible with just the water.

  3. Then grab more of that antibacterial, fragrance-free soap and gently lather your new tattoo with it. You want to be super careful on these first few washes. Your tattoo is oozing out blood and excess ink and forming blood clots that are imperative to its healing well. Scrubbing those blood clots off will cause poor healing.

  4. Okay, once you’ve lathered, give it a rinse and get all the soap off.

  5. Take a clean paper towel and lightly dab the new tattoo, drying up the area.

  6. Grab a healing ointment and apply a thin layer, completely covering the new tattoo and the surrounding area.

You will want to wash before bed, after you wake up, and when you get your tattoo dirty. But don’t overwash or scrub!

No sun for two weeks, and use sunscreen for the rest of your life after that!

Wrap Up

Come to your appointment prepared, don’t bring a big crew, be decisive in your tattoo choices, ask for anesthetic gel, tip your artist, and take amazing care of your tattoo. You and your new art deserve it!



Topical, Local, and Regional Anesthesia and Anesthetics - StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf

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