15 Tattoo Tips for Newbies

15 Tattoo Tips for Newbies

The ins and outs of getting tattooed for first-time customers.


Nowadays it seems like everywhere you look there is a tattoo either hidden under a shirt-sleeve or worn proudly on the visible skin. Tattoos are a method of self-expression and have made artwork more accessible than ever. Either way you look at them, tattoos hold a huge appeal for anyone who appreciates art or feels the pull to embellish their body.

Especially with how much tattoos are making their way into mainstream life, the urge to go get a spontaneous tattoo can be overwhelming. However, from the notorious pain to the task of picking an artist, design, and style, knowing where to start can be extremely intimidating.

To clarify, tattoo artists should always be consulted before a random internet search if you have any pervasive questions about getting tattooed.

But for now, I hope this list of basic tips for first-time-tattoo-receivers makes your next appointment go a little bit smoother for both yourself and the artist.

1. Do your research

Although this might go without saying for some, I wouldn't be doing the hopeful tattoo client any justice if I didn't put emphasis on how important it is to do research before deciding on an artist, design or art style.

This has the dual benefit of preparing you for anything that is to come as well as ensuring that you get the art that best matches your vision. Research can prepare you for the process itself as well as the aftercare, and it ensures that you won't run into any unsafe surprises during your appointment.

2. Know the terminology 

Researching before your appointment not only prepares you better, but it allows you to hold your own in an appointment where you might be getting a lot of new information in very little time. It is important to know the technical terms that apply, physical phenomena that could arise and common brands of aftercare products that might be recommended.

However, always ask questions if you still don't understand something during your appointment. It's better to be safe than sorry!

3. Instagram it up

While this just fuels the tattoo obsession for me, Instagram has a thriving community of tattoo artists and shops to pull inspiration from and get you familiarized with terms, style types and hot-spots for good artists. Many artists nowadays have a profile on their shop's website as well as on Instagram, so this is a much less intimidating platform to explore before committing to the first shop or artist that you come across.

P.S. Whatever you do, don't be the guy who direct messages an artist asking about prices or availability. Not only is it unprofessional, but it signals to the artist that you aren't serious about the inquiry or respect them as a business person. Nobody likes that guy.

4.Try to ignore the impulses 

However hard this may be, the best results from getting tattooed come with time.

Not only is this to consider the permanency of it, but it allows you to be mentally and financially ready when the time is right. Also, many artists book up to many months in advance, so be sure to be wary of that before making the decision to get tattooed.

However, if you just can't shake that feeling of needing new ink ASAP, many shops will have Flash Sales with pre-designed tattoos that are usually discounted in price because of a special event like Friday the 13th or holidays.

5. Reaching out to artists 

The key to forging a good relationship with the artist you hope will tattoo you is professionalism. It is important to acknowledge that this is their livelihood and they more than likely have a huge passion for art.

Start by explaining how you found them so that they have a little background knowledge of what platforms may be working better for them than others. Include reference photos, any details that are important to you and show intent to actually make an appointment instead of speaking hypothetically.

However, don't micromanage. If you feel like you're ready to get tattooed by someone, trust their vision, perspective and boundaries. Trust me, it'll make the whole appointment go a lot more smoothly.

Lastly, if you aren't ready to get tattooed the very next day, consider waiting a bit to contact them. It would probably be really annoying to get excited about a project just to have your hopes dashed, right?

6. Pricing of tattoos

This is a tricky thing to consider for many people, cause it seems like the best tattoos are just so darn expensive. That's because you get what you pay for. Some artists will price by the size of the tattoo while others charge a flat rate per hour.

Whatever their method may be, don't try to haggle with them. Artists set prices considering how much time it'll take them, the time spent drawing out the design, the price of the ink and sometimes shop policies. Trying to bring down the price is disrespectful to the artist because it implies that their craft is not worth it, when to the right client, it will be.

7. Paying for a tattoo

Another hugely important reason to plan out getting tattooed is for financial reasons. More often than not tattoo artists will request a deposit to hold an appointment. This is insurance for them if you don't come to get tattooed when the day comes.

It also compensates them for the time they spent sketching out the artwork and wasting a time slot that could've been taken by a paying customer. However, artists will often take the deposit off of the total price of the tattoo that's due after the appointment has ended.

Whatever else you do, don't plan for it to be cheap. In my experience, a good tattoo will usually air on the more expensive side of your expected range. This is okay. Because they are permanent, it's worth it to pay the price and get yourself a nice tattoo that will last instead of the quickest, cheapest option.

Reminder: you get what you pay for.

8. To tip or not to tip

The simple answer to this is tip. Always. While this might feel exhaustive since the tattoo itself was already a hefty price, the artist will probably only see a fraction of that, and many artists heavily depend on tips to supplement the lack of a consistent income. The rule here is the same as anywhere: the average is between 15%-20% depending on the experience.

Pro Tip: cash is almost always the preferred method of tipping and some shops may not even give you the option to tip otherwise, so be sure to make a quick trip to the bank before heading to your appointment!

9. Yes, it hurts 

I've noticed that in the excitement of getting new ink, I often forget that you will be getting stabbed with a needle dozens of times. While everyone has a different threshold for pain, prepare for it to hurt. I've heard that the most painful places to be tattooed are on the insides of the limbs and directly on the bone (ribs, spine, feet ect.), so be sure to manage your pain expectations.

10. On your mark, get set....

You've picked your tattoo, decided on an artist, and now the day has finally come to stick that sucker on your body forever. To prepare I like to bring a sweater in case I get cold, water, a snack, headphones in case the artist doesn't like to talk while they're working, the cash tip, and your ID.

You must be 18 years of age or older to get tattooed, and yes, they will ask you to fill out some paperwork and get a copy of your ID for liability purposes. If they don't take you through these processes, run. Run far away. Health and safety should be your priority in any situation.

Usually, appointments will start with finalizing last minute details and the artist getting their station set up and sanitized. Once you're finally put on the chair or table, your artist may shave the area before the skin is prepped and the stencil is placed.

If you have any concerns or questions during this part, speak up. One of my biggest regrets is not telling the artist of my first tattoo to straighten it out just a tad. But since you have this guide, that won't happen to you, right?

11. Show time

During the application of the tattoo itself, the most important thing is to be still. I included the information about anticipating pain because there are moments where every nerve in your body might be telling you to skip on out of that shop and never look back, but it is essential to not move so that you don't incur serious damage or mess up the work.

If you need to let out some of that pent-up pain, auditory expressions are preferable to physical ones.

Also, be sure to ask your artist ahead of time about their policy of bringing along a support person if you think you'd benefit from a distraction or a hand to squeeze.

12. You did the thing

If you've followed all of these instructions, you should end the appointment with a gorgeous piece of artwork on your body forever. It is still going to hurt during this time, but your artist will clean and prep the area and give instructions about what type of bandage is being used, when to remove it and the steps to take after you get home. Be sure to ask as many questions as needed during this time.

P.S. This is a good time to get some pictures before the nasty healing process begins!

13. Preparing to heal

Cleanliness is key for about the first two weeks after getting the tattoo. Personally, the tried and true method of using an unscented hand soap to wash, Aquaphore until it starts peeling, then unscented Lubriderm lotion until the peeling stops is preferred, but your artist may have special instructions for you based on what's available to them, their location and their preferences.

All of this should be communicated before you leave the shop, but most artists will encourage you to call if you have any other questions/concerns afterward.

If you do decide to go with these suggestions and you've discussed it with your artist, be sure to pick these up from the drug store before the appointment instead of after while you're also dealing with the pain.

14. Taking it easy and taking precautions 

For the next two weeks, there are a few things that everyone can agree are essential to a tattoo healing properly.

A. Keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight. After it is completely healed, use sunblock of at least SPF 50 to keep it looking as nice as possible for as long as possible.

B. No swimming. Both man-made pools and natural swimming spots can expose you to harmful bacteria which could cause an infection.

C. Avoid anything that could expose the tattoo to bacteria. Pets, outside activity and excessive exercise should all be avoided until the tattoo is freshly heeled.

D. Wear loose-fitting clothing. This keeps the tattoo from becoming irritated and enormously expedites the healing process.

Although this list isn't even close to exhaustive, these few never hurt to be repeated.

15. Stay calm and fawn

Remember: everyone's body is different, so everyone is going to react to being tattooed differently. That being said, it is an open wound and should be regarded as such. The most common side effects are pain, swelling and redness, itching, peeling (like a sunburn) and scabbing.

All of these are normal.

While you shouldn't turn to WebMD to see how long you have left to live for every symptom, be aware of the process, take extra precautions and always consult your artist or doctor if you feel that you might be showing signs of infection.

After this tedious and frustrating process is over, you're left with a stunning piece of work that'll last you a lifetime. Now, just sit back, relax and fawn over what was hopefully a great investment and a life-long memory.

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.

It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semicolon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.

2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."

3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.

4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."

5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."

6. Greek symbol of Inguz: Where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."

8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya).

9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty, and artistic creativity.

10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love, and creativity or to put yourself into whatever you do.

11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from "The Hobbit." It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.

13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength and stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.

16. A glyph means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."

18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe and the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can remind us of the inconsistency of life. It also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.

SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos

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12 Tips Before Getting Your First Eyelash Extensions

I know you are in the middle of making your appointment, but here are a few pointers.


If you are like me, you are super hesitant about trying new things in the beauty realm. I have finally tried lash extensions and can easily say I am obsessed. 10/10 recommend! If you are considering getting yours done, here are a few pointers!

1. Shower before your appointment.

This seems logical, but I wasn't aware. Luckily, I did shower before my appointment and wasn't shocked when my lash tech said, "don't get them wet for 24 hours."

2. Not all extensions are over the top. There are lash extensions for EVERYONE. 

I was super worried my lashes were going to be crazy over the top and I would look crazy during my runs. I asked my lash tech and she gave me a set of natural lashes. You get to pick the style of lashes you want! You can get them for fuller volume or just a natural look. There is a style of lashes for everyone!

3. Yes, they are SO much better than mascara and strip lashes.

I was already a firm hater of mascara, so lash extensions didn't have to work hard to win me over. As for strip lashes, I use to love putting them on for a night out or date night. It seemed as if a makeup look was not complete without them. Now, I wear less makeup on a night out because I feel as if my lashes really just pull the simplest of looks together.

4. Not all lash techs will charge you an arm and a leg.

One of my favorite nail salons offers lash extensions, STARTING at $100. Luckily, if you live near a college campus, the chances are high that a student is certified to do them and charges well under $100. I get mine done for $60 and leave happy with the work done every time.

5. You can go bare-faced and still feel flawless.

I have never woken up and felt so gorgeous right after stumbling out of bed. Lash extensions really give you an extra boost of confidence in feeling like you don't even want to bother with putting on makeup for the day.

6. You will need to wash your face in the sink, not the shower. 

You can get your lashes wet, but water coming forcefully out of a showerhead directly onto your lashes is not good for them. Makeup wipes and a careful face cleaning in the sink will take care of all your facial needs while avoiding causing damage to your lashes. I still use face masks when I have mine done!

7. Check the ingredients in your makeup removing products. 

To remove makeup, I LOVE using coconut oil. If you have lash extensions you should NOT use coconut oil. In fact, when your down to the last few lashes and are ready for them to come off, use coconut oil on a cotton ball and gently rub it along your lash line. Certain oils breakdown the glue used for lash extensions, so be aware of them before using them on your eye makeup.

8. Some people will truly believe they are your natural lashes. 

Here are some responses for their inquiries:

"I wish."

"Lash extensions, 10/10 recommend."

"I woke up like this."

9. You will need to sleep pretty. 

I have a tendency to sleep on my face. A tendency which I soon broke after getting lash extensions. You will have to learn to stay on your side or lay on your back so you don't rub all of your extensions out in the night.

WARNING: Be extra cautious on a night out where adult beverages were consumed. Ruining your lashes by drunkenly rubbing or sleeping on your face may cause heavy lash-loss.

10. They last about two to three weeks.

I have found that mine stay in pretty thick up until about 2.5 weeks. If you are careful, they could definitely still look flawless pushing week three.

11. They aren't damaging to your real lashes.

As long as you go to a licensed lash tech and aren't rubbing your face or pulling your lashes out, your natural lashes are safe and sound!

12. Once you get them done, you'll be going back for more.

It's not an addiction. And if it is, I don't think there is an issue to being addicted to feeling great about your lashes!

Making your lash appointment now? I figured.

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