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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10 Outfits Every College Girl Wears To Class At Least Once

You can thank me later.

It's happened on more than one occasion.

The occasion of being called out more than once for dressing down for class and by "down" I mean some of the haters we hate to love claiming that they can't see the shorts we're wearing under the oversized band tee on our way to class.

Contrary to popular belief, yes I'm not oblivious to how my choice of outfits for class tends to shift on the more comfortable side and yes, I am aware that it looks like I'm not wearing pants, I like it that way.

Every girl in college wears what they feel is comfortable enough to wear in a 2-hour lecture and these are my ideas of comfort.

1. The infamous oversized tee with Nike shorts.

I'll say it right now, I have a variety of assorted Soffee and Nike shorts that I pair with almost every oversized tee I own and it's my go-to for those 8 AM math lectures.

2. Oversized tee with leggings and riding boots.

Once the first red, yellow and orange leaf is found on campus grounds, you know you're about to see a swarm of college girls, like me, sporting riding boots in every shade of brown. Jeans optional.

3. Oversized tee with leggings and rain boots.

Once the first rainfall hits campus, you better believe you'll see this same 'fit paired with Hunter boots in almost every color.

4. The "I'm going to the gym right after class, I SWEAR" look.

Whether or not I have plans to go to the gym after class or not, I'm probably in my gym gear 4 times of the week and I'm not ashamed by it.

5. Jeans.

I've always had a hate/hate relationship with wearing jeans when I absolutely do not have to and here's why: they make my derriere completely disappear. When (and if) you catch me wearing jeans in lecture hall it's probably because someone paid me a large sum of money to do so.

6. Your boyfriend's flannel paired with... you guessed it, your favorite pair of leggings.

This is probably one of the many flannels I've stolen from my boyfriend and certainly not the last one. Paired with another favorite standard black leggings, you can't go wrong with this outfit to snooze in.

7. The baseball hat and quarter zip ensemble.

One of my all times favorites, you can't go wrong with a zipper up 3x too big for your body and a baseball hat you honestly forgot where you got it from. We also can't forget our infamous black leggings.

8. Your "walk of shame" outfit.

Now, this doesn't mean you roll up to Intro to Psychology wearing what you wore to the lacrosse mixer the night before, no. This is more of the outfit you so quickly had to throw on in a span of two minutes because you left so and so's apartment downtown an hour too late.

9. A v-neck.

Another one of my favorites.

10. Dresses (or anything even relatively formal).

Disclaimer: I personally would never come to class wearing this but gigantic kudos to cute a** girls that do decide to wear this because you look good.

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Not Wearing A Bra, And 11 Other Things Girls Do That Make Guys Uncomfortable

According to men, we're the biggest enigma.


As a woman in today's society, it seems like according to men we can do nothing right. We either get over sexualized to the point where we are told "cover up" or over sexualized to the point where we are called prude for not showing enough skin to attract the attention of the men around us. Taking all of this into consideration, guys are still grossly uncomfortable with normal things that women do in today's world. If you're a woman reading this, I'm sure you're already forming a list in your head. If you're a man, well, here are 12 things that you are uncomfortable with that you probably shouldn't be.

1. Not wearing a bra 

First and foremost, whether I cease to wear one out in public or in my home, trust me, buddy, I'm not doing it for you. I'm not doing it so you'll mention the fact that you can tell I'm not wearing one. I'm doing it for my comfort level, and most certainly not for your benefit. At all. Ever.

2. Denying their advances 

Grabbing my ass is not the correct way to ask me to move out of your way, catcalling me will not get my attention, and no, buying me a drink does not mean you automatically get laid. Not only do you look like an idiot to every woman around you with that kind of mentality, but to the girl you're trying to impress by being a pig? Yeah, she thinks you're pretty stupid, too.

I know it just kills your ego when we tell you no. How dare we make YOU feel uncomfortable by denying your lovely attempts at getting our attention.

3. Not accepting a drink they hand us

They offer you a drink, you say no, and suddenly not only are they mad on some occasions, but their poor ego is damaged indefinitely... Until they try that same move with the girl a few places down. They don't understand why you won't accept their drink that they were so nice to buy you.

Uh, you could drug me. If you want to buy me a drink, let me order it, watch the bartender make it, and then you can pay. Please don't expect me to take a drink right from you.

4. Traveling in groups to the bathroom during a girls' night out

We only do that because there is strength in numbers. If it makes you uncomfortable, sorry, but guys like you are probably the reason we do it. I don't know why our safety is any concern to you.

5. Knowing about cars, sports, or anything deemed a "guy thing"

You say one thing about a sports team or a car part and suddenly, according to men, you have no idea what you're talking about and they have to talk over you to explain it all, much better than you could. They only do this because the thought of us knowing anything about "guy stuff" makes their skin crawl.

6. Wanting careers 

How dare we want real jobs and to be paid as much as them! Silly us!

7. Thinking our place is anywhere but the kitchen 

Obviously we are meant to be of total service to the men in our lives, regardless of circumstances, right? We shouldn't have careers and hobbies when our life's purpose is to be a homemaker who slaves over the stove all day while our very masculine husbands do everything.

When will we learn? No wonder you guys are so uncomfortable. We don't know our place yet.

8. Wanting rights to our own bodies 

Uh oh, I think we forgot (again) that men are supposed to be in control of everything about us, including reproductive rights. No wonder they're so confused. They aren't always in control.

9. Not wanting kids

But wait! Isn't our only reason for being alive to mother a baby? It's a blessing to be a mom no matter what, according to men, and we need to fall in line. So, when you look a man in the eye and say you don't want kids, sometimes their eyes about pop out of their skull.

10. Having a menstrual cycle 

Men will never understand the daunting nature of our time of the month. Between cramps, headaches, and the constant desire to pop pain killers, it's grueling. To men, though, the whole thing is gross. Ew, we're bleeding. Forget about denying them anything during this time because most of them will not understand why.

11. Denying them sex of any kind, ever 

We have every right to tell you no. Listen, I know it just totally baffles you when we do, guys, but we owe you nothing. Let me say it again. We owe you nothing. No matter what.

12. Being independent 

By society's standards, even today, we are to allow a man to take care of us meek young women. You meet a man who intends to do that and by the first date when you pay for your bill he doesn't want you anymore. You want to work for your money and not depend on him, know about topics deemed "guy stuff", and stand up to him and he just doesn't understand why.

Let's face it: Guys will never understand.

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