We all have a friend or two with a tattoo they either got on a whim or a tattoo they kinda regret… or both. While some may be able to laugh it off as an “experience,” not all of us are so brave or cavalier about our body art.
So, if you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, here’s a few tips to make sure you pick the right tattoo shop so you get the tattoo (and the experience) you actually want.
Here’s a few tips to make sure you select a shop that prioritizes client health:
Consider the type of piece you’d like
Like many artists, tattoo artists typically specialize in a particular style; and while there are many talented individuals who are capable of a range of styles, not every artist may be able to take on the type of work you have in mind. This is why the first, most important step, is understanding the type of piece you’re looking for. For example, if you’re interested in a portrait, you’ll want to find an artist who has a proven portraiture portfolio. Not every artist may be capable of producing your ideal piece, so keep that knowledge front and center as you begin your search.
Research your artist
Once you have a good idea around the type of art you’d like, it’s time to look into the tattoo artists in your area whose style is in line with your desired piece. Today, many artists have their work on Instagram and on Facebook, making it easier to see what they work on a regular basis. At this stage it may be a good idea to start bookmarking particular pieces from local artists that are similar to your vision. This will help provide a good jumping point once you book your consultation.
Visit the shop
It’s always a good idea to visit the shop before booking your first appointment. You’ll want to make sure you get a feel for how the shop operates and if you like the vibe. Getting a tattoo is an experience, and often you spend hours in a chair with your artist, so you want to make sure you actually like the person who will be working with you. While you don’t have to be best buddies right off the bat, you should at the very least make sure you feel comfortable with each other.
Inquire around compliance and safety standards
Aside from meeting your prospective artist, you’ll also want to get a feel for the cleanliness and safety standards of the shop. Because tattooing requires a needle to break the skin, it’s very important that the tattoo shop you choose closely adheres to sanitation guidelines.
By law, tattoo shops must follow OSHA Compliance. Make sure to take note or ask questions around the following:
- Is there a separate work area and waiting area?
- Are the tattoo artists wearing gloves, goggles or eyeglasses to avoid unnecessary exchange of body fluids?
- Do the artists keep needles in sealed containers?
- Are pigment trays and needles single-use only?
- Are non-disposable devices/instruments washed with hot water and soap?
- Does the shop sterilize equipment with an autoclave?
Hopefully, by following these tips you’ll be well on your way to finding a great shop and getting a tattoo that exceeds expectations.