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A Beginner’s Guide To Tattoos

Professional artist is tattooing body


Five things to keep in mind while getting inked for the first time.

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Priyanka Chopra Jonas has one. Deepika Padukone has two. So does Hrithik Roshan and Varun Dhawan. What you ask? Tattoos! Tattoos are really cool—a rite of passage to adulthood if you will.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Besides, long gone are the days when tattoos were exclusively associated with mobsters/gangsters or other questionable characters! Having said that, getting your body permanently inked for the first time can be an intimidating experience—even if you have a Pinterest board full of tattoo inspo!  Fret not, Man’s Life has you covered.


Tattoo artist in black gloves holding tattoo machine in hand

The first one will always be special. So, choose your artist wisely to entrust this job. Follow a few tattoo artists online and their work. This will give you an insight to who they’re not only as an artist, but also as a person. If you love the artist, you’ll enjoy the process and the artwork even more! Fresh tattoos look different from the healed versions. Colours do fade as they heal and lines become blurry. So, always look for pictures of an artist’s healed tattoos too—as it will give you clarity on how his/her artwork ages with time. Also, read testimonials/reviews from their clients.


Close up of tattoos on fingers and knuckles

Test the waters with a design in a respectable/manageable size to begin with. Aftercare is a big commitment, so starting with a small tattoo will give you a clear idea on what to expect during and after the tattooing process! Consider getting it in an area that’s easy to conceal, especially if you want to be discreet: You certainly wouldn’t be the first (or the last) person to save his tattoo for those who truly deserve to see it. Wink, wink!


Master of tattoo helping his client to choose ornament

Once you’ve narrowed down on the artist, book an appointment for a consultation. This should be done prior to you getting inked. This way you can check out their studio, hygiene practices and so on. Discuss the following:
Your Desired Design—Be as specific as possible about what you want, including whether you want colour or not. Carrying image references for the artist to be able to truly understand your vision. Also, make sure to discuss the size and the placement in detail too. Or you could browse through their look book and choose one!
Book the Appointment: This way both the artist and you can choose the time and the day according to your schedules.
Get an Estimate: It’s always good to work out the costs before going ahead with the process, as it allows for transparency.


Client getting ready for tattoo procedure and master leaving temporary picture on his lower hand

Avoid alcohol the night before and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Eat something at least 40 minutes before the appointment. When you reach the studio, you’ll need to wash your hands and sign consent forms, if any, and strictly follow COVID-19 safety protocols. Next, your tattoo artist will show you the design they’ve drawn for you. If you want to make any adjustments to it, don’t be afraid to speak up—as it’s going to become a permanent part of your body! However, be respectful to the artist, and he/she will be more than happy to make changes. From there, a stencil will be made and placed onto your body where you want the tattoo to be. Remember: Skin is not like paper. If you are not getting it in a flatter surface area, the tattoo may stretch and look not straight when you move, but this is completely normal.


Male tattoo artist holding a tattoo gun, showing a process of making tattoos on a male tattooed model's arm

Once the tattooist turns on their machine and gets going, try to stay or lay down as still as possible. If you start feeling uncomfortable or need a break to stretch, just request some time off.  The tattoo artists will need a break too. There’s no sugar-coating this: The first moments of getting your tattoo will probably be the most painful. Once the adrenaline kicks in it won’t be as intense. Listen to music or watch something on your phone to distract yourself!


Tattooed attractive guy having a shower after a long day

Make sure you strictly follow the tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions. They know it better than Google or your cousin who got a tattoo after getting drunk! If your artist used plastic wrap to protect your tattoo, you can remove it after a couple of hours. For those with a clear bandage—remove it after two-three days, if instructed by him/her. After taking them off,  wash it off with a mild antibacterial soap, and let it air dry. Some artists may ask you to apply a healing ointment for a few days. Then, switch to a great moisturiser to keep the skin and the design hydrated daily. Avoid scratching your tattoo (even if it’s flaking) during its healing phase. Avoid swimming for two weeks, and prolonged sun exposure. Once your artwork is completely healed, use a sunscreen to protect it from sun damage and fading.

If you’re up for it and can commit to body art for life without second thoughts, tattoos are totally worth the pain and money!


[All Images Credit: Shutterstock]