27 Tattoo Tips Absolutely Everyone Should Know

    "Just remember these words: NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE YOUR TATTOO."

    We recently asked tattooed members of our BuzzFeed Community to share the one piece of advice they wish they had known before getting their first tattoo, and they DID NOT disappoint! Here are just a few of the most insightful tips and tricks:

    1. "Before you get your tattoo, stick a picture of what you want on something you look at every day. Wait a couple of weeks and make sure you still love it every time you see it, since once it's tattooed on you, you'll be seeing it for life."


    2. "One thing you HAVE to think about is the timing of your tattoo. If you’re thinking of going on vacation less than a month after getting a new tattoo, just wait to get the tattoo until after. Sun exposure on a fresh tattoo will make it bleed and heal wonky. Do NOT swim with a fresh tattoo either, because of the risk of infection."


    3. "If there's a design you really, really want, but it doesn't have this long complicated story or deep meaning, you can still get it! Tattoos don't always have to be particularly meaningful. As long as you like the design and want it on your body, get it."


    4. "If you need to take a break [from the needle], don’t be afraid to take one! If you have a good artist, they’ll understand."


    5. "If you plan on having something sizable done, have someone else drive you home afterwards. After I got my first tattoo, I was so exhausted from all of the adrenaline I felt that I ended up falling asleep on the ride home!"


    6. "Avoid getting a tattoo whilst on your period. It will make your experience 10 times more painful."


    7. "Invest in an aftercare cream called Hustle Butter. That stuff works wonders. If your artist uses a different cream when wrapping you, leave it on, but then use the Hustle Butter afterwards. I've found that it cuts down my healing time virtually in half."


    8. "If you want a tiny tattoo, get one. Don't listen to people telling you it isn't worth it. If you want a big-ass tattoo, get one. Don't listen to people telling you that you shouldn't get a big one for your first tattoo. It is YOUR tattoo and YOUR body — get what YOU want."


    9. "Make sure you eat something before you go, and, if the tattoo is going to take a few hours, take a Gatorade with you. Your body's adrenaline is going to kick into high gear, which will cause you to burn sugar faster."


    10. "Listen to the tattoo artist's advice. If they suggest something, take it to heart. If you've done your research and found a good artist, know that they're not being lazy or inept — they want to do a good job and are genuinely concerned that it'll look bad on you, and, by extension, it'll make them look bad for proceeding with it."


    11. "While it truly doesn't hurt as much as some people think, for your very first tattoo, the moment the needle touches your skin, you WILL jump. It's just natural. Brace yourself so that your artist doesn't mess up their line."


    12. "Tell the tattoo artist outright that it is your first tattoo. There's no reason to try and act cool if you're anxious. They'll understand, and then the artist is prepared if you wriggle around!"


    13. "Don't drink alcohol the day or night before. It won't be out of your system by the time you sit to get the tattoo done, and you will bleed more because of it. I made this mistake once, and it's the only time I've felt really ill while getting one done."


    14. "Make sure to ask if you can sit or lie down in a comfortable position. This will make it easier for your body to relax, which will make it easier for the artist to tattoo you. If you notice later on that you need to change your position, be honest. Overall, it will go smoother the less tense you are."


    15. "TIP YOUR ARTIST, and don’t try to haggle down the price of the tattoo. Good art that you will wear on your body forever is worth paying for."


    16. "Just remember to breathe. It can seem scary when the machine first comes on, and the sound will psyche you out more than anything else, but it's all okay. Just remember to take deep breaths."


    17. "Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT take aspirin beforehand in the hope of avoiding pain — it thins your blood and makes the process more dangerous (because yes, you do bleed a small amount). No reputable artist will tattoo you if they know you've taken aspirin."


    18. "One thing no one told me was that, when healing, it's most likely going to be VERY itchy. DO NOT SCRATCH IT! This can ruin the entire thing."


    19. "Accept that your tattoo is never going to be 'perfect.' I've seen people fiddle around with such tiny insignificant details when they should just go for it. Once the tattoo you've always wanted is on your body, you'll forget about the fact you wanted that flower EXACTLY 3 mm to the left. You'll always find that it could have been done differently, but you'll always love it because it's part of you."


    20. "Understand in advance that your taste may change, and it’s okay. I have a small Bible-themed tattoo from when I was 18 and — while I’m no longer religious — the tattoo represents what was important to me at the time. I don’t regret it."


    21. "A little random, but lollipops are a must! Have a bunch on hand to keep your blood sugar up, so you don’t feel queasy, and you can bite down on them if you get to a particularly painful bit."


    22. "A little more on the technical side, but know going in that there is a base rate that the artists and studios tend to have. Some artists do hourly, and some have an overall rate depending on the piece, but these base rates still apply. So, even if your ink is the size of a dime and only takes 15 minutes, you’ll have to pay that minimum."


    23. "Honestly, know that there's nothing wrong with 'cliché' tattoos. My first one was a treble clef, and I have zero regrets because I really love it. Some designs are popular for a reason!"


    24. "The very best advice I can give a tattoo virgin is to remember these words: NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE YOUR TATTOO. I have eight tattoos, and I have yet to meet someone who likes every tattoo I have. As long as you’re happy with it, who cares?"


    25. "When they put the stencil on, DO NOT be shy if you don't like something or want them to move the tattoo! Any good artist will not care because they understand that it's going to be there (hopefully) forever!"


    26. "A little random, but think about your sleeping habits/positions! I sleep primarily on my right side, but I didn't think about that when I got my first tattoo on my right bicep. It lead to some very uncomfortable sleeping positions for the first few nights. I made sure that when I got my ribs done, it was on my left!"


    27. "Honestly, my only advice for first-timers is to be prepared for the very real possibility that you're going to want MORE. Getting a tattoo is ridiculously addicting!"


    Now it's your turn! What's the ONE piece of tattoo advice you want to give to a first-timer? Share it in the comments below! And, for more content, be sure to follow BuzzFeed Community on Facebook and Twitter.

    Some entries have been edited for length and/or clarity.