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."