How to Prepare for your Tattoo

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Read my tips on how to prepare for your tattoo below!

holding a tattooing equipment hands with black glove on dark background

Since I started getting my full sleeve tattoo, I’ve done quite a bit of research on properly preparing for the process and as such, I’ve compiled this post with tips on how to prepare for your tattoo. I hope you find it helpful!

Tattoos are for life and you not only have to take care when preparing for it but also when you are finally finished and the tattoo is complete.

Here are my tips to help prepare for your tattoo

  • Drink plenty of water
    It’s important to stay hydrated during the process and you should drink plenty of water beforehand. Being well hydrated is always a good idea but in this particular case, it helps you last longer and heal quicker afterwards.
  • Keep your skin moisturized
    Obviously don’t slather yourself in moisturizer right before your tattoo but it’s definitely a good idea to moisturize your skin leading up to the day before you go. According to what I’ve read, it also helps the ink take a bit better.
  • Shave the area!
    I put an exclamation mark here because I showed up looking like a hairy monster as usual and it took two razors to get the hair off (it also wasted time and slowed down the tattoo process). Be careful not to cut yourself though as this could mean a cancellation of your appointment!
  • Sleep well the night before
    Don’t pull a Mike and go out for a concert and drinks the night before! Learn from my mistakes and get a good solid sleep the night before. Being well rested will make you less twitchy and you’ll end up with cleaner (and straighter!) lines.
  • Eat Well
    Make sure you eat a good hearty meal before your appointment. Your body is going to need the energy, especially when your instinct is going to be to tense up during the painful parts of the tattoo.
  • Wear the Right Clothing
    If you are getting a sleeve or full sleeve, wear a tshirt that you wouldn’t mind getting ruined before going. It may not necessarily happen but ink from the stencil can definitely end up on your tshirt and if you have to have it rolled up for the shoulder part of the tattoo… it can get stretched quite badly. Ideally, wear a muscle shirt for the session and bring along a sweater or something for overtop beforehand.
  • Take something to entertain yourself
    In my case, I spent most of the time talking to my tattoo artist but some prefer to remain focused and prefer if you bring entertainment. Thank goodness we all have mobile phones nowadays.. bring your phone and a charger loaded up with Netflix or something to watch during the session to distract yourself.

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Hey everyone! I'm Mike (Mr. Kitchen Magpie). When I'm not sharing cocktail recipes here and on my Instagram (@mrkitchenmagpie), I'm enjoying a nice bottle of scotch in a vintage glass from my barware collection.

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  1. Jesse says

    Hey man. Just wanted to point out that shaving the area yourself is a terrible idea.

    Tattoo artists know what comes with the territory, and are prepared to shave you. The best thing you can do if you’re really hairy is trim with a GUARDED, electric buzzer to make the actual shave easier for your artist.

    If you shave beforehand, ingrown hairs can happen by the next day, or as you mentioned you can cut yourself. Again, tattoo artists are prepared to shave you and they expect it 99% of the time.

    Most importantly (to any noobs out there getting their first tat) don’t be embarrassed by body hair. Any respectable tattoo artist won’t care if you’re hairy, so don’t sweat the process. They’re used to it and have seen worse, trust me.

    • Rob says

      Great advice / comment.
      Eat beforehand.
      Moisturise (or not) a good artist usually moisturises the area themselves.
      One last word to first timers:
      Trust the process!

    • Mags’s says

      Yes. This. Being a tattoo artist, I have had numerous problems sues with people that preshave. It’s best to leave it to the artist. If you have an extreme case of coarse hair in the area, buzzing the area to a shorter length can be helpful, otherwise, the artist is happy to do it. Also, moisturize your skin daily in regular skin care, but avoid using lotion the day of the tattoo in the area, it can cause the skin to plump the outer layers (the epidermis) making it harder to reach the dermis (the layers that hold the ink).

      • Mags says

        I didn’t do a good job of proof reading Sorry for the sloppy response.

  2. Sophia Marshall says

    Excellent tips on tattooing first time. You have to eat well and drink enough water to keep your skin moisturzied. Also, use of tattooing tools and artist is very important as we it can save you from after tatoo complications. A professional tattoo parlor can ensure safe tattoing procedure!

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