Home » How to Prepare for Your First Tattoo? [Tattooist Advice]

How to Prepare for Your First Tattoo? [Tattooist Advice]

Isn’t getting your first tattoo such an exciting experience? It’s probably something that you’ve been dreaming about for years. Perhaps you’ve had Instagram posts saved for ages with different design ideas or eclectic mood boards to help in inspiring you. After all, there are so many options to choose from.

You could go for pretty designs, quotes, and words that mean a lot to you or drawings that hold a personal significance. Regardless, making the decision is indeed tough, and if you have managed to narrow it down to one option, pat yourself and be proud. However, deciding what you want to get tattooed is just the first step, as the real work begins only after that.

Merely picking a design isn’t enough. There is a lot you need to know and remember before getting a tattoo. Whether it’s your first tattoo or your 50th, the answer to how to prepare for a tattoo always remains the same. The steps you take to prepare for your tattoo will determine how smooth the whole process goes. This is why research and knowledge are imperative.

Are you wondering how to prepare for a tattoo? Do you know everything you need to do before your tattoo appointment? Well, fret not; because you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to tell you all about how to get yourself ready for your first tattoo and the vital points you should remember.

Ways to Prepare For Your First Tattoo

Knowing how to prepare for a tattoo makes the whole process so much easier, thereby increasing the convenience for both you and your tattoo artist. Here are some ways in which you can prepare before getting your tattoo:

Sleep Well The Night Before

Sleep Well the Night Before

A good night’s sleep is imperative before you get your tattoo. Your body needs to be completely relaxed and well-rested. After all, you wouldn’t want to feel tired and lethargic throughout the entire experience and miss out on feeling the fun of it, right?

What’s the point if you’re constantly yawning and stretching and dozing off while your tattoo artist is hard at work? Or worse, what if you’re so tired that you miss pointing out an issue with the tattoo before it gets inked on you completely?

We recommend going to bed before your usual time the day prior to your tattoo so that you’re all fresh and energetic before the procedure. In fact, if you’re lacking sleep, it’s better to tell your tattoo artist beforehand. Proper sleep will help in dealing with the jitters and anxiety before your first tattoo as well.

Bonus Read: How to Sleep With a New Tattoo? 9 Tips And Methods.

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Staying hydrated is important as it is, and it’s even more crucial before your tattoo session. Whether it’s your first tattoo or your fifth, whenever you ask someone about how to prepare for a tattoo, they are sure to ask you to drink plenty of water before the procedure.

We recommend getting at least eight glasses of water in your system before you head for your session. A hydrated body takes in ink a whole lot better in comparison to a dehydrated one, thereby smoothening the entire procedure.

Even if you can’t drink a lot of water before heading to the tattoo parlor, make sure you carry a water bottle with you. You can also ask the parlor to keep giving you water.

Not only is staying hydrated good for your overall health, but it also helps with healing your tattoo and improving the recovery process. An extra suggestion is that even after you have gotten your first tattoo and the healing is complete, keep supplying your body with a substantial amount of hydration.

Shave The Area

The area where you’re getting the tattoo will have to be shaved before your tattoo session. It is good to shave a little about twice a week leading up to the date you’re planning to get the tattoo. Your tattoo artist will need a clean area to do the tattoo properly. Make sure that you don’t end up hurting yourself or getting razor cuts in the process because that will delay the session, as a tattoo artist can’t work on open wounds.

If you aren’t confident about shaving the area yourself, you can also ask for someone’s assistance in shaving. In case you’re taking the route of waxing, be sure that your skin has healed completely before you get your tattoo. You can also ask your tattoo artist to do it. Giving them a heads up about it beforehand will be better. Exfoliating the area is also recommended.

Take a Shower

Take a Shower
Image source: healthline.com

Although this might seem obvious, showering before your tattoo appointment will help in keeping your skin clean. You shouldn’t be showing up for your tattoo session right after hitting the gym or playing tennis.

Keeping the area of your tattoo clean is of utmost importance. This is why it is also recommended to avoid intense physical activities right before your tattoo, as these make you sore and drain your energy. You don’t want that before getting your tattoo. Anything that aches your muscles should be avoided prior to your appointment.

Bonus Read: How Long After a Tattoo Can You Swim? 4 Facts You Should Know.

Moisturize Well

Did you know that moisturizing your skin on the day of your tattoo should be avoided? Yes, this is so as to avoid any problems that could arise with your skin or perhaps even the tattoo machine or needle being used. Instead, when it comes to moisturizing, it should be done days in advance. Since different moisturizers react differently on everyone’s skin, do a patch test first, so it doesn’t irritate your skin.

A week before getting your tattoo, moisturize twice daily. Your skin can get extra dry during the winters. So, it’s best to moisturize even more if you’re getting your tattoo during this period.

Bonus Read: 9 Best Moisturizers for Tattoos 2022 [UPDATED].

Have a Filling Meal

Have a Filling Meal
Image source: helpguide.org

Eating well and filling your tummy in a healthy way is essential before your tattoo appointment. You certainly wouldn’t want to feel hungry or light-headed while getting your tattoo. Having a proper meal prior to the sessions helps you stay awake, focused, and also keeps you sharp mentally. If you show up on an empty stomach, your tattoo artist will have to take more breaks every few minutes.

Making sure you’re not hungry becomes even more important if you’re planning on getting a big tattoo that could take hours. Bringing snacks along is also a good idea, especially so for those who suffer from low blood sugar. Something like fruits or cookies works just fine. Some tattoo parlors also offer to go on juice or coffee runs for their clients.

Dress Appropriately

Wearing the right dress on the day of your tattoo session is essential. You should pick something that is loose, comfortable, and will give your tattoo artist easy access to the area you’re getting tattooed. If you show up in something too tight, you will just end up feeling overheated and uncomfortable throughout the entire process. If you’re getting a tattoo on your arm, for instance, you should avoid wearing a tight, full-sleeve shirt.

Avoid Alcohol

Avoid Alcohol
Image source: medbriefnamibia.com

Drinking before getting your tattoo is an absolute no-no. Most places will refuse to provide you service if you show up under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as these thin your blood and open up several issues. Taking any sort of medication needs to be avoided as well because these, too, are blood-thinners. It’s advisable to talk to your doctor before booking your tattoo appointment.

Narrow Down Your Entertainment Options

If your tattoo is about to take hours to get finished, you’re bound to feel bored through the course of it. For this purpose, it’s better to keep some entertainment options handy. If the area of your tattoo is not a complicated spot, you can bring a book with you to read or perhaps opt for an e-book or audiobook.

Some people choose to watch something on their phone or tablet, while others prefer to relax to music. However, it’s also important to respect your tattoo artist’s space. If you do decide to watch something, it’s better you do so with earphones on, as the loud volume could distract the tattoo artist and damage their concentration.

Bonus Read: Tattoo Aftercare – How To Take Care of a Tattoo?

What to Remember Before Getting Your First Tattoo

What to Remember Before Getting Your First Tattoo

Listed below are some things you should remember before getting your tattoo:

Pick a Design You Will Love

Putting thought into the design of your tattoo is always a given, but it becomes even more important when it’s your first tattoo. We recommend that you pick a small tattoo for the first time. Getting a tattoo can often be painful, and since you aren’t yet sure of your pain threshold in this department, it’s better to start out small.

Talk to your friends, family, or anyone in your circle who has a tattoo so as to take recommendations from them. You might also want to go for a design that is special to you. The main point is that it should be something that holds meaning for you throughout your life.

Decide the Placement

Once you have decided on the design, you must decide on where to get your tattoo. Your first tattoo is almost like an experiment, so, you may not want to get it somewhere too visible. This includes your hands, face, or neck.

A tattoo is quite a commitment, which is why your first tattoo might help you determine if you want another one in the future or not. Also, some people might also want to take the placement of their tattoos more seriously due to the nature of their job. There are some professions that don’t encourage tattoos, so maybe you can get them somewhere that won’t be visible during your work hours.

Research About the Tattoo Parlor and Tattoo Artist

Research About the Tattoo Parlor and Tattoo Artist

Picking the right tattoo parlor and tattoo artist is perhaps the most crucial decision you will make before getting a tattoo. Research about all the good places, read the reviews, and find out everything you can about them. This includes the kind of ink they use, the materials they utilize, and the different methods they employ.

Not every tattoo place is the same, and just because a parlor offers you cheaper rates doesn’t entail you choosing them. Bargaining is something you should totally avoid when selecting a tattoo parlor because quality is key in this arena.

If you choose a subpar place, you might not only end up getting a poor-quality tattoo but also run the risk of contracting an infection. Look up their health standards and the profiles of the artists before you make your decision.

Bring a Friend Along

Bringing a friend along with you for your tattoo appointment is a good idea indeed. If you’re someone who is slightly afraid of needles or would like the company or a distraction as you get your tattoo, do take someone along with you. They can help the time go by sooner than you expect and just enhance your overall experience.

Ask Questions

There must be several questions floating around your head before you get your first tattoo. Remember that it’s absolutely okay to reach out to your tattoo artist and ask them for everything you need. Be it about the time it would take to get your tattoo or even about the aftercare process; they will be happy to give you all the information you need.


Getting your first tattoo is an event you will remember for the rest of your life, which is why you would definitely want to make it memorable. One of the ways to do so is by being prepared so that there aren’t any unpleasant surprises coming your way. Go through the things listed above so you know exactly how to prepare for a tattoo and the things you might want to keep in mind before you get it.

About Author

Jonathan Corby "Jonny" is a guy who is passionate about Tattooing and successfully running a Tattoo Studio in NY. Through my journey as a Tattoo Artist I have made unforgettable memories. This irrational poetry and sense of freedom of art on skin has given a blissfull experience to my life. Each Tattoo has a story behind it; Lets share one!