Welcome to your guide to getting the most out of your tattoo experience. Follow these pre-care guidelines to ensure that the day goes smoothly, and set that ink up for life-long success!
The Week Before Your Appointment
On the Day of Your Appointment
Tattoos are more popular and prevalent than ever - it's tough to find someone without one! It's easy to forget that the process is similar to having a minor medical procedure. Your skin is punctured rapidly by ink-depositing needles. Once it's complete, your tattoo may look crisp and perfect, but it's actually an open wound! The possibility of infection means we can't mess around with the way we take care of our art after the fact.
A tattoo appointment, just like other medical procedures, have pre- and post appointment instructions that must be followed to give you the best chance of healing without any additional intervention. Make sure you prepare yourself physically and mentally by following these recommendations!
The Week Before Your Appointment
BE. WELL. HYDRATED. Got it?
We can't overstate this one. Drink lots of water in the days before your appointment and bring a water bottle with you to the studio. Hydrated skin is easier to tattoo, holds ink better, and heals more efficiently. With happy, fluid-rich skin, there is far less discomfort and vastly reduced chances of headaches and light-headedness. If you start feeling ill and wobbly, your artist cannot continue the appointment, which isn't fun for anyone.
Moisturize the area.
Like we said above, dry skin is whiny. We also made the choice, for some reason, to live somewhere the air hurts our faces: cold, dry Lethbridge. The lack of humidity leads to much dryer skin, and moisturizing can helps to hydrate from all angles.
Don't shave the area that will be tattooed!
This can cause cuts or raised bumps that makes tattooing impossible. As a bonus, we need to use Isopropyl Alcohol to cleanse your skin, and feels terrible on the shaved, irritated area. Your artist will remove any hair at the beginning of your appointment in the proper order.
EAT SOMETHING! Trust us. Don't mess this one up.
Make sure you've eaten a proper meal before your tattoo and bring a snack with you. Your body needs more fuel than you'd think in order to make it through your appointment without unnecessary drops in blood sugar. Every artist has had a client pass out during a tattoo because of this - don't be that guy.
Be well rested.
Your body feels as much stress from a tattoo as it does running a short marathon. Getting a good night of sleep helps prepare you to sit as well as you can, both physically and mentally.
Plan your timing well.
You'll need to take some time off from the gym, pool, sauna, and other fun things. Avoid scheduling a tattoo right before a vacation, sporting tournament, or other events that could effect the healing process.
Avoid alcohol, aspirin, and other blood thinners.
Please do not drink alcohol, or take aspirin, for 48 hours before your appointment. Blood thinners will result in additional bleeding during your tattoo which can compromise the end result of your piece.
Be HONEST with your artist!
They're not a cop. Probably. It's important that your artist is aware of allergies, medical conditions, medications/substances in your system, and other factors that could effect the way your body takes the ink and heals. As soon as they're in the know, your artist can recommend additional care measures that will keep you and your tattoo much happier.
Consider any health conditions.
We will not, under any circumstances, tattoo anyone:
Under the influence of heavy sedatives, illicit drugs, or alcohol.
Pregnant or breastfeeding.
Under the age of 18.
Taking blood thinners, immuno-suppressants, or antibiotics.
Going through fertility treatments.
Suffering from hemophilia.
Sunburnt or has other skin conditions that may make tattooing the area impossible.
If you've been diagnosed with any of the following conditions, we require a doctor’s note for permission to proceed with the appointment:
Diabetes (Type I & II)
If you show up on the day of your appointment and any of the aforementioned apply (or you aren't in possession of a doctor's note as indicated), we will be unable to tattoo you for reasons of safety and liability, and your deposit with be forfeit.
On the Day of Your Appointment
What should I wear?
Wear comfortable clothing with easy access to the body part to be tattooed. There's always a chance that your clothing may see some ink, therefore it’s best to wear something that you won’t mind throwing out.
Take an extra pair of clean socks to change into as needed and bring an extra jacket or sweater for when you start to feel the cold. In some instances (especially when you’re in for a long session), your body will begin to shiver. This is an indication that your body is experiencing a natural stress response. Keeping warm will help minimize your discomfort.
What should I bring?
Bring a valid, government-issued piece of photo identification (required), as well as your method of payment (cash or gift certificates). Some other items to consider adding to your bag (without cluttering up the limited space in most studios) include;
Phone, tablet, or other electronics for distracting yourself. Make sure they're fully charged!
Bring HEADPHONES! Dora the Explorer might be your happy place, but other clients probably don't want to think about stopping Swiper from Swiping.
Gum, breath mints, deodorant, or other hygiene things to keep you feeling fresh.
1-2 small snacks. Blood sugar does funky things during the physical stress your body goes through during a tattoo.
A change of clothing is a good idea, tattoos are sweaty and ink can fly everywhere.
If you are diabetic, please bring your glucometer. Let your artist know where your glucometer and testing supplies are in case you can't get them yourself.
If you have an Epipen, bring it with you and tell your artist where it is.
Let's chat about hygiene.
During your session, you and your artist are going to be spending a lot of time (often quite a few hours) in each others’ personal space. This involves breathing each others’ air, and may or may not include exposing areas of the body that are usually kept covered.
Before you leave home for your tattoo appointment, please make sure that you:
Brush your teeth.
Shower using soap (this is also important as you want your skin to be as clean and free from dirt/bacteria as possible to limit the possibility of introducing bacteria into the fresh open tissue)
Wear fresh, clean clothes.
Don't overdo deodorants, perfumes or colognes.
Tie long hair up in a bun or ponytail to keep it out of the way and prevent loose hairs from drifting onto clean work surfaces.
What if I have to cancel?
If you need to reschedule your appointment, your deposit may be transferred to a new date one time if we're given two full operational business days notice. We're closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so keep this in mind if booking in on a Wednesday or Thursday as we'd need notice the weekend prior. This is to ensure that we have adequate time to fill the spot. You must actually speak to a member of staff when rescheduling your appointment in order for your deposit to be retained. Emails/texts/DMs are not acceptable methods of communication when cancelling or rescheduling your appointment (as emails may not be read far enough in advance for us to fill the appointment time, artists are not in charge of managing their own bookings, and social inboxes are not monitored by our booking team). Please remember: All Deposits are non-refundable. We also do not hold onto deposits for clients who are unable to provide an alternate date for the appointment when rescheduling (as deposits need to be attached to a current booking).
No-Shows and Last-Minute Cancellations:
No shows, last-minute cancellations, or multiple requests to reschedule an appointment will result in forfeiture of your entire deposit to help cover the artist's time spent designing and/or loss of income for the day. Because this can be an incredibly frustrating experience for an artist (as often many hours are spent outside the studio on custom design work), we support their right to either refuse new booking requests or require advance payment in full from clients who no show or repeatedly reschedule/cancel appointments.