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Written by Kieran

Attending Your First Tattoo Session


You’ve gone through the last seven steps and it’s now tattoo day!

You’re finally going to get the tattoo you’ve been preparing for while going through the tattoo process we’ve covered in the last seven articles. Congratulations!

But what should you expect on tattoo day? And what should you do and not do while getting tattooed? Are there any tips and tricks you should know to help get you through a tattoo appointment?

Well let’s look at what you should and should not do during a tattoo appointment. And let’s discuss the things you should bring with you to get you through your tattoo session more comfortably.

What should I wear to a tattoo appointment? 

You should wear dark colored loose fitting clothing to your tattoo session. Tattoo ink and blood will stain light colored clothing. And tight fitting clothing may rub and damage your fresh tattoo.

Avoid any clothing items like faux fur or fluffy materials that may give off threads or particles. Avoid wearing any clothing item that drops fluff or fibres as these will stick to your new tattoo.

You need to think about where you’re getting the tattoo and it’s placement. The tattooist will need to easily access the spot on your body where the tattoo is going.

Depending on the placement you have chosen you may need to be able to easily remove the clothing item.

And when you’re sore and wrapped in plastic after your tattoo session you will need to be able to easily put that clothing item back on.

So wear loose fitting comfortable clothing. In darker colors so it won’t get stained. 

What should I take to a tattoo appointment? 

You should take headphones or a book to keep yourself entertained and distracted while the tattooist works. And of course the fee and tip to pay the artist for your tattoo session.

You should also take any tattoo numbing creams or tattoo numbing sprays you have arranged to use.

Remember, you should have arranged the use of tattoo numbing products with your tattooist and sought their approval prior to your tattoo session.

We recommend arranging the use of numbing products when ordering a custom tattoo design. 

tattooed hand with phone and ear buds

What should I do during a tattoo appointment? 

Chat with your tattoo artist, snooze, read or listen to music. Anything that distracts you will increase your ability to sit still for the duration of the tattoo session.

Some tattooists aren’t that chatty during tattoo sessions. In which case it’s perfectly acceptable to put in some earphones and listen to music. Just tell the tattooist you’re going to listen to music to distract yourself.

If you or your tattooist smoke and you’re going to be getting a larger tattoo or are having a longer tattoo session you should arrange breaks up front.

Personally, having been tattooed quite a lot, I find listening to music and zoning out allows me to sit much more still for longer. So I don’t arrange any breaks and just put my headphones in and take a break whenever the tattooist needs one. 

What shouldn’t I do during a tattoo appointment?

Don’t ask for a break every 10 minutes. And don’t fidget or move while the tattooist works. Arrange an acceptable amount of breaks or rest stops up front with your tattooist. And then stick to that schedule and sit still.

You need to let the tattooist work and cannot be interrupting them for a break every few minutes.

You should also be prepared to sit relatively still. You can’t be fidgeting, flinching, moving around or squirming.

Remember that the tattoo artist is trying to draw on you with a vibrating tattoo needle. Their job is difficult enough without you moving about. The more steady and still you sit the quicker, easier and better your tattoo session will be. 

What should I do after a tattoo appointment? 

You should head home after your tattoo session. So you can remove the bandage and thoroughly wash your new tattoo.

Use the soap and apply the tattoo aftercare products you arranged in preparation for your tattoo appointment (Part Seven). 

How long can I leave the bandage on my new tattoo? 

After a tattoo session the tattooist will wrap your new tattoo in a makeshift bandage. This bandage is often formed from plastic wrap and tape. It cannot be left on the tattoo indefinitely and should be removed between 1-3 hours after it was applied.

You should not leave the bandage on your tattoo for more than 3 hours. The bandage your tattooist places on your new tattoo is there for you to get home. It’s not meant to be worn for an extended period. As leaving the bandage on for an extended period can have negative effects.

In the next part of this ten part series for tattoo first timers we’ll be looking at how to get the bandage off and how to properly wash a new tattoo. And how to properly apply tattoo aftercare products to your fresh ink.

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