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Written by Kieran Proctor

Tattoo Etiquette 101: Navigating Your Way Through A Tattoo Studio (2024)



Tattoo etiquette neon

Step into the colorful world of tattoos and you’ll soon find out there’s more to it than just picking a design and getting inked. Are you ready to embark on a thrilling journey into the vibrant and fascinating realm of tattoos? We’ve got you covered!

In this buzzing world there’s more to getting a tattoo than merely selecting a design and bracing yourself for the needle. Like any cultural experience there’s a unique set of unspoken rules. A secret code of conduct that you should follow when visiting a tattoo studio.

Worry not as we’re here to spill the beans and turn you into a tattoo etiquette pro!

In this fun and informative guide we’ll explore the tattoo etiquette do’s and don’ts that’ll make your tattoo experience smoother than a freshly inked patch of skin.

So sit back and relax. And let’s unravel the mysteries of tattoo studio manners together!

With our help you’ll be strutting into your tattoo appointment like a seasoned pro. Leaving both you and your tattoo artist grinning from ear to ear.

Step 1: Snag the Perfect Tattoo Artist

Your tattoo artist is like your new best friend – they’re going to be with you through a pretty intimate experience. So it’s essential to find someone who not only has mad skills but also makes you feel at ease.

Don’t just walk into any tattoo studio without doing your homework! Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you find the perfect match for your desired style:


  • Hunt down different artists and check out their portfolios to find the perfect match for your desired style. Think of it like online shopping but for tattoos!
  • Hit up your friends or family with cool tattoos for recommendations. They can give you valuable insights and advice based on their own experience.
  • Stalk (politely!) the artist’s social media or website to see their work and read reviews. This will help you get a sense of their style and the quality of their work.


  • Pick an artist based on price or cheaper rates while ignoring their expertise. Always remember that you get what you pay for!
  • Try to change the artist’s style to fit your vision. Find someone who naturally vibes with your style and aesthetic.
  • Settle for an artist just because they are available or close to your location. Remember that this tattoo will be with you for a lifetime. So take your time to find the right artist.

When you find an artist you like you should book a consultation appointment to discuss your ideas and see if they are a good fit. Be open to their suggestions and expertise. Remember that a good artist will help guide you through the process and work with you to create a design that you will love forever.

Tattoo etiquette selecting artists

Step 2: Bring Your Buddy To Your Tattoo Session (or Not?)

Getting a tattoo is a rollercoaster of emotions. And it’s natural to want someone by your side to hold your hand (figuratively, of course). If you’re thinking about bringing a friend along to your tattoo session here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:


  • Ask your tattoo artist if it’s cool to bring a friend along. Some artists may prefer you come alone to minimize distractions while others may be happy to accommodate a friend.
  • Make sure your friend knows the studio rules and follows them like a pro. They should understand the importance of maintaining a sterile environment and not touching anything unless instructed to do so.
  • Let your friend be your cheerleader but not a distraction to the artist. Your friend can offer moral support and help calm your nerves. But they should avoid distracting the artist or interfering with the tattoo artist’s process.


  • Turn the studio into a party by bringing too many people. A tattoo studio is not the place for a social gathering. And too many people can create a distracting and uncomfortable atmosphere for everyone involved.
  • Don’t let your friend mess with the equipment or get in the artist’s way. Tattoo artists work with precision equipment and any interruption can be dangerous and potentially cause permanent damage to your skin.
  • Don’t allow your friend to sway your decisions about the tattoo design or placement. While your friend’s opinion may be valuable it’s ultimately your body and you should make the final decision about the design and placement.
Tattoo etiquette bring buddy or not

Step 3: Dress for Success

When it comes to getting a tattoo, picking the right outfit can make a big difference in your comfort and ease of access to the tattoo site. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you dress for tattoo success:


  • Wear comfortable loose fitting clothing that can be easily adjusted or moved. Comfort is key during a tattoo session. And loose clothing can help you relax and stay comfortable throughout the process.
  • Choose darker colors to avoid any embarrassing stains from ink or blood. Tattoos can be messy and darker colors can help camouflage any potential stains or smudges.
  • Bring a sweater or jacket because tattoo studios can sometimes feel like the Arctic. Tattoo studios tend to keep the temperature cool to help prevent the spread of bacteria. So it’s a good idea to bring a sweater or jacket to keep warm.


  • Don’t wear tight or restrictive clothing that’s a pain to remove or adjust. You don’t want to be struggling to remove your clothing during your tattoo session or have to deal with clothing that’s too tight or restrictive.
  • Don’t dress to impress – it’s not a fashion show and tattoos can be messy. You don’t need to worry about dressing up for your tattoo session as the focus is on creating beautiful art, not fashion.
  • Don’t forget to consider your tattoo’s location when choosing your outfit. If you’re getting a tattoo on your back it’s not a good idea to wear a tight-fitting shirt that you’ll struggle to remove.
Palermo Soho T-Shirt - Tattoo Vagabond

Step 4: Be the Client Your Tattoo Artist Deserves

Your behavior during the session can make a world of difference to your artist and your tattoo’s outcome. Follow these etiquette tips for a smooth experience:


  • Channel your inner statue and stay as still as possible.
  • Speak up about pain or concerns, so the artist can help. Or take a numbing cream with you.
  • Keep your phone on silent and distractions at bay.


  • Fidget, squirm or act like you’re playing musical chairs.
  • Bring food or drinks into the tattoo area without permission.
  • Annoy your artist with a million questions mid-session. Save them for before or after.
tattoo etiquette sit still

Step 5: Show Some Love and Care

Taking care of your new ink and showing your artist appreciation are vital for a happy ending.


  • Follow your artist’s aftercare instructions like it’s gospel.
  • Keep your tattoo clean and moisturized as it heals.
  • Reach out to your artist if you’re worried, or if you have questions during the healing stages.


  • Disregard the aftercare advice, risking infection or a messed-up tattoo.
  • Pick at or scratch your healing tattoo – you’ll regret it later.
  • Expose your fresh ink to direct sunlight or take a swim with it.
Mad Rabbit - New Tattoo Repair Soothing Gel

Step 6: Tipping Time – Tip Your Tattooist

Showing gratitude to your tattooist with a tip is not only a nice gesture. It’s also an industry standard. Keep these tips in mind when tipping your artist:


  • Tip your artist as it’s expected in the biz. A common range is 10-20% of the total cost. But feel free to be more generous if you’re over the moon with their work.
  • Bring cash for the tip. As some studios might not take bank cards for gratuities.


  • Don’t skip or skimp on the tip even if you’re strapped for cash. Your artist has invested their time and effort to create a masterpiece on your body. Tip them well.
  • Don’t base your tip solely on the tattoo’s size. Remember that the artist’s skill, time and effort should also be taken into account.
Tattoo etiquette tipping


And there you have it folks – the ultimate tattoo etiquette do’s and don’ts that’ll make your tattoo studio visit an absolute breeze!

By following the fab guidelines above you’ll not only guarantee a smooth and enjoyable experience for yourself. You’ll also demonstrate your appreciation for your artist’s time and talent.

After all, getting a tattoo is a collaboration between you and the artist. And showing respect goes a long way in creating that perfect piece of body art.

So now it’s time for you to strut your stuff and make your mark (literally) with oodles of confidence and flair!

Embrace the exciting world of tattoos with open arms knowing you’re well-prepared to navigate the ins and outs of tattoo etiquette like a seasoned pro. You’ll leave the studio with a stunning new piece of ink and perhaps even a newfound appreciation for the tattooing community.

Now go forth and conquer the tattoo scene with grace, style and a cheeky grin. Knowing you’ve got all the essential etiquette tips tucked securely under your belt. Happy inking!

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