5 Common & Critical Mistakes To Avoid Before Getting Your First Tattoo

More and more, tattoos are becoming less taboo. From big and colorful concept pieces to smaller and fewer eclectic story filled tatts, people are not as hesitant as they once were about making a trip down to the local tattoo parlor. But every inked person has had to start out with a first and maybe had some tattoos that they probably regret. I know I do. For those who are strongly considering or preparing to get their first, here are 5 common mistakes to avoid before taking a seat in the chair.

1. Avoid Impulse

Blocks spell out in red letters "impulse"


This one may sound like common sense but you’d be surprised at how often people will get tattoos on impulse. Especially their first. It makes sense when you really think about it. For some people, the best time for them to get a tattoo is on an act of impulse. You have the most nerve and the most confidence in your pain tolerance threshold during these impulses. In the minds of a lot of people, they can only act at that moment and if they hesitate they will never get the nerve to get the tatt. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not. Either way, at least there’s a story behind it. For your first tattoo, it is highly recommended that you avoid getting the art on a whim. Take your time, it’ll last forever.

2. Avoid Uncertainty

Woman with tattoos shrugging and looking unsure


If you are unsure, go right back out the door. Tattoos are permanent, therefore they are not worth getting unless they are exactly what you want- if not better. The mistake to avoid is getting inked with an image that was not well thought out and or not what you imagined. Even if it is simple and seemingly hard to mess up, do not settle unless the tattoo is exactly what you were looking for. Granted, most artists will elect to take creative liberty in order to avoid potentially copying another artist’s work. If you are sure that you want a tattoo and exactly what you want, work closely and diligently with your artist for your new body art. It is in their job description to give you exactly what you want, you are not being difficult by paying close attention to detail.

3. Avoid Error In Translation

"Hello" in various languages


A VERY common mistake amongst ink novices and veterans alike. For the sake of aesthetic, it is common that many people opt to get phrases in different languages that they may not have a background in. But the written script is so pretty and aesthetically pleasing, right? It is until someone who is versed in the language translates it for you and it is nowhere near what you typed into Google Translate. This mistake is unbelievably common and avoidable. In order to avoid this mistake DO NOT consult Google Translate. Take time to familiarize yourself with the language and the culture in which the language you are using comes from. Understand the grammar structure of the language and how your chosen phrase most likely will not directly translate. Also, did you know that there are at least eight different dialects of Arabic? Did you know creole versions of languages such as French and Portuguese are entirely different languages with different structures of their own? How about the fact that Catalan and Spanish are different? Know these intricacies before you utilize a language that you are not familiar with. And just for good measure, seek someone who is trustworthy and familiar with the language to translate for you.

4. Avoid The Typical

American style tattoo of rose with "mom" in banner in color and black and white


Avoid typical, unoriginal ideas for your first tattoo. As stated before, it’s permanent. Your first tattoo should be something that is special and unique to you. Unless that rose, unicorn or even cross is significant to you- truly take a minute to think about what is special enough to you that you would want it permanently etched onto your body.

5. Avoid The Unknown

Girl holding a signboard with a question mark


Similar to the impulse sentiment, avoid the mistake of failing to do your due diligence before and during the process. Research local tattoo artists and parlors. Look into your state’s regulations when it comes to tattoo establishments. Consult with artists beforehand and pay great attention to their work. Is it along the lines of what you want? Is there diversity in skin tone in their portfolio? This is especially important for people with darker skin tones to keep from their tattoos from looking washed out or muddy on their skin. Are they thorough in informing customers of the aftercare process? Do not be afraid to ask questions before, during and after. Trust me. It’s better to be “annoying” than unpleasantly surprised.

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