How to Choose the Right Tattoo Shop

How to Choose the Right Tattoo Shop

One thing to remember is that getting a tattoo is a huge commitment, especially if you think about getting one for the first time. The experience doesn’t need to be overwhelming, especially if you prepare yourself for what you should expect by educating yourself.

One of the most important things you’ll need to educate yourself on is choosing the right tattoo shop. While it may be easier to pick the first one that pops up on your radar, not all tattoo shops are created equally. Most shops will hold themselves to a high standard, but not all establishments will follow all of the basic tattooing guidelines, especially if there are no local laws on tattooing.

Keep in mind that even when you’re asking some of these sensitive questions, you should remain polite and professional with your artist or the shop owner. This will make each question better received. Any professional tattoo artist will have no problem with answering your questions about the shop you’re considering getting tattooed at for the first time. Some of the questions you’ll want to start with are:

Do they have an autoclave or another form of sterilization? Sterilization is necessary for any reputable tattoo shop. They should have their own autoclave and know the ins and outs of the proper sterilization of their equipment. If you need more proof, they can show you that their needles are all pre-packaged in sterile packs, you shouldn’t have to worry about this.

Keep in mind that the more educated the owner is on the care of tattoo equipment, the better trained most of their artists will be. Remember, the cleanliness of the shop is necessary before any needles hit the skin.

If you have allergies to latex, you’ll want to ask if they have latex-free gloves. It is vital to ask this question. Most shops will keep latex-free gloves to cater to more sensitive clients. Not all artists will assume that you have allergies, so you must be on top of this question. You’re responsible for telling your artist and the shop of any possible allergic reactions before you are tattooed.

Ask what type of ink they use. Cheap tattoo ink is a dime a dozen, but most reputable artists will use higher quality ink. Most high-quality ink will also include a list of ingredients that the artist will be willing to go over with you if you have any allergies.

How long has the shop been open? The duration an artist has been tattooing or has been running a shop doesn’t equal their skill. Typically, the more experience they have, the better. Many tenured artists will break out on their own to open up their own shops. Knowing how long the owner has been in the field will be a good indicator of the shop's quality.

Do they have portfolios available? Looking through portfolios at the shop is a great way to get an idea of the tattoo artist’s personal style. There are many different tattooing styles such as Neo-Traditional, Traditional, Black and Grey, Realism, and many more. Having the opportunity to view their past tattoos will help tell you which artist is better suited to take on your idea. Most shops that offer their artist’s portfolios to look at will be reputable shops to go to. 

Artist: Lui Renzo[/caption]

Ask them if they offer touch-ups. Touch-ups are common for most tattoos. Whether it’s due to healing or how well your skin held the ink, almost all artists will allow at least one free touch up after you’ve been tattooed. Some tattoo shops will have a general shop rule to offer at least one touch up. Others may allow the artists to dictate this since most artists will pay both rentals.

Is their shop licensed? Licensing is essential in most shops throughout the world. While it may not seem like much, licensing is another way to ensure that the artist knows how to run a safe, sterile, and professional shop.

Do they adhere to blood's safe disposal, and have they gone through their bloodborne pathogens courses? If you have a shop that allows their artists to have needles in the trash can, run. Ask them about how they dispose of contaminated equipment. Most artists will have a sharps container and cover their equipment with plastic before tattooing you to ensure cross-contamination is no longer a risk. If a shop isn’t properly disposing of the hazardous material, you do not want to get tattooed there.

Do they have partitions or screens for more intimate tattoos? If you want to get a tattoo in a more intimate place, partitions or screens are an absolute must-have unless you’re comfortable flashing everyone in the room. Also, screens and partitions will help with the risk of cross-contamination.

All in all, choosing the right tattoo shop is fairly easy, but you want to make sure that you’re taking the initiative to learn about your local (or not so local) shops before choosing the one best suited for you. As you continue choosing our ideal shop, you can feel the inked world with unique Tattoo clothing. Dare to wear your heart on your skin in this in this life.