7 Steps to Take before Getting a Tattoo ...

Tattoo removal is an extensive, pricy process that can be avoided by deep consideration before getting a tattoo. There are obvious precautions like don’t go to the tattoo parlor intoxicated or on impulse. A tattoo is a scar intentionally drawn into your skin. You should be confident and comfortable in its presence for the rest of your life. I have a few tattoos, and these were the steps I took before getting a tattoo that proved to be helpful.

1. Familiarize Yourself with It

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Prioritize these steps before getting a tattoo because it’ll be on your body for the rest of your life. Hang a picture of it on your bedroom wall. Set it as your phone background. Put it in a frame on your desk. Prepare yourself for the redundancy of what you’re paying to have drawn on your body. You’ll see this everyday on your skin, and once it’s there, it’s not going anywhere.

2. Investigate the Artist

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Many artists have Facebook pages, websites, and look books of their past work at the tattoo parlor. Make sure you like the artist’s style before asking them to engrave ink into your skin. Don’t be afraid to ask to be referred to another artist if you aren't infinitely pleased with their work. Tattoo artists expect the critical customers. They won't be offended if you feel their style isn't precisely what you want, so be absolutely certain you've chosen the artist you want!

3. Don’t Base It on Price

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I understand the irritation that comes with overpriced tattoos. However, you must realize that this is more than just a friend drawing with Sharpie on your arm. If you like the artist’s work, you should be willing to pay what’s required. If it’s more than you're able to spend, check out other artists, but don’t choose a cheaper one just because you want it now. Save up the extra money for the better artist, and you'll be pleased in the long run.

4. Ask for a Sketch

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For every tattoo I’ve gotten, I’ve met with the artist a couple weeks before the session. I gave him a picture of what I wanted, and he emailed me a few days later with his own sketch. This was so helpful because I then got the chance to decide if that’s what I truly wanted. I was so pleased that he took time to draw and send me a picture. Also, this gave me the chance to peek at it every few hours, so I knew whether or not it would eventually become annoying.

5. "No Ragrets"

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Do not, I repeat, do not decide you want to get a tattoo one day then visit the parlor twenty minutes later and do just that. Permanent illustrations on your body aren’t something you should get done on impulse. It’s a decision that requires much thought and consideration. You don’t want to get something you’ll later regret. Don't be the kid in We’re the Millers who ironically has a tattoo saying "No Ragrets." Imagine how he'll feel once he realizes "regrets" is spelled incorrectly.

6. Do You Really Want This?

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Is there anyone you’d have to hide it from? Would you be embarrassed if your boyfriend’s mother saw it? How about if your grandma saw it? A tattoo should be for yourself, but you shouldn’t be ashamed to let others see it. Get something you would be proud to show others. Ask close friends and family what they think about your idea.

7. Location

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Weigh the pros and cons of where you want it to be located on your body. Keep in mind what parts of your body are normally hidden by clothing. Chances are, no matter where it is, it’ll be visible to others while you’re wearing a bathing suit. Before getting one somewhere like your wrist or ankle, decide if you want it to be seen at work or in the general public. People seem to regret hidden tattoos much less than tattoos that are impossible to cover up.

These steps are what I wish I’d done and plan to do in the future before getting a tattoo. Have you ever gotten a tattoo you wish you hadn’t? Do you have any suggestions to share?

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