Deciding to get a tattoo is a big decision and one that you should not take lightly. You will have this tattoo for the rest of your life, so you want to ensure that you are happy with the way it looks and that it represents who you are both now and in the future. While there are many tattoo shops that offer tattooing services, they are not all the same. Here are four of the most important things to look for as you go about selecting a tattoo shop.
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Before you get a tattoo, take the time to walk through a tattoo shop. You want to find a shop that is clean and sanitary. If you see any signs of visible dirt or dust, or you notice funky smells, you may want to go somewhere else. Look for a shop that sanitizes countertops, tattoo chairs and cleans the facility. Also, feel free to ask what steps they take to ensure their shop and their equipment are clean and properly sanitized.
Another important element to selecting the right tattoo shop for your new tattoo is to take a look at an artist’s portfolio. The portfolio should include a sample of the artist’s work. This allows you to get a feel for their artistic style and whether it speaks to you. Not every tattoo artist can complete every style of tattoo the same. Some tattoo artists do amazing cursive work or watercolor work, but they may struggle with portraits. Looking at a portfolio helps you to see an artist’s strengths and weaknesses and ensure they can complete the style of tattoo you are looking for in a way that you would be happy and proud to display on your body.
Tattoo shops are legally required to be licensed. A tattoo shop that is licensed has undergone the protocol that is required by the county or city where the shop is located. This typically involves having to prove that the shop has the right sterilization equipment and the right cleaning and safety protocols. Unfortunately though, while shops are legally required to be licensed, there are many tattoo artists out there that may not be licensed. This is more prominent with artists who travel to your home, but there are shops out there that are not legally licensed as well. Always look at a license to ensure the shop you are considering using is indeed licensed by the city or county where the shop is located.
The last thing that you need to look for and consider when selecting a tattoo shop is the product supply. Ask the tattoo shop where their ink comes from. Tattoo ink is considered a health and beauty product, and as such, is regulated by the FDA. All of the ink that a shop uses should be FDA approved. If it is not, it may contain metals or contaminants that can harm you and should be avoided. On top of this, all needles and inks should be fully sealed, and should be opened in front of you before getting a tattoo.
Getting a tattoo should not be an impulse decision. It should be something that you think about and plan out. While many people spend a lot of time thinking about the design they want, it is equally as important to vet tattoo shops and find the one that is right for you. Paying attention to the above four factors will help you find a clean, sanitary, and professional shop that does great work that speaks to you.