19 Tattoo Etiquette for Clients

Tattoo Etiquettes
When getting a tattoo, it's important to respect the artist's time and space, show up on time and prepared, communicate clearly about your design and preferences, and follow aftercare instructions carefully. Avoid drinking alcohol or taking drugs before your appointment, and tip your artist for their hard work.

1. Research, Research, Research

Researching your tattoo’s style, artist, design, and price can help ensure you get the best tattoo that you’ll love and be proud to show off.

The research will help you to provide reference images and inspiration to ensure you’re happy with the end product.

2. Book An Appointment

Booking an appointment can ensure that your artist is available when needed and that you get their undivided attention.

If you’re getting a custom tattoo done, book an appointment for more than just the outline. Custom designs can take longer than traditional designs and require multiple appointments.

If you have any medical issues and/or are under any medication, discuss them with your artist beforehand. This will help him/her give you the necessary advice.

3. Be Ready For Design Adjustments

tattoo artist working on design
Tattoo artist working on re-design

Designing a tattoo is a collaborative process, and your artist may want to adjust your tattoo to not literally copy another artist’s design. It’s important to be open to feedback and willing to make adjustments to improve your design’s overall quality and appearance.

4. Wear Appropriate, Comfortable Clothes

When getting a tattoo, it’s important to wear clothing that provides easy access to the tattoo area. Avoid clothing that is too tight or restrictive, as you’ll be in the same position for several hours and may become uncomfortable. 

Dark clothing is a good choice, as it will hide any stains or smudges that may occur during the process.

5. Fresh Start

Most artists would like to work on a fresh, brand-new tattoo rather than someone else’s incomplete one. So, always ensure your tattoo is complete before leaving the parlor. If you are retouching, try to visit the same artist who created it to ensure the best results.

6. No Last-Minute Design Changes

As a client getting a tattoo, avoid making last-minute changes to a tattoo design or placement. The tattoo process involves careful planning, design, and preparation, and making changes at the last minute can disrupt the flow and result in a suboptimal outcome.

If the changes are inevitable, it’s best to check the time difference between both designs and if it’s possible to squeeze in the current appointment. If not, it’s best to reschedule.

7. No Alcohol Or Drugs Before Getting Inked

no alcohol before tattoo session
Don’t have alcohol for 48 hours before the tattoo session

Avoid alcohol and drugs for 48 hours before getting a tattoo, as they can thin your blood and make the tattoo process more difficult and dangerous. Instead, eat a meal and stay hydrated before getting a tattoo.

8. Confirm Guest Rules Beforehand

Confirm your guest rules while booking an appointment to ensure you are comfortable with them. Most tattoo shops allow 1 guest member to accompany you.

But ideally, you should go alone as the guest will just be bored sitting for a long stretch without much to do.

9. Shower Before Appointment 

Taking a shower or bath before the tattoo appointment helps to ensure that your skin is clean and free from dirt, oil, and sweat, which can otherwise cause infection or affect the quality of the tattoo.

Personal hygiene is also essential as you will be in close contact with your artist.

10. Bring The Necessities

Here are some things you should consider bringing with you:

  • Government-issued ID: Make sure you bring a valid ID that proves your age and identity, as many tattoo studios have age restrictions.
  • Snacks and water: Tattoo sessions can be long and draining, so bring some light snacks and water to keep your energy levels up and prevent dehydration.
  • Pain relief: Depending on your pain threshold, you may want to bring pain relief medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help manage any discomfort during the session. 
  • Personal hygiene items: Bring personal hygiene items such as wet wipes, tissues, and hand sanitizer to ensure that you and your artist maintain good hygiene throughout the session.

11. Sit Still

sit still for tattoo
Sit still and comfortably for a tattoo

Sitting still during a tattoo session is important to ensure the design’s best possible outcome and prevent any mishaps or injuries. It will help the artist work on the design as accurately as possible. 

If you are experiencing discomfort or pain, you can communicate this to the artist. He/she will take steps to make the experience more comfortable, such as taking breaks or using numbing cream.

12. Let Your Artist Focus

You should understand that the process can take time and it requires concentration from your tattoo artist. Let your artist know if you need to take a break during your session. Don’t bring friends or family members who may distract you or your artist.

13. Don’t Compare Them

Each artist has their own unique style, perspective, and voice. Comparing your artist to another artist can lead to feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt and can hinder the creative process.

Be positive and encourage your artist while he is working. 

14. Don’t Boss Around

Getting a tattoo is a personal and permanent decision, so finding an artist you trust and feel comfortable with is essential.

But don’t boss them around. While knowing what you want for your tattoo is okay, respecting the artist’s expertise and creative input is essential.

15. Taking Breaks 

Tattoo artists will suggest taking breaks every 30-45 minutes, depending on the complexity and size of the design. This is important because getting a new tattoo can be long and painful, and taking breaks can help you reduce discomfort and fatigue.

Breaks allow your artist to step back and evaluate their progress, ensuring that the tattoo design matches your idea.

But don’t ask for time please every 10-15 minutes. Also, ensure that the breaks aren’t too long. Otherwise, it will disrupt the schedule and the artist’s next appointment after yours.

16. Don’t Rush The Artist

Tattooing requires much attention to detail and rushing the artist could result in a less-than-perfect outcome.

If you’re concerned about time, discuss your timeline with your artist to ensure you understand what’s possible. 

17. Be Easy With Pricing

Tattoo artists are skilled professionals who have invested time and money in their craft, and their prices reflect their expertise and the quality of their work.

Bargaining too much with your tattoo can come across as disrespectful and undervalue their work.

18. Tip At The End

Yes, it is appropriate to tip your tattoo artist at the end of their work, especially if you are satisfied with the result. Tipping is a way to show appreciation for their time, effort, and skill in creating your tattoo.

If you’re unsure about tipping etiquette, you can always ask your tattoo artist or the staff at the tattoo shop for guidance. 

19. Listen For Healing Advice 

The healing process varies from person to person and can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Be patient, and take care of your tattoo.

Follow the tattoo aftercare advice carefully. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your artist.

If you are considering tattoo retouching, find an experienced and reputable tattoo artist to help you achieve the desired results. They will be able to assess your existing tattoo and recommend the best techniques and approaches to achieve your goals.

What Are The Best Ways To Save Money On A Tattoo?

  • Do your research and find the best tattoo artist with a good portfolio. 
  • Don’t just go for the cheapest option; you want to ensure you get a quality tattoo that you will be happy with for years to come.
  • Smaller tattoos will cost less than larger ones. Consider getting a smaller tattoo or scaling down your design to save money.
  • Black and white tattoos are less expensive than color tattoos, requiring less time and effort to create.
  • Around 72% of adults have a tattoo in a less visible area. Consider the same. Go for areas like your back or thigh instead of a highly visible area like your wrist or forearm. 
  • Tattoo shops may offer discounts or specials at certain times of the year, such as holidays or the shop’s anniversaries.
  • If you’re on a tight budget, save up for your tattoo over time instead of trying to get it done immediately. 

What Is The Best Way To Prepare For A Tattoo?

  • Research the tattoo artist and shop: Look for experienced artists and shop with positive reviews and a portfolio of work that matches your desired tattoo ideas.
  • Choose the design and placement: Decide on the design and placement of your tattoo ahead of time. 
  • Stay hydrated and eat well: Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy meal before your appointment.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs: Do not consume alcohol or drugs before your appointment, as they can thin your blood and make the process more complex and dangerous.
  • Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing that allows easy access to the area where the tattoo will be placed.
  • Take care of your skin: Clean and moisturize the skin where the tattoo will be placed regularly before your appointment. 
  • Be prepared for the pain: Be mentally prepared and consider taking pain relief medication beforehand if necessary.


Tabitha is a curious and enthusiastic writer who believes in the power of words and the importance of good manners. Etiquette is her passion, and she enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.

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