If you’re considering getting that first tattoo – congrats! I hope you’ve been thinking long and hard about your design and also the location of your tattoo. In this post, I’ll talk about my experiences with tattoos and some general tips for your first time.
I currently have 2 tattoos: an elvish script and a geometric lotus.
This tattoo here, being my very first one, has a lot of meaning to me. This is elvish script, which is from Lord of the Rings. It’s the writing around the One Ring, except mine doesn’t actually say “The one ring to rule them all.” That would be a bit silly. Instead, think of the script as a font, not a language. What is says is, “mes étoiles perdue,” which is French for “my lost stars.” Now here comes all the layers of meanings. It’s a reference to one of my favorite songs, “Lost Stars,” from one of my favorite movies, “Begin Again,” sung by Adam Levine. Kiera Knightly also has a ballad version that’s very pretty but I fell in love with Adam’s take on the song. This tattoo is basically a combination of a few of my favorite things:
- Lord of the Rings (best movies ever)
- French (spent 8 years studying it)
- Lost Stars (damn good song)
- Begin Again (watch it)
- Adam Levine (Maroon 5 <3)
There’s so many layers and people are generally really impressed with how much meaning I’ve packed into one tattoo. The song itself probably has the most meaning to me, since I get a new interpretation of the lyrics every time I listen to it, depending on what’s going on in my life at that specific point in time.
I got that tattoo in my right deltoid area, and yes it did hurt. I felt like I couldn’t breathe every time the needle was on my skin. I went to OC Tattoo, which my artist did an amazing job tattooing exactly what my design looked like. If you’re in the OC area, I’d hit this place up!
Oh, and this is the site I used to generate the script. Remember that elvish is basically a font, though there are also multiple elvish languages that J. R. R. Tolkien invented in his world. Not relevant in this case.
Now for a very painful tattoo:
This is my second and most recent tattoo! There really isn’t too much meaning behind this one haha I just saw a geometric lotus tattoo once and really really liked it and kept thinking about it for 2 years so then that’s when I knew I was ready! And good lord did it hurt. I knew it was going to since I read so many articles and heard so many people talk about their rib tattoos. I went to Ink Ink Tattoo in Venice, CA this time and got tatted by Karina, who did an amazing job with her fine line work.
If you’re thinking about a new tattoo, here are the basic steps/tips you can take:
- Think about your design and where you want it on your body. Consider printing it out or having someone draw it on you so you can get an idea of what it looks like. Sit on this idea for at least a couple months. Don’t be rash or in a hurry. Or be rash. You do you.
- Research different tattoo parlors and check out artists’ portfolios. Read reviews and make an informed choice! Some parlors have a higher shop minimum, or charge a higher hourly rate. But remember that you get what you paid for. Find a good balance of a high quality shop and your budget.
- If you have a design in mind, great! If not, you can email the artist and work out a design together.
- On the day of your appointment (this is if you make one – you can also do walk-ins) make sure to eat enough food, especially protein. Karina gave me this advice since when you’re getting tatted, your body can burn up to 700 calories an hour! If you don’t want to pass out, make sure to eat.
- If you have a low pain tolerance, take 1-2 pills of acetaminophen, NOT IBUPROFEN, because acetaminophen does not thin out the blood. It can end up hurting more if your blood is thinned out from ibuprofen.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your artist to make changes if you aren’t 100% happy with your design or placement of the tattoo. Most are very willing to comply and even encourage people to speak up about their permanent tattoos!
- Take breaks if you need to. Your artist should take a few seconds in between each time they use the needle to give your skin a break.
But what about aftercare?
Most people have lots of questions here. Your artist should give you a pamphlet of some sort with information about that. Each person has his/her own routine for aftercare, but this was my experience with the geometric lotus tattoo:
- If your artist wraps your tattoo with tegaderm, which is medical grade sticky wrap that’s breathable and waterproof, then you can leave it on for up to 2-3 days. Remove if water seeps through it.
- I read reviews and bought a tub of Hustle Butter, which was actually amazing to use. Some people had allergic reactions so I dabbed a little on the back of my hand and I got no reaction so I figured it was safe for my tattoo. And it was very nourishing, moisturizing, and great smelling! I applied a thin layer of Hustle Butter 2-3x a day after washing the tattoo.
- Don’t overwash! 2-3x a day of cleaning your tattoo with mild soap is enough. Don’t overdo it.
- For 2 weeks, I wore loose clothing so basically a loose-ish crop top underneath a shirt, or I went bra-less when I could.
- Most tattoos will scab like my elvish script tattoo, but my lotus didn’t probably because the lines were so thin and fine. Definitely don’t peel the scabs if you develop any.
- Keep your tattoo out of any sunlight! Sun can be so damaging on healing tattoos so don’t be going out showing off your new tattoo wrapped in plastic wrap if there’s sun out.
- Your artist should be available for any questions or concerns during your aftercare and provide touch ups if needed! Both of my tattoos healed fine and didn’t require any sort of touch up.
Best of luck if you’re soon to get your first tattoo! It’s exciting and also nerve-wracking, but you’ll be so glad you went through with the process. Just be prepared to explain to random strangers many many times what your tattoo means 🙂
Thanks for reading!