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Choosing A Good Tattoo Artist

Updated on October 16, 2009

Tattoo Equipment Needs To Be Sterilized

Choosing A Good Tattoo Artist

When you decide to have a tattoo the design is usually your first consideration, will it be a tribal tattoo or a traditional heart?  Secondly you usually think about its position, arm, shoulder or hip?  Then a poor third comes which tattoo artist, for the sake of your health and long term satisfaction with your tattoo you need to make this decision your priority.

Personal recommendation is always best, as long as you trust their judgment that is!  If you have any family or friends who have the sort of tattoo you want ask them who inked it.  Ask around, someone will know someone - you get the picture.  This takes care of the tattoo artists personal ability, but safety is a whole different ball game, remember a tattoo needle breaks your skin so strict hygiene levels have to be maintained, the same as a physician or dentist.

Things to check at a tattoo parlor:

  • Is the parlor clean? If the floor, benches, walls etc are dirty the equipment might be dirty too.
  • All equipment that touches your skin needs to be sterilized in an autoclave, and be kept in another room.
  • All needles need to be single use, they should be in sealed packs that the artist opens in front of you.  Single use needles have an expiry date, you need to check this.  All used needles need to be disposed of in a sharps box.
  • Pigments need to be mixed individually for every new client, any pigment left over needs to be thrown away.
  • The parlors references should be available for checking, preferably on public display.


No reputable parlor should be offended by your questions, after all they have nothing to hide.  If they do seem unhappy with your questions you should ask yourself if you are happy for them to work on you – I would say no thank you and look elsewhere.

You may be happy with the parlor but make sure you get the tattoo artist you want, not everyone working out of the same parlor will be of the same standard, and each may have a different specialism, be prepared to wait for the right artist.  You should be able to talk to your chosen tattoo artist about your design, a good artist will listen to what you want and be able to give you advice, about what will and will not work for you.

OK, you have found a parlor, you are happy with and an artist who does beautiful work, but they are expensive, what do you do? That is an easy one - wait until you have saved up enough money!  Don’t cut corners and get a cheap tattoo, you will be able to see the difference, it will annoy you and be with you for a long time!

Don't Get Tattooed In A Kitchen!

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