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Preparing for Your Tattoo Session

Updated on July 28, 2017

The success of your tattoo is as much up to your preparation and aftercare as it is up to the artist, and of course - the art itself. Want to make the best out your 2 - 4 hour session? I'll tell you how:

Don’t go boozing the night before

You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth saying again (and again, and again). Let’s face it, unless you are the actual Captain Jack Sparrow, coming into your tattoo session spelling like a pirate is probably not going to do you any favours.


While your artist will readily pluck out a disposable razor to take care of any unwanted fluff, if you do want them to ink a particularly furry patch it may be best (and is only polite) for you to remove most of it first. Note: For anyone considering waxing, do so at least a few days before your tattoo session to give your skin a chance to heal.

Come (in) clean

Remember that part about smelling like a pirate? Well, the same counts for body odour too. You and your artist are going to get pretty close for a few hours – make their lives a little easier by forgoing the 'au naturel', scent of armpit aromas. That way their eyes won’t water, and they won’t smudge your ink.

Have a hearty breakfast

You are about to put your body through a fair amount of punishment, the least you can do it give it the reserves it’ll need to keep you going through the day. Without really telling you what to eat, or what to avoid, I can tell you to eat something filling. A filled omelet, a bowl of cooked oats, have something that is going to fill you up for a while. You will sit a lot better and a lot easier if you are not dealing with a case of the Hangry.

Take it easy

You’re late, the artist is late, you’ve missed your bus and now have to do a mad dash across town to make it to your appointment on time… Don’t do that to yourself. Get up a little earlier, take your time and enjoy that morning cup of tea. You are going to need that little pocket of zen (especially when the endorphins start wearing off), so get yourself off to the right start of easing into your day.

Stay hydrated

Hydrated skin = happy skin. Happy skin = happy artist. Happy artist = happy you.

For the week leading up to your session, make sure that you drink plenty of water. Try and stay away from heavily caffeinated drinks (and yes, alcohol) as it will dehydrate you, making your less easy to work with.

Snack attack

Remember the point about giving your body the reserves it needs? This goes for the whole day, not just breakfast. Depending on the length of your session, you might still be there over lunch time. If there are no shops readily available, pack yourself a light lunch you can nibble on to keep the hunger pains at bay – Not to mention keeping your blood sugar up. Things that work are nuts (filling), smoothies (easy to sip on / gulp down), salami sticks or biltong (protein), and a good old bar-one chocolate (sugar… glorious sugar). If you are avoiding the processed sugar thing, having some dates on hand will keep you going too.

© 2017 Morgan Stone


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