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What Should I Take To My Tattoo Appointment?

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

Here are some handy tips on what to bring to your tattoo appointment so you can be prepared!

1. Directions and instructions!

Not all studios have a ‘shop front’ and are easy to find. Private studios tend to be more hidden to provide more privacy for customers and a more chilled out environment. Make sure you’ve got directions, and read any instructions the studio sent you. It can be quite a few months in between your booking and actual tattoo so it is always worth going back and re-reading what they sent you. Many studios will ask you to call once you arrive so make sure you have their number saved. Be ready to adjust a little to the environment you find when you arrive - artists tend to want to create a chilled out atmosphere to benefit customers. If you’ve come from a busy or hectic pace of life, a little readjustment may be needed!

2. Food & drink

Even for a small tattoo, bring a drink and some snacks with you. If you booked a day sitting, bring a good lunch, water, and sugary snacks or drinks. Eating a good meal a couple of hours before your appointment helps massively to get you through, and eating a proper lunch during a day sitting is essential. Sugary pop and sweets can also be your saviour and really make the difference getting you through your tattoo.

You will feel a certain level of stress as part of the tattoo process, even if you think you don’t mind the pain. Once the needles break your skin, your body responds. The nervous and immune systems both spring into action on a number of tasks. When the body experiences pain, our nervous system triggers our fight or flight response releasing adrenaline - a natural reaction which usually gives us that boost of energy we need to escape danger. After a few minutes, as the pain continues, the body also releases endorphins which act as natural painkillers. That special mix of adrenaline and endorphins is partly the reason why a tattoo can feel both awful, and pretty exhilarating at the same time. But the fight or flight response is short lived, and will be long gone, while you’re still in the chair, so that alone can leave you feeling drained.

At the same time, as soon as ink is deposited into the dermis layer of your skin, your body's immune system jumps to action. Specialised cells rush to the wound site. Their job is to start to repair the wound and protect the body from infection. As part of this process, macrophage cells recognise the tattoo pigment as an inflammatory ‘foreign body’ and surround it. Some of these cells transport particles of the pigment away through the lymphatic system, and some remain in the dermis which is how your tattoo becomes permanent.

On top of all this, there’s a chance that you could be stuck in an uncomfortable position for a long period of time, which in itself is pretty tiring. Your tattooist will make you as comfortable as they can but depending on where you have the tattoo you’ll need to be positioned in a certain way.

Hungry yet? We thought so!

Your tattooist will usually take breaks during the process too, so don’t worry about asking to stop when you feel you need to top up your blood sugar levels or hydrate.

Sealed food and drink is more practical and more hygienic. So if you rock up with your favourite starbucks in hand, you may be asked to dispose of it before going in. (Tattoo booths are usually fairly limited in size and you’ll be busy up and down getting the tattoo stencil applied and getting positioned, so plenty of opportunity to kick over or drop things).

3. Comfy clothing and layers


The number one mistake customers make is wearing restrictive clothing - and usually in white! This can make it difficult for the artist to properly access the area being tattooed.

If we had a penny for every time we've watched someone wrestle a skinny jean up to knee-level for an ankle tattoo, only for their circulation to be almost cut off. Clothing can pull or restrict your body to the extent that if a tattoo is applied with it on, and looks straight, you might well find that once you get home and remove the item of clothing, your tattoo does not look straight anymore!