What’s the most painful spot for a tattoo?

Anyone planning to get a tattoo needs to accept one simple fact: it’s probably going to hurt. Tattoos essentially involve lots of little needles, moving at very fast speeds, injecting ink into the lower layers of your skin.

The final result might look fantastic, but the process itself isn’t particularly fun to experience, and if you’ve got a low threshold for pain, you need to think long and hard about how and where you want to get your ink in order to minimize tattoo pain.

Various factors can influence the pain of getting a tattoo, such as the size of the tattoo in question and the tattoo artist you use, but one of the biggest factors of all is the location of the tattoo itself, as some parts of the body are far more sensitive than others.

tattoo pain

What are the most painful places to get a tattoo?

If you’re eager to avoid too much pain when having your tattoo, try to avoid getting it in a place with thin skin or lots of nerve endings. Here are some examples:

  • Armpit – The armpit is a well-known painful spot for a tattoo among ink enthusiasts. It might even be the most painful place of all and many artists will advise you to think twice if you ask them to tattoo you in this part of the body.
  • Ribs – Some parts of the back and chest are fine for tattoos, but tattooing along the ribs can be really painful as the skin there is very thin.
  • Ankles – The ankles are another painful spot for a tattoo. The skin here, and around the shins, is quite thin, leading to high levels of pain for most people.
  • Hands and feet – The hands and feet are quite popular spots to have a tattoo, but they can also be quite painful too. Once again, the skin here is quite thin, especially on the tops of the hands and feet, making it a very painful spot for a tattoo.
  • Face and head – The face and head aren’t ideal locations for tattoos if you don’t tolerate pain too well either, due to the presence of lots of nerve endings and sensitive skin.

Least Painful Places

If you want to minimize tattoo pain, try to select a part of the body that has fewer nerve endings, tighter skin, or some fat to help cushion the impact of the tattoo needles. Here are some examples:

  • Forearm – Since forearms tend to have a reasonable amount of muscle and thick layers of skin without too many nerve endings, they’re a great spot to get a tattoo with a minimal amount of pain.
  • Outer shoulders and biceps – The inner parts of the shoulders or biceps can be quite a painful spot for a tattoo, but the outer areas have more muscle that helps to reduce the pain.
  • Outer thigh – The outer thighs of most people tend to be padded with a reasonable amount of fat and muscle, reducing the pain of getting a tattoo quite drastically.
  • Calves – Since the calves also have quite a lot of muscle and fat, you shouldn’t have to worry about too much pain when getting a tattoo there.

Where is a good spot for your first tattoo?

If you’re getting ready for your first tattoo and have a low threshold for pain, opting for a spot like the calves, outer thigh, outer bicep, or forearm is a great idea. This will help to reduce your stress levels ahead of the tattoo and make the experience more bearable, allowing you to build up towards the more painful areas later on if you feel ready for it.

What does tattoo pain feel like?

In general, those who have had tattoos say that the pain tends to be the worst for the first few minutes, but starts to fade as the tattoo continues and the body adjusts. Many people say it feels like a stinging sensation, like being pricked by needles or stung by a bee multiple times, while others say it feels more like a repeated scratching. Of course, if you’re getting a tattoo in an area with thin skin or lots of nerve endings, you can expect the sensation to be more intense.

How to predict and minimize tattoo pain?

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when it comes to predicting and minimizing tattoo pain:

  • Do your research – Doing your research in advance will help you be better prepared for the tattoo and know more about what to expect.
  • Pick the right body part – You can find lists and charts of body parts, ranked in order of tattoo pain, to help you find an area that won’t be too unpleasant.
  • Preparing your skin – Before the tattoo, getting a good night’s rest, eating a hearty meal, and avoiding alcohol will help to get your body in the right condition.
  • Avoid painkillers – It might be tempting to take painkillers before getting a tattoo, but they won’t really work and can actually make the tattooing process require more time.
  • Breathe – Focus on your breathing as the tattoo is taking place to try and take your attention away from the pain.
  • Distractions – You can choose to bring along a book, some music, or find some other form of distraction to keep you occupied as you have the tattoo.painful spot for a tattoo

What To Do When Your Tattoo Itches? Scratchy Aftercare


If you’ve ever had a tattoo, you’ll be all too familiar with the feeling of the itchy and scratchy tattoo period that we all have to endure. It’s an uncomfortable sensation that requires a high amount of patience, as one scratch or picking off a scabbed tattoo could permanently damage the design and make it appear faded.

Tattoo aftercare is one of the most critical stages of the tattooing process. It can be the difference between a beautiful, brand new piece of ink and a damaged and prematurely faded design. That is one of the reasons you need to take into consideration while looking for the best tattoo artists to get inked.

This article will take a deeper dive into the itchy tattoo sensation, why it arises in the first place, and what you can do to get rid of it.

Why do tattoos itch?

Tickly peeling skin

So why do tattoos itch in the first place? Are you doing something wrong? Well, first off, it’s important to note that tattoo itching is a perfectly normal part of the healing process. Don’t forget, your skin has just gone through some pretty severe stress, and your skin has essentially been damaged via repeated punctures in the same area.

The way your body reacts is to scab up over the area in an attempt to protect and heal the skin, and for the vast majority of us, this leaves us with an itchy tattoo.

It’s perfectly normal for the skin to feel tickly and start to peel after a few days and for up to a few weeks.

Allergic reactions

Of course, sometimes there are situations when an itching tattoo is a sign of something more serious, which may need medical attention—one of those issues being an allergic reaction to the pigment used in the tattoo ink. Strangely, an allergic reaction can occur right away or up to several years after your tattoo is finished.

If your tattoo feels excessively itchy or has red and bump hive-like features, you should seek medical advice.

Regrowth of the shaved hairs

When we get a tattoo, most artists shave the desired location of the tattoo and the surrounding area. That way, they can do a better job as they can see their “canvas” more easily. When your hairs regrow, it can cause mild itching and discomfort, but this discomfort is increased when you account for the wounded skin in the tattooed area.

Skin conditions

An overly itchy and scratchy tattoo could also arise due to pre-existing medical conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. This can cause discomfort in the tattooed area will more than likely lead to increased levels of itchiness.

While this is not an immediate cause for concern, you should keep a close eye on the wound and consult a medical professional’s advice if the problem persists for more than a week.

tattoo artist

What to do when the tattoo itches?

Next, let’s take a look at how to stop tattoo itching!

Apply a moisturizer

When you get a really itchy and scratchy tattoo, one of the best things you can do is apply a moisturizer to the area. This replenishes the skin with all of the necessary vitamins and minerals for repair whilst hydrating the dried out area.

Most of the time, itchiness occurs due to a dried-out scab, which can lead to flaky skin peeling off the tattoo. Check-in with your artist for their personal recommendations on the best tattoo cream. They will usually suggest going for a fragrance-free, unscented option so that it does not damage the tattoo in any way.

Pat, tap, or slap the area gently

The worst thing you can do to a new tattoo is to scratch it directly with your fingernails or any other sharp object. If you remove the scabs too soon, you will almost definitely leave yourself with a faded/damaged tattoo.

Instead of scratching, try to pat, tap, or slap the itchy area.

Take a bath

A great way to subside the itchy feeling is to take a relaxing hot bath, but be warned! This is only advised for tattoos that are at least one month old, as submerging a new tattoo in water is a surefire way to damage it.

Engage in a distracting activity

Sometimes the best way to get over an itchy tattoo feeling is to distract yourself with something fun so you can take your mind off it. Get outside, play some sports, turn on your favorite reality TV guilty pleasure. You have the excuse of telling yourself it’s for a good reason, so use it!

Just make sure you don’t lapse your concentration and accidentally scratch off and damage your new ink.


Cool the inked area

Last but not least, some people get relief by applying a cold compress to their new tattoos. This helps to ease itching while reducing the inflammation that occurs in the days following the tattooing.

As always, ensure you aren’t using any materials that may stick to the tattoo so that you don’t damage it.

Tattoo Needle Sizes and Uses Chart: Complete Guide


tattoo needle sizes

If you are entering the world of tattooing, you might be a little bit confused by all the different types of tattoo needles available. How is a round liner tattoo needle different from a magnum or a Bugpin tattoo needle? How do you know which one to use with different kinds of tattoos? Our guide features different tattoo needles explained for you to understand them. 

Understanding the tattoo needles cannot be as complicated as you think. In this guide, we’re talking to you through the sizes and uses of different tattoo needles. Finding tattoo shops nearby will help you to have a strong understanding of the different styles that are available and which needles are used. 

Enjoy our tattoo needles 101 below with our tattoo needle sizes and uses chart, and try not to get overwhelmed by the different sizes and gauges. There is a lot to learn on the road to becoming one of the best tattoo artists.

Tattoo Needle Sizes and Uses Chart

Round Liner Needles 

These have a round pattern and are good for clean lines. For instance, you could use them for outlines. The thickness is described by a numerical value. 01 would be really fine and 14 is extremely thick. These types of needles don’t let a lot of ink out at once so they can be used for details and dot work.

Round Shader Needles

These are similar but the pins within the needle are not close together so they are suited to shading and filling in the outlines with coloring.

Magnum Shader

 The magnum shader needles are preferred for a lot of different types of shading and are great for bigger areas. They can allow a lot of ink to be transferred at once so these types of needles are fantastic for covering larger spaces within tattoos. 

Curved Magnum Shaders  

These are sometimes called soft edge magnums too. They’ve similar because they can disperse a lot of ink but they are designed to do so very evenly and not cause anywhere pain or damage to the skin. These types of needles are great for delicate shading.

Double Stack Magnum Shader

Needles are similar, but they have gone out of fashion somewhat. They have multiple pins but they aren’t spaced out as much.

Flat Shader Needles are Straight

They are good for lining and can deliver lots of ink into the skin at once for dark shading. For instance, if you need a dark, black outline or even some intricate shading such as in mandala-style tattoos. The flat shader needles can be used for certain types of makeup, semi-permanent styles of makeup tend to use flat shaders.

Tattoo Needle Sizes and Uses Chart

The table below, our own tattoo needle sizes and chart, will show both tattoo needles and what they are used for. There are different groupings, and these have different common uses based on what they are most suitable for.

Needle Grouping

Tube Size

Common uses

4F, 5F 4 – 5 flat Lines and detail
6F, 7F 6 – 7 flat Shading, thick lines, and color fill
9F 8 – 9 flat Shading and color fill
5M1 4 – 5 flat Thick lines, color fill, and shading
7M1 6 – 7 flat Lines, shading, and color fill
9M1 8 – 9 flat Thick outlines, shading, color fill
11M1 11 flat Color fill and shading
13M1 13 flat Color fill and shading
15M1 15 flat Color fill and shading
5M2, 7M2, 9M2 4 – 5 flat Outlines, lines, detail, and shading
11M2, 13M2 6 -7 flat Thick outlines, thick lines, shading, and color fill
15M2 8 – 9 flat Color fill and shading
5MR 4 – 5 flat Small lines, detail work, and intricate shading
7MR 6 – 7 flat Lines, shading, color fill, and detail work
9MR 8 – 9 flat Outlines, shading, and color fill
11MR 11 flat Color fill and shading
13MR 13 flat Color fill and shading
15MR 15 flat Color fill and shading
1RL, 3RL 1 – 3 round Lines, intricate shading, and fill-in
4RL, 5RL 4 – 5 round Outlines, shading, and fill-in
7RL 7 round Shading and color fill
8RL, 9RL 8 – 9 round Shading, thick outlines, and color fill
11RL, 14 RL 11 – 14 round Shading and colors
3RS 1 – 3 round Lines and detail
5RS 4 – 5 round Lines, small shading areas, and small detail
7RS 7 round Shading, lines, small area fill in
8RS, 9RS 8 – 9 round Shading, thick outlines, and color fill in
14RS 11 – 14 round Shading and color
4F, 5F 4 – 5 flat Lines and detail
6F, 7F 6 – 7 flat Shading, thick lines, and fill
9F 8 – 9 flat Shading and color fill
5M1 4 – 5 flat Thick lines, color fill, and shading
7M1 6 – 7 flat Lines, shading, and color fill
9M1 8 – 9 flat Thick outlines, shading, color fill
11M1 11 flat Color fill and shading
13M1 13 flat Color fill and shading
15M1 15 flat Color fill and shading
5M2, 7M2, 9M2 4 – 5 flat Outlines, lines, detail, and shading
11M2, 13M2 6 -7 flat Thick outlines/lines, shading, and color fill
15M2 8 – 9 flat Color fill and shading
5MR 4 – 5 flat Small lines, detail work, and intricate shading
7MR 6 – 7 flat Lines, shading, color fill, and detail work
9MR 8 – 9 flat Outlines, shading, and color fill
11MR 11 flat Color fill and shading
13MR 13 flat Color fill and shading
15MR 15 flat Color fill and shading

Tattoo Needle Codes

Different codes stand for different things when it comes to tattoo needles. RL stands for the round liner, which gives a small circular formation normally used as lining needles. The other configurations are F which stands for flats, M1 means weaved magnum, RS which means round shader, M2 stacked magnum, and finally, RM = round magnum.

Tattoo Needle Diameters

There are different gauges and diameters out there which can be suitable for different uses. The three below are among the most commonly used tattoo needles. 

#8 gauge (0.25mm)

This is a small needle, and they are often called Bugpins, the ink flows a bit slower so it is good for intricate detailing.

#10 gauge (0.30mm)

This is very popular among tattoo artists, it tends to be the middle ground. It gives a steady flow but doesn’t restrict and slow it down as much as the #8 gauge. People referring to double zeros are talking about this size.

#12 gauge (0.35mm)

A 12 gauge might be referred to as standards, but they have a faster flow of ink which means they are good for shading and coloring even in bigger areas.


There are some other gauges under these, #6 is 0.20mm. #14 is 0.40 and #16 is 0.45mm. These all have specific uses. 

How to Choose the Right Tattoo Needles?

As you can see, there are a lot of different varieties when it comes to sizing. Our tattoo needle chart is designed to help you to understand the different types of tattoo needles. Choosing the right needles is all about matching up what you need to achieve as a tattoo artist, and using different styles of the needle for different uses such as shading or outlining. This will provide you with the best results in the long run.

Download our Tattoo Needles Sizes and Uses Chart Here

Everything You Need to Know About Vegan Tattoos

You might well be shocked to learn that getting a tattoo can often not be vegan! If you have recently gone vegan and want to get yourself inked, you can do so, but you need to find specific vegan tattoos.

How are Tattoos Non-Vegan?

So, what is it that makes tattoos not vegan?

Is tattoo ink vegan? Well, “sometimes”, is the answer. You need to specifically find vegan tattoos. Inks often contain Glycerine which comes from animal fats. This is used to stabilize the substance. You can also sometimes find bone derivatives within black inks as they are able to increase pigment.

It isn’t just ink, though. Many tattoo artists use stencils made using lanolin which comes from wool. Even beeswax and glycerine are possibly found in razors, soaps or balms offered by tattoo studios. It is vital to find a vegan tattoo which has been specifically designed to use no animal products.

What are Vegan Tattoos?

Just like vegan food is made with alternative substances to animal products, vegan tattoos find vegan-friendly substances which can have the same properties and have the same end result.

Vegan tattoos are very much a moral choice, if you don’t want to use animal products then you should look for a studio that can accommodate. However, there are some who are claiming that every aspect of the process is better when animal products aren’t used. Some tattoo artists claim it being better for your health overall and even safer to use vegan tattoo ink on the skin.

What is used for a Vegan Tattoo?

A vegan tattoo will use alternatives to animal products. There are a number of alternatives that can be used and some of the non-vegan products inside other inks can simply be excluded.

Vegan tattoo inks use alternatives to stabilize the substance. Fortunately, they need to meet certain quality standards in order to be supplied to tattoo artists, so you can rest assured that the ink is very well made and has no risk to you.

It isn’t just about the ink, alternative products should be used for other processes such as any razors needed being vegan, and also any stencil paper and aftercare products being vegan. There’s no point just using vegan ink if you aren’t using other vegan products and processes throughout.

vegan tattoos


How to Know if the Products are Vegan?

Most of the studios offering vegan tattoos will be very happy to advertise this. You will probably be aware of what products will be used and reassured that they are all vegan-friendly.

If you don’t have this guarantee, you should ask your tattoo artist for a list of all the different products they use, they will probably be happy to provide this. If they do use products which aren’t vegan, you may even be able to request that this is swapped out. If it is something simple like a balm then this will be very easy to switch out, even if it comes at an extra cost.

The main way to know is to request as much information as possible. Searching for vegan tattoos in your local area can give you the guarantee that the studio is used to vegan products. It is certainly becoming more popular.

How to Look After a Vegan Tattoo?

As already mentioned, it isn’t just about the ink. Many of the balms and creams that you can use to help moisturize and protect the area may not be vegan. This information will be available on the packaging of a tattoo product as they are required to let you know whether or not they are suitable for vegans.

There are a number of ointments and moisturizers that you should look to use on your tattoo, these can help it to heal properly, which is part of the process of getting your tattoo looking as good as possible. It can be tempting to peel or scratch the tattoo, but using these aftercare products will help a great deal.

A simple search for vegan tattoo moisturizers will bring options up on Amazon or Google, and you can also ask your tattoo artist if they are able to recommend aftercare products that avoid using animal products. You may also look for pain relief products, especially if your tattoo is in one of the more severe areas shown on a tattoo pain chart.

Being ready for your tattoo can mean preparing products which fit with your lifestyle, and this should include veganism if this is the lifestyle you have chosen.

How to Prepare Your Skin for a Tattoo

There are a plethora of references about tattoo aftercare tips online. However, when it comes to pre-tattoo preparation, there’s hardly any. Or if there is, it’s likely not substantial.

We think that only a few people really take the time to do some research and prepare themselves before getting inked. And that’s a let down because while it’s crucial to take care of your tattoo after the session, it is also equally important to prepare your skin before the procedure.

This is taking into consideration that: first, you are going to have a piece of body art that will stay with you forever, and that you will be spending quite a fair amount of money in it. Thus, it will be wise if you make sure that your skin is prepared so that you’ll end up with the tattoo you want instead of a bad surprise!

In this article, we did thorough research—even took note of some serious expert advice—to present to you the most important things to remember before getting a tattoo. Keep reading below for our helpful suggestions on how to prepare your skin for a tattoo.

tattoo preparation

Get hydrated and moisturize

Both tattoo artists, skincare, and makeup professionals who graduated from the make-up academy highlight the importance to get hydrated and make sure to moisturize your skin before getting a tattoo. This is because the current condition and health of your skin affect your reaction. Makeup professionals recommend not to use any makeup since a day before you are planning to get inked.

Although proper hydration is necessary to keep your body healthy, it is particularly important when getting inked. Staying well hydrated leading up to being tattooed, will put your skin in better condition. It helps your skin become more resilient which helps allow the tattoo ink application easier.

Also, do not forget to moisturize your skin prior to your tattoo session. This is especially if you have very dry skin, you may need to moisturize 2-3 times a day. Doing this will help ensure that your skin is in good shape prior to being tattooed.

Shave and exfoliate

You may want to shave and exfoliate your skin too before getting a tattoo.

Shaving the area where you will be tattooed is most of the time necessary to achieve the best results. And your tattoo artist can do this for you, however, it would be a good gesture to do it yourself. Not to mention, you can do it better.

However, be cautious when shaving as cuts or nicks (even if it’s minor) will need to heal completely before you get a tattoo. After shaving, do not forget to moisturize the skin. Also, be wary of aftershaves that contain alcohol as it can dry out your skin.

Try also exfoliating your skin. Not only that it can make the procedure more comfortable for you and your Las Vegas tattoo artist, but it also helps your skin to better absorb the moisturizer. Exfoliate gently to remove impurities by using a loofah or a gentle exfoliant.

Eat before the session

You should never go to your tattoo session hungry. Eating before your appointment will help you have the necessary energy and stamina to endure the pain. Not doing so will increase your risk of getting light-headed or passing out.

Not eating before your session can lower your blood sugar level, thus increasing your reaction to the pain. Moreover, getting a tattoo can cause fatigue as your body exerts an excess amount of energy to suppress the pain. So go get a healthy meal, preferably one that is high in protein.

Make sure to bring some (healthy) snacks too, like a granola bar, to nourish you if you are having a long tattoo session.

Wear comfortable and appropriate clothes

It’s also indispensable to wear comfortable and appropriate clothes. This is a sensible thing to do because it will help the artist easily access the area you intend to have tattooed. In addition, it will also make you comfortable during the entire session.

When choosing clothes to wear, go for something that isn’t tight and constricting. It should allow your tattoo artist to easily access the area where you want to get inked. Bringing socks or jacket will also help in keeping you warm.

Avoid using drugs and certain products before the session

Avoid taking drugs and alcohol before and during your tattoo session. Otherwise, they can lead to complications and may ultimately jeopardize your safety.

You should totally avoid taking alcohol, coffee, and aspirin 24 hours before being tattooed. They have blood thinning properties, which can result in excessive bleeding.

Lastly, don’t forget to mention to your tattoo artist any prescription medications or a medical condition you may have.

7 Questions You Should Ask Before Going to a Tattoo Shop

Let’s face it, once you get inked–there’s no turning back. Getting a tattoo is not just a huge commitment, it’s also life-changing. So if you’re considering breaking skin for the first time or finally completing that sleeve, you should start educating yourself so you won’t have any regrets.

Realize that the experience of getting a tattoo doesn’t need to be overwhelming. You just need to politely ask about certain things, observe, and research your chosen shop or a tattoo artist. This will not only ensure that you are free from developing allergies to life-threatening infections (like HIV and Hepatitis C), it will also help your tattoo last longer.

Selecting a shop that can make your dream tattoo art a reality is very important and you should not take it lightly. Bear in mind that, while there are many good tattoo artists, there are also some really bad ones. If you don’t ask questions, it won’t come out right, or it may end up becoming infected.

So before going under the needle, try to consider asking these seven questions:

Do you use a sterilization machine?

The process of getting a tattoo involves needles puncturing your skin. These needles are punctured repeatedly so as to insert ink pigment into the dermis layer of your skin. Needles used in practices like this are associated with health risks such as HIV, Hepatitis B, and C, as well as mild to severe allergies.

Hence, tattoo shops should follow strict sterilization and other sanitation techniques. Unfortunately, a number of individual artists and tattoo shops are uneducated or too lazy to properly sanitize their equipment.

This is why it is very important to ask whether the shop uses an autoclave (a sterilization machine) to sterilize their equipment so as to prevent contamination of bloodborne diseases. Moreover, visit the shop and observe the tattoo artist if they are really using the autoclave or if it’s functional at all. See also if they really dispose items covered in blood or body fluids in the correct manner; and if the artist uses sharps box to get rid of the old needles.

Are you a licensed tattoo artist?

Making sure your tattoo artist is qualified and knows how to do a safe, sterile, and professional job is very essential too.

A licensed tattoo artist has been trained and passed an exam on various aspects of responsible tattooing. They must be trained to prevent bloodborne infections, sterilize their equipment, and knows how to provide first aid.

Licensing varies on location, so you can also try doing some extra research to find out your local regulations.

May I know the ingredients of the ink?

The inks used in tattoos are made up of colorants and carriers or diluents. The colorants are pigments that provide color, while carriers or diluents are liquids that assist in transferring the colorants from the needle to your skin.

There is a variety of colorants and carriers, some of which are completely unfit for injection. Asking your tattoo artist for a breakdown of the ingredients in the ink will definitely save you from developing an allergic reaction or infection.

Be wary of shops or tattoo artists who cannot give a solid overview of the ingredients in their ink as well as the brand they’re going to use. Write down the ingredients and do your own research. It is also a good idea to ask your dermatologist about the potential risks.

Questions You Should Ask Before Going to a Tattoo Shop

Can I have a patch test?

Whether or not you suspect an allergy to the ink, doing a patch test should be included in your list. This is because the process of getting a tattoo can aggravate your skin thus making it prone to an allergic reaction.

Scheduling a patch test a month in advance will help see if you’re going to develop a reaction. However, a patch test should only be a guide, you should remember that symptoms can occur after your tattoo is completely healed. Consulting a doctor will be a wise thing to do too.

Can I look through your portfolio?

This is a good question to ask when you want to know how skillful the tattoo artist is in doing his craft. The portfolio should give you an idea of whether the artist can bring to life the design that you want.

There are different styles of tattooing and seeing the previous tattoos the artist has done will give you a hint of his personal style.

Can you give me aftercare recommendations?

Another question to consider asking your tattoo artist is if they can send you aftercare recommendations.

Aftercare is also paramount to keeping yourself safe from developing an infection as well as keeping your tattoo at its best. So don’t hesitate to ask questions about how NOT to mess up with your newly inked skin.

And finally,

Ask yourself: Do you feel a connection with the tattoo artist?

You don’t need to be super close friends with your tattoo artist, but at least you should feel comfortable enough to trust him. You shouldn’t feel unsafe, pressured, or disrespected.

Your artist will be creating art that will be on your body forever, so you should at least have some sort of personal connection.

To Tip or Not To Tip: That is the question

Quite frankly, no one always knows what to do when it comes to tipping. The whole tipping thing can be so confusing and awkward.

When it comes to tipping situations, the following questions are probably involved:

– Who and when should you tip?
– How much to tip?
– When do you leave it?

Along with the main question, “do you even need to tip at all”?

And when it comes to professionals and artists, like your tattoo artist tipping becomes all the more debatable.

So, does your tattoo artist expect a tip? Do they deserve it? And if tipping it is, how much or what should it be?

Unfortunately, answers and individual opinions to these can vary. This is the reason that we decided to write this article as some sort of “tipping 101” or “tipping etiquette” advice. This guide aims to help you eliminate possible tipping-related concerns in the future (hopefully).

But first, is it appropriate to tip a tattoo artist?

Since tattoo artists provide a service, does that mean that it is necessary for you to tip them? Apparently, there is still no consensus about this.

Nevertheless, these artists don’t expect you to tip, as most of them know that a lot of people have been saving for quite some time just to get a tattoo. So why would people argue about it and tip if a tip isn’t necessary? Try to consider the following perspective:

Tattoo artists aren’t just a service provider, they create works of art and marks your body for life. Tipping your tattoo artist shows that you thought that the artwork was well worth what you’ve been charged; and that you appreciate it enough to add a little extra.

If the tattoo looks great, and you are happy with it, then showing appreciation to your artist is just right. Giving a tip that commensurates with the satisfactory results, the time it took to create and finish it, and the complexity of the design is the proper thing to do.

Another thing to note is, tipping helps you establish a relationship. If you are considering to interact with the same tattoo artist in the future, then it’s best to consider tipping. This extra pay can help you establish a relationship with the artist that may ultimately lead to a better service going forward.


How much to tip?

One of the most common perturbations around tipping is about how much to tip. Tips are technically optional, and should only be done when you can really, comfortably, afford it. Some give between 10-15%, while others generously hand 20-30%. Nevertheless, any amount given with sincerity is always better than nothing. So, it’s best to use your judgment on how much you should tip.

Tattoo tipping rates

The safest, fair rate to consider should be around 10-20%, with 15% being the average, of the cost of your tattoo as a tip. And if you particularly like the tattoo you ended up with, then tip heavy, about 20-30% would be considered a generous tip.
Don’t try to stiff an artist, unless of course, you had a rotten experience. You have the right not to tip at all especially if you received poor service. Situations like a lack of kindness and consideration on the part of the artist, as well as a lack of attention to details, are considered valid reasons not to give a tip. Never feel bad about not tipping a rude artist or a lousy job.

Bear in mind that your tip should serve as a direct reflection of the service that you have received. It should represent your appreciation for your tattoo artist’s time and effort. And in cases where your artist has met all your expectations or have gone above and beyond, then by all means, you should tip.

When people think about whether a tattoo artist deserves tips just because they think that they earn a hefty amount of cash; they fail to consider some factors. Yes, it’s true that most of them can make a lot of money, but not everyone can always pocket the full amount.

If the artist isn’t the owner, then it is likely that the shop is going to take a cut out of the payment you made. Most tattoo artist rent shop space from an owner or they pay a percentage of their take which can be around 40-50%.

Tipping alternative: gifts instead of cash

While cash is king, a nice gesture of appreciation for excellent service can come in any form. In lieu of money, giving gifts that the artist would enjoy should be enough. You can also try giving them a positive review and referring them to your friends.



Would you do it?

Getting a tattoo using the ashes of a loved one might seem morbid to some, but for others it’s the ultimate form of love of dedication. According to one tattoo shop manager in Toronto, “Ashes are essentially carbon and carbon is the main ingredient in black ink”. To read this full article on here.


owl tattoo by Andy Pho

Owl portrait tattoo by artist, Andy Pho

Tattoos always have some back end story, and this owl tattoo is no different. Whether it’s the significance of it’s meaning, its relativity to its roll in nature, there’s always a reason why people adore them. For the Greeks, the owl is sacred to the goddess of learning and Athena even depicted an owl on some Greco-Roman currency as a symbol of status, intelligence and of course, wealth.

In ancient Egyptian, Celtic, and Hindu cultures the symbolic meaning of owl revolved around guardianship of the underworlds, and a protection of the dead. In other cultures it has also gained a grim reputation for being the ruler of the night and seer of souls. Thus creating the morbid misunderstanding that it had negative associations with death.

Needless to say, the owl is a powerful creature both in form and function, but also from an artistic perspective. The depth and detail that comes from its natural make up gives the artist a challenging subject which can end up in a magnificent piece as seen in this completed work by Andy Pho.



The ultimate gadget if you take all your tattoo photos with a Smart Phone. 

This new collaboration between Carl Zeiss and ExoLens is a must-have – especially if you like taking great pics with your smartphone. Carl Zeiss has long won the world over with their brilliant glass/ lens work and they’ve done collaborations with all the top dogs including Sony, Panasonic, and Yashica. So it’s with great pleasure to announce that they’ve just introduced this new clip-on lens for Smart Phones and the results are sure to please.


The clip-on bracket is machined out of aluminum and it comes with a super wide-angle lens that pans 165 degrees. The kit will also come with a lens cap, telephoto lens, and lens hood as well as other accessories including a carrying bag. The ExoLens is available for the Samsung Galaxy S6, and every iPhone starting with the iPhone 6. Pricing starts at $97.50.


Starts shipping in a few months.