Have you ever considered getting a tattoo? Over the years, tattoos have become more commonplace, and aren’t just reserved for an alternative lifestyle. In fact, many women look to tattoos to fulfill their beauty needs with permanent makeup. Whether you’re getting permanent eyeliner or a full arm sleeve, there are so many things to keep in mind before taking the plunge.
As soon as I turned 18, I got my white ink tattoo. It reads, “learn to fly,” lyrics from Blackbird by the Beatles. I chose white ink because I thought it looked elegant, it was unique, and it’s also hard to notice for anyone who doesn’t know it’s there— which let me check the “no” box on the visible tattoos question for job applications. White ink fades a lot faster than colored ink, as well.
I shopped around for about three months looking for a tattoo artist I trusted. When I met Justin Coppolino, who now stars on Oxygen’s Tattoos After Dark, I knew he would be my guy. He was super excited about tattooing me, and also showed me some of his previous tattoos working with white ink.
If you’re also thinking about getting a tattoo or permanent makeup, here are some points to consider. Remember, I’m not an expert by any means, and can only speak from experience.
1. It Lasts Forever (ish)
One of the more obvious points I’ll mention: tattoos are permanent. However, over time they can fade, stretch, and even change colors. Notice how the letters of my tattoo aren’t as crisp now as they were when I first got it. That would be even more obvious had I gotten it in a colored ink. Gaining weight, tanning, and aging can all affect the appearance of your ink– especially on your face. Even if your tattoo doesn’t have some deep meaning, make sure you’re ready to make a commitment to seeing it every day for a very long time, through thick and thin (literally).
2. You Might Be Allergic
To put it simply, tattooing involves injecting ink below the top layers of your skin, which you may or may not react to. When I first got my tattoo, it healed nicely and didn’t seem to irritate my skin. However, I soon discovered that every summer, my tattoo inflames and starts to itch. That’s how I found out I have seasonal eczema; it had never been triggered before. Different inks have different ingredients, so make sure you do your research and let your artist know if you have any allergies. For this reason, I wouldn’t suggest getting permanent makeup done if you haven’t already had the experience of getting a tattoo. Imagine if you get an allergic reaction near your eyes or lips— yikes!
3. What You Pay is Usually What You Get
Unlike the world of beauty products, where you can find hidden gems for pocket change, tattoos are NOT something you want to skimp on. You’re paying for an artist’s expertise, updated (and sanitized) tools, high quality ink, and attention to detail. Most shops have an hourly rate, or a minimum if your tattoo doesn’t take very long to execute. Mine took about 20 minutes total, and I paid the minimum of $100, plus a 20% tip for Justin.
4. Beware of Trends
To work off of number 1, you may think that oxblood lip looks amazing now, but what about in a couple years? Keep in mind that trends change, and keeping it neutral will be the safest way to go when it comes to permanent makeup.
5. Pain is Subjective
What hurts for your best friend might be a walk in the park for you. The pain of getting a tattoo really depends on your personal threshold and the placement. Getting inked over bony areas, or skin that doesn’t experience a lot of elemental exposure (like the inside of your legs/underarms) will hurt more than others. My tattoo is placed on my forearm, and the process felt like someone was dragging a safety pin across my skin. It didn’t hurt nearly as much as people told me it would. It got a bit more pinchy moving towards my elbow, though.
My number one tip would be to get to know your artist and talk about what you want with them before getting your tattoo. If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t commit.
Do you have a tattoo? What does it look like?