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  • Writer's pictureJustin West

How to Prepare for Your Tattoo Appointment

Our top 10 tips to help you get the most from your tattoo experience.

Here at Time and Tide Tattoo Studio in Falmouth, we get asked this very often, so here’s how you can help when preparing for a tattoo.


1.       What to do the day before your tattoo appointment

The best way to prepare for your tattoo appointment is, on the night before, eat a good meal, drink plenty of water and get an early night. You should startle the monster under the bed by being in bed way before it was ready to nibble your uncovered toes!


2.       What to not do the day before your tattoo appointment

Don’t drink alcohol the night before your tattoo booking, alcohol is a blood thinner and your body will attempt to push the ink (& blood) out of the skin quicker than we can put it in.

Also, avoid muscle destroying workouts for a couple of days before your appointment.

That's right, I'm telling you to skip leg day!! This can make your muscles very sore and tense. Basically don’t turn up to the studio with "the pump", it will hurt more. Also, I don’t need to spend the day jealous of your ripped six pack and arms that look like they could rip a car in half. Dad bod for life!


3.       What to do before a tattoo appointment

Keep it simple before your tattoo appointment. Have a hearty breakfast or lunch, drink plenty of water, grab a shower and set off to the tattoo studio in plenty of time so you don’t have to stress about running late for your tattoo booking.


4.       What to not do before a tattoo appointment

People generally don’t have a vodka for breakfast, especially on the morning of a tattoo.

Tattoo artists legally aren’t allowed to tattoo an intoxicated person and to be honest, and even if we were allowed, you aren’t as witty and cool as you think you are when you are drunk. And as mentioned in point 2, alcohol will make you bleed more.


5.       Preparing for a tattoo

You really can help us by getting your skin ready for your tattoo.

Shower, exfoliate and moisturize on the morning of your appointment. If you have areas of really dry skin, maybe a week or so of daily moisturising wouldn't be the worst idea.


6.       Should you shave before a tattoo appointment?

This is a tricky one, but as tattooists we do this every day for every tattoo. We don’t care if the area we are tattooing is fluffy, shaving the area is just part of the tattoo process for us.

If you feel a bit embarrassed by it, then go for it. Pre-shave in the shower before the appointment, but only if you know you won’t hack the area to pieces.

If you have never shaved that part of the body or if it awkward to reach, this is not the moment to ‘give it a go’. Just let us do it. We have single use sterile, disposable razors just for this.

And finally, please don’t be offended if you arrive for your appointment pre-shaved and we still shave the area, you may have missed a bit, those little hairs really do get in the way when applying the stencil, doing the tattoo and during the healing process of your new tattoo.


7.       What to wear to a tattoo appointment

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. You only need to expose the area being tattooed and loose clothes really help with that. Layers can help, as sometimes you can be warm and sometimes cold during a tattoo as your body deals with the process.

When dressing for your tattoo appointment, think of it this way, we would prefer you to turn up full and frumpy rather than starving and fabulous. There is plenty of time to look fabulous once the tattoo is finished, which may not happen if you are wearing tight, constricting clothing and your stomach is rumbling so much we can't hear the Spotify playlist!!

It is worth pointing out, that sometimes clothes can get ink on them. Its a messy business and you don't want to be wearing you fanciest party frock or best white, vintage Nike jumper!! Wear something that doesn't matter, because tattoo ink doesn't wash out of clothes. We all have jeans covered in tattoo ink.


8.       How early should you arrive before a tattoo appointment?

Every tattoo artist is different, but there is such a thing as too early.

When you are booking the appointment, just ask your tattooist what time you should arrive. If you do find yourself arriving at the tattoo studio way too early, pop in and let them know you are nearby and that you’re just going to nip to a shop or coffee shop to grab snack or drink. That way your tattoo artist knows you are definitely going to turn up and they don’t have to feel bad/stressed that you are sitting bored in the waiting area.

There is nothing more unsettling than a customer watching you eat your breakfast or lunch, because that is, of course, when you spill most of it on yourself as well!!


9.       What to bring to a tattoo appointment

Anything that will help you and make you feel comfortable whilst getting tattooed.

We have customers that turn up for their appointments with a blanket, cushions, slippers, books to read, headphones and enough snacks to feed a third world country.

Bring snacks and sugary/sports drink for longer sessions to keep your energy levels and hydration levels spot on.

Hot tip – most tattooists love snacks. We are famous for eating terribly and sometimes even missing lunch if the studio is busy. As a sub-species of human, we can live solely on coffee and sweets for days!!! If you bring snacks to the tattoo studio that we can steal, it's a one way ticket to the secret hall of fame for awesome customers for you.

Did someone say bourbon biscuits??


10.   Can I get a tattoo with Sunburn?

Sunburn is a game stopper, simple as that. Obviously for us here at Time and Tide Tattoo in Falmouth, we only have to worry about sunburn for the whole 3 days of summer we get per year, before autumn hits Cornwall again. Every rainy cloud has a silver lining. I promise that you don’t want to get tattooed on sunburned skin! It makes the whole process unbearable. And even once the sunburn dies down, you're not out of the woods yet! Peeling skin is a tattoo stencil’s worst nightmare.

I learnt this the hard way early in my career. I applied the stencil, quietly proud of myself for putting on quite simply "the best stencil ever!!!!" But the moment I started tattooing and gently wiped the tattoo, a strip of beautifully stencilled skin about 4 inches long and 1 inch wide peeled away and fell onto the floor. I died a little bit that day.

Do yourself a favour and just don't!! Please!!!!



Preparing for an appointment so important, just as important in fact as what you do during the tattoo and the aftercare once you leave the studio. It's pretty simple really, stay hydrated, eat for energy, dress for comfort and arrive rested to give yourself the chance for an awesome tattoo and a great day at the studio.

If you are in any doubt, ask your tattoo artist.

Here I am, Justin West, in the wild, tattooing at Time and Tide tattoo in Falmouth, I know I look grumpy but that's just my concentration face.

You really can ask us anything if you are unsure about what do do before your tattoo appointment (even those of us with tattooing grumpy face).

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