How to Mentally Prepare for a Tattoo

Shmulik Dorinbaum
Beautiful tattooed woman practicing yoga at home

Table of Contents

Before you book your appointment to get a tattoo, you first need to know how to mentally prepare for a tattoo. Getting yourself a tattoo can be the most exciting moment, but it is important to prepare yourself beforehand mentally.

Being mentally ready will help you have a smooth appointment with your tattoo artist and come out with body art that you will be proud of and on your body for the rest of your life.

Below, check out some tips that can help you prepare mentally for your first tattoo.

Let’s dive in!

14 Tips on How to Mentally Prepare for a Tattoo

1. Do Research

Tattooed woman with laptop

You must research the tattoo artist and the parlor where you want to get your tattoo done.  Walk into a tattoo parlor and show them your tattoo design and ask them if they will be able to do that design or request them to show you some of their best designs.

You can ask around from people about the right artist, or you can check them online by checking reviews from other customers.

Another important piece of research you should do is about the prices of tattoos. Get an artist and parlor that fits into your budget.

2. Know the Kind of Tattoo You Want

Ensure you know the tattoo design you want to wear ahead of your tattoo session to avoid getting anxious during your session. Go online and research various designs if you don’t have one.

3. Make Your First Tattoo Relatively Small

Making your tattoo small is another mental preparation. Deciding to ink a small tattoo for the first time will help you not suffer much pain. A small tattoo will not have long sessions; thus, your ink appointment will end sooner.

4. Think About the Tattoo

The night before your tattoo session, try to think about why you want to tattoo and what the tattoo means to you.

It is also important to know that the tattoo will hurt, but you have already decided to get the tattoo.

If you maintain the mindset that indeed you want the tattoo, there is no doubt that you will get through the pain easily.

5. Know Where You Want to Place Your Tattoo

Another idea for mental preparation is knowing where you want your tattoo to be placed before the tattoo session.

In your body, some places are painful compared to others, and considering that it may be your first tattoo, choose a part that is not tender and has more flesh because such places tend to have less pain.

Avoid placing your tattoo in areas where bones are near the skin or places with direct sun exposure.

6. Get Enough Sleep

A Woman Lying on Bed Sleeping

If you have a scheduled tattoo session in the morning, sleep early in advance because it will prepare your mind for what will happen the following day.

7. Stay Hydrated

Drink two liters of water per day at least four weeks before your tattoo session because this will help your skin to improve.

It is also recommended that you take water before your session to stay hydrated throughout the session.

8. Take Your Meal Before Your Tattoo Session

High-Angle Shot of a Man Eating Chocolate Cereal

Eat a light and healthy breakfast or lunch before your session. By doing so, your body will have the strength to endure all the pain.

9. Bring Drinks and Snacks to Your Session

It is important to carry plenty of drinks and healthy snacks during the breaks, especially if it is a long session.

Sugary drinks and snacks will keep your mind and body strong throughout the session

10. Chat With Your Tattoo Artist

Strike a conversation with the artist because this will help keep your mind away from the pain. Most artists would not mind conversing with their clients but make sure you are not interpreting their workflow.

11. Entertain Yourself During the Session

Find an activity that will occupy you during the session. Sometimes tattoo sessions can last for long, so you can either read a book, play a game, watch a movie or listen to music on your headphones to get your mind off the pain.

12. Ask Your Tattoo Artist for a Break

If you feel that the pain is too much, do not mind asking your artist to give you a break for a few minutes. 

Sometimes one may get sick during the session, and the only way is to ask your artist if you can lay down for a while before proceeding with the session.

13. Get Your Skin Ready in Advance

You need to get your skin ready before the tattoo session by moisturizing it a week before your session. Using a moisturizer during the tattoo session may enable the ink to apply more easily, which means there will be less pain.

Avoid applying moisturizer or lotion on the day of your session around where you are getting tattooed. Your artist will likely apply a tattoo stencil, and the moisturizer will interfere with the stencil. 

14. Get Yourself Relaxed

Woman in Black Leather Jacket Kissing Woman in Red Shirt

Lie down comfortably and breathe in and out to relax your muscles so your skin will be easier to work on, which means you will experience less pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can One Avoid Before a Tattoo Session?

Before a tattoo session, one should avoid the following: alcohol, caffeine, sun exposure, wearing tight clothes, blood-thinning pills, and partying the night before.

Does Tattoo Hurt More Than Piercing?

Yes, a tattoo hurts more than a piercing. A  tattoo has a dull pain that lasts for a long while a piercing has a sharp and short pain that lasts seconds.

Why Do I Need to Take Sugar Before My Tattoo Session?

Taking sugar is important before tattoo sessions to keep your sugar levels up so that you don’t faint when you see blood or a needle or faint from not taking any meals.

Is Tattoo Good for My Health?

A tattoo may not be good for your health because it can potentially have a couple of risks like allergic reactions, skin infections, and scarring if you did not go to a licensed tattoo artist or if your wound did not heal properly.

Do I Have to Cover My Tattoo When I Sleep?

Yes, most tattoo artists recommend that you cover your tattoo when going to sleep for the first few nights to protect your tattoo from your sheets, bacteria, and accidentally ripping off. You are advised to use certain tattoo wraps which are waterproof, breathable, and anti-bacterial.

Can I Slap My Itching Tattoo?

Yes, it is okay to slightly slap your itching tattoo or apply an ice pack on top. However, the skin around the tattoo will eventually peel off as it heals.

Final Words

Preparing yourself mentally for a tattoo is crucial, especially if you plan to have your first ever tattoo. There is no magic key to the tattoo process other than being mentally prepared.

However, besides being mentally prepared, you should ensure that you do aftercare for your new tattoo so that it heals fast and prevents it from being infected.

Follow the 14 tips given above for a painless and successful tattoo session with your tattoo artist.

Shmulik Dorinbaum

Shmulik Dorinbaum

A musician, a father, a former cancer person, not a tattoo artist, but a tattooed person indeed.