Top Things That Tattoo Artists Hate

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 9, 2020
    Last Updated: November 9, 2020

When you go to get a tattoo, there’s a certain code of conduct that tattoo artists expect you to follow. Even though tattoo artists are trained to deal with all walks of people, most will draw the line at those who don’t respect the shop rules.

Before you head down to your local studio, it’s a good idea to brush up on expected behavior. Knowing the top things that tattoo artists hate can help you make a good impression and build a lasting professional relationship.


What Tattoo Artists Hate the Most

While every tattoo artist is different, there are a couple of common pet peeves that most share. Here are several behaviors to avoid when visiting your local tattoo shop. 

1. Poor Hygiene

It may seem like an obvious courtesy, but plenty of tattoo artists have horror stories about clients showing up to appointments unbathed. Artists tend to work in close proximity to their clients, and so excessive odors can distract them from their work. 

Not only is it discourteous to show up to a tattoo appointment with poor hygiene, but it can also be dangerous. Tattooing has to be done in a clean, sterile environment. Otherwise, you run the risk of contracting a bacterial infection. If your skin is grimy, you increase your chances of contaminating the needle. 

You should always shower and groom yourself before going to any tattoo appointment. Pay special attention to the area you plan on getting inked. To be polite, you may also want to make a point of brushing your teeth and applying deodorant. 

2. Being Inebriated

Most tattoo artists have at least one story of a client trying to come in and get a tattoo after a night out drinking. Generally, most places have a policy against serving someone who is visibly intoxicated. 

Aside from being rude, people who show up drunk or inebriated to a tattoo appointment have a much higher chance of regretting their choice later. 

What’s more, having alcohol in your system during the tattooing procedure can be dangerous for your health. Alcohol thins the blood, making it more difficult to clot and thus making excessive bleeding more likely. 

Avoid drugs or alcohol of any kind on the day of your tattooing session. It’s best to avoid alcohol the night before as well, as it can stay in your system for several hours

3. Talking on the Phone

Putting your phone on speaker is rude in just about any public setting, but it can be especially so when you’re receiving service. Nobody appreciates it when the person they’re trying to speak to prioritizes their phone over the conversation at hand. 

You should keep your phone silent and out of sight during any tattooing session and instead focus your full attention on your artist. They’ll appreciate the conversation as they work, and you won’t end up missing any important questions or warnings. 

Try to make sure that everybody knows ahead of time not to call you during your appointment. You should also set an away message for any work contacts who may try to reach you.  

4. Haggling

As anybody who’s ever gotten a tattoo can tell you, quality work doesn’t come cheap. Artists will charge a premium for their time, talent, and experience. On average, a small tattoo can cost anywhere between $50 and $250, while a medium-sized tattoo may run up to $450. 

Most artists will tell you the cost of a tattoo upfront during your consultation. They factor in considerations such as how many sessions the tattoo will take, the complexity of the design, the size, and more. 

Tattoo artists tend to be firm in their prices. While some may offer deals and discounts, haggling is generally frowned upon. If a quote is too high, don’t try to knock it down. Either wait until you have the cash to afford an artist’s price or shop around for other options in your area. 

5. Bringing an Entourage 

It can be nerve-wracking to get a new tattoo, so many people want to bring some moral support along to their appointment. While it’s usually fine to bring one or two friends, coming alongside a whole crowd of people is a definite no-no for most tattoo artists. 

A large group of people can be distracting at best and dangerous at worse. It makes it more of a challenge to keep things sterile, and it can crowd an artist’s working space. Many artists are also uncomfortable with the idea of theft and property damage.

Many shops have official guest policies for clients who are getting a tattoo. Before your appointment, you should know how many people you’re allowed to bring along with you before inviting any friends or family.

6. Ignoring Instructions

You should always follow any instructions that a tattoo artist gives you while you’re in their shop. Most of the rules that they lay down are for a good reason. Tattooing needs to be done in a safe, sterile, and controlled environment. If you fail to listen, you could end up endangering yourself and others. 

Don’t touch anything that your artist instructs you not to touch during your session, including your own skin. Otherwise, they may have to repeat steps or begin the sterilization process again. 

It’s also important to listen to aftercare instructions. Nothing is more frustrating for a tattoo artist than seeing their creation ruined because their client didn’t take proper care of it. You should avoid exposing a new tattoo to the sun, submerging it in water, or rubbing against it. 

In Conclusion

Tattoo artists might be customer service experts, but most won’t tolerate bad behavior in their shop. It’s best to be familiar with the most common pet peeves of tattoo artists so that you know what to avoid doing during your next session. 

If you want to be welcomed back to your favorite tattoo shop, you should make sure you’re clean, mindful, and willing to follow instructions. Try to avoid haggling, talking on your phone, or bringing in an entourage, and you and your tattoo artist should get along just fine.

When you eventually go ahead with getting your dream tattoo, it’s imperative that you always follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare advice closely, and be sure to invest in a high-quality tattoo healing lotion to aid recovery.

The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a vegan-friendly aftercare product called After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; not only by keeping your tattoo really well hydrated, but also by soothing any annoying itching and irritation. When using it from the very start of the healing process, this lotion will help to decrease tattoo healing times, and work towards eliminating any lingering dryness and scabbing.