• Are you planning on getting a tattoo?
• Are you new to the whole experience?
• Are you simply looking to avoid the reoccurring of any uncomfortable past events?
• Do you want to know how to select a trustworthy tattoo shop?
If you answered yes to the previous questions, the following advice and information would most likely prove to be extremely useful to know. Below is the definition of what a tattoo is (For a better understanding of what you’re getting yourself into), and the 5 main guidelines to follow when choosing a tattoo shop.
The titles of each simplified into 5 words starting with the letter C to facilitate memorization (Thank us later).
A tattoo is a permanent form of body art.
Since custom tattoos are permanent - unless otherwise removed through surgical means or fading - they often carry significant meaning pertaining to one’s morals, family, homeland, love-life... (i.e A Canadian citizen might carry a Toronto tattoo to show-off their country.). Of course, this is not to say they can’t just be for decorative purposes.
The whole tattooing process involves the usage of specialized needles and the injection of ink into the skin layers at differing depths. The goal is to produce a chosen design/image that can be visibly spotted on one's body. The designs can range from simple to complicated, from shady to colourful, from small to big, from- well, you get the gist.
Now, getting a tattoo may seem fun and quick to do, but that depends on how, where, and who it’s done by. Just as you wouldn’t get surgery in any place other than a proper hospital, it’s recommend you shouldn’t get a tattoo anywhere but a proper shop.
There are quite a lot of reasons for this, some of which will be mentioned below. That said, if you are new to the whole industry, you may not know which shop is the best to go.
For this reason, we decided to help out and provide a list of criteria you should have in mind that will aid any novices/amateurs/professionals in choosing a new tattoo boutique.
Now that we have a general gist of the whole tattooing concept, it is time to move on to the Five C’s one should always look for in a tattoo shop.
When looking for a professional tattoo shop that will get the job done properly, it’s important you mentally highlight the adjective PROFESSIONAL.
All practicing artists in the store should be certified and approved to work as one. There are tattoo regulations and requirements set in place by region (Tattoo shops in Toronto might have different regulations than those in Vancouver), so be aware and ask your local health department for security measures.
Do not be afraid to ask for any proof and their experience if you have any doubts. They should have no issues with your question if they were truly trained. If they can’t, and you witness a sudden burst of embarrassment, fidgeting, or anger - Get out of there! Sacrificing yourself and risking your health is NOT worth it in the long-run. Worst case scenario, you spend a couple extra hours searching for a better shop in your area (or come to us ;) ).
Hygiene should be at the forefront of any and all list of priorities. Any permanent body modification art carries a good risk of bacterial infection and disturbing side effects when not handled in a sanitary environment. The ingredient list should also be FDA-approved for the most part.
Not only can certain dyes induce severe allergic reactions in people (sometimes delayed) but re-used needles can cause inflammation and even transmit blood-borne diseases like; herpes, Hepatitis B/C, Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and many more.
Follow these tips before getting tattooed for the most reduced risk of any infections;
• Check in with a doctor to get an allergen test. This is to avoid any possible allergic reactions from the ink dyes (Highly recommended if you don’t want to be surprised with a long-lasting rash as time passes).
• Make sure the needles and razors are replaced & sanitized by the working tattoo artists before commencing.
• The pigment tray should be up-to-date (check or expiry dates) and new. All replaced tools should be seen taken from a sealed container.
• Verify that the boutique carries an expensive sanitization machine (needed to clean equipment and station), that can’t simply be thrown away.
• Ensure your artist wears new disposable gloves, replacing them between each tattoo.
A tattoo shop can always fulfill the previous criteria, but if feedback is bad, it’s better to not take a chance. Ask around see what worked and what didn’t. Use friends and previous clients as a reference point.
Just as any artist or customer service staff, there exist varying talents and specialties amongst tattooists. Some are better at intricate details, while others focus more on general outlining.
Remember, this drawing will stay on your body forever. Look for someone that has some credibility and you can trust with your body.
If you are looking to get your expectations met, if not exceeded, truthful reviews are invaluable.
Passion and creativity are GREAT characteristics your artist should be showing. However, their emotional stability is of even greater importance. Regardless of how demanding or time-consuming your art request is, the artist should be capable of keeping his calm. The last thing we want is a mishap due to nervousness, impatience, or lack of mental strength to endurance.
You’re looking for a shop that looks at things rationally and identifies whether there would be any problems with the target area. Their focus should be on the client’s satisfaction, not the client’s money or charm.
Do not put yourself in the hands of someone who makes you uncomfortable. Regardless of professions, the server should act with dignity and property. He/She/They should not be pushy. Yes, they can advise customers, but it should not be to the point of pressuring the customer into something or doing anything. If the tension is becoming unbearable, leave. No one is allowed to force you into doing anything.
You don’t want a specific gender to do your tattoo? Ask for someone else.
You don’t want someone young/old or inexperienced? Ask for someone else.
If no one is available, schedule another time or look for another place.
We live by the motto that tattooing should be an enjoyable experience, one you could look back on and smile. Not a socially traumatizing event that you regret.
5 C’s Words To Remember:
Certification, Cleanliness, Credibility, Collectiveness, Comfortability
Now, hopefully, this article has helped with anyone out there looking for a good shop. If not, feel free to come to visit us at Black Line studio to save you from the hassle of research and get a (professional) tattoo in downtown Toronto.
With everything said, please remember that these are just pieces of advice. If someone isn’t certified but you desire to get a quick walk in tattoo done by him/her/them because they happen to be nearby and offer a cheap price, do it at your own risk. The only thing that matters is that you are conscient of the possible consequences and proper precautions.