David Côté, an artist from Imperial Tattoo Connexion based in Montréal, Quebec, shared the precautions for each type of tattoo.
1. The size of the tattoo matters.
If you’re planning on getting an intricately designed tattoo, you might not be able to get it as small as you’d like. Some artists will just pass on your request and others will only do it in a bigger size. But depending on the artist and your skin, these can turn out really well.
“It’s not a myth that the tiny tattoo you saw on Pinterest will look like pudding in a few years,” Côté tells BuzzFeed Life. “Skin is not like a regular canvas; it goes through a lot of things.”
2. On certain areas, the ink might take longer to heal and also fade faster due to increased movement and exposure. These areas include:
In and around the ear.
Not only is the pain exacerbated in this area for most people, the ink doesn’t hold as well and could easily become irritated by hair products.
“These places are the ones that fade the most on the body,” says Côté. “I don’t recommend them unless you want a tattoo that looks really aged/not nicely healed.Depending on how you treat them, they can take a long time to heal.”
On the wrist.
Some external factors that may affect your ink are sun exposure and bath products. The tenderness of the area also affects the heal time and the life of the tattoo.
If you’re planning on getting a circular band, be aware that it might not turn out perfectly even and gaps may arise over time.
Bottom of the foot.
The heel, ankle, and other areas on the foot might not hold up as well, but the sole of the foot definitely corrodes the fastest.
Anywhere on the finger.
A friend of mine got tattoo rings around her thumbs, but within a month parts began to crack and disappear. She still likes them, but it was definitely unexpected.
Here’s a picture of my finger tat:
While finger tats might fade faster for most, I’ve had this tattoo for a year and I’ve never gotten any touch-ups. It still looks exactly like it did on day one, so for any of these “cautionary areas,” it really comes down to your body, your skin.
3. As cool as white ink sounds, it’s pretty unpredictable.
It disappears the fastest compared to any other color, and pretty soon afterward, it could change color due to your own skin’s pigmentation. But some people can absolutely rock it.
“White ink tattoos are overrated,” says Côté. “It just doesn’t look good. I saw some healed ones that turned brown, pink, yellow, or were just completely gone. Be smart and go for a black tattoo.”
4. Watercolor tattoos are incredible but extremely hard to get right.
Because of the loose style, colors could blend into each other over time, especially when there isn’t a strong black line base. Not every artist has the skill set to do this, so make sure you find an artist who specializes in this type of tattoo.
“I recommend [watercolor tats] if the tattooer knows what they’re doing,” Côté says. “Pastel colors don’t work on the skin. It’s just not nice within a few years. My favorite artist is Ondrash from Czech Republic. He uses a lot of black and knows what he’s doing.
Here’s an example of a watercolor tattoo done by Ondrash.
You’ll still probably need to get more touch-ups than a regular ink tattoo, but the black outlines will help the colors last longer.
If done right by a masterfully talented artist, the result can be STUNNING.
5. Stick ‘n’ poke tattoos are cheaper, but you’ll definitely see more blood.
The original DIY method that’s been used in various cultures for centuries is cheap and relatively easy. Most people do it by taking a needle, attaching it to a pen or pencil, dipping it in India ink, and repeatedly poking individual dots into the skin until the picture forms. Because of this, it’s harder to be precise and there will likely be more blood.
“Stick ’n’ pokes are cool if they’re not done by a drunk buddy in a kitchen,” Côté says. “People underestimate the importance of doing them in a safe and clean environment. It’s very dangerous to reuse needles, and to use anything other than certified tattoo inks.”
Still, they can be part of meaningful experiences, like this stick ’n’ poke tattoo that covered up a burn scar.
While you do need to be careful if a friend is offering to mark you up, these simple tattoos can turn unfortunate memories into happier ones.
6. Those awe-inspiring black work tattoos? They mean work. Like painful work.
Do they look intimidating? YES. So if you’re willing to look like the bold, courageous lion that you are, you have to be willing to endure a potentially excruciating battle.
“I personally think they are the best,” says Côté. “They are the ones that age the best(if they are well done). They bleed a lot when you get them done depending on the person and the way the tattooer works. It doesn’t really affect the way it heals.”
But maybe you have the tolerance!
And the good news is, no one will ever doubt you again, you badass motherfucker.
7. No matter what kind of ink you want, the most important thing is to think about what you want and to RESEARCH THE ARTIST!
Yeah, it’s permanent. So if you want it done well, do the work in finding the right person who can fulfill your wildest tat fantasies. And oh, you need to be willing to shell out some mean cash for this. To start, check out these crazy talented artists. But to warn you, once you start, there’s pretty much no way to stop.