Ten tips for getting tattooed during the pandemic

Written by Things&Ink

Now that tattoo studios in the UK have reopened, although we’re not sure for how long, many of us will be booking in for new tattoos. You may have even had your appointment rescheduled a few times due to lockdown and restrictions. We want to help keep you and your artist as safe as possible while you top up your tattoo collection – or even get your first. Here is Things&Ink editor Rosalie’s top tips for getting tattooed during the pandemic.

  1. Always check government guidance around the lockdown situation where you live as there could be local restrictions in place. This is especially important if you’re traveling to get tattooed. Make sure you speak to your tattoo artist and check their own safety guidelines too. Many tattooers have highlights on Instagram or posts detailing their new rules, if they don’t make sure you find out before you go.
  2. If you're showing any COVID symptoms or feel unwell, do not get tattooed. Instead, get in touch with your artist, they’ll be happy to move your appointment and wait until you're feeling better. This also helps to keep every artist in the tattoo studio healthy and working.
  3. Book an appointment, walk-ins, and flash days may be a thing of the past. If you're into spontaneous tattoos you may have to rethink your approach. Booking a slot and paying a deposit may take some prior planning, but it might be the only way to get tattooed during the pandemic – especially as many tattoo artists are working reduced hours to help studios maintain social distancing and have fewer people in their shops at one time.
  4. Wear a face mask – whether you opt for a reusable fabric mask or a disposable one, make sure you take one with you. You'll be expected to wear it for your whole session and your tattooer will be wearing a face mask or visor, or both at the same time. Most studios have masks available to buy, but for ease, it's best to take your own.
  5. See if you can split your tattoo into smaller sessions. If you're worried about wearing a mask for a long time, ask your artist if you can do your tattoo in more sittings. This may cost more but make it easier if you're anxious about wearing a mask. Certain artists may not be tattooing certain body areas like your face or neck. Make sure to ask your artist – remember that you won't be able to pull down a mask to allow them to tattoo your face or lips, for example.
  6. Prepare yourself for social distancing in the tattoo shop. You can expect to have your temperature checked and add your name to the NHS track and trace, although not all tattoo shops will do this. You'll also be asked to sanitise your hands when you get into the studio, and it’s best to do it when you leave too.
  7. Rules about how many people can be in the studio at one time may have changed to meet social distancing guidelines. You won’t be able to bring a friend or partner into the studio with you, they should be able to wait outside, but speak to your artist if you're especially worried about being on your own when you’re being tattooed. Depending on where you’re getting your tattoo you should be able to have your phone with you so you can keep in touch with your friend.
  8. Eat before your tattoo, always an important tip but now even more so. Masks mean you won't be able to eat or drink in studios – you can't take your mask off or pull it down to drink or eat. You can always ask your tattooist for a break so you can go outside the shop to have a drink or some food, so to save time make sure to take snacks with you.
  9. Even though we said snacks, your personal belongings may be kept in a box while you're being tattooed so try to bring as little as possible and make sure to grab what you need while getting tattooed – a sugary drink or your phone.
  10. Try not to be early, tattoo shops work to lower capacity, so waiting areas and reception spaces will be closed. It’s best to wait outside and if you can contact the artist or shop to let them know you’ve arrived.

This article is written by Rosalie Hurr, who is the editor of Things&Ink magazine.