The ultimate inking guide: All you need to know for the first tattoo

  • Snigdha Ahuja, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 07, 2016 11:17 IST
Sonakshi Sinha’s tattoo might have been high on the hurt factor because of the tricky area. (Photo: Viral Bhayani)

A lot of us visit tattoo parlours time and again, just to return convinced, but still full of fear. ‘Where do I get inked? Will it hurt? What if I can’t stand the pain?’ Well, if you want a tattoo, there’s nothing stopping you.

Before ‘where’, choose ‘what’: Before you start obsessing over the needle pricking your body, make sure you know what floats your boat. “A lot of clients are not sure about what they are looking for. Some say: ‘I’ll get something small first to see how much it hurts.’ This is the wrong approach. Tattoos are not for test and trial, they’ll be there forever, however minute they might be. Getting inked is not a fashion statement, it’s a passion statement. Many also come with pictures of freshly-done tattoos from Pinterest that in real life are not practical,” says Max, a tattoo artist and expert.


“Usually, the area which is more exposed to the sun, and has less bone, will hurt less. Where there’s bone, the vibration of needle can be felt more, so it’s more painful,” he adds. A state of mind: Believe it or not, you can control the amount of pain you feel. “When you go to a skilled artist, he or she would divert your mind from the pain factor, it’s like going to a doctor who asks you how your day was while doing his ­procedure,” says tattoo artist Vikas Malani.

Read: How to take care of your tattoo

Prep yourself for a happy tattoo experience:

1. Fix your appointment in advance and if you know where you are getting the tattoo done, make sure you moisturise with baby oil for a week to make the inking process easy, Malani suggests.

2. Areas that hurt less? Those that provide more cushion. For women, Malani suggests the shoulder blade, nape, thighs and similar areas with more muscle and skin density, while for men, it’s calf, back and biceps that’s ideal if pain is a big concern for you.

Napes are a great area for low-pain ink. Take cue from Kaley Cuoco. (Photo: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

3. If you are ­planning a script format tattoo (text) in a very small size, think again. “A lot of ­people want to get a ­tattoo but don’t want to spend money, or they are scared of the pain, or even society norms. But you have to remember that when you ink text on your skin, it spreads over a period of time. If there’s no ­breathing space for the ­letters, it will become unreadable in the years to come,” says expert Max.

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Read: Do you think before you ink?

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