Getting a Tattoo? Read These 8 Tips To Avoid Tattoo Regret

Chako S. on 28 May 2014 at 8:30am

Written by Adele Rayburn

If you're getting a tattoo, you'll definitely want to read our tips on how to avoid tattoo regret!

Picture this: You're looking through family vacation photos of a recent trip to Hawaii pondering how amazing you look in your bikini, when suddenly you notice something on your lower back. Is it a bug? A weird tan-line? Nope, it's the "tramp stamp" you got on a whim back in college, and it's officially come back to haunt you. Getting a tattoo always seems like a fabulous idea at the time (who doesn't need "mom" etched in permanent ink on their bicep, right?), but irresponsible ink is a one-way ticket to Regretsville.

You're not alone, however. According to new research from IBISWorld (via MarketWatch), tattoo removal has grown 440% over the last 10 years, surging to an estimated $75.5 million. New technologies have made removal easier and more effective than ever, yet we doubt shelling out even more money to get rid of an old tat is anyone's first choice. 

The good news is that it's easy to have a life-long love affair with your decorative body art — you just need to think before you ink! The better news is that RealSelf has a few A+ tips on how you can avoid post-tattoo regret. Check them out!

Make sure you're sober before you go under the tattoo needle!

1. Stay Sober

First things first — under no circumstances should you get a tattoo after a tipsy night on the town with your BFFs. Not only could you end up getting something you'll immediately regret (like your ex-boyfriend's name… or a zombie My Little Pony!), alcohol thins your blood and makes getting a tattoo risky! [Editors note: It’s also worth checking to see if your tattoo artist is sober.]

Rihanna and her misspelled tattoo on her hip: Double-check spelling before you get a foreign language tattoo!

2. Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Want to get an inspirational quote inked in Italian on your back? Sounds like a plan, but make sure you double-check your spelling first! Misspelled tattoos are majorly embarrassing, but hey — at least you're in good company. Pop princess Rihanna has not one, but two misspelled foreign language tats on her body! (Hint: One of them is seen on her hip in the photo above.)

Consider your tattoo for a long time before you get it in order to avoid tattoo regret

3. Don't Be Impulsive

You want a tattoo, and you want it, like, yesterday. We've all been there, but before rushing to the local tattoo parlor and getting whatever half-decent design you find in your artist's portfolio, pick something that will have meaning for your entire life. Remember, this bad boy will be on your arm when you're old and wrinkled, so maybe "#blessed" isn't the best idea. Pick something that a) you'll never get sick of, and b) will be 100 percent relevant 20 years from now!

This is not a real tattoo -- an artist drew it on with a marker.

4. Try It On For Size

Before committing to your tattoo, why not take the design on a trial run? Custom make a temporary tattoo (try a service like and wear it around for a few days to see how you feel. Do you really love the way it looks? If you're unsure, ask a friend to snap some candid photos so you can check out the placement and sizing.

Try to get tattoos in areas where weight doesn't come on easily or quickly

5. How Will It Look If You GAin Weight?

Most of us can't predict what we'll look like in the future, but chances are your weight will fluctuate. Unfortunately, if you gain a few extra pounds, your tattoo will stretch — this means it might be a good idea to place it on a less fatty part of your body. Try your hip, bicep, calf, or shoulder! Or just throw caution to the wind and get a full stomach tattoo, either way.

Try and get to know your tattoo artist a little before he starts tattooing you

6. Do Your Research

We know you're desperate to get "breathe" written on your wrist (who isn't?), but don't just prance into any tattoo shop and let some random take a needle to your skin. A quick internet search will help you figure out the most talented artists in your area — not to mention the most hygienic.

Avoid tattoos based on relationships that may break up or end in the future

7. Don't Name Names

Attention lovebirds who are 10 seconds away from getting a tattoo of their significant other inked on their body: Bridle your passions! While this might seem like a romantic idea in the moment, you'll regret the tattoo if you break up. Two words:  "wino forever."

Try getting tattoos in spots that are easily covered in situations that might call for it

8. Can You Cover It?

Last but not least, make sure you place your tattoo somewhere that can be easily covered by clothing — i.e. not on your forehead. This comes in extra handy during job interviews, visits to the in-laws, and court dates! In fact, even Army soldiers are having to regulate their tattoo placement thanks to new rules that limit "total inkage on arms and legs." You never know what your future holds, so it might be a good idea to place your tat somewhere discreet!

Oh, and if this list is coming your way a little too late and you're in the market for laser tattoo removal, we've got you covered

Photo credits (top to bottom): t_pank on Instagrambudweiseryates on Instagram, badgalriri on Instagram, misscherylannx on Instagramjonburgerman on Instagramag85_tattoos on Instagram182cass on Instagramjeffreyaltamira on Instagramliferuiner__ on Instagram