getting first tattoo in london
April 1, 2012 2:51 AM   Subscribe

I want to get my first tattoo while vacationing in London. Recommendations? What should I know?

Could you recommend a good, clean place for my first time? I've read this post already that recommends Evil from the Needle, but that was in 2008. And doesn't contain that many reviews. So any additional data points would be great!

I'm looking to get a fairly small one on the hip area, two short words. Given that it won't be super elaborate, are off-the-street walk-ins possible?

If not, what's the appointment procedure I should expect? I only have about a week in London. Is the wait time between the first consultation and the actual inking longer than that for reputable shops, and is there anything I can do remotely to shorten the wait?

Also, how does tipping work? And is there anything else I should know about getting a tattoo done in London?

Thanks a lot in advance!
posted by swimmingly to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can recommend you my artist, Sean at Triple X Tattoo in Leytonstone. You might be able to get a short-notice appointment with him - drop him an email ( He'll recommend Bepanthen for healing, it's nappy rash cream you can get at Boots (common pharmacy chain).

I've never tipped, I have to say I've no idea if it's the done thing or not. I am really bad at tipping etiquette in general, though.
posted by corvine at 6:58 AM on April 1, 2012

This won't help with recommendations but might help with "what should I know".

I think there's a benefit to having a local tattoo artist. It's nice to have someone to go to for a touch up or to call if something weird happens during healing.

That being said -- if you really want to get work done on vacation -- make sure you have your after care supplies lined up. You'll need a mild soap, paper towels, and an aftercare cream (generally recommended or sold by tattoo shop). You'll also want to plan to wear things that won't irritate the area so pack something soft for the first day or two.

When you have a fresh tattoo, it is generally bandaged for the first overnight or x number of hours. After that you'll need to wash it 2 to 3 times a day with mild soap, pat dry, and apply ointment. The first few days the tattoo will be irritated and it really is a bit like an open wound so aftercare is REALLY important. Being able to commit to aftercare is trickier when traveling but not impossible.
posted by countrymod at 1:13 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

As far as tipping goes, at least here in the U.S. you should always tip the artist if he doesn't own the shop. If he owns the shop you don't tip.
posted by trishthedish at 9:29 PM on April 1, 2012

Yeah, I also came in to say that you might want to think twice about getting a tattoo on vacation. The aftercare can be a pain, and you definitely don't want to mess your tattoo up! When I got my first (only) tattoo, worrying about messing it up was probably the worst part of the aftercare. I wouldn't have wanted that to colour my experience of a vacation.

But then, mine is on my foot, so your hip may be easier.
posted by snorkmaiden at 10:10 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

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