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10 Tips for Finding the Perfect Tattoo Shop

tattoo place la

So, you’ve finally decided to get that cool design you’ve been dreaming about. But, wait! Before you let that needle touch your skin, are you sure you’ve chosen the right tattoo shop? Finding the perfect tattoo place isn’t a decision to take lightly, after all, the result is a permanent piece of art on your body. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things to look for in the right tattoo place. 

Whether you’re a tattoo novice or a seasoned ink enthusiast, there’s no denying that the place where you choose to get your tattoo matters as much as the design itself. Read on to discover the crucial factors to consider when choosing your tattoo shop.

1. Cleanliness and Sterilization Practices

Choosing to get a tattoo is a big decision, and so is selecting the right tattoo shop. Something you should NEVER compromise on is the shop’s cleanliness and sterilization practices. Tattoo shops are required to follow strict health and safety regulations. After all, getting a tattoo involves needles and ink going into your skin, so you want to ensure the place you choose is impeccably clean and follows strict hygiene standards. 

  • Spotless Environment: The shop should be spotless, from the floors to the countertops to the tattoo stations. Don’t be afraid to take a good look around!
  • Sterilization Equipment: A top-notch tattoo shop should have an autoclave, a machine that sterilizes equipment to medical-grade standards. Ask to see it if you’re unsure.
  • Single-Use Items: Needles, gloves, and other supplies should be single-use and opened fresh for each customer. If you see anything being reused, it’s a big red flag.

What are the benefits of choosing a tattoo place with a clean and sterile environment?

When you’re looking to get inked, the cleanliness of your chosen tattoo shop should be as important to you as the design itself. A clean and sterile environment signifies more than just a tidy workspace – it’s a reflection of the professionalism and care the shop takes in ensuring client safety. 

The Health Factor 

Firstly, a sterile environment minimizes the risk of infections. Tattooing involves penetrating the skin and opening a gateway for bacteria. Don’t let it happen to you! Hygienic practices such as sterilization of equipment and use of disposable gloves can help prevent this. 

The risk of infection is higher in amateur and at-home tattoos. So, if you find an artist you like, be sure they work in a reputable shop that has safety standards!

Quality Assurance 

Secondly, a clean shop usually implies a high standard of service. Tattoo places that maintain a sparkling clean environment often hold their art to the same high standards, delivering quality tattoos that you can proudly wear. 

A Comfortable Experience 

Lastly, a clean surrounding can enhance your tattooing experience. In a sterile and organized shop, you’re likely to feel more relaxed, knowing you’re in the hands of professionals who respect their workspace and their clients. 

Don’t be shy about asking the staff about their cleanliness and sterilization practices. A good tattoo place will be more than happy to explain their procedures to ensure you feel comfortable and confident about getting your tattoo there. 

2. Proper Licensing

When it comes to choosing a tattoo shop, never underestimate the importance of proper licensing. Tattoo artists have various requirements in each state. These licenses are not just a piece of paper; it’s a testament to the shop’s commitment to meet health and safety standards. So, how can you be sure? 

  • Ask upfront: Don’t shy away from asking about the shop’s license. A reputed shop won’t hesitate to show it off!
  • Check the validity: Ensure the license is up-to-date and valid. Outdated licenses are a big red flag!

Remember, a duly licensed shop has more than just legal approval; it also demonstrates concern for your wellbeing. 

3. Equipment and Ink Quality

getting a tattoo in la

Choosing the right tattoo shop also means paying close attention to the type of equipment used. Top-quality tattoo shops invest in top-notch gear and don’t skimp on ink quality.

  • Equipment: The best tattoo artists use high-quality tattoo machines that allow for precise, detailed work. These machines should be cleaned and sterilized after each use to minimize the risk of infections.
  • Ink: High-quality tattoo ink is crucial for vibrant, long-lasting tattoos. Inferior ink can cause fading or reactions. The best tattoo shops use inks that are vegan-friendly and free of harmful metals.

A top-notch tattoo shop should prioritize both the quality of the artwork and the safety of its customers, reflected in the quality of their equipment and ink.

4. Customer Service and Communication

Stepping into a tattoo shop can feel pretty daunting, especially if it’s your first time. (If it is, in fact, your first time, we recommend reading our article about things you should know before getting your first tattoo.) But remember, it’s not just about the art – it’s also about the people! The right shop should have stellar customer service and clear communication.

Feel the vibe 

When you walk in, you should feel welcomed, not dismissed. The staff should be friendly, attentive, willing to answer questions, and eager to help. They ought to make you feel comfortable, because getting a tattoo is a big deal! If the shop’s vibe feels cold or the staff seem disinterested, move on. There’s no room for bad vibes in a tattoo experience. 

Clear communication 

Clear and open communication is key. Your artist should be able to discuss your design ideas, provide advice, and clearly explain the process. They should also take the time to understand your vision. If they don’t, or if they dismiss your ideas, it’s a red flag. Remember, it’s your body and your tattoo. The right shop will respect that. If they don’t, you won’t get what you’re looking for. This goes for walk in tattoos as well! The best shops will be open and clear about everything from their health standards to their portfolio.

So, next time you’re in search of the right tattoo shop, remember: good vibes and clear communication are key.

5. Reviews and Testimonials from Previous Clients

Word of mouth can be a powerful tool, especially when it comes to deciding on a tattoo shop. Reviews and testimonials from previous clients can give you a clear perspective on what to expect from a certain establishment. 

The Power of Reviews 

Think of reviews as a sneak peek into the experience you might get at the tattoo shop. They allow you to gauge the credibility of the shop and the artists, based on the experiences of others. But remember, you’re looking for consistency in the quality mentioned!

illustrative tattoo

How to Find Reviews

You can usually find these on:

Don’t hesitate to ask the shop for testimonials if you can’t find any. Transparency is a good sign! 

Interpreting Reviews and Testimonials 

Don’t just read the good ones. Always check out a balance of positive and negative reviews to see if there’s any recurring issues. This can give you a solid understanding of what problems you might face, if any. 

Remember, reviews and testimonials are subjective. They are based on personal experiences that may or may not reflect your own. But they certainly are a good starting point in your quest to find the perfect tattoo shop!

6. Location and Accessibility of the Tattoo Shop

When it comes to picking the perfect tattoo shop, location matters! Not just for convenience sake, though that’s certainly a factor, but also to ensure you’re comfortable in the neighborhood and can get there easily, especially if you’re planning on multiple sessions. Let’s dive deeper into why the shop’s location and accessibility are so crucial. 

The Convenience Factor 

First things first, think about your schedule. If the shop is too far away or hard to get to, you might be less likely to make your appointments, which could mess up your tattoo timeline. So, choose a shop that won’t add extra stress to your life. Looking to get a spontaneous tattoo? We take walk ins!

Multiple Sessions, Multiple Travels 

Tattoos often require multiple sessions, especially for larger, intricate designs. This means multiple trips to and from the shop. Ensuring the shop is relatively easy to access can save you a lot of time and potentially, a lot of headaches. If you’re thinking of getting something fast and simple (but still awesome) read our article on tattoo flash–it might be perfect for you!


Tattoos are like living artworks that may need a little refurbishing from time to time. How often your tattoo will need a touch-up depends on a number of factors such as the size, color, and location of the tattoo, as well as your lifestyle and skin type. Some tattoo shops offer free or discounted touch-ups within the first few months of getting your tattoo, while others may charge a small fee. Whatever the case, you want the shop you first trusted to give you the tattoo to be nearby when you decide it’s time to touch it up.

7. Availability and Booking Process

When it comes to the right tattoo shop, the ease of their booking process can tell you a lot. A streamlined, straightforward system speaks volumes about their professionalism. It shows they respect your time and can handle their business efficiently. 

Availability is another key factor. While a super busy artist might suggest they’re in demand, it can also mean long waiting times. You want to find a shop with highly-rated artists who have some availability, showing they can balance demand with quality service. 

  • Does the shop have a clear and user-friendly booking process?
  • How far in advance do you need to book an appointment?
  • Can you book online or is it a phone-only system?
  • What’s the cancellation policy? Is there a deposit required?

The Honorable Society relies on user-friendly booking that makes the whole process a breeze, whatever your situation. To see how simple it is, schedule a consultation with us!

8. Shop Portfolio and Artist Experience

Don’t underestimate the importance of a shop’s portfolio when it comes to picking the right tattoo parlor. It’s a visual representation of the artists’ skills, creativity and experience. A well-maintained portfolio can speak volumes about the professionalism and dedication of the shop. 

The Honorable Society_west hollywood_fine line_crow tattoo

Artist work experience also matters. You’d want your skin to be inked by an artist who knows their craft inside out. Remember, a tattoo is not just an adornment, it’s a lifelong commitment. The importance of choosing an experienced artist cannot be overstated. 

  • Check out their work and see if their style matches your vision.
  • Look for detailed, complex pieces in their portfolio that demonstrate their ability to execute intricate designs.
  • Ask about their years of experience in the industry and the number of tattoos they’ve completed.

One of the best things you can look at to determine if a shop or artist is right for you is their Instagram! They often post their most up to date work there.

Remember, the right tattoo place will have a portfolio that demonstrates artistic talent, versatility, and a high level of skill. The artists will have a solid track record of work and a wealth of experience to bring to the table.

9. Aftercare Advice

It’s the morning after the night before. You’ve woken up to a beautiful new piece of body art, but this delightful addition requires a little TLC. The tattoo shop’s aftercare advice is a tell-tale sign of their commitment to you and your new ink. 

Trustworthy shops will always provide detailed aftercare instructions. This isn’t just about handing you a leaflet and showing you the door. It’s about taking the time to explain, to answer questions, to make sure you’re comfortable with how to take care of your tattoo. 

A worthwhile shop will:

  • Give clear instructions on how to clean and moisturize your tattoo.
  • Provide advice on what to avoid, like salt water or direct sunlight.
  • Recommending quality aftercare products and solutions, not just push their own brand.

Don’t be afraid to ask for these things ahead of getting the tattoo! If it seems like your chosen shop isn’t providing you with detailed information, consider giving your business to someone else.

Getting a tattoo is an exciting journey, and finding the right shop is a major part of that. Just remember, it doesn’t end when the ink is dry.

10. You Should Feel Comfortable

cool tattoo shop los angeles

Last but certainly not the least important thing to remember when hunting for the right tattoo place: comfort. You should feel as comfy in your chosen tattoo parlor as you do in your favorite pair of jeans. After all, getting inked is a personal experience, and you want to be in a place that respects that. 

  • Atmosphere: A good tattoo shop should have a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. You don’t want to feel like you’ve just walked into a stranger’s living room or a clinical hospital room. Look for a clean, well-lit shop with a friendly vibe.
  • Staff: The staff at the shop should be professional and courteous. They should be willing to answer your questions and make you feel at ease. If they seem impatient or dismissive, take it as a red flag.
  • Privacy: Depending on the location of your tattoo, you may want some privacy. Ensure the shop has private areas or curtains to ensure your comfort during the procedure.

Remember, it’s your body and your tattoo journey. You have the right to feel comfortable and respected throughout the process. So, don’t settle until you find a shop that makes you feel just right.

And there you have it – the top 10 things to look for in the right tattoo shop. Remember, your tattoo is not just a piece of art, but a lifelong commitment. So, take your time, do your homework, and choose wisely. From the hygiene standards to the artist’s experience, every aspect counts.

The Honorable Society

If you’re looking for the best tattoo shop in Los Angeles, you’ve found it! The Honorable Society is located in West Hollywood and has long been recognized as one of the highest quality tattoo experiences you can find.

We encourage you to look at our work.

And our reviews on Yelp (or anywhere).

If you’d like to chat with someone about your tattoo ideas, schedule a consultation with us.

the honorable society tattoo place

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