What You Need To Know Before Getting A Dainty Tattoo

Once upon a time tattoos were considered a bit rock’n’roll, but these days we’ve come way past that school of thought. If you’re wanting a tattoo but are on the fence about a few things, we spoke to tattoo expert ZAYA, to tell you everything you need to know before you make it permanent….

Consider Where Your Tattoo Goes

Tiny tattoos are having a major moment because they’re so easy to pull off. The most popular parts I do include the ribs, inner biceps and ankles, this is because they’re all secretive areas. It’s key to consider where you’re getting inked, especially those who are nervous or getting their first tattoo. My personal favourite placements are the inner biceps (but at the bottom, closer to your elbow crease), it may not always be visible, but you get subtle flashes when you move or lift your arms. The backs of ankles are popular too, just above the Achilles heel, which looks chic with cropped trousers. Finally, fingers. I have lots of little finger tattoos myself and they make for really nice accessories, as well as being more sophisticated than you may think. 

Always Do Your Research

Firstly, make sure the artist you see is experienced in doing fine lines by looking at some of their healed work first. Check there isn’t any major ink bleeding or blurring and that their work has longevity – this is the hard and fast way to know you’re seeing the best of the best. Secondly, make sure you haven’t got any holidays with sun or sea planned in the two weeks post-tattoo; it just helps to stave off fading. Another key point is to actually listen to the advice of your artist. While your idea may seem perfect, it can sometimes be unrealistic or hard to pull off, so follow their guidance. My final advice is the most obvious: Check spelling in script tattoos, always.

Know That Pain Varies From Person To Person

Pain with tattoos is completely subjective. Most of my clients are surprised by how little it hurts – especially for small tattoos as it’s usually over before you’ve had a chance to think about it. Often the most painful places are said to be the centre of the chest, your palms, soles of the feet, near armpits or elbow creases and anywhere that’s bony. The ribs can definitely be quite painful, but this is usually just for larger designs that need multiple layers of lines and shading. If you are seeking minimal pain, the arms should be your go-to, particularly on the back of them or the outsides.

Use Instagram, Not Pinterest, For Your Inspiration

I’m not saying ditch Pinterest entirely, but sometimes you can fall into the trap of finding tattoos on there that are very popular, or quite generic, then it stops being unique. Instead, search hashtags on Instagram like #cutetattoo, #smalltattoo, #flowertattoo or #londontattoo – these all yield good results. Also, try researching artists directly through Instagram so you can request something truly in their style that they’d enjoy doing, rather than asking them to copy someone else’s work. Looking for something popular? I am frequently asked for floral based, handwritten or cursive-type script. Other requests include astronomy-related designs or animal designs such as small whales, bears, turtles and bees – which I love!


If You Want Minimal Fade, Avoid Certain Areas

Generally, hands and feet are first to fade. Tattoos on the fingers or sides of hands will also almost always need a touch up (or two). This is because we wash and use our hands so much that tattoos can completely blur out over time. I recommend finding a good hand poke artist for finger tattoos as they’re more likely to heal well and not blur, it’s the same for sides and tops of the feet. A popular placement for small tattoos is under the inner ankle bone on the foot, however it’s rare that it will heal well – I’ve seen so many blurry, faded tattoos there. It’s because the skin is thick and hard to penetrate, combined with the wearing and rubbing of shoes. It’s a recipe for disappearance. If you do need a touch-up, it’s worth noting some artists will do it for free, however, others may charge as they have to find you a slot and set up needles. Try and ask your artist to tie in the touch-ups with your next slot – it makes the journey and appointment so much more worthwhile.

Don’t Panic If You’re Bruised

Usually, the pain stops as soon as the needle is lifted. But it’s not unusual for the skin to get sensitive from the shaving and sterilising process. It can also feel a warm, bruised or red afterwards – don’t panic, it’s completely normal. Generally speaking, though, another bonus of small tattoos is their downtime, there’s usually minimal pain and healing afterwards.

If You’re Seeking Removal, Consider It Carefully

Firstly, if you want tattoo removal, you’ll have to wait eight weeks after having it, before you can start laser. I think that’s a good thing as it leaves you time to sit with the tattoo and consider whether you want to remove it. Laser is a long and fairly painful process; I should know as I am currently mid-way through lasering a fairly large piece on my leg. Sessions of removal usually takes five minutes and I’ve had six so far (you need six weeks in between each) and I am about half way through the removal process now. I go to Demzines in Streatham for the treatment and cannot recommend them enough. 

Visit Instagram.com/Zaya

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