Cosmetic tattoo…can those two words even be in the same sentence? I am kidding, but seriously – you cannot expect to learn to cosmetically tattoo in a few weeks. You cannot expect to learn to tattoo in a few weeks period. Tattoo is Tattoo. I don’t care if you are tattooing on someone’s face or on someone’s arm. The needle groupings still poke into the skin. The sanitation should be the same.
What you have to think about before you get a cosmetic tattoo:
1. It hurts, even if they use some type of numbing gel it is still going to sting a little. Most people don’t realize that you cannot get strong numbing agents over the counter, and cosmetic tattoo artists are not medical professionals.
2. The needles are not the only thing that gets bloody! Cosmetic tattoo is just like regular old tattoo, in that the needle sits inside a tube – the tube draws in fluids from the open wound just as much as the needles that are poking. Most cosmetic tattoo artists use these “pens” that are really just cheap rotary machines. They have to use special needles and special tips on their “pens”. These things are pretty costly compared to a normal tattoo machine, and I dare to think that a lot of cosmetic tattoo artists are not shelling out three grand for a good medical grade autoclave. The only way you can be sure it is sterile is if the tubes, tips, and needles are sterile by way of autoclave.
3. Condoms for tattoo machines? That’s right! Mom always told you to wrap it up, and it’s the same thing in tattoo industry. If your tattoo artist does not put a barrier protection or film over the entire machine (like the dentist does), run like hell. The funny thing about cosmetic tattoo is that a “pen” rotary machine is very difficult to cover in barrier protection. The cable that runs the electricity HAS TO BE COVERED TOO!
4. Rotary sucks. That is the plain and simple explanation. So why do so many cosmetic tattoo artists use rotary machines? That is because real tattoo machines are complex to use and tune and maintain. There are so many styles of configuration and techniques to get them running properly and you have to set them up for specific jobs (like shading and light coloring). Rotary is basically on – off – slower – faster. Cosmetic tattoo artists go through this seminar or quick class to learn the trade in a few weeks or months, and they don’t have time or knowledge to learn how to use real tattoo machines, so they go with rotary style.
5. Digital is modern, so it has to be good right? Don’t be fooled by cosmetic tattoo artists who try to tell you that they use precision digital equipment. It is still the same old rotary machine just attached to a digital power supply that tells them the exact voltage that is going to the machine, nothing precision about that. The best tattoo artists in the industry configure their machines by sight and sound, and don’t even need to see the digital readout for the voltage.
I am not blasting cosmetic tattoo at all. I just think that the beauty industry needs to be separated from the tattoo industry. They have no clue what is really going on, they teach unsafe techniques, and they are definitely not tattoo artists. Even the most experienced tattoo artists will tell you they are hesitant to tattoo someone’s face!
If you are going to get cosmetic tattoo done, make sure you ask the person tattooing you if they autoclave everything that touches bodily fluid, try to find someone who uses a coil tattoo machine instead of a rotary, and ask them if they have experience doing traditional tattoo.
If you ask me, the cosmetic tattoo industry is just a marketing ploy and a way for some distributers of second rate tattoo gear (that is borderline toys) to make a buck. Do yourself a favor and get with a professional who knows what pigments are safe for the face, and ask to see the chemical makeup sheets for the pigments. Check out the brand of pigment they are using, and do some research! If you are a cosmetic tattoo artist I welcome your comments on this topic – prove me wrong!