You may have experienced your tattoo artist shaving your skin before they set down your stencil and start on your tattoo, but should you be shaving before the session yourself? Smoother skin makes for an easier tattooing experience with less interruptions from bumps, hairs, and other concerns but sometimes shaving can lead to skin accidents as well. We’ve got the best skincare tips and shaving advice that you need before your tattoo session.
Table of Contents (clickable)
Should I Shave Before a Tattoo? Timing and Tattoos
While it’s perfectly fine to shave before a tattoo, you can rest easy knowing your tattoo artist will do it for you, as well. If you plan to shave yourself on the day of your session, you could face some complications. Razor burns, cuts, scrapes, and shaving accidents could lead to your tattoo appointment having to be rescheduled.
Tattoo artist Adal Ray says, “If you're very hairy, it's considerate to come in at least partially shave. But regardless, the artist will probably run his/her razor over you before starting."
Should I Wax Instead?
Waxing can not only cause significant trauma to your skin that results in inflammation, redness, or rashes, but it can also create open wounds that your tattoo artist might not be willing to shave over. Ripping out the hair in this manner could cause bleeding or follicle issues and your skin requires some recovery time before you can take a needle to it.
Moisturizing After Shaving
Moisturizing your skin, in general, is excellent skincare advice. It hydrates your skin, making it more firm and subsequently easier for your artist to tattoo. You should moisturize your skin daily, but especially before and after shaving, as the razor irritation can significantly dry out your skin.
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Research and Advice
If you plan to shave before your tattoo session, in order to avoid any potential incidents from occurring, you should follow these steps:
- Take a very warm shower and exfoliate your skin.
- Use hydrating shaving cream while you are shaving; do not shave dry or unlubricated skin.
- Use a fresh razor with multiple blades, shaving in the opposite direction of the hair growth and ensuring you are staying close to the skin to prevent any opportunities to catch and cut your skin.
- Apply a hydrating aftershave cream or moisturizer.
If In Doubt, Leave It To Your Artist
If you’re unsure about shaving the area yourself or simply see the process being a challenge, you could always discuss these concerns with your artist during your consultation. They will likely give you suggestions for prepping your skin for your session and will let you know that they will handle the shaving of the area themselves. In addition, having done this process on numerous clients, they will know exactly what your skin needs for the session.
Why Do Tattoo Artists Shave the Skin Anyway?
There are a few reasons why skin should be shaved before you tattoo.
- Hair can cause a disturbance during the tattooing process, and depending on the length, could also get caught in the needle.
- Hair may distort the application of the tattoo stencil.
- Ripping hair or forcing hair to become ingrown through the tattooing process can cause an infection.
- Shaving also helps clear skin of dead skin cells.
What About Shaving After the Tattoo?
This is absolutely not recommended until your tattoo has had significant time to heal. In fact, we wrote an entire article on the subject which you can read about, here: Can I Shave With A New Tattoo? Will Shaving Damage My New Ink?
Our Final Thoughts
It’s important to understand that shaving the skin is essential to a smooth tattooing process. There’s no need to panic or overthink the procedure of shaving before a tattoo, unless you’re truly afraid that you may do damage to your skin. Allow your artist to shave the region themselves if you are concerned about knicks or cuts.