I’m a tattoo artist – red flags to look out for before getting inked, from ‘gross’ sanitary mistakes to the wrong smell

A TATTOO artist has revealed some red flags to look out for before you get inked.

She highlighted a “gross” problem that’s no different from a waxer using the same stick from person to person.

Tattoo artist Sunny Daye shared the good, the bad, and the ugly about the profession

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Tattoo artist Sunny Daye shared the good, the bad, and the ugly about the professionCredit: Instagram / brightlikesunny

Houston-based singer-songwriter Sunny Daye has six years of experience as a tattoo artist and is covered in tats herself.

Speaking to The U.S. Sun, she revealed some red flags to look out for when you’re choosing who to do your ink.

TRUST YOUR GUT

Daye said that a lot should go into selecting a tattoo artist, including professionalism in communication and respect for the craft.

“Your intuition is never wrong,” she said.

“I try to tell people that all the time. If something feels off, it probably is not going to get better.”

That is exactly why she said it is important to have a good relationship with your tattoo artist — because it is an “experience.”

“When you send your tattoo inquiry, the way that they respond, their professionalism, will let you know a lot,” she said.

Communication is the first step and she said there should be a “nice flow” to the conversation, which will also give you a “feel of their energy beforehand.”

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“If you find that they’re being rude or short with you, that’s unnecessary, especially if you’re trying to give them money for a service they’re offering,” she said.

YOUR NOSE KNOWS

Everything may seem pretty good while you’re booking, but then you get there and notice the space isn’t very clean.

“I know some tattoo shops are going to smell like green soap or they might smell a little bit of rubbing alcohol because a lot of inks are alcohol-based, but it shouldn’t stink,” Daye said.

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Proper sanitary practices and use of ink and equipment are an essential part of the job — and if a tattoo parlor isn’t taking it seriously, that’s a problem.

“I disinfect my tattoo chair between every appointment, and I wait for the next appointment to get there to disinfect it so they can physically see me doing it,” Daye said.

That’s the same as your wax lady using the same stick on the next person. That’s gross.

Sunny Daye

“I also always make sure that they are physically watching me opening my [ink] cartridges.”

If she is doing an arm tattoo, she revealed that her armrest is completely wrapped in Saran Wrap, and it gets rewrapped with every tattoo.

“If they are dipping directly into the ease and going directly on your skin, that’s unsanitary,” she added.

“That’s the same as your wax lady using the same stick on the next person. That’s gross.”

Daye said cleanliness is a tell-tale sign that someone is a bad tattoo artist

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Daye said cleanliness is a tell-tale sign that someone is a bad tattoo artistCredit: TikTok / brightlikesunny

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW

While you should know how your shop cleans, there are some behind-the-scenes facts of being a tattoo artist you wouldn’t be aware of.

For one, the person getting inked up isn’t the only one experiencing pain.

“Tattooing is really hard on the body,” Daye admitted.

Shops have different names for it, but Daye said the ring finger on the dominant hand, also known as a “tattoo finger,” goes numb for many artists.

I did a blackout tattoo from the tips of this guy’s fingers all the way to his shoulder,.

Sunny Daye

“That’s where a lot of us hold our gun,” she explained.

“You’re tattooing for eight, nine hours a day and you’re doing it for five days a week. At some point, you’re going to lose feeling in that s**t.”

Daye also admitted that her “lower back is done” and she regularly does tattoos with a back brace on.

“I got an extra table to lean on when I’m tattooing just to give my lower back some extra support because you don’t realize how tense your body has to be,” she added.

Her longest ink job was for a man heading to jail

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Her longest ink job was for a man heading to jailCredit: Instagram / brightlikesunny

Daye gets about four or five massages a month and “probably needs more” to soothe her body aches.

“I know a lot of tattoo artists that have been in the game like 20 or 30 years started wearing braces on their wrist and stuff because that carpal tunnel does hit hard,” she said.

“And for any tattoo artists who wear glasses, the effect of the glare from the ring light is normally bad for their eyes.”

SPRUCED UP FOR THE SLAMMER

Though she typically works on several tattoos in a shift, her longest tattoo took her about eight and a half hours — and she felt “honored” to be chosen for the task.

“I did a blackout tattoo from the tips of this guy’s fingers all the way to his shoulder,” she explained.

“I used a 47 mag. It looks kind of flat almost like a ruler. There are 47 needles lined up right there. That’s pretty much as big as a tattoo needle can get to really cover as much space as possible.”

The man told her he wanted the ink done before his trip.

“It turns out the trip he was going on was jail,” Daye said.

“He wanted it fresh for when he got in there.”

She shared tips for first-timers, including the importance of proper breathing

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She shared tips for first-timers, including the importance of proper breathingCredit: Instagram / brightlikesunny

TIPS FOR TAT

Daye has some words of advice for anyone getting a tattoo for the first time.

“One thing that I tell people is make sure that you eat something. Make sure you have food in your stomach,” Daye said.

“If you’ve never had a tattoo, you’re not even going to know what to expect and you don’t want to be taken off guard. “

Tattoo regret

While plenty of tattoo artists will do whatever the customer wants, Sunny Daye told The U.S. Sun that she warns people off bad ink.

“I had a client who wanted an eyeball, but she wanted it in a weird spot,” she said.

“I was like ‘Honestly, I’m not going to lie to you. That’s not going to look good right there.”

Daye said she would never let a client get out of her chair with body art that neither of them is happy with.

“This is going to be on you for the rest of your life,” she said.

“I want to make sure that there’s something that you like, especially if you’re walking around with me written all over you.”

She also said to make sure that you’re staying hydrated.

“I saw someone say they tell people to treat it like a doctor’s appointment. I do,” she added.

When you’re choosing what to get, Daye warned not to “overthink it” because “tattoos don’t have to have meaning.”

Proper breathing techniques can also be helpful.

I had a client that almost passed the hell out. She literally had to take her wig off mid-tattoo.

“Holding your breath is actually a good way to pass the hell out during a tattoo,” she said.

“It just puts your skin under a lot more stress, and it can literally make you faint.”

That is exactly why she makes it a priority to do “wellness checks” with all of her clients before, during, and after she tattoos them.

“I actually started doing this because I had a client that almost passed the hell out. It was a really, really small tattoo, but she hadn’t eaten anything all day. Maybe she was a little warm,” she said.

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“She literally had to take her wig off mid-tattoo. She came out of her sweatshirt and stuff. She was just really she started sweating.”

“You have to breathe at the end of the day. So don’t hold your breath because the tattoo artist knows what they’re doing.”

Daye plans on opening her own tattoo business in Houston

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Daye plans on opening her own tattoo business in HoustonCredit: Instagram / brightlikesunny

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