1. Check for a Health Inspection ReportMost tattoo parlours will have their health inspection report displayed on the wall or another area of their establishment, similar to restaurants that are also required to meet public health standards. You may think they’re in the clear if they have some type of certification proudly displayed, but double-check to see that the report was made within the last 12 months and only by the Environmental Public Health Office. If they fail to show you a credible report, this is a strong indication that you should look elsewhere.
2. Reminiscent of a Healthcare / Hospital SettingAlthough difficult to put into words, the tattoo parlour should look and even smell as fresh and as sterile as your doctor’s office. Tattooing involves breaking the skin with a needle. Although relatively safe when done properly, tattooing does pose a risk of infection. All tables, countertops, chairs, and equipment must be routinely and properly sterilized. Artists should use industrial cleaning products like MadaCide to clean all surfaces, follow industry best practices, and all areas should be free from food, drinks and anything that could contaminate the area. The last thing you want is to end up a serious skin infection or a blood-borne illness because of improper cleaning practices.
3. What are Their Needle Sterilization, Use and Disposal Practices?All tattoo parlours should have a box where they dispose of needles and cartridges called a “sharp box”. Needles should never be simply thrown into the trash and the sharp box should never be filled to the brim with used needles. Once the artist is done tattooing, the metal tube that holds the needle in place should also be sterilized with a device called an autoclave. Hospitals also use this device to sanitize their medical instruments after use. These boxes should be clearly marked as a bio-hazard and kept sealed. Gloves should be disposable and not used between clients. All artists should be using gloves when applying gasoline and when working on your skin.
4. There’s no Portfolio in SightAny reputable tattoo artist will want to show off their work, and most have a social media page or website where you can see their latest works of art. If you decide to go into the shop, there should also be a book containing their past work and sketches available. If there isn’t, this is a big red flag. Lack of a readily available portfolio could indicate the tattoo shop’s artist is inexperienced or an apprentice (which you have every right to know about.) In particular, ask about previous work or references regarding the type and style of tattoo you seek to get.
5. Avoid the Overly Assuring ArtistLet’s say you have an amazing tattoo design you’re dying to get, and you’ve been browsing local shops in the Mississauga area. Some of the artists who you’ve talked to say the spot on your body where you want the design just isn't’ feasible, and give you other options of what they think may work. You decide to get a consultation at another shop and the artist is super supportive of your designs and placement and says they can do it for you right now giving you little time to think about it. Don’t fall for this. It may be tempting to get the answer you want to hear, but if several artists have said they’re not comfortable with the idea you want, it’s usually for a good reason. Good tattoo artists have the experience to know which designs will work on different parts of the body, they will give you alternative options, and aren’t afraid to say no.
6. They Don’t Use Distilled WaterUsing distilled water in a rinse cup is the only sure way to prevent the spread of bacteria while tattooing. A good tattoo shop in Mississauga would never fill their rinse cup with tap water from the sink.
7. No Stencil or OutlineEven artists with years of experience use some type of guideline when they’re working on a design. Depending on what that design is will dictate whether the artist uses a stencil or outline with a surgical marker before breaking the skin. If you go in for a consultation and the artist says they can freehand, it may be a good idea to keep looking around for other tattoo shops. Freehanding is tricky and there’s a huge risk of error.
8. They do not Properly Wrap EquipmentBefore a tattoo artist begins working, certain equipment must be covered with a plastic sleeve or plastic wrap. The clip cord, which connects the tattoo machine to its power source, the tattoo machine itself, and soap bottles must be wrapped in plastic and be changed for each and every single tattoo to avoid contamination.
9. The Shop Must be Clean and NeatThis may seem like a given, but the tattooing area and the establishment itself must be clean and uncluttered. If there is food set out in the artist’s station, an overflowing trash can, or even pets freely walking around, this could be an indicator the shop is not well kept and there’s a huge risk for contamination.
10. They’re not Listening to YouAs stated in the beginning, getting inked is all about the experience. The tattoo artist should be receptive to your ideas, respectful, and have a good personality. During a consultation, you should not feel pressured into booking an appointment, you should feel like the artist is there to guide and feel like you are in control. After all, a consultation isn’t about getting a tattoo, it’s about getting a feel for the artists and what their capabilities are.
Closing ThoughtsGetting a tattoo can be overwhelming when it's your first time or you’re getting work at a new shop for the first time. But when equipped with the right knowledge, you can hunt for the perfect tattoo artist with confidence. Although we’re biased, our team at Chronic Ink Tattoo would love to show you why so many in the greater Mississauga area trust us for all of their ink, piercing and bodywork. For over a decade we’ve been providing world-class tattooing, having earned over 90 awards for our outstanding achievements in the industry. Call or drop by today, we’d love to hear from you.
Ready to Find the Best Tattoo Parlours in Mississauga?
At Chronic Ink Tattoo, our talented artists are ready to help you explore tattoos to make sure you find something you’ll want to show off for decades to come. If you’re in the Mississauga area drop by our shop and check us out for yourself.Tell us Your Idea
Tattoo Studio Locations
378 Yonge Street, 2nd Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1S6 Directions
252 Eglinton Ave East, 2nd Floor, Toronto, Ontario M4P 1K2 Directions
7381 Kennedy Road, Unit #105, Markham, Ontario L3R 5B5 Directions
100 City Centre Dr., Unit #2-311, Mississauga, Ontario L5N 2C9 Directions
1804 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 1M3 Directions
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