Why Winter is the Best Time to Get a Large Tattoo

Photo of a Japanese-style sleeve, based on the elements fire, water, earth and sky. Designed and tattooed by Naomi Hoang at NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos, Cardiff (Wales, UK).

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the ink is so delightful~ Okay, I’m no songwriter, but that’s not what this is about anyway. Ever wonder when the best time to get a tattoo is? Well, it depends on what you want and where you want it.

 

Why Winter?

Generally-speaking, Winter is best for large projects because the cooler temperature makes the healing process more tolerable. Fresh tattoos are essentially an open wound, so if you’ve got a lot of skin vulnerable, you don’t wanna be stuck in a heat wave with plasma oozing everywhere.

Mmmmm, plasma.

Good Places to Get Tattoo’ed

  • Upper body
  • Thighs

These places are good all-year round…it’s just more comfortable to heal large pieces when the weather isn’t muggy.

 

Avoid During Winter

  • Feet
  • Lower legs

Hey, I won’t stop you, but I will advise waiting until it’s flip-flop season for foot tattoos, as fresh ink rubbing against thick socks all day (and probably night) aren’t gonna do it any favours. The skin is thinner in that area, making it harder to hold to begin with, so the lower down the foot we go, the higher the chance of it rubbing away through wear-and-tear, regardless of the weather.

Lower legs aren’t as concerning, but if you’re likely to wear skinnies and boots…again, friction from daily movement will fade your new tattoo faster than if you wore loose clothing until it healed.

 

Other Pros

Less Prone to Fading

…because it won’t be exposed to sunlight as often, if at all. UV rays fade tattoos – especially ones that haven’t healed fully yet.

 

Less Sweat

The brisk weather means you’re less likely to sweat during the day, which would normally clog the pores and lead to…

 

Itching

Healing tattoos itch. SO. MUCH. My advice is to either pat the area or put something cold on it. The cooler environment should temper down such urges, making the process more bearable.

 

 

Cons

Dry Skin

Depending on your skin type, you may be prone to dry skin when the cold air hits it. If this applies to you, simply moisturise your tattoo when you feel is necessary so it doesn’t dry and scab up.

 

Less Room to Breathe

We normally wrap up at this time of year, which means fresh tattoos would have less time to breathe. Try not to wear anything too tight around the area to avoid friction and irritation.

 

Fewer Chances to Show Off

Without a doubt, most people will join in your excitement and want to see your tattoo. Unless you’re happy to unravel layers of snuggly warmth each time, you’re better off having a photo on your phone to appease them.

 

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What To Do Before Getting Your Tattoo

Have you always wanted a tattoo but haven’t a clue how to go about it? Or maybe you’ve been there, done that, but want to know faster ways to get your idea across. Here are some simple tips to prepare for your future ink, along with info on how things work here at NAOHOA.

 

Do Your Homework

Research

Not just what you want, but WHO you want to do it (…hopefully me 😁). Many artists specialise into certain art styles, so after you’ve figured out what you want, look at their portfolios to see who would be the best match for that style. If you feel the artist is versatile enough to ink a design you’re after, despite not having much evidence on their website of social profiles, ask anyway to see what they think. Personally, I’m game when it comes to switching genres, as I enjoy the challenge. Sure, there are things that aren’t to my taste (such as overtly morbid or sexual images), but you should get a feel for what the artist will and won’t do based on their work.

 

Make a Mood Board

Why?

It’s the quickest, easiest way for me to understand what look and feel you’re after – especially if you’re unsure on art terms (realistic/stylised/geometric/abstract etc.). It doesn’t have to be a full-blown board – sometimes one or two images suffice – but please send me something so I have a better idea of what’s in your head.

 

What?

Subject(s) you’d like included and art style, simplez. They don’t have to be restricted to tattoos either – if you like the shape of a sculpture but colours of a graffiti piece, add those to your board and explain it to me. If you want something truly original, looking at other people’s tattoos will only get you so far. At NAOHOA, I design everything for you from scratch – make the most of it.

 

Where?

Where do you want this tattoo? This doesn’t really need to be in the moodboard, but it’s something I have to know in order to advise and design accordingly. If you have slim arms but you want something similar to what another person got on their back or thigh…chances are it’ll need some adjusting. 😉

 

How?

One word: Pinterest. It’s fast, easy and eco-friendly (as it saves printing/recycling…and me having to carry it all!). Make a board and start pinning away, then send me a link or add me as a collaborator to the Board. You can add comments to each image to explain what aspect you like and why, so I can get a deeper understanding of what you’re after. Even better, it’s completely free and stays in sync, so if you add to it after sending me a link, I’ll be able to see the new stuff too. 👍

Besides not having to carry print-outs, it also saves me digging through emails or maxing out my inbox. I save all your notes on Trello, so a simple link really is the best for workflow. Of course, I don’t mind if more traditional options are easier for you – I’ll work around them – I’m simply raising awareness here to make my life easier. 😜

 

What Next?

Get in Touch

You can book an appointment for your Consultation via this online form:

…or use this link. It’s also available as a button on my Instagram profile. If you’d rather check by me first before making an appointment, contact me here.

 

Consultation

Various studios work differently, but at NAOHOA, face-to-face Consultations are required, as I don’t accept walk-ins. During this sesh, we’ll have a casual chat about your tattoo idea until we’re on the same page. You’ll need to fill in a Medical Form and I’ll provide you with a Saniderm Patch Test to check for allergies. This is a chance for me to get to know you and you can ask me any questions that are bubbling to mind.

If you’d like to have your journey documented into a #NAOHOAstory, I’ll take a photo there and then. They’re all anonymous and completely optional.

 

Design

After a deposit has been paid, I add you to my Trello Board and will design your tattoo when it’s your turn! Currently, I design tattoos in chronological order people see me and pay their deposits, rather than by ease or size, as this is the fairest system I can think of.

 

…..this has turned into a big post, so I think I’ll elaborate on the design process in another segment. If you’d like to read tips on how to prepare for the tattoo session itself, please click here.

You can get direct links to these articles sent straight to your inbox when you subscribe to my monthly newsletter. I also share insider news and personal updates that aren’t always on social media.

Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you next time!

Naomi xxx


Keeping A Calm Mind

NAOHOA isn’t just about getting a tattoo, it’s about having a positive, empowering experience whilst marking your body with art that will stay with you for life. It’s natural to feel nervous or even anxious before going under the needle, which is why I’ve compiled some helpful tips you can apply NOW in order to have a calm, peaceful mind.

Photograph of Naomi Hoang from NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos, Cardiff (Wales, UK) meditating on a rock in the middle of a lake in Snowdonia.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a trained well-being coach or affiliate of any of the companies suggested here. The purpose of this post is to help clients by sharing practical tips I’ve learned over the years. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk.

 

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3 Tips on Calming the Mind

1.) Meditation

Meditation is the act of being still and observing and as little as 15 minutes a day can have a positive impact on your wellbeing.

Here is a concise video to explain what it is in a nutshell:

Here are some forms of meditation that can be easily implemented into your day:

Sitting

…in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Imagine your body being scanned from the top of your head right down to your toes. In your mind, follow the light as it travels down your body…how does that part of your body feel? You might notice that certain muscles ache more than you realised, or that you feel tiredness in your forehead or other parts…or that you feel grand all over!

Either way, this exercise will help you identify the current state of your body and mind. If you’re feeling achey, how about treating yourself to some TLC? 🙂 Regular stretches (e.g. Yoga), a muscle-relaxing bubble bath or massage* can go a long way!

* Aromatherapy massage = relaxing
Deep Tissue/Sports Massage = fixing. It’ll hurt, but it’s worth it if you have built-up tension. A good masseuse will teach you stretches to alleviate your problem points too.

 

Walking

…at a slow-moderate pace and consciously being aware of the environment you’re travelling though. What’s the ground like? The sound of leaves crunching under your shoes or people and traffic passing by…how does the air change from one place to another? When we slow down, our eyes take in more light and process the imagery around us more vividly. By doing this activity alone, the world becomes so much more beautiful.

Not bad, eh?

 

Eating

…whilst concentrating on each sensation that passes. Is what you’re eating crunchy? Soft? Chewy? What does it taste like? Notice how it changes the longer you chew it and how it feels as it goes through your body. It’s too easy to have something playing on a device or read an article with your meal as a distraction, but try to take a moment only for yourself and the food. Enjoy it wholeheartedly – appreciating its taste, texture and that we have any at all. Gratitude grounds us every time.

 

Visualisation Tips

Traditional meditation (the one we all picture: where monks sit down cross-legged) involves you to be both mentally and physically still. The idea is to let all sensation pass by without judgement. Got a niggling thought that keeps popping into your head? That’s alright. Acknowledge its presence and leave it be. Don’t invite it in to ruminate but also don’t push it away. Simply leave your thoughts be and let them drift in and out of your consciousness.

Is someone making a weird, annoying noise? Or maybe there’s loud construction work going on. S’all cool. It’s a sound that’s happening outside that doesn’t concern you, so don’t let it. If you’re feeling frustrated regardless, that’s okay. Acknowledge that feeling, give it a nod and move on.

 

Acknowledge, not react. 

 

Here are some visual metaphors that can help you in your practice:

 

Clouds Passing By

This is my go-to mental imagery when meditating. Clouds are constantly moving – it’s what they do. They’re huge, visible things in the sky that we can see clearly but not touch or interact with. Just like your thoughts, they’ll come and go and no matter how hard you try, waving at them (i.e. getting tied into thoughts) won’t do much good. Most of us have spent time lying on the grass on a sunny day watching the clouds go by. Isn’t it joyful and relaxing? Same with meditation. 🙂

 

A Drop of Water in a Pond

Imagine a pond where the water is still and there’s a tree that hangs over it. When thoughts occur, it’s like a drop of water from the leaves landing on the pond. The ripples interrupt the calm, stillness. If you interact with your thoughts, it’s like shaking the tree – more drops fall, disrupting the pond even further. If you leave things be, the ripples will eventually dissipate and all will be clear again.

Leave that tree alone, bud. Even if it did upset you. 😛

 

Remember, the goal is to be in the present moment. Not ruminating over the past or planning or fretting over the future. Here, now, and only now. Like doing weights or learning to do a full press-up, it takes time and discipline to get those muscles into shape. If 15 minutes a day or more is too much to handle, try starting with 2 minutes a day for a week….then 3 minutes a day for another week, etc. Starting small means you’ll have less pressure to start, and once you build up the habit, it becomes second nature.

 

 

 2.) Breathing Exercise

Need something urgent? Like, RIGHT NOW? Try this simple breathing exercise:

An animated GIF of a breathing exercise for relaxation.

Download the Calm app to use this on the go.

One way to slow down a racing heartbeat is to breathe out longer than you breathe in: i.e. breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 2, then out for 6 seconds. The act of doing this and concentrating on counting and breathing alone should help you find your centre.

 

 

3.) Focus

Feeling distracted? Find a recurring sound nearby and focus purely on that (…assuming you’re not doing something important, like driving!). Whether it’s birds chirping, rain pattering against the window or one element of a song; zoning out and focusing on one single thing can curb rushing thoughts or emotions before they spiral out of control.

Rainy Wales makes this one easy to remember! 💦

Personally, I enjoy listening to Classical music as it helps me stay calm and focus on the task at hand. Sometimes, I’ll put all my attention to one part of the piece – i.e. one instrument. “Only listen to the flute” or, “concentrate on the bass line”…not only does this deepen my appreciation and learning for music, it calms my mind by diverting it from unhelpful thoughts that could spiral down a negative path.

 

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Need More Help?

If you feel there is a deeper issue at hand, check out Mind.org.uk or helpful advice or contact your GP for a referral to local, professional help. Although it’s dependant on quality of counsellor, I highly recommend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It’s very much a “you get what you put in” course that’s absolutely worth the effort. The more honest you are with your therapist, the more effectively they can help you.

 

Want To Support Mental Health?

Photo of sugarskull and halloween-themed temporary tattoos designed by Naomi Hoang at NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos, Cardiff. Sold to raise money for Mind in support of mental health treatment and awareness.

Throughout October 2017, I’ll be selling Halloween Temporary Tattoo Packs and colouring pages to raise money for Mind.org.uk! You can buy them via the website, Etsy or in-store. My aim is to raise £100 by the end of the year!

 

Thanks for reading, folks. I hope this was helpful to you and that you take some time out to look after yourself. 🙂 If you think this would benefit someone you know, please pass it on!

Kindest regards,
Naomi xxx

 


Will It Hurt?

Most common question? You guessed it: “Do tattoos hurt?”

In a nutshell:

The level of pain you experience will depend on where and what you’re getting, along with your personal pain threshold.

Here’s a simple breakdown based on my experience as a tattoo artist:

 

Places That Don’t Hurt (…as much):

  • Outer arm
  • Outer thigh
  • Calves
  • Forearms
  • Shoulders

Why?

If you think about it, these parts of the body are used to being, well…used. The skin is conditioned from being out in the open more often. Nerves aren’t as close to the skin as other parts of the body, making these areas good starting points for first tattoos.

 

Places That (typically) Hurt More:

  • Inner arm
  • Inner thigh
  • Chest
  • Foot
  • Knees (front and back)
  • Ankles
  • Elbows (front and back)

Why?

Bony areas essentially have less ‘padding’, so they tend to hurt more than more fleshy parts of the body. Skin is more sensitive on inner arms, thighs and joints. They’re less exposed to the elements, so they don’t need to be as hardy as the outer parts. There’s also a lot of motion/friction from clothing in these areas, which can contribute to longer healing times.

 

In-betweenies

Here are places I’ve noticed clients have very different reactions:

  • Back
  • Ribs
  • Wrists

Yeah…I’m surprised ribs are on this list too, but the people I’ve inked there so far dealt with it really well. It’s a bony area that’s notorious for being a pain-point – same goes for the wrists. Goes to show that it really comes down to the individual!

 

Places I Won’t Tattoo:

  • Face and neck (nape of the neck is fine)
  • Intimate areas
  • Hands

Why?

The first two are places I personally don’t want to tattoo. Hand tattoos tend not to heal properly and fade quicker than other areas due to the amount of use and movement they go through. I’m simply not convinced they’re a hygienic place to ink and don’t want my name to something that won’t look as good as my usual work.

 

 

Final Thoughts

…ultimately, everyone’s different, so it’s impossible to predict. What might be agony for one person is a breeze for another. Factors such as weather and preparation (such as eating beforehand and staying hydrated…or not) can affect your tattoo session, as well as location and size of tattoo. Naturally, I try to make things as comfortable for you as possible when you visit NAOHOA, but some things are out of my control.

From 1-10 (10 being the most painful), what was your last tattoo like?

Naomi xxx


Summer Tips

Wowzers it’s been hot lately! Have you been taking care of your tattoo when soaking up the rays?

Here are some helpful tips to get you by this season. 😎 ☀

Plan Ahead…

Helpful tattoo advice from Naomi Hoang at NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos (Cardiff, Wales, UK).

• Get your tattoo at least 2 weeks BEFORE you set off anywhere sunny so it has time to heal.

• …to do this, you’ll need to book a Consultation a couple of weeks beforehand so I have time to design your tattoo for you.

• Do you have beach trips lined up soon? Make sure you remember to keep your new tattoo covered to protect it from sea, sand and sun.

• Is this a design you actually want or are you following current trends? What’s hot this season may not be in the next. Unlike fast fashion, tattoos aren’t something you can switch out of easily.

 

 

Whilst Getting Tattooed…

Helpful tattoo advice from Naomi Hoang at NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos (Cardiff, Wales, UK).

• It’s best to stay hydrated in general, but this is especially important when the weather heats up. I’ll have filtered water ready for your visit and you can enjoy caffeine-free beverages from Waterloo Teas, free of charge*.

• If the heat is too much, do feel free to ask for regular breaks.

• If you have a long session booked and want to stay comfortable, bring spare clothes to change in and out of so you can leave feeling fresh.

 

* I’ve noticed that clients tend to bleed more after they drink coffee, so I recommend avoiding caffeine before and during your tattoo session.

 

 

While Your Tattoo is Healing…

Helpful tattoo advice from Naomi Hoang at NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos (Cardiff, Wales, UK).

• As always, clean and moisturise at least three times a day (unless using Saniderm).

• Do NOT use sun cream on it while it’s healing!

• Your new tattoo is essentially an open wound. Take care of it and keep it clean to avoid infection.

Cover your tattoo to protect it from the sun’s UV rays. Fresh ink fades faster if exposed and you wouldn’t want to waste it all on the last hurdle!

Wear loose clothing. Friction can affect your tattoo. Loose, light clothing is more comfortable during Summer, anyway. 😊

• I’m afraid skinny-dipping is out of the question while your ink is healing. 😜 Avoid submerging in water – especially in swimming pools, where the chlorine will irritate your skin and can cause infection.

Helpful tattoo advice from Naomi Hoang at NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos (Cardiff, Wales, UK).

 

 

After It Has Healed…

Helpful tattoo advice from Naomi Hoang at NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos (Cardiff, Wales, UK).

• Now it’s time to use sun screen! At least 30SPF will do it. 50SPF if you want to be extra sure.

• Ideally, keep your tattoo covered when it’s really sunny to avoid fading the ink.

Keep that skin glowing by staying hydrated, moisturising regularly and living a healthy lifestyle. If your skin is in good condition then your tattoo will be too. 🙂

Enjoy your new tattoo! 👏

 

 

 

Was that helpful?

These are tips tailored for Summer. For the full list, check out the Aftercare Advice page.

Many people like to get new tattoos to show off in the sunny season, but it’s worth remembering that tattoos are for life, not just for Summer. Take care of it and it’ll continue to look great for years to come.💖

Thanks for reading!

Naomi xxx

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