Frequently Asked Questions
About the Studio
Is your tattoo studio wheelchair accessible?
Unfortunately the studio is located in an older building with a fairly narrow entrance. However, we will be happy to accommodate you in any way we can. Please call or email the studio so we can discuss what you need in terms of accessibility.
Do you allow children in the studio?
Nope. Even if your child is exceptionally well-behaved, children do have weaker immune systems and it’s not a good idea to have them in a tattoo parlour.
What are the studio’s opening hours?
We’re open 11am – 7pm, Monday through Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sunday.
What is the studio’s telephone number?
020 7175 0133
Can I preview work that the artists at the studio have done?
We encourage it, actually. It’s a good idea to be acquainted with your chosen artist’s style. You can view galleries of each of our artists’ work on the Tattooists page of our website.
Can I get my new tattoo wet?
You can and should shower with a new tattoo, though it’s best to avoid getting shampoo or scented soaps on the tattoo itself. Gently pat the tattoo dry afterwards and apply some unscented lotion. You shouldn’t soak the new tattoo in water (this makes it a breeding ground for bacteria), so no baths, pools, or hot tubs for at least a couple weeks.
What if my tattoo gets infected?
As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you follow all your aftercare advice, the chances of your tattoo becoming infected are very slight. However, if you suspect your tattoo is infected, get in contact with your artist as they have a lot of experience with this sort of thing and will be able to differentiate an actual infection from normal healing (which can also look kind of gross).
If the artist confirms your suspicions, it’s time to head to the doctor for the appropriate topical ointments and possibly a round of antibiotics. It’s important to keep infected skin dry and clean, so avoid getting the tattoo wet while the antibacterial meds do their stuff.
Will hair still grow through my tattoo?
Yep! Nothing about the tattooing process will damage your hair follicles. This does mean that if you get tattooed in a particularly hairy place, the tattoo will be obscured without proper grooming. However, your tattoo artist will make sure that the area is shaved beforehand, so at least the tattoo will remain relatively hair free through the healing process when you can’t be putting a razor against that delicate skin.
Can I shave over a new tattoo?
No, put the razor down. If you wouldn’t shave over a sunburn or a scrape, you shouldn’t shave over a new tattoo. It can really impede healing and your tattoo won’t look as good in the future. Wait until your skin stops flaking and the area no longer feels raw and sensitive.
You should also avoid any harsh chemicals or hot wax. The only thing that you should be putting on your tattoo in the first couple weeks is unscented lotion.
Why is my tattoo peeling and flaking off?
That’s just your epidermis or outer layer of skin flaking off. Like a sunburn or a light scrape, getting a tattoo damages your epidermis. As your tattoo heals, the damaged skin (and the ink it contains) will flake off. However, the ink has also been permanently deposited in your dermis and it will stay there even as the rest of your skin adjusts and heals.
I work out a lot. What precautions do I need to take after getting a tattoo?
You should avoid any strenuous exercise 1 to 2 weeks after getting a tattoo. By stretching the skin too much during exercise, you run the risk of impeding healing, the result being that your tattoo won’t look as good in the future.
Can tattoos be removed?
In many cases, yes. However, it is an expensive and painful process and has varying results dependent on the quality of the laser that is used.
We use the leading PicoWay laser here at Cloak and Dagger.
Will my tattoo fade?
Time alters all, even tattoos. But with proper care, you can minimize fading and keep your tattoo looking bold and beautiful for many years to come.
Why isn’t the colour as bright or the black as dark as the day I got my tattoo?
When the tattoo is fresh, ink is located in both the dermis and the epidermis (that is, deep in the skin, and on the surface of the skin). The ink in the dermis is permanent, but the epidermis will flake off and new skin cells will replace the inked ones. Once your tattoo is fully healed, you will essentially be seeing your design through a thin layer of fresh skin.
What is the aftercare for my new tattoo?
Your artist will go over this with you in detail after your appointment and you will receive a tattoo aftercare guide when you leave the shop. In general, a tattoo will take a few weeks to heal and in the meantime should be treated like a sunburn or a scrape. The bandage your artist places on the tattoo should be left on for several hours at least, as this helps keep out airborne bacteria. Once the bandage is removed, wash the area with warm water and a gentle, non-scented soap. It’s best to use your bare hands for this, and not a cloth or anything else which might be overly abrasive. You can definitely shower with a new tattoo, just avoid soaking it in water (pools and hot tubs are out).
After a few days the skin over and around your tattoo will begin to flake and peel – let this happen naturally. Avoid picking at the tattoo or scratching it. Frequently applying non-scented lotion will help with the healing and with the inevitable itch. The itching may be really annoying, but it just means your body is healing properly.
Is it true that black ink will outlast colour ink as the tattoo gets older?
Generally speaking, black ink is the most stable and durable of the inks. It will also contrast the most with your skin, no matter your skin colour.
Do I need to protect my tattoo from the sun?
Absolutely. With a new tattoo, the epidermis, the protective outer layer of your skin, has been damaged, leaving your sensitive dermis exposed to all that radiation from the sun. Even older tattoos should be protected from the sun as this helps prevent the ink from fading.
If you have tattoos we always we recommend putting on some high factor sunblock.
Costs & Payment
Will you touch up my tattoo at no additional charge?
If you look after your tattoo as we describe you shouldn’t require a touch up, although occasionally it may be necessary. As long as we feel you have followed our aftercare instructions we will not charge you for a touch up.
This does not include, for example, getting sunburned whilst on holiday immediately after getting your tattoo. Please see our Aftercare FAQ for more inf
Do you charge a fee to design a custom tattoo?
We don’t charge extra for the design process. Once we have discussed the design and got you booked in the artist will prepare the drawing ready for the day of the appointment. If there are small alterations to be made then this can be done on the day of the appointment.
What reference should I use when making a payment?
If you are making a payment online using our card payment page please put your email address that you have been corresponding with us on so we can match up your emails with your payment.
Do you sell gift vouchers for tattoo work?
Yes, we offer gift vouchers. Please visit our online store for more details.
Is there a charge for consultations?
Consultations are free!
How many days notice do I need to give to move an appointment before I lose my booking fee?
At least 7 days notice is required. If you cannot make your appointment and give us less than 7 days notice we will make every effort to refill the space in the diary. If we cannot fill the space then you would lose your booking fee and we will require a new fee to rebook you. If we are able to fill than space then you will be able to rebook and keep your original booking fee. For this reason the more notice you give us the better!
What is your minimum charge for a tattoo?
Our minimum charge for a tattoo is £80.
Are booking fees or deposits refundable?
Nope, sorry. You will however be able to change your appointment date with a minimum of 7 days notice.
Does the deposit or booking fee come off the final cost of the tattoo?
What method of payment do you accept as the final payment for a tattoo at the studio?
At this time we can only accept cash for final payments.
Can I get a piece of work done in stages to spread the cost out?
This all depends on the size of the tattoo. Larger scales work like sleeves, backs etc will always require more than one session. Some medium sized tattoos in difficult placements such as ribs may also need to be split over a couple of sessions.
However most smaller tattoos that can be done in one session will be. It is not always possible for our artists to just do an hour or 2 on a tattoo at a time. If you are unsure about this please contact us and we can advise.
The thing to bear in mind is that if you can get the tattoo finished in one session you will only have to go through the healing process once the tattoo will all heal at the same time.
Do you require a booking fee (deposit) before any work is done?
Yes. In order to reserve time with one of our artists, you will need to pay a booking fee when securing your appointment. Please note that the booking fee is non-refundable, but it does go towards the final payment for your tattoo. We don’t officially book an appointment until we’ve received a booking fee and sent out a confirmation email, so make sure to contact us by email or phone to see that we’ve received your payment!
Can I set an appointment without a booking fee (deposit)?
Initial consultations are free, and you are welcome to come into the studio to discuss your ideas with us. However, we do require a booking fee in order to set an appointment for the actual tattooing.
Do you take Credit Cards?
We only accept credit card payments for booking fees made online or over the phone. Cash only is accepted as a final payment when your tattoo is finished. Your booking fee is deducted from the final cost.
Do you charge a day rate for tattoo work?
Most of our artists offer a day rate of £700, which is usually around 6-7 hours of tattooing.
How much do you charge per hour for tattoo work?
This is a questions we often get asked. Different tattooists tattoo at different speeds so often the idea of charging by the hour doesn’t really give you a clear idea of what you’ll end up being charged. As such we quote customers a price range that a design with a particular artist will fall within, barring any last minute changes to the size or design. We feel this is a clearer way to price and means you don’t need to worry about keeping an eye on the clock!
What is the cost of a tattoo dependent on?
The cost is dependent on the final design and the amount of time your artist needs on the day of the tattoo. We can give you an estimate ahead of time, but we won’t be able to calculate the exact cost until the end of your appointment.
How can I get a price quote?
During your consultation (or email correspondence) the artist should be able to give you a rough price estimate. However, the cost of a tattoo is dependent on a lot of factors and we won’t be able to calculate an exact cost until all the work is complete. We usually provide a price range which, barring any extreme changes your tattoo will fall within.
Health and Safety
Can I get tattooed if I have a Specific Medical Condition?
It really depends on the type of medical condition. This is the sort of thing you should discuss with your doctor. Make sure to follow their professional advice and look after yourself. No tattoo is worth risking your health over.
Do you properly dispose of contaminated materials?
Yep. No one is getting near any dirty needles here.
How do you sterilize your instruments?
Many of the tattoo artist’s instruments are single-use, like needles. Any instrument that is reused is sterilized in an autoclave, and the work space itself (like the tattoo chair you sit or lie on) is thoroughly cleaned with an antibacterial solution after each use.
Do you wear gloves during the procedures?
In addition to thoroughly washing their hands, your artist will also wear sterile, single-use gloves while tattooing you. These gloves are often latex, but there are gloves made from alternative materials, so be sure to let your artist know if you have a latex allergy.
Do you thoroughly wash your hands with antibacterial solution immediately before and after each tattoo?
Is there a test I can do before coming in to make sure I am not allergic to the ink?
Unfortunately, there is no such test that we are aware of. However, rest assured that allergic reactions to tattoo ink are extremely rare. If you’re concerned about your reaction to the ink, try starting off with a small tattoo and gauge your body’s response from there.
Is it true that red ink causes an allergic reaction?
Depending on the person, any colour of ink could cause a reaction, though this is very rare. It is generally assumed that warm colours, like red, are more often responsible for allergic reactions, though, again, this is very rare.
Can I get a tattoo even though I am currently breastfeeding?
It is best to wait until you have finished breastfeeding as getting a tattoo can weaken your immune system slightly and it’s just a risk that’s not worth taking.
What is the minimum age you need to be to get a tattoo done?
You must be at least 18 to get a tattoo, so please bring some photo ID in case you need to prove your adultness to us. We can’t tattoo minors, even those with parental consent. Sorry, but you’ll just have to wait!
Do you use brand new needles?
Is it safe to get a tattoo?
Yes, as long as you’re visiting a reputable parlour that’s regularly subject to health and safety inspections. At Cloak and Dagger we follow all health and safety guidelines to the T. All the needles are brand new and any non-disposable equipment is sterilized with an autoclave.
I have sensitive skin. Would that be a problem?
How do you react when you get a scratch or a cut? If you can handle the pain from that, then you should be fine to get tattooed. We understand that a lot of people are nervous about the pain involved in tattooing, so feel free to discuss your concerns with us and we’ll try to help you out.
Any advice on dealing with the pain of getting a tattoo?
Get a good night’s sleep, eat a proper breakfast the day of your tattoo, and try to stay relaxed during the process. Everyone handles pain differently, but most people find that the pain of getting a tattoo is actually not that bad. There are lots of people out there with multiple tattoos, so obviously they weren’t put off by their first experience!
What hurts more, the outline or the colour on the tattoo?
Most people agree that the outline is more painful. Black line work is done with a single, pointed needle that generally has to go deeper than the brush-shaped needle that is used for colouring. The colour is thus registered as a blunt pain, whereas the line work is a sharper, more acute pain.
Which parts of the body does it hurt the most to get tattooed?
This differs from person to person. Areas where the skin rests close to the bone (the clavicle, some people’s ribs, etc.) tend to hurt more.
Does getting a tattoo hurt?
Short answer: yes. However, everyone’s pain threshold is different. Most people describe the sensation of getting a tattoo as similar to a cat scratch.
Can I use some kind of painkiller before getting a tattoo?
No, sorry! A lot of painkillers act as blood thinners, which means you bleed easier and that in turn makes you harder to tattoo.
Preparing for Your Appointment
What’s the wait time like? How far in the future will I need to book my appointment?
The waiting time, and how far in advance you need to book your appointment will depend on a number of factors, including:
- Which artist you wish to book in with
- The time of year
- Your own flexibility with when you are free
- How long your appointment will be
If you want up-to-date information on the waiting list for an artist, or the shop in general please call us on 0207 175 0133
Do you schedule appointments for consultations?
Consultations are free but they do require a scheduled appointment. You are more than welcome to come into the shop at any time to discuss your ideas with one of our front desk staff but if you need to speak to an artist this will need to be scheduled.
What forms of ID do you accept?
We accept passports and driving licenses.
How do I book an appointment?
You can use the bookings & enquiries form on our website. Alternatively, you can call us at 020 7175 0133 or physically pop into the shop to discuss your ideas and book an appointment.
Can I have a friend come with me for moral support?
While it is fine to bring a friend with you it may not be possible for them to come with you into the tattoo room. We will always try and accommodate people but due to space limitations there may simply not be enough room to fit an extra person in. In this case they will be more than welcome to wait in the reception area of the shop.
Is it OK to get a tattoo if I’m sick?
Nope! Your immune system needs to be at the top of its game so that your tattoo can heal properly. Furthermore, a tattoo parlour, for obvious health and safety reasons, has a high standard of cleanliness, so it’s not appropriate to bring your germs in contact with your tattoo artist or their equipment.
If you are unwell and it is more than 7 days from your appointment, let us know and we can reschedule for when you are back on your feet.
If you do fall sick with less than 7 days to your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible so we can try and refill the space. The more time we have to do this the more chance we have to fill your space, and therefore we will be able to refund your booking fee.
Should I eat before I get tattooed?
Yes! Eat a full meal before coming in to get your tattoo. You can also bring water and snacks (something high in protein is a good idea) to eat while on breaks if your tattoo is going to take a few hours or more. Tattooing puts stress on the body, so it’s important that you keep your energy levels up.
What information do you need when enquiring about getting a tattoo done?
If you are enquiring about getting a tattoo done please make sure that you include the following information:
- Your tattoo ideas/subject
- Where on your body that you want the tattoo
- Approximate size of the tattoo
- Any reference pictures that you may have
- Pictures of the area that you want tattooed. This is only necessary if you have existing tattoos that need to be worked around or covered. Or if there are other other circumstances that may effect how the tattoo is designed e.g. a scar, a birthmark etc
What are some of the dos and don’ts before getting a tattoo?
Do get a good night’s sleep and eat a proper meal before coming in for your tattoo. Shower beforehand and avoid perfumes or colognes as these might irritate your artist (they do have to spend the next few hours in your personal space, so be respectful of that). Make sure to show up on time for your appointment, or a bit earlier if you can. We’d also recommend skimming through the rest of this FAQ for any other information you might find useful.
Absolutely do not drink alcohol or take any recreational drugs. We can’t tattoo you if you arrive in a state of intoxication, and your deposit will be forfeit. Then you’ll just be drunk and sad and without a tattoo. No one wants that.
What type of clothing is suitable to wear on the day?
Wear comfortable clothing that is easy to put on and take off, particularly if you are getting a tattoo on an area you normally leave covered (chest, thigh, etc.). It’s a good idea to wear clothes that you wouldn’t mind getting a little stained with ink or blood.
Can I get tattooed in a private room?
We do not have provide rooms at the studio but if you would like some more privacy then please let your artists now and we can set up some screens.
Do you do tattoo removal?
Yes, we provide Laser Tattoo Removal in-house with the PicoWay laser by Candela.
Do you sell needles or ink or tattoo machines?
Will you tattoo an all white ink tattoo?
Nope. White ink fades very fast compared to other colours and can last as little as a few weeks. White ink fades quicker than other inks, so tattoos done all in white may start to look patchy very quickly.
Do you do ultraviolet / black light tattoos?
Do you accept walk-ins?
We accept walk-ins when we have the space for them. If you want to see what walk-in space we have on a particular day give us a call on 0207 175 0133. We do not hold specific times for walk-ins.
Do you do temporary / henna / airbrush tattoos?
Do you do cover ups and fixes?
We do offer cover ups and fixes but it all depends on what your existing tattoo is and what you want to cover it with. Some things are easily covered and others can’t be. Before seeing if we can cover a tattoo we will need to see. In the flesh is always best but we may be able to judge this with a picture sent by email or our bookings & enquiries form.
Do you do piercings?
Do you do really simple designs?
We tattoo all sorts of designs: small and large, simple and complex.
Do you send out the tattoo design to the client before the appointment to get the tattoo done?
No, we don’t do this largely because of copyright reasons and also because our artists are all working on tight schedules. Your design will likely be ready the night before or the morning of your tattoo. When you come in for your appointment, your artist will get your approval for the design, and any changes that you want can be made then and there.
How do you copy designs given in by the customer?
The tattoo artist will always redraw any designs brought in by the customer. This way they can make any alterations that are necessary for the design to look good in its particular placement on your skin. The artist might also change or simplify lines so that the tattoo looks neater and ages better.
Is there anything you will not tattoo?
Our artists can refuse to tattoo anything they deem hateful (racist, sexist, generally gross and bigoted). An individual artist might also decline a job if the client wants something in a particular style or in a particular placement that the artist does not feel comfortable doing. If it’s a case of aesthetic differences, the artist will probably be able to direct you to a different artist who would be happy to work in your desired style.
My mate has drawn up a design for me and it looks awesome. Can you tattoo it for me?
Sort of. We are a custom studio, and any designs brought in by the client will be redrawn and altered by the tattoo artist. We can use your friend’s design as a reference piece or a starting place for a tattoo, as long as your friend consents to their artwork being used in this way.
What kinds of tattoo designs can I choose from?
All sorts. It’s a wild and exciting world out there. Have a look at what our artists have done before or gather together some reference material and we can help you refine your ideas.
How small can you go with a tattoo design?
It really depends on the level of detail you’re looking for. The more detail in the image, the larger the tattoo will have to be for all those details to be visible and to remain visible over time. Very simple designs can be much smaller.
I have some ideas but am not very artistic. Can you help me design my tattoo?
That’s what we’re here for! Come in with some reference material as you can and one of our artists can try to work out a design that both of you are happy with.
Do you give advice on tattoo designs?
We encourage you to pop into the studio and chat with us about your ideas. If it is difficult for you to get to the studio feel free to contact us here first. If you’d like to speak with a particular artist, give us a call or email us to book a consultation.
What about the colours? How do they turn out?
There have been advances in tattoo inks over the years so that most colour inks now contain very rich pigments that, when applied properly by a skilled artist, should remain bold and attractive for years to come.
Do you tattoo in colour alone?
Nope. We believe that colour-only tattoos don’t age particularly well, as there is no black line work to define the shape of the tattoo. Certain colours will spread and others will fade, leading to a tattoo that looks pretty messy in the future.
What is the issue with just lining tattoos with only colour?
Colour ink is less dense than black ink, meaning that it can more easily move through the skin, leading to lines which quickly become blurry or faded. We recommend that all line work be done in black ink.
Can you cover up an old tattoo with a new tattoo of the same size?
Not usually. It makes it very obvious that your new tattoo is a cover up job.
How practical is it to have small text on a tattoo?
Short answer: not very. There is a definite minimum size for text tattoos; if we go too small, the letters won’t be properly differentiated and the tattoo will quickly become unreadable as it ages. For something like the word “Serenity” on an ankle, it would have to be around 5cm in width, maybe a little bigger if it is a particularly fancy font.
Can you do a ‘worn’ type effect on lettering?
We’d prefer not to. This effect doesn’t translate well to tattoos and can make the tattoo look as if it has been executed poorly.
What kind of script style / fonts can you do?
For larger more complex fonts one of our artists can create a custom piece for you. Any examples of what you like will help with this. For simpler fonts you can look at a font website such as http://www.dafont.com.
Remember, the more complex the font, the larger the tattoo will have to be in order for the words to remain clear and legible as they age.
How does tattoo size affect the amount of detail that can be included?
The greater the amount of detail, the larger the tattoo has to be in order to keep the lines crisp and clean. Too much detail in too small of an area makes a tattoo look messy and it won’t age well. If you bring us a detailed design, we can simplify it so that it will work well on a smaller area of skin.
If I have dark skin can I still get a tattoo?
Absolutely. Black ink may form less of a contrast against very dark skin, but this can be easily compensated for by slightly altering the style and size of the tattoo so that it still appears big and bold on your skin.
Can you offer advice on symbols or lettering?
Sure. Keep in mind that the spelling of the tattoo is your responsibility, as we just use what you give us. As for symbols and words in other languages, it’s best if you fact check that stuff thoroughly.
Can you offer advice on colours?
Yes. Make sure to let your artist know about your colour preferences and they can help you work something out.
Can you offer advice on what sizes would work best?
Yes. Our artists will be able to tell you what size would be appropriate for your particular design.
How do I decide what kind of design I’d like to get for a cover up?
We recommend creating a list of tattoos you’d want even if you weren’t covering up another tattoo. If you bring a number of ideas and preliminary designs into the shop, we can help you decide what will work best to cover up your old tattoo and leave you with something fresh and exciting.
How do I decide what kind of design I’d like to get for a new tattoo?
This really depends on individual taste. Browse art you like, this can be anything and doesn’t need to be pictures of tattoos or tattoo related designs.
Feel free to bring in a few different ideas and reference pictures and we’ll help you decide what will work best. Our only caveat is this: we absolutely will not copy existing tattoos. If you bring in pictures of tattoos, they can be for stylistic reference only. The goal here is to create a unique design just for you.
Can you tattoo over stretch marks?
See our FAQ on scars.
Can you tattoo over a scar?
We have to judge this on a case by case basis. Scars need to be given time to heal so that the skin regains some integrity. Please pop by the studio so we can see in person any scars and whether it will be possible to cover them.
As a general rule if the scar is white and not very raised then it should be fine to tattoo over.
Can a mole be tattooed over?
If you have moles it is important to be able to see them so you can notice any changes that occur to them. For this reason we cannot tattoo over moles. We are usually able to work around them or leave small spaces without compromising the overall design. Feel free to pop by and discuss this with us.
Do you do inner lip tattoos?
Do any of your artists tattoo on the neck?
Some of our artists do, some of them don’t. It’s best to ask about this during your initial enquiry or consultation.
Can you do tattoos on feet?
It depends where on the foot you want the tattoo. We can tattoo the top of a foot no problem; however, tattoos closer to the sole of the foot tend to age poorly. For example, the arch of the foot doesn’t take ink very well, meaning that in 6 months or so the tattoo is likely to look about 6 years old.