Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tattoo Aftercare

Greetings all!
Haven't posted in a while, welcome back!
One of the most important things I think I should touch upon is Aftercare. The tattoo artist is responsible for applying your tattoo properly and in a clean manner and with as little damage to the skin as possible. However, I feel that aftercare is the most important part of the tattoo process on the collectors part. Taking the proper steps to make sure your tattoo heals nicely, and caring for it after healing, is what will help it look good for years.

Here is a detailed rundown of how I care for my personal tattoos, and what I tell my clients.

1. Remove the bandage...

Most tattoo artists will cover the new tattoo upon completion, this is to keep anything from touching your open skin, as well as soaking up or catching any blood or other fluids that may be coming from the tattooed area. I never like to keep my tattoo covered for too long, usually no longer than an hour or two. I usually say, when you get home, take the bandage off and wash the area. This is so the open skin can breathe. If your tattoo is being suffocated underneath a bandage or plastic covering for too long, it will not begin to heal properly. It needs to be exposed to fresh, clean air to aide in the healing process. Once the bandage is off, the tattoo does not need to be covered again.
*NOTE* - Some people may need to cover their tattoos because of work. If you work in a dusty, dirty environment where your tattoo will be exposed, it is smart to try to keep your tattoo covered. However only a light covering should be used and be sure not to keep it tight on the tattoo. Something like a dental bib is good because it will not stick to your tattoo, nor will it suffocate it. It is ultimately your responsibility to keep the tattoo clean. If you think it may be necessary to take a few days off of work to avoid possible infections, than by all means do so! You paid good money for your tattoo, and it will be there forever.

2. Wash your tattoo...

Upon removing the bandage, make sure to wash your tattoo. This is to remove any blood or other fluids that have oozed out since the completion of the tattoo. Washing the tattoo is something that should be done daily, usually 2 - 4 times. Washing should be done with warm water and a mild antibacterial soap. Wash it gently, do not scrub it.  I recommend liquid soap from a pump dispenser rather than a bar of soap. This is because bar soaps can hold onto bacteria. If you wash your dirty hands with a bar of soap, you're really just rubbing dirt onto the bar of soap. Then when you clean your tattoo with that same bar of soap, you can contaminate the tattooed area with the dirt and bacteria that was left on the bar.
If the tattoo is in an area that comes in contact with a lot of sweat throughout the day - wash it.
If your tattoo is on your hand or arm, and you bump into things during the day - wash it.
Bacteria is everywhere, and infections happen. Keep your tattoo clean.
You can shower pretty much right away, just try not to let the shower water beat directly on the new tattoo. Let the shower hit near the area and have the water run onto the tattoo. The water hitting directly onto the freshly tattooed area can knock off any scabbing or flaking that is part of the healing, pulling out ink.

3. Dry it and Air it out...

After washing your tattoo make sure to dry it. Gently pat it dry with a clean paper towel, do not rub it aggressively. Paper towels are preferred over a hand towel, because again, a previously used hand towel can hold onto bacteria which can transfer onto your tattoo.
After drying your tattoo, let it air out for about 20-30 minutes so any moisture will evaporate off your skin.

4. Moisturize the Tattoo...

Hustle Butter is best.
I always use Hustle Butter. Check out my other entry on Hustle Butter to find out more info on it.
Moisturize the clean, aired out tattoo with a very very thin layer of the ointment of your choice. I always recommend Hustle Butter, but A&D Ointment, Bacitracin, Aquaphor, etc. will work fine. Just make sure to put a very thin layer on. Applying too heavy of a layer will clog the pores and again, suffocate the tattoo, not allowing the skin to breathe properly. This can also cause blisters/pimples to form and possibly lead to infection.
After about a week or so, or after all of the scabs, flakes have come off (see step 5) you can switch to regular unscented hand lotion instead of ointment. The lotion is lighter on the skin, allowing it to breathe easier.

5. Scabbing and Flaking...

This isn't really a "step" but it is important. The tattoo will flake or scab up a bit. This is normal, don't worry. It is just the skin healing over and repairing itself, just like when you get any minor skin abrasion. DO NOT pick these off. Let them fall off on their own. Picking them off can pull out some of the ink that is in your tattoo, resulting in spotty areas in the fully healed tattoo.

6. Repeat steps 2-5...

Repeat these steps until the tattoo is fully healed. Its not as hard as it may seem, just keep it clean, go light on the ointment and let it breathe.

Other things to be mindful of...
-If you HAVE to work out, be careful of what your tattoo comes in contact with. The gym is DIRTY. People sweat on the equipment. Be careful. If you do go to the gym or work out, wash it after.
-No tanning or sun bathing until the tattoo is healed. The sun is the #1 thing that ages tattoos, so wait til its fully healed before going in the sun. And when you do go in the sun, make sure to apply sunscreen often - SPF 50 or higher. Applying sunscreen onto the tattoo before it is fully healed can irritate the skin.
-No baths or swimming (soaking) until the tattoo is fully healed, this can soften up the skin around the tattoo resulting in faded or spotty areas in the tattoo.
-Don't ask your friends for advice!! Ask a professional tattooer!!!

That's really it. It is a very simple process, but it should still be taken seriously.
Make sure to check out my other entry on Hustle Butter to learn more about my favorite tattoo ointment!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Critical Power Supply Review

Critical CX-1 Power Supply

Todays review is on a super important part of any tattooist's arsenal. The power supply. I've used and owned many in the past, and none seem to compare to my Critical. This little power supply really produces a lot of solid, steady power and my machines really have never run better. A power supply that can provide steady power to your machines during a tattoo is, well...critical in producing quality tattoos.


Some things I love about this power supply are its size, portability and ease of use. Its very small, it doesnt take up a lot of room in your work space. I've used power supplies that, alothough worked wonderfully, were the size of a small child. Because they are so small, the Critical Power Supplies are great for any tattooer that travels. The supply itself is about the size of a cigarette box, and the only other part is a power cord with another small box near the wall outlet plug. Its very small and compact. The Critical supply that I own, version CX-1 is incredibly simple and easy to use. It has 2 buttons to adjust voltage and buttons to switch between Liner and Shader.
This power supply, more so than any that I have used in the past provides steady power to my machines during my tattoos. Other supplies that I've used in the past would sometimes lose power and drop in volts in the middle of a tattoo.

The only 'con' I can think of is that when I ordered this power supply, it only came with a stand that attached to metal surfaces via magnets, which seems to be the standard stand that is included. My tattoo station did not have anywhere I could affix this to, so I had to rig up a system that worked. I eventually ended up buying a metal plate from  the Critical website that they sell just for these type of situations. So this was an extra few dollars that I had to spend in order to comfortably use the power supply, which is lame. The company also offers a stand that attaches to other surfaces by a clamp. Which I could have used, and I would more people could use than the magnets. But its a small price to pay for a quality power supply.

Worth the money?

Absolutely. Seeing as the only 'con' I can think of has nothing to do with the way the supply itself works, it is definitely worth the money. It is the best power supply I have used in my years of tattooing and I would absolutely recommend it to a friend. In the future if I find myself needing another power supply, Critical will be my first choice. I cannot find my exact model online, but it is the most basic supply they make. For their most similar choice the price is $150.00, and I paid something very close to that. So for such a great working power supply, I definitely got my moneys worth.

Thanks for reading!!
Let me know what power supplies you guys use and what you think of Critical!

Check out their website and grab one for yourself! :
Critical Tattoo Website

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mike Godfrey Tattoo Machine Review

Mike Godfrey "Pusher" B&G Shader

Theres a saying..."The tools make the man." Meaning when a man has the proper tools, he can create. 
In this case, the man makes the tools. Thee man. 
A machine that is made by Mike Godfrey is definitely a proper tool.

Im pretty sure I first heard about Mike from Jeff Gogue, who is one of my tattoo heros. I had seen a video of him tattooing with a Mike Godfrey tattoo machine, and at the time I was trying to decide which builder to buy my next machine from. Well, I guess I found my answer. 
In the video Gogue was using a "Pusher" style frame, like one above. I loved the shape of it and thats what I ended up ordering. I emailed Mike telling him I wanted a black and grey/color blending machine. I left the color of the frame up to him. He was super pleasant to deal with over email. He built and mailed out the machine super fast. And he even sent it in a rad little canvas drawstring bag. I love little drawstring bags, they make me feel like a wizard. 

I love this machine, I use it almost every day. Its built to last. Its a nice and solid construction that runs super smooth. Before this machine, I was using a shader from Electric Soul Tattoo Machines, which is a great machine as well, but theres a big difference in the way the machines run. Of course each machine will run differently, no two are built exactly the same. The EST machine feels a bit lighter, and hits a bit lighter. It almost has a "tinny" feel and sound to it. My new Mike Godfrey machine feels like it has a much more solid hit. I can get super smooth blends and grey shading from it, and it still feels and sounds like a more solid and sturdy machine. I use a lot of 11 and 15 mags and this machine pushes them with ease. 

I started experimenting with rotaries a bit, and for long sessions it is nice to have a machine that weighs practically nothing. But I still prefer to feel the machine in my hand. Its nice when a machine has a little weight to it, and you know the needle is making a solid hit on the skin. Thats what I feel with this Mike Godfrey machine. Its not too heavy to the point where its straining, its a comfortable weight and feel. 

I definitely intend on buying another machine from Mike Godfrey. He delivered exactly what I needed, and at a fair price at just around $400. Some people argue that builders charge far too much, but I absolutely do not mind paying for quality. I am looking to purchase another color packer and I think Mike might be the guy. 

If any of you guys have ever used any of his Machines I'd love to hear what you think!!

Thanks for reading!!

Check out his site and contact him for a machine!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bishop Rotary 'Capo' Review

Whats up, everyone?! This review is about my Bishop 'Capo' Rotary tattoo machine. 
I've always used coil machines since I started tattooing. Just recently did I acquire a rotary and its a fantastic piece of tattoo machinery. It has so many benefits and is completely different than a traditional coil machine.

Let me start off by saying that I personally think that anyone who is just starting out as a tattoo artist should definitely learn on coil machines and use them for a while into their career before trying rotary machines. Its very important that a tattooist learns the in and outs of a coil machine and can take it apart and put it together. These are the types of machines that the artists who paved the way for us used. I feel that by knowing how to handle these simple, yet complex machines work is a way of paying a respect to the fathers of our craft. 

For someone that is going to start using rotary machines for the first time, I can say from experience that there is definitely a noticeable difference in way they handle compared to a coil machine. 
One major difference in my Bishop machine is that it is so much lighter than any of my coil machines. It almost feels uncomfortable at times being that Im so used to the weight of a coil machine. The lack of weight makes me feel like Im using a cheap knock off toy or something. But that it is not. The ease at which I can pump out smooth greys and color blends with this tiny machine is incredible. I have tattoo machines that can produce the same quality tattoos that my Bishop can, however with this device it feels so much more effortless. 
One benefit, however, of the lack of weight in this machine is that it makes longer tattoo sessions much less strenuous. 
To be honest, when I first started using the rotary I was pretty intimidated by it. As I said, being so used to the weight and feel of a coil machine made using this machine difficult to get used to at first. I would do one or two tattoos then put it down for a couple of tattoos and try it again. Having used coils for so long, something like the rotary didn't feel natural. But now I love it. 

Another thing I really like about this rotary is how quiet it is. Since rotary machines are basically just a motor, there is no chatter sound of an A- Bar slapping against electro magnets. This is a great feature of these types of machines. It makes conversation with clients easier and eases  the nerves of a new tattoo collector. The buzz of a coil machine can be quite intimidating to a person who hasn't experienced a tattoo before. 

One major detail about this machine is that it doesn't "bog down" like coil machines will when the needle makes contact with the skin. Which is good. Since the needle is operating on a motor, rather than a spring, there is less give and the machine does not lose any of its "power." This creates a much more consistent and fluid movement in the needle throw. Which is wonderful for creating solid outlines and evenly packed color.

These are qualities that most, if not all rotary machines have in common. (I've only used this Bishop machine, but Im assuming they operate the same.) But some unique aspects of the Bishop that I've come to really love are the shape and sleek design. The arch on the bottom side of the machine allows for a comfortable and secure grip on your tube. 
The sleek design of the Bishop rotary machines make it easy to look at. I've had clients comment on it after seeing it for the first time asking if its the "Lamborghini of tattoo machines."
I haven't used this machine much for outlining as much as I have for shading. As I mentioned before, it produces super smooth blends with both black and grey and color. 

Bishop offers their machines in either a clip cord or RCA connection so you can use which ever you're comfortable with. They also stock their machines in a plethora of awesome colors to pick from. 10 all together. I chose pink. You can also pick which stroke length you want your machine to run at. Either 3.5mm or 4.2mm. 3.5mm is generally used for black and grey shading and color blending and smaller grouping outliners. Where as 4.2mm stroke is better for more traditional style color packing and larger sized outliners. 

These are really great tattoo machines. I highly recommend heading over to the website - and picking one up for yourself. These machines have inspired me to check out other rotaries and see how they compare. I'd love to hear your experience with the Bishop rotary machines or just in general!! Thanks for reading!!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Norm Tattoo Machine Review

Todays review is about an incredible tattoo machine that I recently bought. my iPhone I have a 'note' with a loooong list of machine builders that I've come across during my time as a tattoo artist. I hope to eventually add a little 'check' icon next to each name on this ever growing list of mine. So far I've checked off 3 of 20. I have some way to go.

I needed a machine that I could use for bigger outline needle groupings. When it came time to make a purchase I took a look at that long list and said, "Shit!! Where do I begin?!" With so many extremely respectable names on this list of mine, it was hard to pick one to check off. Seth Ciferri, Keith B, Rob Rutherford...I know they all make quality machines...I want them!! But my budget simply wouldn't allow. I finally decided on a Norm machine. I had been following his tattoo work for a while, and would check his website almost daily just to look at the machines he posted. A friend and fellow tattooer encouraged me, saying "Go for it, the dude is known for his machines!! I've wanted one for a while too!" So made the order and waited impatiently for my machine to arrive in the

Opening a little cardboard box with a brand new tattoo machine inside mailed directly from a tattoo artist that is an inspiration to you and your work encourages feelings that are indescribable. For me anyway...I don't get much excitement in my life, I love receiving new tattoo equipment in the mail. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning.

I was extremely excited to use my new purchase. Within the first couple of tattoos that I had done with my new Norm machine I knew that I had made the right decision. I was actually surprised at how well the machine packed in such a solid outline. I had used a couple of machines in the past for bigger outliners but none would come close to comparing to my new Norm machine. I had a Dan Folwer Time Machine which was ok, and a Paco Rollins' machine that for some reason would never allow me to get a solid outline in. The new Norm machine literally is like tattooing with a Sharpie. It runs super smooth and puts in a solid line every time. Im not putting down the other 2 machines, they just didn't seem to work for me. I felt like I would almost always have some empty spots in the outline that I would have to go back and hit again.

One thing I noticed right away about the Norm machine, which I had never seen on any other machine I owned or used, is that instead of one front and one rear spring, Norm just used one solid spring. I don't know much about machine building or tuning, so I don't know what kind of advantage this gives to the machine other than maybe it offers a more solid hit because there is no break in the spring? Im not sure, but as I said, it definitely caught my eye.

Norms creative style of tattooing definitely carries into his machine building. I always see tattoo machines as little sculptures and Norm's machines are definitely that. That point is what also makes machines so fun to collect. Each builder has their own creative style and mojo that makes their machines unique. The machine that I got has a simple frame design but also has his signature Louis Vuitton coil covers which I love.

All in all its a great machine, it looks awesome, its light weight and comfortable and most importantly packs in super solid lines. I can honestly say I will be buying more of Norm's tattoo machines and would definitely recommend them to everyone. But I also think you should all make a little 'note' in your phone or spiral notebook if you're old school and make a little list and experiment with all of the equipment you can!! Theres so many great builders out there its hard to try them all. I'd love to hear some machine recommendations from you guys!!

Thanks for reading!!!
Check out Norm's website and check out one of his machines for yourself!!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Al Bro Clip Cords and Foot Switches Review

When I first started tattooing I didn't know the importance of quality products and the difference they make in producing quality tattoos. As time went on I upgraded machines, power supplies, inks, etc. to suit my needs. I experimented with different products to find what works for me. But along the way some things I never thought twice about "upgrading" were my clip cord or foot switch. They're just wires...simple, nothing to them.

After purchasing a clip cord and foot switch from Al Bro I noticed a difference right away. The quality of his products are top notch. My machines run more consistently with his products than with the 'Made in China' parts I was using before. Like I said, it's not something I ever gave much thought, but when you're using a professionally built tattoo machine and a quality power supply you don't want to connect the two with a flimsy clip cord.

Al Bro hand crafts his products with the best possible materials. The clips on the clip cords are made with heavy duty wire riveted and shrink wrapped to a super sturdy spring that won't wear out so you don't have to worry about it popping out of your tattoo machine. All of that is connected to heavy duty speaker wire. Each clip cord has an indicator on it marking which wire is positive.

My foot switch is made from a slab of diamond plate steel. It's super solid and sturdy. There is very little gap in the foot switch, so compressing it is very easy. It is sensitive so it doesn't take a lot of effort to press down and make the connection, which makes it very comfortable to use. He also attaches a thick piece of rubber to the bottom so it doesn't slide around on the floor under your foot.

He makes different styles of both clip cords and foot switches, from creative designs to simple straight forward options. All of his builds are awesome. He offers clip cords with RCA hookups for tattoo machines that only use that kind of connection. And he also makes clip cords with both an RCA connection and a traditional 2 prong connection, making alternating between both super easy.

Check out his website

Get both a clip cord and a foot switch, it'll be the last you'll ever have to buy!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hustle Butter Review

My favorite thing to do is try every single tattoo product I can. I love experimenting with different products and finding which one works best for me, as you should do the same being that there is a variety of different suppliers offering so many variations of great products.

With so many ointments, creams, lotions and aftercare products currently available on the tattoo market these days, it makes picking the right one a difficult task.
This particular post is about one of my favorite products that I have encountered in my tattoo career so far. Hustle Butter. The name alone sends a warm fuzzy feeling up and down my body. Say it again, Hustle Butter.

If you havent already heard about this awesome product, Hustle Butter is an ointment that is effective for use during the tattooing process as well as an excellent aftercare system.
It is made up of all natural ingredients such as shea and mango butters, and contains no petroleum based products; making it incredibly light and gentle on the skin.
It is really effective with reducing redness and swelling during the tattoo process, keeping the skin workable for a longer period of time.
Being that it is so light and petroleum free, it doesnt clog skin pores and it allows the skin to breathe during the application and during the healing process. Another benefit of no petroleum is it wont clog your tattoo tube like A&D or something similar would, keeping your ink flowing steady.
Another benefit of Hustle Butter is the amaaaaazing smell. Now I know thats not something that you would normally care about when looking for a good tattoo product, but its a real treat. The mixture of different fruit extracts and natural oils used in Hustle Butter have really saved me a couple of times when I had to tattoo some funky smelling feet.
As far as aftercare goes, its great. Although everyone is different, my experience with Hustle Butter has proven that it speeds up the healing process.  Again, because of its light, non-greasy ingredients it allows the healing tattoo to breathe and stay moisturized after every application. The natural ingredients are extra gentle on the skin and soothe the irritated tattoo area.
Its also great for sunburns and for use as a regular everyday skin moisturizer.

The consistency is similar to actual butter, so when I first used it , it took a little getting used to as I had been using A&D for so long. Getting it to spread on the skin evenly takes a second.

Hustle Butter is exploding in popularity, as some of the worlds top tattoo artists are part of the Hustle Butter Family and support and endorse the product.

If you havent had a chance to check out Hustle Butter, do it!! As I said, try different products and find one that works for you. I can almost guarantee Hustle Butter wont dissappoint. I've tried a bunch of different products, and I can honestly say if theres one product I'm locked in with for life...its Hustle Butter. And no, I wasnt paid to say any of this.
Check back soon for some more reviews of great products!!!

Watch my>>> YouTube Hustle Butter Review<<<

>>> Hustle Butter Facebook Page<<<