Cuticle Tattoos 101


Yet another tattoo trend we can credit Rihanna for bringing into popularity. The Queen of Cool first sported cuticle tattoos back in 2013, and since then they have taken over Instagram. These tiny tattoos are just the latest in tattoo trends.



The name says a lot, but cuticle tattoos aren’t actually on the cuticle. Rather, they’re placed around the nail. People usually opt to stick close to the nail but some people have taken to extending the design up the fingers and even across the whole hand. One choice people interested in these tattoos have to make it how many fingers they want to be done. Some get a few, some get only one hand, and others get them all done. It’s all up to you!



Here’s the bad news- the hands hurt to get tattoos. That pain only increases for that area on the finger. Hands and fingers are mostly bone and skin, with very little fat to cushion. The area near the nail is even more bony and sensitive. Ever gotten a hangnail? Imagine that pain times a thousand.



Since most cuticle tattoos are small and have simple designs, the process can be done quickly. Make sure that you find an artist skilled in small tattoos though so that they don’t make any mistakes and can work in the small area.



There is no single design for cuticle tattoos. Some popular designs are geometric shapes, lines, dots, and henna-style designs. Due to the small space simpler designs tend to work best.



It’s super important to follow all aftercare instructions. Since your hands usually come in contact with germs and objects first, it’s important that you keep your new ink clean and dry.



Cuticle tattoos act like jewelry, elevating whatever outfit one is wearing. They can hurt though, and it’s pretty costly for a small tattoo. Some people are opting for alternatives like temporary tattoos or nail art to get the design. If you want to book an appointment please contact us today!




Constellation Piercings 101


We talk a lot about tattoo trends, but piercings have their own trends in styles too. The last year has seen a huge boom in on particular style- constellation piercings. This style allows for creativity and individuality as people cultivate their own unique cluster of piercings on their ears. Here is everything you need to know about this piercing trend.



Constellation piercings are basically an artful cluster of piercings on the ear. The multiple piercings allow people to go as simple or as creative as they want. Having multiple ear piercings have been a trend for a while, but it’s only recently that it’s gotten the starry name and taken off. It’s a fresh modern take on multiple ear piercings that really is unique to each person.



Part of the reason people love constellation piercings is that they can be anywhere on the ear. For those that don’t want multiple cartilage piercings, having the option for a cool lobe-piercing trend is exciting. The cluster can be anywhere, whether you want it on the earlobe, the cartilage, the inner ear, or up the entire ear, it’s up to you.



The great thing about this trend is that it can be tailored to your ear shape and sense of style. Most people have been opting for smaller, daintier piercings that give an understated minimalist look. Other’s are going for statement shapes like stars, moons, and crosses. People can use any mix of jewelry, such as studs, shapes, rings, and bars, for constellation piercings.



There are endless possibilities and combinations for constellation piercings. Just like the starry constellations, the piercing is named after, each piercing helps create an image. A popular lobe constellation design is a triangle arrangement where three piercings are close together. A more classic one is a linear design where the piercings go up the ear. You can add dimension to the design by alternating between longer rings and shorter studs for a staggering height.



There’s no set timeline, but most professional piercers don’t recommend getting a ton of piercings done at once. It can make it harder to heal with all the swelling. Sleeping and other normal tasks may also be uncomfortable with multiple new piercings. It’s best to build them up one at a time.



How much a piercing hurts depends on where it’s done. Lobe piercings generally tend to hurt the least, while cartilage and inner ear ones hurt more. The good news is that pain from piercings is brief.



Constellation piercings look like a trend that will last awhile. Make sure you always take care of your new piercings my following proper aftercare advice. If you’re interested in getting a new piercing, or a tattoo, contact us or visit our downtown Toronto tattoo shop!.


10 Historical Figures You Didn’t Know Had Tattoos


Tattoos have been around for a long time. While they remained taboo in the Western world until recently, quite a few powerful political leaders had hidden ink of their own. So next time someone shames you for your tattoos, inform them about these 10 historical figures that had tattoos of their own.


Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was the 7th president of the United States. He’s mostly remembered for his controversial campaign to kill and relocate Native Americans. As if that wasn’t enough, he ironically had a tattoo of a giant tomahawk on his inner thigh. Yeah, a tomahawk, a weapon, and toll closely associated with the culture he tried to destroy.


James K. Polk

Another president with another hidden tattoo. James Polk spent most of his presidency buying up land for the US. We can also credit him with starting the Chinese character tattoo craze. President Polk had a tattoo of a Chinese character, which translates to “eager”. It could have been worse!


Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt was the 26th President of the US and had such a great run as president that his face even made it up on Mount Rushmore. What Mount Rushmore didn’t capture was his ink. Roosevelt reportedly had the Roosevelt family crest tattooed on his chest. We would expect nothing less from a man like him.


John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth wasn’t a president, but you probably learned about him in history class. He was a 26-year-old actor that shot and assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. They say actors have big egos, and we believe it after learning that Booth had his own initials tattooed on his hand.


Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison invited a ton of things, but did you know he also had a hand in creating the first tattoo machine? He was the one that created the first electric pen, which Samuel O’Reilly then used to develop the first tattoo machine. Edison was so intrigued that he ended up with 5 cryptic dots on his forearm.


Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was a fantastic leader for Britain during WW2. Many would be surprised to know that he had a tattoo, a classic anchor on his forearm. His mother probably didn’t mind, seeing as she had a tattoo of a snake on her wrist that she hid with jewelry.


Czar Nicholas II

He’s known as the last emperor of Imperial Russia, but Czar Nicholas also had some ink. In 1891 he traveled to Japan to try to improve Russo-Japanese relations. He came back with a little souvenir- a colorful dragon tattoo on his arm. That’s one way to mend a relationship.


George Orwell

The famed author of classics like, 1984, no only used ink to get his words across but also to mark his body. While serving as a policeman in Burma in his youth, Orwell for a blue dot on each knuckle, the dots were supposed to protect the wearer from harm.


King Frederick IX of Denmark

King Frederick led Denmark for 25 years, and he was known for being a badass. His number of tattoos only reinforced this. His ink covered his arms and chest and he acquired them during his time as a sailor.


R.H. Macy

You might not know the name, but you sure know his legacy. R.H. Macy was the founder of Macy’s department store. You probably know the red star logo, but did you know it was inspired from R.H. Macy’s own tattoo? He had a red star on his forearm that he got in his youth when he was a sailor.


Want some cool ink? Contact us to set up an appointment today.


Q&A: Should I Be Worried About My Raised Tattoo?

First things first, don’t panic. Tattoos become raised for a variety of reasons, most of them nothing to worry about. We understand it can be concerning to see lumps and bumps where your ink is. Here are a few reasons as to why your tattoo may be raised and what you should do about it.


Rising Reasons

As we said, tattoos rise for a number of reasons. It’s not always easy to figure out the exact cause so take notes as to when, how often, and what you’re doing when the rising happens. The more information you have, the better chance you have at figuring out what’s causing it to happen. Here are a few of the likely candidates causing your tattoo to rise.



A big reason tattoo artists don’t freak out when a client tells us their tattoos are raised is that that is a perfectly normal part of the tattoo healing process. It’s caused by the body trying to heal itself. You may also notice scabbing, flaking, fading and oozing as your tattoo heals. None of it sounds pleasant, and it doesn’t always look it, but it’s perfectly normal. All of this should go away if you follow aftercare advice. Don’t panic if it doesn’t go away right away either. It can take months for a raised tattoo to go down. 



We told you to take notes on everything because the weather can have a big impact on your skin. A lot of people notice that their tattoos rise during warmer weather, like during summer. The reasons are simply your body swelling due to the heat. Humidity, heat, and dry air can all irritate skin, which can cause your tattoo to rise. It’s totally normal and if this is the cause you probably notice it goes away once it becomes cooler.



Scaring is one cause that is permanent. Scar tissue can form during the tattoo process and cause it to stay raised, even once it’s fully healed. It’s pretty uncommon, but it can happen if the tattoo artist isn’t trained. The scarring happens when the artist pushes too deep into the skin causing scar tissue to form. The scarring can go down, but it will still remain. This is why it’s important to go to a licensed tattoo shop and see a professionally trained tattoo artist.



It’s rare, but unfortunately, sometimes tattoos become infected. The chances of infections are low when you follow proper aftercare advice and visit reputable tattoo shops, but they do still happen. Symptoms of infection depend on the individual but common ones are swelling, white dots, rashes, and oozing in the tattooed area. Always get an infected tattoo treated as quickly as possible to limit the amount of damage to your body.



Being allergic to tattoo ink is uncommon, but it’s been known to happen. Allergies could cause the tattoo to rise, even if it’s been awhile since the tattoo was done. Allergies can develop at any stage of life so you may not notice them when you first get inked. If an allergy is serious you may have to get the tattoo removed. In most cases, the tattoo just becomes slightly raised, swollen, and irritated. Creams, aloe vera, and allergy medication can help relieve symptoms.



Honestly, this isn’t what people want to hear, but sometimes it’s just the individual. People’s bodies are different, so each person reacts differently to tattoos. That’s why it’s so hard to give an exact healing time because it’s different for everyone. If you have sensitive skin the tattoo may stay raised longer after healing or rise more often. If you have other skin conditions such as eczema, they could cause the tattoo to rise too. Don’t worry though because usually, a raised tattoo isn’t noticeable to others.


What To Do

Don’t panic right away if your tattoo is rising. If the rising is causing pain, discomfort, or lasts for a long time you may want to consult with a doctor. Don’t irritate a raised tattoo further by scratching it.


Contact us if you have any questions about your tattoos. If you are interested in getting a tattoo come by our downtown Toronto tattoo shop to set up an appointment.


Nose Tattoos 101


Some tattoo trends are more out there than other’s, and this is one of them. Facial tattoos have a long history, but now some people are getting just nose tattoos and this trend is taking off. Demons, skulls, and tribal ink, this location is the newest hotspot.


Who’s Getting Them?

Right now this trend is pretty limited to those into body modification and hardcore tattooist. Facial tattoos are extremely taboo, especially in Western countries. They’re often associated with criminals and jails. Some people have embraced facial tattoos, but get them in more discrete locations where they can be hidden like on the skull, behind the ear, or along the hairline. But there’s no hiding a nose tattoo.



Tattoos aren’t really in the taboo zone anymore. Most of society and most work places are pretty accepting of them as long as they aren’t of anything offensive. But facial tattoos are still pretty taboo. So if you’re interested in a nose tattoo just know that you may not get a job because of it.


Pain and Time

The bad news about nose tattoos is that they will hurt a lot. Even people that have multiple tattoos say they’re extremely painful. They compare it to getting punching in the face with a sharp object repeatedly. If you’ve ever had your nose pierced, just image that pain but times a thousand.


The other bad news about nose tattoos is that they aren’t quick. While they’re usually pretty small, the shape and curves of the nose can take awhile for the design to be completed.



Due to the shape of noses, some designs look better than others. Skulls and demons seem to be popular and compliment the nose well. Tribal designs, like Maori and Samoan tattoos, are also popular. Some people are doing more geometrical designs, with straight lines and triangles.



Any tattoo should be done by professionals, but especially facial tattoos. There are no hiding facial tattoos, especially nose ones. Make sure you find an artist that has done face tattoos before and is skilled in the style you like. Look at portfolios and discuss the design beforehand. We should note that not every tattoo shop will do facial tattoos. Some places find them too controversial so they refuse them.


Contact us or visit our tattoo shop to talk about getting a tattoo today.


Stick and Poke Tattoos 101


Stick and Poke tattoos are all the rage right now. As a professional tattoo shop, we get a little wary about them. They can turn out wonderful, but there is risk involved too since it isn’t be done by a trained professional. This style was once dominated by jails, but it has since become a hit with a new demographic- college kids. We can’t necessarily recommend these tattoos, but here is everything you should know about them.



Hand poke tattoos are rooted in the historical practice of tattooing. Back before tattoo guns were a thing people got tattoos in the same way that stick and poke tattoos are done- by sticking a sharp object with ink on it into the skin. Some areas in the world still practice tattooing in this way. Angelina Jolie is famous for her tiger back tattoo that was done by Thai monks using their form of sick and poke tattooing. Western countries stopped practicing this style once tattoo guns became widespread, but they still persisted in the jail system. This style used to be referred to as “jail house” tattoos. Now with college kids adopting this style, that stigma has dropped.


What is it?

The name of this style says it all. A sharp object is dipped into ink and then poked into the skin. People used a number of sharp objects, such as sewing needles, safety pins, or even tattoo needles just not connected to the machine. There isn’t standard ink used for this style. Most inks used for hand poke tattoos isn’t FDA regulated so be warned. Sometimes people even used regular pen ink.



Stick and poke is a style that can be done by anyone, from traditional monks to professional tattoo artists. However, the current style has more of a DIY notion to it, with it usually being done by a non-professional individual. These people are usually talented, and some even do it for a living. They aren’t trained, licensed or work out of a shop though so there is more risk than a standard professional tattoo. Hand poke tattoos are usually done in a more intimate setting, like a home, and done by friends so there is more meaning behind them.



The biggest concern about sick and poke tattoos is the sterilization and sanitization of the equipment used. Professional tattoo artists are held to certain standards, even more so if they work out of a tattoo shop. All equipment is cleaned and sterilized regularly. With hand poke tattoos there is always a risk that the needle isn’t clean. Using a needle that isn’t new opens up the risk of contracting a disease such as hepatitis or HIV.


No matter who’s doing the tattoos, make sure that everything is cleaned properly. Never use the same needle as someone else too. Also, make sure you follow the same aftercare advice that you would for a professional tattoo. Keeping it clean helps prevent infection.



A huge downside to hand poke tattoos is that they hurt even more than professional ones. Having a machine do a tattoo means that the process goes by quicker. When it’s done by hand, every line and dot have to be done individually. It takes longer and more practice to get the ink right. The ink used also isn’t the best, meaning it takes more layer to get the ink to show. What all of this means is that it will hurt, no matter where it’s done.



Another downside is time. Stick and Poke tattoos take longer to complete. Everything has to be done by hand, more layers of ink are required, and the design comes to life one dot at a time. What would usually take a few minutes can take up to hours.


Design and Size

The DIY aspect of hand poke tattoos can give you some ideas for what designs are popular. Doodle designs are common, especially on a smaller scale. Some people have become incredibly talented and skilled in this style though. They can create large, intricate tattoos that look like a machine did them.



There is an art to placing ink in the right part of the skin for tattoos. This is part of what’s covered and practiced when a professional tattoo artist gets trained. When the ink is placed too close to the surface, it won’t hold. If it’s placed too deep then it will blur and bleed. It takes skill to hit the sweet spot for ink placement. Due to this, and the lack of FDA approved ink used, stick and poke tattoos tend to fade more. This isn’t always the case, but most hand poke tattoos fade more often and quicker than professional ones. For some people though, this is actually a benefit.



Price is the number one reason people are drawn to hand poke tattoos. A professional tattoo can cost hundreds of dollars while stick and poke tattoos are either free or significantly cheaper. People who have a talent for this style and have made a name for themselves may get a higher price, but the majority of people use friends who don’t charge anything.


As professionals, we don’t advocate these tattoos but they can turn out super cool. Make sure you get everything sanitized before getting a hand poke tattoo. If you have any questions or want to discuss a professional tattoo, contact us.


Everything You Want To Know (And Are Too Scared To Ask) About Nipple Piercings


While the world of tattoos is no longer taboo, the same can’t be said for all piercings. Society has grown to accept more piercings, first ear, then nose and lip piercings. But nipple piercings still remain a source of controversial That’s changing now though, thanks to celebrities like Rihanna and Kendall and Kylie Jenner. If you want this trendy piercing here is everything you should know, and everything you are too scared to ask, about nipple piercings.


You have to be 18

First things first, you have to be 18 years old to get a nipple (or genital piercings). For most other piercings you can get them done at any age with parental consent. With nipple piercings though, because of the area, no reputable piercer will do it to anyone who is no longer a minor.


It’s going to hurt

Nipples are pretty sensitive so yeah, it’s going to hurt to get them pierced. Don’t worry though, because the pain is pretty brief. It may be uncomfortable for a few days after, especially if they rub up against clothing. Try to wear loose items until the piercing heals.


You don’t have to get both pierced

When it comes to nipple piercings you can either get one done or both. The trend used to be just getting one done, but nowadays more people are getting both. It’s completely up to you though. Some piercers recommend starting with one and coming back later for the other to make sure you like it.


Choice between barbell or ring

There are two jewelry options, a barbell or a ring. Most piercers recommend a barbell for the simple reasons that they don’t move as much, heal faster, and don’t get caught on clothing as much as rings. They are also less visible under clothing. The choice is ultimately up to you know.


They take at least 6 months to heal

People heal at their own rate and nipple piercings usually take a few months to a year. Most piercers estimate 6 months on average. Even after it stops feeling tender be sure to follow proper aftercare advice. Don’t touch them (or let others touch them) until they are fully healed. Trust us, you don’t want an infection here.


They won’t always be erect

After a piercing, the nipple may be more prominent due to swelling. This will go down though and the nipple won’t stay erect forever. They should go back to reacting normally after they’re healing. They will be more prominent than they used to be though. After all, there is a piercing there!


The holes close quickly

It’s a good idea to not take out your nipple piercings, especially for long periods, because the holes close really quickly- in a matter of minutes! This is good news if you regret them and want them to heal. It’s bad news if you have to remove them for activities. Luckily you can purchase a retainer, which is a glass piercer to keep the hole open if you need to remove a piercing for medical purposes or sports. If you need to change out your piercing it’s a good idea to go back to your piercer until you feel comfortable doing it yourself.


Keep hands off

A lot of people are getting nipple piercing for the sexiness they bring. While this is great, just make sure you and your partner keep your hands off them for at least 4 weeks. Also, make sure hands are washed before touching them.


Sensitivity is a gray area

A lot of people ask if piercings make nipples more sensitive. It’s a hard question to answer because some people say yes and other’s say no. Piercings theoretically shouldn’t make a nipple more sensitive, just more prominent, which means they may get more stimulation than they used to. But some people report that they do feel more sensitivity after a piercing, so the answer isn’t black or white.


You can still breastfeed

Some women are afraid to get a piercing because they think it will impact breastfeeding. Don’t stress about this, because nipple piercing should have absolutely no effect on breastfeeding. Piercings should be removed before feedings though so that the baby doesn’t swallow or choke on them. There is a minimal risk that scarring will impact breastfeeding but it is very rare.


All genders can get them

Nipple piercings are for everyone. Anybody from any gender, race, religion, and sexuality can get them. Don’t let people judge you into not getting something you want. It’s your body.


Contact us today or visit our downtown Toronto tattoo shop to book your piercing appointment.