How to Choose Downhill Skis

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  • 1). Think hard about what designs you want. Collect art, leaf through books, and make sketches. A qualified tattoo artist will take what you bring in and transform it into beautiful art.

  • 2). Place temporary tattoos on different parts of your body until you're clear where you want yours: Tattoos on your back or shoulder may look incredible, but you'll never see them without a mirror. Designs on your arms may be appealing, but you may tire of always having something there.

  • 3). Consider long-term social or professional fallout for visible piercings and tattoos. While a particular style of body art may be appealing right now, ask yourself: Will you love it for the rest of your life? Will the indulgence of a moment eliminate certain career options down the road?

  • 4). Evaluate your ability to handle pain. Does a tattoo hurt? Not as much as childbirth, but pain is considered part of the experience. Piercings are briefer. Location also determines pain levels--anything near major nerves (down the side of the leg, for example, or on or near bones) can be excruciating; the bigger the tattoo, the longer your agony lasts.

  • 5). Ask about hygiene practices: In the age of AIDS, cleanliness is taken very seriously. Artists should wear gloves, sterilize their tools and work space, and use packaged, single-use needles.

  • 6). Take your time and review lots of portfolios when choosing a tattoo artist. When you see a great tattoo, ask who did it. Look for clean, smooth outlines, and excellent use of color.

  • 7). Be prepared to pay for an experienced, reputable piercer or tattoo artist. Tattoo artists charge by the hour and usually have a minimum (about $50), but designs can run into the thousands for large, intricate work. Common piercings (including jewelry) range from $50 to $75.

  • 8). Insist on surgical-grade stainless, niobium, platinum or titanium steel jewelry, or solid 14-karat or 18-karat gold for all piercings until they're healed.

  • 9). Review all procedures and risks ahead of time. Be clear on the after-care regime.

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