How Much Does a Tattoo Touch up Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 10, 2018

A tattoo, while it will last forever, it often will not look the same 10, 20 or even 30 years from now.

In some cases, it may not heal as it should, either.

For these reasons, those who did have a tattoo in the past often go back to either the same tattoo artist who performed the tattoo in the first place or someone new to touch up the tattoo, making it look like new again.

Tattoo Touch up Cost
Batman Leg Tattoo (finished)” (CC BY 2.0) by [email protected]

The reported tattoo touch up cost

The costs of touching up a tattoo will rely on a few factors, including the amount of touching up that needs to be done, the artist you went to (Is it the original artist?) and if it is the original artist, what is their touching up policy?

Keeping these factors in mind, a small touch up could cost as little as nothing, which is the case most of the time as long as it is done within a certain time frame at the same shop you had it done before, to about $50~ for the average sized tattoo at a new studio.

If it has been longer than a year and the touch up is required due to wear and tear, then be prepared to spend $50+, depending on the size and the amount of work that needs to be done.  Essentially, to budget, take the price you paid for the tattoo and divide that in half to get a good estimate.

Keep in mind that even if a shop charges, they will still need the funds to cover the necessary supplies, setup and fill out the necessary paperwork.  Just to setup, use the supplies and take up 45 minutes of the artist’s time, it could cost the studio more than $15 to $25.

Members on this Vinted.com thread talked about what they had paid to have their tattoo touched up, and most reported they had paid anywhere from nothing to about $60 an average sized shoulder tattoo.  While most shops will touch up the existing tattoo, as long as it was performed there initially, many of the members recommended leaving a $10 to $20 tip as a good gesture.

At BabyGaGa.com, a member posted a picture of her tattoo and asked what a touchup would cost at a new studio.  Most of the members stated you should be prepared to pay a shop minimum, which could range anywhere from $40 to $80.

What will I need a touchup?

A tattoo will need a touchup for a variety of reasons.  This could include leaving it out in the sun too long over time or even submerged in water for an excessive amount of time.

After getting inked, some people are often tempted to pick at the scab, which, as you probably know, is a big no-no.  Picking at the scab can disrupt the ink, meaning you will have to get it touched up almost immediately after you had it done in the place.

Lastly, anything, aside from what has been mentioned, that draws ink particles away from your dermis layer could call for a touchup as well.

How long does a touch up take?

The size of your tattoo and the complexity fo the design will greatly affect the time it takes to touch up your tattoo.  Some smaller, simple tattoos can take as little as 10 minutes, whereas a colorful tattoo that takes up your entire back could take hours.

When will it be time to get a touchup?

In most cases, CustomTattooDesign.ca notes clients will wait at least six months before asking for a touchup, but the time you wait will be entirely based upon its size, the level detail and how fast your skin can heal.

Also, you can effectively eyeball your tattoo over time to see if it is in need of a tattoo.  Generally, tattoos that look either weathered, faded or are starting to lack color could be a sign it’s time to go back to the shop.

How to avoid a tattoo touch up

Always use a high SPF sunscreen and be well aware of the sun when outside.  Practicing sun safety can greatly decrease your chances of a touch up in the future.

Immediately after receiving your tattoo, practice the aftercare guidelines.  This means always washing your hands, changing the bandage and using a quality ointment.  Always avoid picking at the scab, regardless of how tempting it may be.

Facts to know

Be sure to ask about the tattoo artist’s touch up policy before going home.  Some artists may have a lifetime guarantee for as long as they are employed by the studio, whereas other studios may have a restricted time limit which may only last up to a year.

Even if you’re meeting the studio’s guidelines, do not be surprised if the studio rejects your claim due to improper aftercare.  For example, BethKennedyTatoo.com states she will not cover the touchups if you neglected to take care of your tattoo.

Even if the touchup is free, it’s common courtesy to offer your artist a tip.


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