Ever wondered what a tattoo artist would tell you about looking after your skin? Or whether tattooed skin should be treated any differently? Us too. That's why we spoke to one of the few Indian female artists in the U.K. to find out.
21 year old Heleena Mistry from Leicester has been featured in various press including BBC news to discuss breaking cultural taboos as an Indian female tattoo artist. Specialising in Indian-inspired designs that promote female positivity and feminism, Heleena has developed a strong fan base with over 16,000 Instagram followers
We got in touch with her to find out what her most important skincare tips are and left wondering what we would get inked ourselves by this incredible artist.
1) Your tattoos look awesome. How many do you have and any faves?
I’ve lost count of how many I have, I think it’s somewhere in the 20's maybe! I couldn’t ever pick a favourite tattoo of mine, but my most complimented is probably the trajva on my fingers that derive from traditional Indian tribal tattoos.
2) Working with skin as your canvas means you must know a thing or two about skincare! What is the most important skincare tip you can give?
Exfoliate, is the biggest and main tip I would give to anyone, especially before you go and get a tattoo. As well as that, use a moisturiser that contains SPF, again especially if you have tattoos. It’ll help them last longer and stay vibrant against harsh sunlight.
3) Some people complain about tattoos fading on the skin over time. Why does this happen and what can someone do to preserve their tattoo?
Your body naturally rejects alien chemicals or objects from the body. Ink is flooded into tiny needled pricked holes on the skins surface and then white blood start to eat away at the ink trying to remove it and heal the skin. Ink molecules are larger than the white blood cells which makes the process occur over a long period of time. Designs with really fine line work and large surfaces of colour work is more prone fading. It’s important to take care of your tattoo the most during its healing process, which is the first two weeks of having it done.
4) You must get a lot of design requests. Is there anything you would refuse to tattoo on someone?
I usually refuse to tattoo religious imagery, I often send a disclaimer ensuring that the client has knowledge and a connection to the religious imagery instead of wanting it for aesthetic purposes, to avoid people culturally appropriating.
5) Finally, how do you take your tea?
If it’s chai, I prefer it sweet with extra chai masala (sweet and spicy). English tea, I like very little milk and 2 sugars. Always take the tea bag out before drinking!
Heleena is available and taking bookings for tattoo sessions. Follow her to find out more info on booking and see some more of her incredible designs on her Instagram @heleenatattoos