Justin Luckow, owner of True2U Ink in Grand Forks, ND, became a Tatt2Away® center in September of 2016 because he knew it would provide his clients with better coverup options. “I was tired of doing coverups I didn’t want to do. If anything, I’d turn them down,” he said. Tatt2Away is a non-laser, all-natural tattoo removal system that unlike laser is effective on all ink colors and pigments, and also unlike laser, removes the ink fully from the body.
“A lot of people have gotten really bad tattoos. Sometimes they just want it to be covered,” said Justin, who’s known for his coverups, family-oriented shop, and customer service. But he is particular about what he attaches his name to. “Now I try to go toward the removal rather than just doing a coverup, because I’m super picky on how I coverup stuff.”
Using Tatt2Away for a coverup doesn’t require fully removing the existing tattoo, but instead simply breaking up lines or removing darker areas that would otherwise limit new art options. The result is that both client and artist have more freedom and choice about what the coverup can be. Said Justin, “Tatt2Away is a good thing. You’re obviously pulling the ink out, and I like that part of it. You can see that it’s not just disappearing into your system.”
Nicholle Frederick, Justin’s sister and certified Tatt2Away technician, said that most of her Tatt2Away clients are in the chair specifically for the goal of new and better art. “Someone will come in to Justin and tell him what they want. If he feels that the finished product will be better if I take care of some of the darker areas, he sends them my way.”
The Tatt2Away coverup strategy is unique to each client and dependent upon both existing tattoo and planned coverup, so Justin and Nicholle discuss what goes and what stays. “Sometimes I remove just the dark outline and we leave the lighter colors, because those are easier for him to work with for the coverup,” said Nicholle. “Two sessions, maybe more, depending on what we’re looking at. The client is like, ‘Cool! Great!’ and we get them on their way.”
“For my coverups I prefer that you can’t tell they’re a coverup,” Justin said. “For all the years I’ve been doing this, 99% of the time when someone walks in and they’re proud of their tattoo, I can tell you if it’s a coverup within the first five or ten seconds.” His integrity is important to him, and he won’t cover a tattoo in “the wrong way,” sometimes talking a client out of a tattoo. “I talk to people about what’s going to be best for them,” he said.
One Tatt2Away client who has opted for full removal was referred, interestingly enough, by their competitor, a laser removal center. She has a large piece covering her entire chest. “They said laser wouldn’t be able to remove it, and Tatt2Away would do a much better job,” said Justin, who believes there’s no comparison between the two methods.
In consultations, Nicholle discusses the differences between Tatt2Away and laser, although she said most people who come in haven’t looked at the laser option. “Most of them know it’s really expensive, and it’s a lot of sessions to do, but don’t know much about it. So I explain what happens with laser removal, how it pushes the ink in, and that we don’t know where the ink goes,” she said.
She then explains how Tatt2Away works and why it’s more effective and better for the body than laser, as well as how many sessions each would take to remove the tattoo. “The laser place charges by the inch. More times than not, laser is between 16 and 20 sessions, depending on the tattoo. The comparison makes it easy for the person to see the cost difference.”
When Justin and Nicholle were trained as certified Tatt2Away technicians, Justin had a Tatt2Away session on his arm for a tattoo that had seen two coverups. He wears short- sleeved shirts so the results of the one session are visible, purposely choosing to not continue the process “It’s a conversation piece. It gives a very good idea of what one procedure can do, especially with three tattoos. And it wasn’t just black; there was color in there,” he said.
He also wanted to experience Tatt2Away because it was to be part of his shop. “I wanted to know everything about it. How to do it, how it’s going to feel, how it’s going to heal. Everyone thinks that it’s got to hurt so bad, but it doesn’t even hurt as much as a tattoo,” he said. A year later, there’s no difference between the places the ink was removed and his never-tattooed skin, although for Justin, the redness took a while to fade. By contrast, the initial redness on the client undergoing full removal on her chest disappeared almost immediately.
The difference is an important reason why both Nicholle and Justin prefer clients inquiring about Tatt2Away to make an appointment for an in-person consultation. “We have to see them. It’s hard to answer questions over the phone,” she said. “There are some people, some skin, we can’t even work on, so we need them to come so we can answer all their questions.”
Pictures are particularly helpful not only in explaining the procedure to clients, but in helping people set realistic expectations. “I have pictures in a collage so you can see them all side by side,” said Nicholle, who also uses them to emphasize the importance of aftercare. “Everyone who’s had Tatt2Away has been pretty impressed with at least the first session,” she said, “although some people who went to the second session, even though it worked well, wondered if their textured skin would go away.”
“You have got to have someone who’s willing to take care of their stuff. That’s a big part of it. If you abuse it, you’re more likely to end up with scarring,” said Justin. Nicholle said she heavily emphasized aftercare importance to the chest-piece removal client from the beginning. “There are no ifs, ands, or buts. The way this turns out and the way this heals is the way she takes care of it.” Added Justin, “I was nervous she might not, but she is. It’s healing so well. You can see the new skin. She’s already had her second session.”
Tatt2Away has over sixty studio locations in the US, with plans for only 1,000, each strategically spaced to eliminate unwarranted competition. South Dakota will have only two or three. “That’s a huge reason why I went ahead with it,” said Justin. “I wanted to get a lockdown on the area.”
He also relishes being a full-service shop, providing tattoo removal in addition to tattooing, piercing, and body art. “I think it’s a good idea for us to have removal. We should be doing it, not a hospital or laser center. We’re the one doing the tattoo, and we have a better understanding of skin,” he said. “Tatt2Away does what it’s supposed to, and it works really well.” Nicholle agrees. “We’re both really excited having it here. People are very impressed by how it pulls out the ink and that it pulls out the color, not just the dark stuff.
Tatt2Away is a specific patented method for non-laser, all-natural tattoo removal. The patent and registered trademark cover unique elements – including the template – that contribute to its success. If you visit a location claiming to be a certified Tatt2Away center and they fail to use the template in your procedure, leave (and please let us know).
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