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Recent Posts by Josh Peplow

Skins and Needles Barbering Academy Success: Kieran’s Experience

After following Skins and Needles on social media for years, Kieran decided to become a member of the team within our Barbering Academy.

Kieran followed us online for a number of years and chose us to help accelerate his new barbering career by enrolling in our 2-Week Barbering Course.

Our 2-Week Barbering Course was created to provide our students with the best training possible, and our Head of Education has produced multiple award-winning trainees and barbers. Laura (the Head of Education) only allows small groups for the courses to ensure all of our students have the best training possible.

“My favourite part of the course was just being able to learn something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time…”

The 2-Week Barbering Course involves modules in salon hygiene, clipper and scissor techniques, fading, luxury wet shaving, and more. All of our courses are designed to make sure our students leave with not only a qualification, but the beginning of a successful and long-lasting career.

Kieran’s most challenging part of the course was learning how to cut longer hair because this was something he had no prior experience with. Kieran said, “Laura was so helpful in explaining and showing me how to overcome this challenge.”

“I really enjoyed the course and was gutted when it came to end. I learned so much and I realised after only a couple of days that it’s the industry and environment that I want to work in.”

Our academy delivers top-level CPD-accredited barbering training to those looking for a solid foundation for entry into the industry.

After completing the 2-Week Barbering Course at Skins and Needles, Kieran now works part-time in the industry and is working towards full-time barbering in the near future! Well done Kieran, we can’t wait to see your continued success and development!

Are you interested in getting involved with our barbering courses? Click here to find out more!


Bringing Confidence Back Through Tattooing: Vicky’s Story

After being diagnosed with Alopecia Totalis just over 8 years ago, Vicky turned to Skins and Needles to help gain back the confidence she lost.

Vicky, from Hartlepool, described losing her 24-inch jet-black hair as ‘traumatic’ and it took her months of emotional preparation and contemplation to walk into Skins and Needles Middlesbrough for her consultation.

After building the courage to get in contact with us, our extensively trained desk team placed Vicky with Kira, one of our resident artists who specialises in linework and delicate blackwork. The team invited Vicky in for a private consultation with Kira to have a chat about her ideas and the Lord of the Ring themed headpiece was born. The design was finalised and the appointment was booked.

Want to book in for a consultation? Click here!

During the process, our barbering team prepped Vicky’s hairline for tattooing, shaving off any remaining hair to provide a clean canvas for Kira (our pre-care is totally free of charge.)

“My experience from start to finish has been so amazing. From reception, hairdressers, other artists, every single one of them lovely and a pleasure to be around. Thank you to all of you, but thank you Kira you’re a star!”

Vicky has spent a number of sessions with Kira, including free sessions to top up her work, and we’re always excited to see her in the studio.

We’re so happy that Skins and Needles have been able to assist Vicky in her truly incredible hair journey in her own personal development since losing her hair, and we’re proud to call her a regular in the studio.

Thank you for putting your trust in us, Vicky. We’re so delighted with the outcome and seeing your smile return to your face.

Our team are specialised to put you with the best artist depending on your requirements. We’d love to have you in the studio for a free consultation with us!

Call us on 01642 913632 or enquire through our website!


JANUARY OFFERS: Skins and Needles Barbering Academy

Thinking of a new career for 2023? Skins and Needles Education is offering slashed prices for a limited time only!

In a bid to help people take the leap of faith into a new career path, we’ve slashed our Barber Course prices – we’d love to hear from you!

All of our courses are designed to make sure you leave with not only a qualification, but the beginnings of a long-lasting and successful career.

4-Week Beginner Barbering Course

Our 4-Week Beginner Barbering Course at Skins and Needles will provide a solid foundation for entry into the barbering industry.

The course is suitable for complete beginners looking to start a new, exciting career within the industry, our course leaders have produced an award-winning team, new barbers and offer the most intensive training seen in your course guide.

Our course will ensure you leave with not only the bare minimum, but with the desired skillset to confidently walk into a barbering role, and if for any reason we don’t feel as though you’re ready we’ll bring you back FREE OF CHARGE for additional training!

From health and safety, luxury wet shaving, full kit included and more – what are you waiting for?

This course is for a duration of 5 days a week (Monday to Friday) 10am-5pm and no experience is needed to begin!

Originally, the course was £2995, but with our January deals we’re offering this for just £2000!

Click here for more details!

2-Week Beginner Barbering Course

Our 2-Week course is here to help give you a refresher on your skills, or even shorten your barbering training experience! Our student groups are small to make sure you get the best possible training on your course.

This course includes things like social media training, client consulations and male grooming!

Click here to read more about our 2-Week Barbering course!

2-Day Advanced Luxury Grooming Course

Designed to expand your talents in male grooming and waxing, or purely as a refresher for already established barbers, our 2-Day Advanced Luxury Grooming Course is here!

Through learning the art of wet shaving, beard line ups, waxing and threading, you’ll leave the 2 day course with the ability to make your clients feel better (and fresher) than ever!

Originally, this 2 day course was available for £198, but with our January deals we’re offering this for just £150!

Click here to read more about our Advanced Luxury Grooming course!


How Do I Find Out More?

Our Barbering Academy is now open for the next intake of students, and we want to hear from you! With multiple finance options available, flexible training and the ability to walk straight into employment – what more could you want?

Email to get booked in or enquire further!

Or call us on 01642 913632



Skins and Needles Director, Matthew Salvin, creates a new bespoke loyalty bonus scheme for longstanding members of the team and loyal contractors based on company profits and pledges to forge new partnerships in the New Year as a bid to reward his team even further.

Matthew, the Director of The Badger’s Elbow, Beckfields Studio Barbers and Hairdressers, Skins and Needles Middlesbrough and Durham, and House of Gentlemen, has rewarded loyal members of the team with shares and partnerships that have been in the business for a minimum of 5-years.

Matthew, an established businessman who has run multiple companies for over a 25-year period, announced this to his team as they prepared to break up for Christmas and New Year season. He told them that due to their loyalty and hard work over the years it was time they were consistently rewarded on an annual basis on top of their current wages for their efforts.

Skins and Needles Durham and House of Gentlemen have recently welcomed Paige Harker as a part-owner alongside Matthew as a reward for the continuous efforts and dedication that she has poured into the business since its opening in 2020, and before this as support in the Middlesbrough studio.

The team has seen multiple successes this year, with an impressive number of new staff members onboarded across the umbrella of companies, numerous awards won at the North East Beauty Industry Awards, our resident artist Jason Quinn winning first place in Blackwork at Marmaris Tattoo Convention, and personal development of all staff members through new technologies implemented into the business to support with the mental and physical wellbeing.

Multiple barbers and tattoo artists across the board have also been awarded with partnerships and directorships as a thank-you for their continued efforts.

“I want these businesses to grow beyond our wildest dreams and I cannot do this alone. We have plans to expand into other cities next year, and I need good people like you to help us achieve greatness. New partnerships will be built, and many other cities will be conquered. Thank you for standing by me, and Merry Christmas.”

Matthew also recently announced his partnership with BEATNIX, a Teesside-born brand dedicated to getting the story behind the Teesside industry into the global mainstream. Working alongside Middlesbrough Football Club and Middlesbrough Foodbank, Matthew saw an opportunity to help BEATNIX expand their business and their ability to create and promote their products, as well as share the Teesside story that we all know and love.

The brand continues to support local and wants to see the economy in Teesside grow and develop. Through partnerships, Skins and Needles can support wherever possible to help small, independent freelance businesses have a successful chance of a longstanding trading life.



What Happens During A Tattoo Consultation?

At Skins and Needles, we offer FREE consultations for all of our customers. By offering consultations, our customers can meet their artist beforehand, go over any design preferences and build a connection with us before their appointment.  


What Happens in a Tattoo Consultation?

Consultations are an opportunity for our customers to meet their artist before the appointment, get into more detail with the design and the preferences they have for the tattoo, as well as speak about any questions or queries they might have.  


Will I See My Design during my Consultation?

All of the artists within the studio draw their design 48 hours prior to the appointment time, rather than the consultation. Unless previously agreed with your artist, our artists use consultations as an opportunity to get more details about your vision.  


How Long Do Tattoo Consultations Last?

Consultations within Skins and Needles typically last between 15 and 30 minutes.  


Do I Have to Come in for a Consultation?

Consultations are totally optional! We offer these to let our customers get a better understanding of the process, build a relationship with their artist and feel more comfortable throughout the entire experience – we know it can be daunting! Our customers are given allocated time during their actual tattooing appointment to go over their design and make any changes/adaptations!  



Bring reference photos to your consultation! Our artists love to see your ideas in person, and by giving us references they’re able to create bespoke designs tailored specifically to you! 

Are you or someone you know thinking of coming in for a FREE consultation? CLICK HERE to get in touch with the team! 


How Do I Look After a New Tattoo?

You’ve just got a new tattoo at Skins and Needles… now what?  

We get it, it’s pretty daunting to heal a new tattoo, especially if you’re healing your first tattoo.  

Our ultimate aftercare guide is here to make sure you have all of the knowledge you need to look after your new artwork, keep on reading to find out more!  


How Do I Wash/Clean A New Tattoo?

After your appointment, your artist will wrap your tattoo in cling film, this should be left on 2-3 hours at a maximum. You might notice blood/ink coming from the tattoo, this is totally normal and nothing to worry about!  


You will need the following to clean your tattoo:

  • Kitchen roll
  • Fragrance-free mild antibacterial soap
  • Palmers Fragrance Free Cocoa Butter or Butterluxe


Here’s a step-by-step guide to washing a new tattoo:

  • Wash your hands with fragrance-free mild antibacterial soap and hot water
  • Remove the dressing/cling film carefully and dispose of it into a bin (dressing must always be fresh and never reused) and wash your hands again
  • Wash the tattoo thoroughly with the fragrance-free mild antibacterial soap and lukewarm water, only wash your tattoo with your hands and never with sponges or other cleaning materials as these can hold bacteria
  • Pat dry using a clean kitchen roll


What Products Should I Put on a New Tattoo?

After you’ve cleaned your new tattoo, we’d recommend applying a thin layer of your selected aftercare (we only recommend Butterluxe or Palmers Fragrance Free Cocoa Butter). If you can no longer see the tattoo clearly, then too much product has been applied and this needs to be wiped off using clean kitchen roll only.

You should repeat this entire process 2-3 times a day for 2-3 weeks throughout the healing process.  


The Do’s and Do Not’s of a New Tattoo

Having a new tattoo can be pretty daunting, so we’ve made a simple list of everything you need to know!  


  • Protect your tattoo with a cover if you’re working in a dirty/greasy/dusty environment, but preferably this does need to be left to breathe so taking a few days off work would be best!
  • Wear loose clothing on the necessary area whilst healing, we recommend cotton clothing during this time as it is breathable
  • Allow your tattoo to be fully healed (typically 2-3 weeks) before getting tattooed again in that area
  • Keep your tattoo out of the sun until it is healed (no sunbathing or sunbeds)
  • Apply suncream to healed tattoos to prevent them from fading


Do Not

  • Pick or scratch your tattoo whilst it’s healing
  • Allow anyone to touch your tattoo
  • Touch your tattoo with dirty hands
  • Go in swimming pools, in the sea or apply products such as fake tan
  • Use sunbeds for up to 2 months after getting tattooed to prevent fading

All of our tattoo procedures are done with sterile and disposable equipment where possible. All needles and/or cartridges do not get removed from packaging until we begin the tattoo so you can witness that these needles are fresh and new. We are licensed with our local council as a collective, but also each artist has been registered on a one-on-one basis with environmental health to ensure all procedures are done safely and correctly (this includes our residents, as well as international guest artists).  

Freelance artists may provide other advice regarding your tattoo, your tattoo may also require specialist aftercare, please see them personally regarding an enquiries.  

Thinking of your next tattoo or even thinking about coming in for a FREE consultation? CLICK HERE to get in touch with us!


How Do I Get a Tattoo Apprenticeship? 

Being in the creative industry, Skins and Needles (both Middlesbrough and Durham) are always looking for new, upcoming talent to join us!  

Heading into the tattooing and body modification industry can be intimidating at times, especially for someone looking to secure an apprenticeship or placement within an established studio.


Creating A Tattoo Portfolio

Creating a portfolio, especially for an interview, can be pretty intimidating – we know this ourselves. Some of our best artists started with us as apprentices, and we remember their interviews!


What You Should Include in your Tattoo Apprentice Portfolio

Everyone needs to start somewhere! Here are our top tips for your apprentice portfolio:  

  • Be critical of yourself, choosing your best work is key but be confident in what you create 
  • Be consistent with your work  
  • Have a clean layout in your sketchbook, don’t squash your designs onto one page, spread them out and show the detail in your work!  
  • Explore different mediums (pencil, oil, watercolour paints and more can be added to your portfolio!)  
  • Don’t be scared to show your development, you can only get better!

TOP TIP: It’s easy to rely on digital drawings for a portfolio, but we don’t want to see the works of Procreate, we want to see what YOU can create!

What Does a Studio look for in Tattoo Apprentices? 

During the process of going through applications and interviews within Skins and Needles, we look for several things – all of which contribute to the success of your application.

What A Studio Would Look For in an Apprentice

Here are just some of the things we look for in an apprentice:  

  • Be consistent online (we often look for engaging and active social media profiles dedicated to sharing your work (make an art account!))
  • Interact with other artists online, show inspiration from their work and add your own twist to what you do, building an online community is a great way to get bookings
  • Choose a niche (whether this is dotwork, realism or trad), we don’t expect you to do it all, we expect you to do ONE!) and develop your style
  • Show your interest in the industry
  • Show development within your art
  • Don’t be afraid of mistakes, they’re there to help you develop and make changes to your work!

What Should I Expect in a Tattoo Apprentice Interview?

Potential apprentices will typically have an interview with our Studio Manager(s), who will ultimately make the decision of yes or not right now. Expect to explain and show your work and abilities, artistic background, your passion for the industry and answer a couple of questions during the interview – we want to make sure we know as much about you as possible to see if you’d be a great addition to both the team and our studio portfolio.  

Remember, a no isn’t a permanent no, think of it as ‘not right now’, we want to see development! If you get turned away the first time, don’t give up!  

Thinking of applying for a tattoo apprenticeship with us? CLICK HERE for more details!



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