Tattoo Needle Guide by Yayo Familia


Welcome to Yayo Familia's Ultimate Tattoo Needle Guide. Whether you're an aspiring tattoo artist or simply curious about the tools of the trade, this guide will provide you with all the essential information about tattoo needles.

Understanding the different types and their uses is crucial for achieving the best tattoo results.

Why Choose Yayo Familia?

Yayo Familia is a British brand dedicated to ethical skincare and tattoo products. We support tattoo artists globally with our artisan, vegan, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly products. 

Our commitment to quality ensures you have the best tools and aftercare for your tattoos.

Tattoo Needle Basics

What Are Tattoo Needles?

Tattoo needles are the main tools used to insert ink into the skin. They come in various configurations and sizes, each designed for specific purposes in the tattooing process.

Needle Configurations

Tattoo needles are grouped based on their configurations:

  • Liners: Used for outlining and detailed work.
  • Shaders: Used for shading and colouring large areas.
  • Magnums: Ideal for shading and filling in larger areas.

Types of Tattoo Needles

Round Liner (RL)

Use: Creating fine lines and detailed work.
Configuration: Needles grouped in a circular formation.
Sizes: Available in various sizes, typically ranging from 1RL to 14RL.

Round Shader (RS)

Use: Shading and colouring small areas.
Configuration: Similar to round liners but with more needles for a thicker line.
Sizes: Commonly range from 3RS to 14RS.

Magnum Shader (M1)

Use: Shading and filling large areas.
Configuration: Needles arranged in two rows, stacked.
Sizes: Typically range from 5M1 to 49M1.

Curved Magnum (CM)

Use: Smooth shading and blending.
Configuration: Similar to magnums but with a curved edge.
Sizes: Available from 7CM to 23CM.

Flat Shader (FS)

Use: Geometric shapes and shading.
Configuration: Needles arranged in a straight line.
Sizes: Range from 5FS to 15FS.

Choosing the Right Needle

One of the main considerations when giving someone a tattoo is deciding what needle to use. To decide you should:

Consider the Design

  • Fine Lines: If you want to create more intricate, find lines use smaller round liners (1RL to 3RL).
  • Bold Lines: For big bold lines, use larger round liners (7RL to 14RL).
  • Shading: For shading or colour work choose magnums or curved magnums for smooth gradients.

Skin Type

Different skin types can also affect needle performance:

  • Thin Skin: Thin skin can be more delicate to tattoo. Use finer needles to avoid excessive trauma.
  • Thick Skin: For those with thicker skin, you might want to use larger needles to penetrate effectively.

Needle Quality And Maintenance

Choosing high quality needles and keeping them sterile is incredibly important when tattooing. 


High-quality needles are important for safe and effective tattooing. Look for needles made from medical-grade stainless steel to prevent infection and ensure durability. Yayo has a collection of high-quality needles made from hypoallergenic materials to minimise the risk of skin irritation.


Always use sterilised needles to prevent infections. Pre-sterilised, single-use needles are recommended for safety and convenience.

Proper Handling

Handle needles with care to avoid bending or damaging them. Always wear gloves when changing needles and follow proper disposal procedures for used needles.

Alternatively, use a cartridge needle such as Yayo’s Alpha Cartridge Needles to make switching between needles both sterile and easy.

Needle Groupings And Their Uses

The needle you opt for is likely to depend on the tattoo effect you are trying to achieve. 

For example:

Single Needle

Use: Ultra-fine lines and detailed work.
Best For: Portraits and intricate designs.

Three to Five Round Liners

Use: Standard outlining.
Best For: General line work.

Seven to Nine Round Liners

Use: Bold lines.
Best For: Traditional and neo-traditional styles.

Magnums and Curved Magnums

Use: Large shading areas and smooth gradients.
Best For: Black and grey work, colour realism.

Tattoo Needle Myths

Myth 1: More Needles Mean More Pain

Pain level is more related to the tattoo location and individual pain tolerance, rather than the number of needles.

Myth 2: All Needles Are the Same

Different needle configurations and sizes have distinct purposes and impact the final tattoo outcome. A good tattoo artist will know the difference.

Myth 3: Thick Lines Require More Pressure

Using the correct needle size and configuration is key; excessive pressure can damage the skin.

Additionally, choosing the right needle for the right skin type is important, in order to minimise any risk of damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of tattoo needles? Tattoo needles come in various types including round liners, round shaders, magnum shaders, curved magnums, and flat shaders, each serving different purposes in the tattooing process.

How do I choose the right needle for a tattoo? Consider the design, skin type, and area to be tattooed. Fine lines require smaller round liners, bold lines need larger round liners, and shading is best done with magnums or curved magnums.

Are all tattoo needles single-use? Yes, for hygiene and safety reasons, tattoo needles should be single-use to prevent infections and cross-contamination.

What is the difference between a magnum and a curved magnum needle? Magnums have a straight edge and are used for large shading areas, while curved magnums have a curved edge for smoother shading and blending.

How often should tattoo needles be replaced? Tattoo needles should be replaced after each use to ensure sterility and prevent infections.

Can I reuse a sterilised needle? No, always use single-use needles to maintain hygiene and safety standards.

What is a round liner needle used for? Round liner needles are used for creating fine lines and detailed work in a tattoo.

How should tattoo needles be disposed of? Tattoo needles should be disposed of in a proper sharps container to prevent injury and contamination.

What happens if a needle bends during tattooing? If a needle bends, it should be replaced immediately to avoid inconsistent lines and potential skin damage.

Do more needles mean a more painful tattoo? The number of needles does not directly correlate to pain; pain levels depend more on the tattoo location and individual pain tolerance.

Understanding Tattoo Needles is Crucial

Understanding tattoo needles is crucial for both artists and clients. The right needle choice can significantly impact the quality of a tattoo. At Yayo Familia, we provide high-quality, ethical products to support your tattoo journey. Explore our range of vegan, cruelty-free products designed to enhance your tattoo experience and aftercare.

For more information and to explore our products, visit our website.

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