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What Tattoo Artist Doctor Woo Can’t Live Without

Photo: Getty Images

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked celebrity tattoo artist Doctor Woo — whose second product launch for his skin-care line, Project Woo, drops later this week — about the markers, sparkling water, and incense he can’t live without.

A lot of paint markers don’t dry or get gummy or wipe off easily, so I’m always on the hunt for different ones to try. I saw these in an art store — they were locked inside a lockbox at the top corner of a shelf. I figured anything that’s locked in a lockbox is usually pretty good, so I bought some and tested them out. They’re amazing. I love the way they draw — the paint in them is so distinct and dries so quickly. They can write on every surface; I customized my Goyard passport holder with these because the markers are also permanent.

Of all the scents and candle companies out there, I like Byredo’s messaging the best. I like the branding, too, and, most importantly, I like the products. The fragrances are inventive, and they come up with unique ways to connect stories with scents. I know Byredo’s owner, Ben Gorham, and I just really vibe with him — I like his story and what he’s about, which makes me like the brand even more. When I’m at my studio, I’ll burn a Byredo candle right when I arrive because I like it to have a specific vibe. “Tree House” is one of my favorites. I find the scent calming.

I have a very low-sugar diet — I try not to consume any sugar at all. But I still like a little sweetness, so I switched over to stevia. I drink a lot of coffee, so that’s the main thing I use these drops with. I’ll put maybe four or five drops in a cup? They’re pretty concentrated, so a little goes a long way. Sometimes sweetener drops have weird aftertastes, but these don’t have that weird bitterness you can get.

Like everyone else, I used to be so focused on taking photos with the camera on my phone. The quality of phone photos these days is so incredible that we sometimes forget about what a real camera can do. But I travel a lot and love taking photos, so I thought a proper digital camera would be great for documenting my trips. I got the Leica Q for traveling, but then I loved the way my tattoos looked when I took photos of them with it, so I started using it for that, and now I use it for everything. I still go on adventures here and there in quarantine because in L.A. you can drive into the desert or up to the mountains or to the beach and still be away from everyone. So I have the camera with me at all times — I even take product shots for my skin-care line with it. Leica is an amazing heritage camera brand. I love the way that they use old bodies, so the cameras have a vintage feel and a connection to the past. And this model is just a beautiful camera. It’s digital, so I don’t have to fuss with film, and it has a fixed lens, so I don’t have to keep changing out different lenses. It’s just an all-around good point-and-shoot camera.

A while back, I got really sick with a cold. I was taking vitamin C and all the stuff, but my friend said, “Yo, you have got to take these drops.” I don’t know if it was a placebo effect or what, but I felt great afterward. They’re now something I take all the time to keep my body healthy and immunity going. I take them daily, or once every couple of days if I’m feeling really good. They’re my immunity shield. They taste really bad — so you know they work. I usually mix them with water because they’re really potent, but there have been times where I’ll drip some directly on my tongue and wash them down with something. When I’m not trying to waste any time, I just go straight to the source.

I have a bunch of different sunglasses from Eyevan, but the 7285s are my favorite. I like the shape — it’s a good everyday look for me. They’re crafted in Japan, so they’re high quality, and when I go there, I get them fitted and adjusted to my face. Everything about them is just very crisp and sturdy. I collect sunglasses. I have hundreds of pairs; I couldn’t even estimate how many. But I have about ten pairs from Eyevan, including the ones I’ve lost and replaced. They’re expensive, so I don’t have too many of them. I got my first pair when I was traveling in Paris. I lost the sunglasses I brought with me, so I stopped in my friend’s shop and was like, “Dude, I just need some sunglasses.” I actually had never heard of Eyevan at the time, but I put them on and was like, “Oh man.” I fell in love.

I use Kuumba incense. It’s less about a specific scent and more because the quality of the brand’s incense is so high. The guy who creates Kuumba incense is legendary — he’s supercool and has a crazy backstory. You can actually customize scents from Kuumba by request. I had one made for my studio, Hideaway. It was musk mixed with clean linen — really weird.

$46 for 12
Photo: retailer

Yes, this is another Japanese product. My friends turned me on to the brand because they thought I’d be into it. The water comes from a mountain in Japan, and each fruit is handpicked and squeezed to add the flavor — it’s super-premium. They put a lot of love into making these things. Obviously yuzu and ume are special to Japan; they’re certain flavors that I’m sure you just can’t mimic. I could easily drink three in a day. Sometimes I’ll drink one over ice with a few drops of stevia — it’s a wonderful, tasty Japanese treat.

I do all my Zoom calls on here, and if I have to watch any videos or anything, I’ll pull it out. Most importantly, though, I do a lot of design work on it. If I’m on a plane or working, I don’t always have time to draw designs on paper, scan them, and send them, so I’ll just do it on my iPad. There are so many programs that you can draw and do Photoshop types of things with now. It’s pretty amazing.

Immediately after getting a tattoo, the No. 1 skin issue people experience is irritation and inflammation — and if not taken care of, you can get an infection. Some people, like me, have less resilient skin than others and are therefore more susceptible to infection. I grew up with very sensitive skin, so that’s how I even became aware of these issues: through personal experience. A lot of times, that additional irritation is caused by the products someone uses — cleansing products are not really made for freshly tattooed skin because they have too many extra chemicals and unneeded ingredients. What makes my products special is actually their lack of ingredients and that I created them with a focus on the immediate healing and calming of the skin or a new tattoo. We got rid of most things: fragrance, parabens, phthalates. The kit includes a soap with a coconut-oil base that’s super-gentle but also hydrating and a moisturizer with a little bit of sesame-seed oil and chamomile, which calm the skin. For me, the fragrance-free bit is the most important because, in the past, I found anything with extra fragrance will irritate the skin and likely lead to an infection. I would recommend anyone who uses this wash their tattooed skin with the soap twice a day for a couple of days. Once it starts healing, it’ll get a little bit flaky, so then you can add in the moisturizer.

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What Tattoo Artist Doctor Woo Can’t Live Without