The best tattoo inks maintain its color consistency on the skin, flows so well from the pen to the skin, and contains little to no harmful chemicals. Does that sound like it’s too much to ask of an over-the-counter product used for cosmetic purposes? Perhaps it is but keep in mind that tattoo inks will become a permanent part of your clients’ skin and, thus, of their body!
As a tattoo artist, you will want only the best inks that your money can buy and your clients will want. With hundreds of choices in the market, it can be overwhelming to make the right choice. We make it easier for you here!
10 Best Tattoo Inks
1. Millennium Moms Nuclear UV Blacklight Tattoo Ink
If you’re looking for the best uv tattoo ink, then you should consider Millennium Mom’s ink 9-color tattoo ink set. Ultraviolet (UV) tattoo inks are made with dyes that become visible under ultraviolet light or black light. But it doesn’t mean that the tattoo itself will not be visible – it’s subtle in appearance, oftentimes showing up as a scar, but it’s definitely there.
2. Pastel Intenze Tattoo Ink
There are many reasons why these 10 bottles of Intenze Tattoo Pastel are the best color tattoo ink in our books. The Intenze Tattoo Ink brand is among the well-known ones in the tattoo industry, a brand established by Mario Barth in 1978. The company continues to produce over 250 distinctive colors tattoo ink through the years and it’s among the industry’s recognized leaders.
3. World Famous Tattoo Ink
The one of the best skin tone tattoo ink usually comes from a well-known brand because its manufacturer has been around for years. As such, it knows what it’s doing and what its customers want. We have to say these things about World Famous tattoo ink, a well-known brand among tattoo professionals with discriminating tastes.
4. Millennium Mom’s Black Pearl Outlining Tattoo Ink- Best Tattoo Ink Brands
The Millennium Moms is arguably the best white tattoo ink to go over black because it actually delivers on excellent quality! Indeed, it’s a buzzword in the tattoo industry, a go-to name for artists looking for the best tattoo ink brand. This isn’t surprising as Millennium Moms only use uncut homogenized pigments in their tattoo inks, and there are more than 70 colors to choose from.
5. Millennium Mom’s Tattoo Ink- Best Quality Ink for Tattoo
Yet another one of the best ink to tattoo with color set is this Millennium Mom’s 14-bottle tattoo ink color set. Each color is housed in a ½-ounce bottle, just the right size for a large tattoo with multiple colors. Every Mom’s ink is made with the highest possible pigment content and the company stands by the excellent high quality of its products.
6. Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink- Best Black Tattoo Ink
There’s no doubt about it! Kuro Sumi tattoo ink offers one of the best black tattoo inks, and this tattoo ink set comes highly recommended. Kuro Sumi tattoo inks are known for their purely organic ingredients and vegan-friendly manufacturing processes.
7. Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink Set- Best White Tattoo Ink
The Kuro Sumi black and graywash color set above may be one of the best red tattoo ink but these aren’t the only tattoo inks from the well-regarded brand. This Kuro Sumi ink set comes in a staggering 16 colors! Every color is as bold, bright and vivid as can be, a set of colors that will satisfy the extreme demands of tattoo professionals.
8. Intenze Tattoo Ink- Best Tattoo Ink Brand Colors for Pale Skin
Have you been looking at the best tattoo ink brands in black but experiencing issues with the tattoo ink’ consistency? Perhaps you weren’t using black tattoo ink that stayed true to their color! Perhaps it’s time to shift to the Intenze Tattoo ink Black.
9. Tattoo Ink Radiant Colors- Best Type of Tattoo Ink
Yet another manufacturer of the best tattoo ink brands is radiant Colors USA, an American company specializing in the art of tattoos. It prides itself on working with the best tattoo artists from all over the world in the production of its tattoo inks. This 7-color primary ink set is one of their more popular sets.
10. Dynamic Black Ink- Best Lining Black Tattoo Ink
Dynamic Color Co. has been in the business since 1990. Most tattoo artists say that the Dynamic Color tattoo ink is so strong and intense that it may be necessary to tone them down. White tattoo ink, for example, can decrease the brightness of primary colors while yellow ink can be mixed with browns for the same purpose. All of Dynamic Color’s tattoo ink is also dispersed, thus, these go into the skin smoother and quicker than mixed tattoo ink.
Buyers’ Guide for the Finest Quality Tattoo Ink: Things You Didn’t Know But Should Know Now
1. Pre-Dispersed Tattoo Inks versus Mixing Your Own
We suggest buying dispersed or pre-mixed tattoo ink because these have consistent high quality, particularly in terms of color saturation. There’s no need to experiment with the ratio between the pigments and carrier. Keep in mind that while mixing pigments and carriers is easy enough, it can result in less than desirable tattoo ink consistency and colors.
There’s also the matter of safety when mixing your own tattoo ink. The process involves choosing the right carrier, such as ethyl alcohol, purified water, and propylene glycol, and mixing it with the pigments. These substances may carry pathogens or have toxic ingredients, such as with denatured alcohol, ethylene glycol and aldehydes.
The risks of bacterial infections and other complications from using DIY tattoo ink is higher! This is the reason why most tattoo professionals use dispersed tattoo ink. Pre-dispersed tattoo ink is usually sterilized to kill possible pathogens and, thus, make them safer for inking on the skin.
2. The Main Tattoo Ink Ingredients
There are two main ingredients in pre-dispersed tattoo ink. First, the carrier can either be a single substance or a mixture of two or more substances. It has several purposes including keeping the pigment distributed evenly, preventing pigment clumping and preventing pathogen growth, as well as making the tattoo ink flow smoothly into the skin.
The most common and safest carriers are ethyl alcohol, purified water, witch hazel, glycerin and propylene alcohol. Surprisingly, some tattoo artists will use Listerine – yes, the mouthwash – as a carrier!
Second, the pigments are the substances that give the tattoo ink their colors, which can range from black and white to every hue imaginable. Ash, soot from burned wood and powdered carbon were the common pigments used in ancient tattoos. But modern tattoo ink use a combination of original mineral pigments and modern pigments.
Pigments can also be plastic-based or vegetable-based depending on the desired color. Research has shown that tattoo inks can contain as many as 200 different additives including colorants and preservatives. As such, individuals with allergies to these ingredients should consult with their doctors first before getting tattoos.
In general, nonetheless, modern tattoo inks bought from reliable manufacturers are considered safe for use on human skin.
3. Getting To Know the Tattoo Ink Deeper By the Skin
Making permanent tattoos requires puncturing the skin with hundreds, if not thousands, of pricks with needles. Every prick of the needle deposits a certain amount of tattoo ink into the dermis, the layer of skin below the epidermis. The ink then stays in the skin permanently unless otherwise removed, usually through a series of laser treatments.
But research has also shown that some of the tattoo ink particles can move from the skin to the lymph nodes via the lymphatic system and bloodstream. This shouldn’t be a cause for concern, since most of the ink particles stay in the skin and many are actually engulfed by the immune cells.
4. Benefits of Using a Vegan-Friendly Tattoo Ink
Non-vegan tattoo ink usually contains several ingredients sourced from animals. These include bone char used for enhancing black, gelatin sourced from hooves, and glycerine derived from animal fat, even shellac harvested from beetles. There’s also the fact that the stencil paper contains lanolin, a fatty materials from wool.
But vegan-friendly tattoo ink doesn’t have any of these animal-derived ingredients! If you’re a vegan, you will find that vegan friendly tattoo ink will not be in conflict with your beliefs regarding animal cruelty.
5. Things to Consider While Choosing Tattoo Ink
With dozens of brands of inks in the market, it can be a challenge to find safe inks! But with time and patience, you should be able to make the right choice.
First, choose from reputable brands with a great reputation in the tattoo industry. You can ask established tattoo artists about their preferred brands and make a shortlist from their answers. The most established brands are Kuro Sumi, Radiant Colors and Millennium Mom’s ink, to name a few.
Second, read the ingredients label. Think about it: Tattoo inks will become part of your body in the same way that food becomes part of your body, too. In both cases, you should be careful about choosing which ingredients will be ingested by your stomach and embedded in your skin!
You don’t want heavy metals, such as mercury, arsenic and lead, in your tattoo inks because these have toxic effects on your body. You want instead safe yet effective ingredients in tattoo inks, perhaps vegan-friendly inks, too. You can even ask the manufacturer about the specific ingredients in their inks and most of the reliable ones usually provide the information.
Third, decide whether you want pre-dispersed tattoo inks or powder-based inks. The main difference between these two types are in their consistency.
On one hand, pigment-based or powder-based inks require a liquid carrier to make a fluid matrix. These top tattoo inks are preferred by experienced tattoo artists who want custom colors and consistency. Emphasis must be made that beginner tattoo artists are well-advised to gain training first in mixing pigment and carrier before tattooing the mixture.
On the other hand, pre-dispersed inks are more common and popular because these are easy to use. There’s no mixing necessary and, as such, these can used straight from the bottle. These also have consistent high quality in terms of their colors and consistency, particularly in tattoo ink thickness and flow.
You should also consider making an investment in an tattoo ink set or a couple of sets from the same brand. This way, you have the assurance that the inks are of the same consistency and color saturation. These inks can then be combined in the same tattoo for an high quality.
6. Characteristics of Trustworthy Tattoo Ink Brands
Of course, the most trustworthy tattoo ink brands have been around for years and, thus, their companies have enjoyed the opportunity to establish their reputation. For an ink brand to be considered trustworthy, it should be widely used and recommended by tattoo artists for their excellent overall high quality.
Aside from the reliable track record, trustworthy tattoo ink brands typically have these characteristics.
- These are in compliance with the health and safety regulations, as applicable, issued by the government’s regulatory agencies. (Note: Tattoo inks made and sold in the United States, particularly in the State of California, and in the European Union are subject to more stringent standards.)
- These use organic and safe ingredients that are safer for the skin in particular and the body in general. These shouldn’t have potentially toxic ingredients like heavy metals.
- Their colors and color palettes are comprehensive, from blacks and whites to all colors of the rainbow in numerous shades and hues. The colors should also be vivid and stay true to the intended hue, whether pastel or bold. These top tattoo ink colors should also work well together.
Be sure to check that, indeed, the tattoo ink manufacturer has a satisfactory customer services system! You should be able to contact them in case you have issues with the inks, perhaps get replacements or refunds.
7. The Tattoo Ink Brands to Avoid
We cannot say with certainty the tattoo tattoo ink brands to avoid in terms of actually naming names. But we recommend being aware of the product recalls issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These product recalls area good indicator of the tattoo ink brands that you may want to avoid buying – at least, until the companies have improved their manufacturing processes.
In May 2019, for example, the FDA has recalled several brands of inks that were contaminated with microorganisms. These include Scalpaink AL basic black, PA and SC inks made by Scalp Aesthetics and Solid Ink-Diablo, a red ink made by Color Art Inc. These inks may cause serious infections with symptoms like lesions and rashes in the areas where these were applied, about two to three weeks after their application.
8. Should I Bandage My Tattoo Every Night?
First off, we have to say that wrapping a new tattoo isn’t just for show! It actually has numerous practical reasons including:
- It provides a protective barrier against pathogens like bacteria, which can increase the risk of infection otherwise.
- It gives an extra layer of protection for your new tattoo and its surrounding skin from discomfort, even pain, in case of accidental contact.
- It provides your new tattoo with a more controlled environment that allows your skin to heal better and faster.
Plus, most states require new tattoos to be wrapped in sterile bandage or cling wrap as a way of limiting infections.
With that being said, you are well-advised to wrap your new tattoo every night just before hitting the sack for the abovementioned reasons. You should also wrap it on your journey home after your tattoo session, when you’re wearing tight clothing over it, and when you’re planning on engaging in contact events. But you should also wear loose clothing over your new tattoo and avoiding contact sports where your newly-inked skin can be subjected to forceful pressure.
And then there are the instances when you shouldn’t wrap your new tattoo. These include after getting home for at least two hours to let it breathe, so to speak; while showering but don’t indulge in long baths just yet; when relaxing in loose clothes and engaging in non-contact everyday activities.
9. Are Cover-Up/Layering Tattoos More Painful?
In a tattoo cover-up, the tattoo ink deposited from the last tattoo become mixed with the ink being deposited during the new tattoo. These two ink layers are deposited in the same layer of the skin, the dermis, resulting in the mixing of the inks and their colors.
In most cases, the mix results in a new color but the dark inks usually become the dominant hue. For example, purple can be the result of blue from an old tattoo and red from the new tattoo being combined. Black is also a common color used in cover-ups because these can be mixed with nearly all colors from a previous tattoo.
We must also point out that cover-ups should only be done by an experienced tattoo artist. The consummate skill required to cover up an awful or undesirable tattoo can come only from years of extensive experience.
So, are cover-up tattoos more painful than standard tattoos? Yes, the layering of tattoos are said to be more painful, sometimes 10 times more painful. The main reason: The cover-up tattoo tends to be larger than the old tattoo so as to completely cover it.
The level of pain, of course, depends on the area being tattooed. In general, the closer the tattoo is to the bone, the more painful it will be.
10. Will The Tattoo Inks Cost Me Health Problems?
No, for as long as the tattoo inks used are from reliable manufacturers! You may, nonetheless, consult your doctor before getting your first tattoo in case you have allergic reactions to dyes or you have an underlying medical condition. The latter can increase the risk of bleeding, slow healing and infections, such as for people with diabetes.
11. Can White Ink Tattoos Pose Danger On My Skin?
The best white tattoo ink shouldn’t pose a health risk to your skin and your health! The trick here is to choose a white tattoo ink from a reliable brand and ask the best white ink tattoo artist to do your new body art.