13 Best Tattoo Inks Reviews & Guide in 2021

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The best tattoo inks maintain their color consistency on the skin, flows so well from the pen to the skin and contain little to no harmful chemicals.

Do you feel that the demand being placed on tattoo ink is too much? Maybe. Keep in mind, though, that it will become a permanent part of your clients’ skin and their body.

As a tattoo artist, you’ll want only the best for yourself and so will your customers. With hundreds to choose from in this market there are lots of options but we’ve simplified things by offering all available reviews here

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Millennium Mom's Nuclear UV Blacklight Tattoo Ink - 9 Color Set - 1 ozMillennium Moms Nuclear UV Ink SetView on Amazon.com
Pastel 1/2oz Color Set - Intenze Tattoo Ink - 10 BottlesPastel Intenze Colored Tattoo InkView on Amazon.com
World Famous Tattoo InkView on Amazon.com
Millennium Mom’s Black Pearl Outlining Tattoo Ink- Best Tattoo Ink BrandsMillennium Mom’s Black InkView on Amazon.com

13 Best Tattoo Ink: Choice of Tattoo Artist Around the World

1. Millennium Moms Nuclear UV Ink Set- Best Ink Master Tattoo

Millennium Mom's Nuclear UV Blacklight Tattoo Ink - 9 Color Set - 1 oz

Millennium Moms glow in the dark ink is a great option for tattoos! Not only are they vibrant during both application and under ultraviolet light, but you can also use them to get Old School or New School style tattoos. Plus it has balanced composition with affordable price point.

We have to say that Millennium Mom’s tattoo ink works well on any skin type, it is gentle on the skin, and it is long-lasting. Its color palette features 40 vegan-friendly shades, so it is a great option for both amateur and professional artists.

Besides being easy-to-use, non toxic and pigmented, it is also sterilized with a third party laboratory, so there are fewer chances of making mistakes when tattooing. You can refill it after many uses and it will always give you the same results.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT
  • Wide range of colors
  • Smooth and consistent flow
  • Colors remain rich after application
  • Comes from a reliable brand
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
  • Large box isn’t easy to carry around

2. Pastel Intenze- Best Colored Tattoo Ink

Pastel 1oz Color Set - Intenze Tattoo Ink - 10 Bottles

Pastel Intenze Tattoo Ink continues to be the industry’s recognized leader, with over 250 distinctive colors. The ink is easily available in black and was largely popular because of its availability at a time when tattooing first became relevant for society.

As well as being vegan and cruelty-free, Intenze inks comply with both American and European safety standards. Moreover, all their inks are supplied in pre-sterilized bottles to ensure their arrival in perfect condition.

You can’t go wrong with Intenze Tattoo Ink with their wide selection of colors available for selection. It offers about 250 color variations for your style.

All of Intenze’s inks are suitable for lining, color packing and shading on all skin tones. To help new artists get started they have usage tips listed by each product page with the right needle sizes to use as well as legendary tattooists like Bob Tyrrell, Mike Demasi, Freddie Negrete Mark Mahoney Boris (as well as many others) using their products.

You may have seen the craze for watercolor tattoos in social media or on celebrities. But why should you not get one? Read our comprehensive article to find out.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT
  • Attractive pastel colors suitable for most designs
  • Beautiful color saturation
  • Comes with money back return policy
  • Great overall quality
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
  • Slightly pricey

3. World Famous Tattoo Ink- Best Color Tattoo Ink

World Famous Tattoo Ink is the best because of its long history in creating black liner tattoo ink. It has been around for over 50 years, so it definitely knows what customers want and how to give them great value for their money.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT
  • Bold and bright color consistency
  • Great flow rate
  • Large bottles
  • Endorsed by well-known artists
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
  • Opening the cap can be a minor issue

4. Millennium Mom’s Black- Best Black Ink for Tattoo

Millennium Moms Black Pearl Outlining Tattoo Ink 12oz/Tattoo Outlining Ink

The Millennium Moms is arguably the best black tattoo ink for lining to go over black because the manufacturing process went through proper care and 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 inks. This isn’t surprising as Millennium Moms only use uncut homogenized pigments in their ink, and there are more than 70 colors to choose from.

The best quality tattoo ink and liked by the great artist all around the globe is usually more diluted than colored tattoo ink for a good reason.

Millennium moms should be thinner so that the fine lines outlining the figures can be more defined. But just because it is thinner doesn’t mean that it’s less bold, and the Black Pearl outlining ink is among the blackest we’ve come across.

Don’t worry about the ink seeming so thin, nearly watery, because it’s normal. Again, it may look thinner than usual but with its extra-high pigment concentration, it’s extremely black.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT
  • Flows quickly and easily
  • Allows for mixing colors
  • True black ink color
  • No going back over lines
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
  • May be too watery for some professionals

5. Millennium Mom’s Tattoo Ink- Best UV Tattoo Ink

Millennium Mom's Tattoo Ink 14 Color Portrait Set 1 oz

Yet another one of the best grey wash tattoo ink 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.

If you’re looking for a complete tattoo color ink set, you will agree that this color tattoo ink set is among the best there is.

Nearly all, if not all, of the colors are represented here – Black Onyx, Power White, Fleshy Flesh, Marvelous Magenta, Violent Violet, Forest Gump Green, Purple Nurple, 14kt Gold, Pretty Boy Blue, Hello Yellow, and Brown Sugar, among others.

The bottom line: You can use all of the 14 bold and bright colors in a wide range of designs, from whimsical to biomechanical.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT
  • Flow so well into the skin
  • Retains its color over time
  • Wide range of colors
  • No need for mixing
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
  • Some customers say it is watery
  • Pricey

6. Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink Manufacturers- Best Black Ink Tattoo

Kuro Sumi Softer Graywash Shading Tattoo Ink (12 Oz)

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 is known for their purely organic ingredients and vegan-friendly manufacturing processes.

Black lining and shading ink is just as important as the color ink and shading ink for many reasons. Thus, kuro sumi choice should also be carefully made. These top, after all, make the outline of the figures, whether numbers and letters or symbols and faces, stand out in relief.

From Kuro Sumi comes the high quality black tattoo ink, a vegan-friendly tattoo ink made from organic pigments. Keep in mind that these three items are water-based and, as such, these are easy to embed into the skin. There’s a certain smoothness to its flow that makes shading and outlining faster than ever.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT
  • Made of non-toxic ingredients
  • Blackest black tattoo ink and true graywash ink
  • Reasonable price with free shipping
  • Impressive color consistency
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
  • Minor issue with the bottle cap

7. Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink Set- Best White Ink Tattoo

Authentic Kuro Sumi 1/2oz Primary 16 Color Ink Set #1 Blue Red Green Purple Yellow Orange Black White and More Tattoo Inks Kurosumi

The kuro sumi ink and graywash color set above may be one of the best 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.

Kuro Sumi color tattoo ink is among the brightest and boldest shades we’ve seen so far, and their color consistency is also among the best. Their colors are nearly the same from the bottle to the needle – there’s a teeny-tiny amount of difference, a minor issue also present in other brands.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT
  • Impressive range of colors
  • Vegan-friendly formulation
  • Safe to use
  • Smooth flow and great color saturation
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
  • Ink cap should be closed tightly to avoid leaks and spills

8. Intenze Tattoo Ink Zuper Black 12 oz- Best Tattoo Ink Brand Colors for Pale Skin

Intenze Professional Tattoo Ink Zuper Black 12 oz

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 Zuper Black.

According to the Intenze Tattoo Ink company, Mario Barth developed Zuper Black as the blackest of black tattoo ink in its extensive line. Such is the extreme blackness of the ink that it’s preferred by world-renowned artists like Randy Engelhard, Moni Marino and Steve Butcher.

Pastel Intenze Zuper Black 12 oz color saturation essentially remains the same on the bottle as well as on a fresh tattoo and a healed one.

The Intenze Zuper Black has a cold color tone that makes it such a great accent to warm colors.

Intenze has a very good light fastness, a good feature in a solid color, as well as able to cover other colors extremely well.

Intenze can be used with a wide range of needle sizes, too, from 1 to 14, as well as suitable for all skin tones.

The bottom line: It’s the kind of Intenze black tattoo ink that heals so darkly on the skin that you can’t help but admire your tattoo! You may want to consider having a Intenze black tattoo on a more obvious part of your body for this reason.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT
  • Deep, dark black perfect for lining and shading
  • Consistent flow and color saturation
  • Long shelf life
  • Reasonable price
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
  • Bottle cap has a minor opening and closing issue

9. Tattoo Ink Radiant Colors- Best Type of Tattoo Ink

Tattoo Ink Radiant Colors 7 Color 1/2oz Primary Set - Made in The USA

Yet another manufacturer of the best tattoo ink brands is radiant Colors USA, an American company specializing in the art of tattoo.

It prides itself on working with the best tattooists from all over the world in the production of its tattoo ink. This 7-color primary ink set is one of their more popular sets.

First off, Radiant Colors is well-regarded for its line of uncut homogenized tattoo ink that last long both in the bottle and on the skin. Every ink bottle and its contents have been sterilized to ensure that pathogens have been eliminated. The sterilization process is crucial in the safety of the tattoo ink, particularly as people of all skin types are getting inked.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT
  • Colors stay radiant on the skin even after complete healing
  • Easy to apply
  • Suitable for all skin types and tones
  • Flows easily, sticks well
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
  • Bottle cap can cause leaks when not closed securely

10. Dynamic All Around Black- Best Lining Black Tattoo Ink

Dynamic Black Tattoo Ink - Premium Tattoo Ink Great for Lining, Shading, Tribal, and Blending - Made in USA - 8 Ounce Bottle

Dynamic Color Co. has been in the business since 1990. Most 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.

This dynamic black is among the best, if not the best tattoo ink brands because it’s made with premium pigments. It has a deep, dark black high quality to it that make it stand out on all skin types and tones. It can be used on fair skin as well as on olive, black and brown skin with ease, as well as be prominent on it.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT
  • Suitable for use as is or as part of graywash
  • Flows freely and smoothly
  • Allows for faster healing
  • Tattoo Ink lasts for a long time (Large bottle)
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
  • Requires dilution

11. Starbrite Tattoo Ink Tribal Black

1 oz STERILE Starbrite TRIBAL BLACK Tattoo Ink NEW dark

The starbrite colors starbrite are vibrant and vivid because starbrite colors have among the highest pure pigment content.

The starbrite colors tribal black color consistency is impressive, from the bottle to the skin and then over several years after these have been embedded. There’s no middle ground in the colors, no washed out hues and no clumping on the tattoo ink cups.

The use of a homogenized carrier and pigment mix results with an excellent flow rate. Then again, we have to point out that all Starbrite’s tribal black inks are formulated in this manner, and it’s one of the reasons for its enduring popularity.

12. Skin Candy Tattoo Ink

Skin Candy Tattoo Ink, All Purpose Black,8oz.

Skin Candy’s beauty lies in the element of surprise, a now-you-see, now-you-don’t kind of effect. Many people who want tattoo but want to be more discreet about it like blacklight tattoo, as well as people in the rave party scene who like them for their uniqueness.

These tattoos fluoresce, or glow in the dark, from purples, reds, and blues to whites depending on the tattoo ink applied on the skin.

Like regular colors tattoo ink, nonetheless, these fluorescent colors flow so well from the pen to the skin, as if you’re writing with a Cartier pen on stationery. Such excellent quality comes from its formulation as a single homogenized mixture of both the carrier and pigment. There’s no need to mix and match the colors to get your desired hue.

13. Eternal ink

Eternal Authentic Tattoo Ink 12 Color Sample Set- 1/2 oz

What we liked most about the tattoo ink from Eternal is that these retain their vibrant saturation over time. In some cases, the colors become even more vibrant when the tattoo has completely healed!

We think that it’s an important aspect of getting inked because a prematurely fading tattoo isn’t good work.

According to the company, the tattoo ink is manufactured using the best tattoo ink pigmentation technology.

These top items are in nature instead of being pigment, a difference that means there’s no need for mixing with other ink.

Their fairly thin consistency allows them to flow from the needle to the skin so smoothly, too.

14. Bloodline Tattoo Ink

Many artists say, however, that it’s less black than, say, stallion black but we think that it’s a great outlining and shading black tattoo ink.

Bloodline tattoo ink doesn’t quickly dry out in ink cups and it’s absorbed into the skin almost from the first shot. It also doesn’t seem to go over the lines, a must when making outlines for both black and colored tattoos.

Most importantly, bloodline tattoo ink stays black on the skin! We’ve come across many black tattoo ink that lose their blackness, so to speak, when it’s applied on the skin, a transition from black to black-gray.

The color doesn’t only remain consistent from the bottle to the skin but remains consistent several years after application.

This is the result of the use of pure uncut homogenized pigments in the tattoo ink, as well as the use of glycerin and water based. Not only does the color remain consistent but it also flows smoothly and quickly.

There’s certainly no jamming in the needles and no going back over and over the lines with this ink!

This is also a great tattoo ink for mixing washes and for creating cool grays. Its watery consistency makes it easy to do these things, even without prior experience.

Buyers’ Guide for the Finest Quality Tattoo Ink: Things You Didn’t Know But Should Know Now

1. Pre-Dispersed Tattoo Ink 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 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 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.

3. Getting To Know the Tattoo Ink Deeper By the Skin

Making permanent tattoo 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 ink on 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 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: ink 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 ink because these have toxic effects on your body. You want instead safe yet effective ingredients in 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 inks or powder-based inks. The main difference between these two types are in their consistency.

On one hand, pigment-based or powder-based ink requires a liquid carrier to make a fluid matrix. These top inks are preferred by experienced tattoo artists who want custom colors and consistency. Emphasis must be made that beginner 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 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:  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.

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 tattoo 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 body 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.

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.

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Picking The Best Tattoo Ink Sets for You

The best tattoo ink brand if you’re an amateur or professional tattoo artist. You want only the best black tattoo ink for your clients because your reputation partly depends on their overall performance and partly on your skills as an artist. Your clients will come back for more tattoos and cover-ups of their old tattoos with every excellent result.

And the best tattoo ink in our opinion is the 16-color Kuro Sumi set! The wide range of colors makes it suitable for use by both amateurs and professionals who specialize in colored tattoos. The colors are bold and bright with a vibrancy that stays true when applied.

The inks themselves don’t require mixing with carriers since these are pre-dispersed inks. These also flow so smoothly and evenly on the skin that the tattoo session can become shorter.  In other words, everything that you want in tattoo inks are in Kuro Sumi’s inks!