Tattoos are more popular now than ever. Gone are the days when tattoos were reserved for those who led an alternative lifestyle or who loved punk and heavy metal music.
Tattoos are very much in vogue and there are no signs of that changing. Much like facial hair and bodily grooming, tattoos are here to stay.
If you are wondering what the best tattoo inks, you may have expected there to be not many choices. Wrong!
Many things change in the tattoo industry in time – the machines used, and tattoo styles come and go, but there is always one constant – the ink. It makes sense, as tattoo ink will live on with someone even after you’ve said your goodbyes and they walk out the door in love with their cool tat.
Tattoo ink has also evolved a lot, it’s not just the way it was when everyone was getting those cheesy as hell sailor tattoos. The problem is that with so many options to choose from like there are now, it’s rather intimidating.
If you’re new to tattooing, you may steamroller into getting a tattoo ink that just isn’t that good.
We’re here to help you avoid that though, as we look at the best tattoo inks available.
Before we get stuck into the meat of our guide, the tattoo ink reviews, we thought it’d be a good idea to give you something of a buyer’s guide, to help direct your way through the unforgiving and challenging landscape of inks. This will help you to make wise decisions, especially from the few we’ve selected.
As a tattoo artist, you will want to do your very best for your customers or willing participants, whether they are paying or not. That’s why it’s vitally important that you don’t cut corners when selecting tattoo ink.
Benefits of Buying Tattoo Ink Sets
Rather than just buying one or two colors individually, the best way to build up your palette and supply of colors is through the purchase of a tattoo ink kit.
As noted above, tattoo ink kits are much more affordable in general. However, that’s not the only benefit that comes from buying ink this way.
It also means that you have a much more diverse variety of colors to play with. Remember, everyone you tattoo will have different tastes and preferences. While some will prefer dark and moody, dramatic tattoos, others will love brighter and more in your face designs.
You’ll also find that many people love that old-fashioned pastel-look, whereas others like the almost Day-Glo neon.
Consider the following, when you’re looking at the different tattoo inks available, to help you make wise buying decisions:
- Vegan-Friendly or not? – Given that veganism is becoming more and more popular, you should give thought to the kind of people you’ll be giving tattoos. Even if it doesn’t bother your conscience that some black inks are made using bone char, it may bother the people you ink up. To meet the growing demand, there are plenty of vegan-friendly products out there, though.
- Ingredients – Following nicely from the above, it’s worth looking at the kind of ingredients that go into making an ink. As tattoo ink is something that’s going to go onto a person’s body and live under their skin for the rest of their life, it’s only fair to use ink that’s made from natural and organic ingredients. Avoid any brand that makes a point of not disclosing the ingredient list.
- Variety of Color – You will obviously want to have as many colors at your disposal, as possible, if you’re just starting out and trying to find your own individual style. You need to be careful though that the inks you get do not react in a negative way with one another. That’s why it’s a good idea to get a color kit from the same brand, then you know all the colors will work well together.
- Reputation of Brand – To the untrained eye and newb, all tattoo inks look very much the same. However, veteran tattooists will tell you that some stay brighter than others as the years roll by. While we’re not suggesting you fork out a fortune, it’s best to avoid cheaper brands.
If a tattoo fades too quickly, it will need to be touched-up. That can be a pain for the tattoo artist and the customer. Plus, you may lose some of your customer’s trust, if they find that the killer that you gave them has started to fade and is not nearly as dramatic or eye-catching as they’d like.