In every field, everybody has their own ‘secret recipe’ or ‘tricks to the trade’ which can help them outperform others and make their work leave a lasting impression. In the tattoo industry, tattoo inks are no difference.
We devoted a lot of time to come up with the highest-quality collection of tattoo inks that are mostly used today by pros and enthusiasts. We’ll also provide you with more in-depth information to make sure you can get the ideal type of tattoo ink for your skin which is also friendly to your budget.
Top Tattoo Ink Brands
1. Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink
Among the most popular and commonly used tattoo ink today is the Kuro Sumi ink with its top-secret formulation handed down within Japanese tattoo artist generations.
This ink is made out of 100% organic materials, making it a common preference for vegans and those with skins sensitive to chemicals.
The name “Kuro Sumi” is taken from the elite warriors Kuro Sumi Tangnuni, who wore markings on their bodies and could be immediately distinguished from others at the first glance.
Just like the markings from these warriors, tattoos created from this ink are also distinguishable because of its amazing bright colors and its ability to last a lifetime.
2. Starbrite Tattoo Ink
Among those popular traits by Starbrite Tattoo inks is the pure, pre-dispersed and uncut tattoo pigments delivered in vibrant colors which tattoo artists try so hard to achieve using other tattoo ink brands.
This brand of tattoo ink is a common preference by artists for making designs that require thin consistency and smooth flow. It is fast-healing and has a lasting shade and color which could last a lifetime.
If you’re looking for safe and sterile tattoo, this brand is a perfect option since it is made from the most advanced technology which ensures the product is non-hazardous and has the highest quality.
3. Moms Tattoo Ink
Moms Ink, manufactured by Millennium Colors Inc., provides convenience among newer generations of tattoo artists. It delivers a good level of consistency which comes a long way since early 90’s.
Back then, there were only a handful of tattoo inks that were proven safe and radiant with more than 64 shades. Moms Tattoo Ink was one of them.
Today, this brand of tattoo still continues proudly in the tattoo industry with its experience and ever evolving variety of ink products that ensures consistency, pigment life and overall-quality.
4. Eternal Tattoo Ink
Eternal is one of the ‘older’ brands in the tattoo ink industry. Eternal was first manufactured in the 80’s by Terry Welker, also named “Tramp”. Much like Kuro Sumi, this brand is also an excellent alternative for vegans and chemical-sensitive skins since it is non-toxic, water-based and glycerol-free.
What tattoo artists love about this brand is that it always comes with introduced colors despite its long existence. This brand of ink performs very well in keeping up with modern trends, fashion and design in the tattoo industry.
5. SkinCandy Tattoo Ink
Another popular brand of tattoo ink which was popularized in the U.S. in the early 1990s is the Skin Candy Ink. It is manufactured with an array of vibrant colors and pigments which American artists love.
All inks are carefully manufactured at their factory in Burbank California. Here, they make use of most of modern equipment and tattoo making-machineries.
Among those state-of-the-art machineries is the EU-certified pigment dispenser. It carefully weighs out pigments just before blending as well as color-matching for optimum brilliance that outmatches others.
6. Dragonhawk Tattoo Ink
Another high quality tattoo ink brand which you can rely on for long-lasting pigment and shade, like a dragon, is the Dragonhawk Tattoo Ink.
This brand of tattoo ink is also a common preference by professional tattoo artists since it provides a wide array of color choices and is quickly absorbed by the skin for lesser mess and faster application.
Choosing Tattoo Ink Colors for Your Skin Tone
One commonly overlooked factor in a good tattoo is the tattoo color. The most beautiful color for your tattoo has to be the one that matches your skin tone. Here, we will explore the different pigments that match your specific skin tone and optimize the look of each tattoo design.
1. Tattoo Ink Colors for Pale Skin
Compared to other skin tones, pale or fair skin tone is a much better canvass for tattoos because it can bring out the luster, vibrancy and define the features of a tattoo design because of its much lighter background.
Fair or pale skin usually matches any ink color aside from yellow. This color won’t be as visible compared to other color hues. However, the yellow color can still be used on pale skin as a detailing or filling of the tattoo design or pattern.
Among those color hues that perfectly matches this skin tone include blue, red, green, orange, purple and of course, the usual black.
A few of the commonly used tattoo inks by professionals for pale skins are:
These products are made by Millennium Moms. They define tattoos and can make them look more delicate and beautiful on this specific skin tone.
2. Tattoo Ink Colors for Brown Skin
Although brown skin provides a much darker canvass for the tattoo, it works perfectly in bringing out the ‘true’ luster and color of darker and stronger hues such as black, purple, red and blue.
Just like pale skin tone, yellow and orange color can be hard to distinguish on this specific skin tone for the reason that it is almost at the same color with the skin tone.
Although yellow and orange may not be a good choice, lighter shades such as white and highlights of green will still look good on a brown skin tone.
Among those popularly used inks to deal with brown or tan skin tones include:
3. Tattoo Ink Colors for Dark Skin
Dark skin is probably the most challenging skin tone to deal with when tattooing. It has a strong color which overshadows and even outshines other colors.
As much as possible, try to stay away from light and bright colors because they will not be vibrant on a dark skin tone. In addition, each border of the tattoo design should be made thick and bold to make it more distinguishable and prominent.
The prettiest color for this specific skin tone is red because it comes with a hue that is far stronger and brighter than the skin hue.
Among the top providers for tattoo inks for dark skins include the:
Both products are preferred by professionals when bringing out the lustrous white color in tattoo designs.
As a way to ensure that your choice of tattoo ink color perfectly matches your specific skin tone, consult with your artist before making the final decision.
Among the safest ink color that can be used over any skin tone is black. However, the amount depends on the tattoo design.
Last but not least, while most tattoo inks today are proven safe and non-toxic for any type of skin, it’ll never be an unnecessary move to check the labels for ingredients before buying, especially for those with sensitive skins.
Among those safe and chemical-free inks that you can consider if you want a black ink color for your tattoo design is the Zuper Black from Intenze.
Not all designs from the paper or on the computer screen will look good on a specific tone of skin. However, with the tips provided above, you will be able to perfectly match any tattoo design on any color of skin.
Best Ink for Each Tattoo Color
Just like any art, the tattoo industry is also an ever-evolving art industry that keeps up with modern advancements. From the traditional black and grey ink colors, tattoos as of this day now come in a wide variety of vibrant colors.
Best Black Tattoo Ink
The very first ink color ever used in the history of tattooing is black. While it is the most practical and convenient color for a tattoo ink since it is available almost everywhere, it is also the longest-lasting color because of its unique dark pigmentation which is very distinguishable on any skin tone.
Among those popular brands for black tattoo ink used by both professionals and enthusiasts is the All-Purpose black ink by Skin Candy. This can be used for outlining and shading tattoos.
The 1-ounce bottle volume can provide you with a substantial amount of shading and outlining sessions. It is the all-purpose kind of black tattoo ink which is also great for thin details. Likewise, it is also a fine choice for making borders for a more solid look.
For effectiveness when using this ink for outline, use magnum needle grouping and avoid using the ink right from the bottle as this would lessen the accuracy of application. This product is made from U.S., so you can rest assured that it has the highest quality and is safe to use.
Best Black and Grey Tattoo Ink
The combination of the traditional black along with grey also makes any tattoo design more enticing and presents more variety. With this combination of dark hues, it is easy to achieve and emphasize shadowing and contrast in a tattoo design.
One brand that is popular for providing very impressive black and grey tattoo ink is Intenze, with the Advance Black and Grey Tattoo Ink by Bob Tyrrell.
It comes with the highest formulation of black and grey pigmentation to help artists obtain a high level of clarity and beauty in each design. The package comes with a 5 bottles of black and gray and a single bottle of high white with all consisting of 1 oz per bottle.
What set this product apart from other brands is that it is personally formulated by Bob Tyrell, one of the most skillful black and grey tattoo artists worldwide. Unfortunately, this product can be hard to use for beginners since it comes with a complicated mix solution.
Coming in a set, artists can pretty much do more with them. This is also considerably much cheaper than purchasing inks per bottle.
Best White Tattoo Ink
A very rare color to see in a tattoo is the white color. It doesn’t match all types of skin tones and is not very distinguishable when mixed with other hues. However, when used fully, this color provides a vibrant and very eye-catching color that can impress anyone who sees it. White color can be an excellent choice for thinning and defining details in a design.
An excellent choice for the pretty white tattoo ink is the White Tattoo Ink by Starbrite where this ink is sterilized and is proven safe for sensitive skins and perfect for producing highly detailed tattoo designs such as 3D tattoos.
This ink is also a common favorite especially when handled by professionals because it brings a bright and vibrant look out of any design. Made from the U.S., it’s guaranteed to produce highest quality and is safe for public use.
White tattoo ink color usually fades out easily. However, this is not the case for this product because of its high quality and long-lasting formation. As far as white ink colors for tattoos are concerned, this product seems to be the most popular.
Other Colors Tattoo Ink
Of course, the outburst of advanced and sophisticated tattoo designs also calls for various other ink colors aside from the traditional dark and light shades. Having different selection of colors in a single tattoo provides diversity and it exemplifies tattoo as a unique form of art.
Among the other colors used to bring out life to every tattoo design include the colors red and green as well as other bright colors.
- When you’re looking for a strong and vibrant shade of green for your tattoo, you may want to check the Ectoplasmic Green Ink by Millennium Moms first. It is perfect for any detailing in a tattoo. The product is made in U.S.
- As for red variants, there’s no need to look elsewhere since Millennium Mom also has its VIPER RED for the attractive blaze of red in the industry. It’s approved and used by many professional artists because of its high concentration and optimizes colors and vibrancy.
- And if you simply prefer the set package, you can opt for the Master Set Ink from Kuro Sumi. This set comes with the best-selling color varieties that include Red, White, Blue, Yellow, Green, Orange and the traditional Black.
- Another set package that is worth the money is the ink color set by Millennium Moms that include the colors Ectoplasmic green, hello yellow, black onyx, blue balls, grey hound and power white.
Tattoo Inks For Specific Purposes
While there are tons of tattoo inks to choose from for simple to the most intricate tattoo designs, there are some certain tattoo inks that work so well, like they were created just for those specific purposes. These different varieties of tattoo inks are as follows:
Best UV Tattoo Ink
Another type of tattoo ink that is loved by many artists and enthusiast is the UV tattoo ink.
Using a UV tattoo ink, the tattoo would seem like the average tattoo under the normal light, but once flashed with a black light, the tattoo would come to life with its glowing color which allows observers to see through the skin.
Compared to regular tattoo ink, this is way cooler when used on the right tattoo designs. Among the wonderful UV tattoo ink that you can find today include the Blue Smoke Ultra Violet from Millennium Moms. This specific tattoo ink is popular among artists and enthusiasts because of its blue electric glow effect.
Such ink is highly popular and very much valued because it almost brings life to any tattoo and thus costs a bit more than ordinary ink. Although this product is made with a different composition, it is proven safe and can be used on any type of skin.
For greatest results, we recommend using this product for designs related to electricity as well as a substitute for white color. It holds well under the skin and not much doubling or hammering is required when using this product.
Best Henna Tattoo Kits
If you’re not sure whether to keep a tattoo or not, you can always try them first using henna tattoo. This is yet another popular type of tattoo ink that is water soluble and easy to remove or modify.
Unlike the conventional tattoo ink, henna inks provide texture and thickness to the tattoo which delivers a 3D effect out of the tattoo.
Among the popular providers of henna tattoo kit in the market today is Earth Henna and among their best-seller henna tattoo kits is the Organic Jagua Black Temporary Tattoo and Body Painting Kit.
This tattoo kit doesn’t leave any marks on the skin after fading and is proven safe for any kind of skin of any age. Since it is manufactured in the U.S., it is guaranteed to last long and made from the highest quality of formulation.
When applied, this tattoo ink could last for 10-15 days. What sets this henna tattoo kit from others is that it comes pre-measured, which means it is in perfect consistency all the time. It even comes with reusable stencil transfers.
Also, this henna tattoo ink has an impressive shelf life. If you haven’t used it for a year or two, simply add water to create the Jagua gel – a mix that brings life back to the ink that could last for 2-3 months if refrigerated.
Best Tattoo Ink for Stick and Poke
There is also the ‘old school’ type of tattooing which is more of the manual process using the traditional stick and poke.
Of course having to create these kinds of tattoos, one must have a good level of experience using these equipment and a good amount of patience and muscle control – and lastly, the right tattoo ink for stick and poke.
While inks for stick and poke tattoo methods are rather much cheaper than other options and can be purchased almost anywhere, one must ensure that it is safe to use especially to sensitive skin considering that the needle digs deeper into the skin for this traditional method.
To ensure you are using the most excellent tattoo ink for stick and poke, we introduce you the All-purpose black in from Skin Candy which contains organic ingredients that is perfectly safe for normal and sensitive skin.
This All-purpose black ink from Skin Candy is also designed for any kind of black color requirements in a tattoo design. Although this product can be used for any kind of tattooing, it should not be used directly out of the bottle to avoid spillage and uneven applications.
Also, this product is more of the ‘professional ink’ type since it requires a few series of mixes and diluting in order to obtain superb output.
Best Tattoo Ink for Shading
Tattoos will always require shading to emphasize the size of the design and to provide a thicker and cooler look to the tattoo. This is especially true for 3D and multi-colored designs to bring about a pleasant visual impact out of the tattoo.
Among the most reliable providers of shading tattoo ink is the Kuro Sumi Tattoo Shading Greywash Ink which transitions easily from dark to light shade and vise-versa.
This ink brand is well-renowned and preferred by many professional artists such as “Tattoo Lou” Rubino. Also, it’s referred by him as the brightest and most consistent shade of black in the world.
While its formulation comes from Japan, it’s manufactured in the United States, which means you are not only getting the highest-quality and manufacturing but also a formulation that comes from a long line of tattooing history.
Also, since the formulation is from Japan, you can make sure that the product is organic and is safe to use even for vegans as well as those with sensitive skins. It comes with vibrant colors which sets in the skin smoothly and stays bright and beautiful for a long time.
Best Tattoo Ink for Cover Ups
What if you no longer want your tattoo and would like to have another design placed on the same area as your current tattoo? A good solution is to use a cover up and make sure the cover-up tattoo completely fills the old tattoo. That’s when you need an outstanding tattoo ink for cover ups.
Using a cover up to hide the old tattoo not only saves you time from removing the old tattoo but also saves you a considerable amount of money because the process of tattoo removal is actually quite expensive.
One popular tattoo ink for cover ups that is used by professionals is the TRIPLE BLACK ink by Eternal. This is a triple layer ink that effectively conceals any kind of ink and any variety of color. The Eternal brand comes with a long list of tattoo ink colors that have been tried and tested through the years.
What sets this ink apart from other inks and brands is that it is proven to last for a long time. And since it is made from the U.S., you can make sure that is made from the highest of quality and it even lasts for 2 years!
Best Black Tattoo Ink for Outlining
One important process that brings about the vibrancy and defines the edges of a tattoo is the outlining. Among those commonly used color for this process is the black color because of its darker hue that defines the overall size and dimension and even detail of a design.
When it comes to black outlining tattoo ink, one name appears to be absolutely reliable, the Kuro Sumi. It doesn’t only carry an established name for long-lasting inks, but also provides a variety of inks for any purposes such as the Kuro Sumi Outlining Tattoo Ink that is good for both outlining and shading.
Kuro Sumi Outlining Tattoo Ink is a popular tattoo outlining ink because it is originally formulated in Japan. It is considered more of the ‘vegan’ type of tattoo because of its organic formulation and the wide variety of organic colors.
This product is designed to provide a strong and crisp color out on each tattoo design and there is no need to go back and forth over a pattern since this product makes a quick finish in just a single stroke. It’s also loved by professionals and enthusiasts because of its super bright feature.
Best Removable Tattoo Ink
Aside from opting for a henna tattoo, if you want a non-permanent type of tattoo on your skin, you can also go with removable tattoos that can be easily taken off when you want a different tattoo on your skin or if you simply want to take it off.
Among those removable tattoo ink choices that are available today include the Ephemeral Tattoo Ink which usually lasts for certain duration (usually 6 months). After fading away, the skin is left clear again for new tattoo ventures.
Also, the Inkbox Semi-Permanent Tattoo Ink could be a great alternative if you want a semi-permanent ink that is fast setting and can be used right away.
This tattoo makes use of patented formulation which digs deep over the upper layer of the skin that subsequently reacts with the skin’s organic compounds that changes the color of the skin.
While the traditional tattoo ink would sin within your dermis for a long time causing it to become permanent, Inkbox tattoo inks only rests on the epidermis layer of the skin which only allows it to set for 2-3 weeks. With this much time, the skin has already regenerated and is ready for another tattoo.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Tattoo Inks Regulated by FDA?
Although the art of tattooing is considered safe and is constantly improving for the past few years, minor complications brought about by tattooing still find its way it to the scene.
This is the reason why tattoo inks are constantly regulated by FDA and each product is constantly reviewed for the additives and for the restricted chemicals that are used.
Since there are certainly a few inks and chemicals that are used without further testing, you should consult with the states or country’s FDA tattoo industry regulation to ensure safety.
What Are The Main Ingredients of Tattoo Ink?
Tattoo inks are made of pigments, which usually come with a collection of metallic salts such as selenides, sulfides and oxides along with organic dyes, or even plastics.
Some ink products may come with larger quantity of these metallic salts and substances than others. That’s why you always need to check the labels and confirm with your artist if the ink passes FDA regulations.
How Safe Is Your Tattoo Ink?
The answer regarding the safety of using tattoo inks can be divided in two answers. First is that it can be safe if the pigments doesn’t cause serious harms other than allergies or minor irritations – besides, there are still no evidence of any generalized toxic reactions using tattoo inks.
Secondly, the tattoo ink can be a health hazard if it is made from pigments that are not tested or FDA-approved.
Does Tattoo Ink Cause Skin Cancer?
Unfortunately, tattoo inks can cause skin cancer and even mutations when used in substantial amounts or when equipped with too many chemical ingredients such as mercury sulfide.
However, monitored amounts of these substances and chemicals can only provide minor health concerns such as skin irritations, swelling and soreness which surely provide less worries than cancer.
Tattoos are certainly one of the coolest ways to express oneself, thoughts and feelings. Using good tattoo ink to make these tattoos is as important as using materials and substances that are safe to your skin.
While there is virtually no limit to the composition and other features of your choice of tattoo ink, it’s essential to know that you are safe when using it.
Also, making a decision as to which ink is most suitable for your needs can be quite a challenge. However, with the sensitive information and tips provided above, you’ll be sure to pick out your ideal tattoo ink for your specific requirements.