As a vegan, you quickly learn that the world is heavily dependent on animals or animal by-products. Everything seems to be made from animals; from the food we eat to the things we wear.
You also quickly learn that it can be quite difficult, and in some cases almost impossible, to find vegan alternatives to non-vegan products. Fortunately, the world has recognized the need to support vegan needs as well and is generally beginning to shift away from animal to plant-based production.
Almost every major industry in the world has gone vegan or offers vegan alternatives; that’s why today you can buy vegan shampoo, vegan meat or even buy vegan clothes. But what about tattoo ink? Has the tattoo industry joined the vegan movement and how do you get a tattoo as a vegan?
These are the important questions that we will try to answer in the following paragraphs. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Tattoo Ink Ingredients – Explained
Before we get into the subject of vegan tattoo, we must first understand the need for vegan ink. Now, as you may know, tattoo ink usually contains a lot of animal by-products. For example, the standard ingredients of an ordinary tattoo ink contain;
- Bone Charcoal – used to increase or saturate pigment
- Glycerin from animal fat – used as a pigment carrier
- Hoof gelatin – also used as a pigment carrier
- Crushed beetle shells – used as an ink binder
- Cod liver oil
In order to create tattoo ink, manufacturers used such elements as iron oxide, logwood, cinnabar, cadmium, witch hazel, ethyl alcohol and many other chemical ingredients. It is essential to mention that the majority of ingredients used to create anything, from black ink to red ink, are pretty much toxic and contain heavy metals. And, of course, alongside these ingredients are the animal by-products used to enhance the pigment or to act as pigment carriers.
Therefore, as a vegan, it can be nearly impossible to get a tattoo with ink that does not contain toxic chemicals or animal by-products.
So how can I get a cruelty-free tattoo?
vegan tattoo ink
Now the good news is that vegan tattoo ink is a thing. Although not all tattoo artists have vegan ink as an available alternative, many tattoo artists are willing to order vegan ink if their clients request an alternative. So that’s also a good thing.
But we still need to take a closer look at vegan ink and find out what exactly makes it vegan.
The main thing that differentiates vegan and non-vegan ink is the use of vegetable or plant-based ink stabilizers, binders, and carriers. The majority of vegan inks contain vegetable glycerin and vegetable oils instead of glycerin and oil of animal origin. Typically, vegan ink brands explain the ingredients of the ink and indicate which animal-derived ingredients are replaced and what exactly replaces them.
If you want to get a tattoo with vegan ink, it’s important to find a vegan tattoo artist or ask a regular tattoo artist to order some vegan ink and use it for your tattoo. You’d be surprised how much the tattoo community welcomes this new wave of vegan ink.
Vegan Tattoo Transfer Paper
Now, this may be lesser-known information, but the majority of tattoo transfer papers used in the tattoo process are non-vegan. Transfer papers are made from lanolin, also known as wool fat wool wax. It is made from sheep’s wool and acts as a protective barrier or moisturizer in these transfer papers.
It is important to mention that vegan transfer paper is not such a developed idea as vegan ink. The only brand that creates vegan transfer paper is the ReproFX Spirit Thermal Tattoo Transfer Paper. This paper is made with vegetable and synthetic blends to replace the animal waxes used in traditional transfer paper.
Best Vegan Ink Brands
If you want to get into a vegan tattoo, be sure to also check out the following vegan ink brands;
- Alla Prima Ink – this company offers a premium selection of high quality, safe and vegan friendly tattoo pigments. Their ink is great to use alone or to mix, depending on your tattoo preferences.
- Fusion Tattoo Ink – this brand provides completely vegan tattoo ink. The ink is available in different colors and has a thicker pigment layer than other inks on the market. It is intended for use by professional tattoo artists.
- Bloodline Tattoo Ink (affiliate link) – this brand provides completely vegan and cruelty-free ink. From manufacturing to bottling, everything is completely vegan and safe for customers and users. The ink is high quality, super vibrant and versatile for different tattoo techniques.
- Kuro Sumi – originally formulated in Japan, Kuro Sumi provides vegan tattoo products as well as vegan ink. Kuro Sumi ink is world class and possibly the best vegan ink on the market. It provides amazing results as the ink is super vibrant and safe to use.
- Eternal Tattoo Ink – this brand provides completely vegan tattoo ink, which is made with natural pigments and has not been tested on animals. The ink is made in the USA and cooperates with all US market regulations and standards.
Here are some other vegan tattoo ink brands you can check out. Stable Color, SkinCandy, Waverly Color Co., Feldman, Intenze Tattoo Ink, Electric Ink USA, Star Bite, and many more.
Other Vegan Tattoo Items/Products
When the tattoo artist uses vegan ink to create tattoos, it is essential that he adjusts all the other elements and elements related to the tattoo as well. For example, we mentioned vegan tattoo transfer paper as a good place to start.
What would also be good to do is switch from standard soaps and moisturizers to vegan soaps. A tattoo artist can’t just replace one thing with a vegan alternative and call it a day. For vegan people, it is essential that the whole process is vegan-focused.
Other things tattoo artists can substitute for vegan alternatives include moisturizing strips on razors, which may also contain animal-derived waxes and lubricants. It is also essential that tattoo artists recommend proper vegan aftercare to their clients. like vegan moisturizers and tattoo aftercare lotions.
Here are some of the vegan alternatives to standard tattoo aftercare items;
- Preserve POPi Razor (affiliate link) – Preserve offers a wide variety of razors designed for both men and women. Their razors are made from recycled ocean plastic and are never tested on animals. It’s a great cruelty-free alternative in case you need to shave before a tattoo appointment.
- Hustle Butter Vegan Tattoo Balm (affiliate link) – Hustle Butter provides luxury tattoo balms and lotions. Their vegan tattoo balm is great because it’s made with shea butter, mango, and aloe butter, along with green tea and another anti-inflammatory and nourishing ingredient. The balm is cruelty-free, 100%, and made from all-natural ingredients.
Vegan Ink Safety
Talking about vegan ink without considering things like safety would be a mistake. So, let’s address that as well.
Now, since animal-derived ingredients are not found in vegan ink, it would be considered significantly safer than regular ink. Remember how we mention that standard ink contains toxic chemicals and heavy metals? Well, these things can cause serious health issues like tattoo and skin infection, allergic reaction, fever and much more.
So, is vegan ink safer than regular ink in this sense?
Well, vegan ink only replaced animal-derived ingredients. The other ingredients, which give it pigments and other ink characteristics, remain the same as in regular ink. So, unfortunately, vegan ink can still contain things like toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Therefore, vegan ink is not necessarily safer than regular ink.
Some studies have shown that regular and vegan ink can still cause unwanted side effects and usually contain carcinogenic chemicals, like cadmium, found in red ink. These chemicals can cause autoimmune diseases as well as infections and allergic reactions, as well as the development of cancers.
The only way to ensure that the tattoo process goes smoothly and safely is to get your tattoo done by a professional and reputable tattoo artist. By going to the best tattoo artist in your area, you minimize the chances of anything going wrong. Professional tattoo artists pay strict attention to cleanliness, hygiene (personal and studio), as well as high quality products.
So, when looking for a tattoo artist, always go for the best. Also, be sure to talk to your tattoo artist about the ink they use. If they don’t use vegan ink, discuss your options. Chances are they’ll order vegan ink for you. But, we recommend that it’s best to just find a vegan tattoo artist upfront.
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