I recently got my fourth tattoo done by my friend @handpokemami (check out the YouTube video here!) and when I had originally reached out to her to ask her whether the ink she used was vegan, she told me she had never actually looked into it. She was not aware that vegan ink was a thing, because most people, myself included, likely don’t assume that there’s anything strange in tattoo ink. Luckily for me, after doing some research, she actually decided to switch to using vegan ink, which I was so grateful for!
And, as it turns out, there are actually multiple reasons why your tattoo may not be vegan & cruelty free (yes, more than just the ink not being vegan!). So, today I’m sharing a couple tips to get yourself a vegan tattoo, and products that I’ve used, along with a list of a few others. There are some pretty comprehensive guides out there on the internet, so this will be a quick guide.
1. Find a vegan tattoo studio, or artist.
This is a really easy way to make sure you get a vegan tattoo. Find a specifically vegan friendly tattoo studio or artist! In New York City, I’ve gone to Gristle Tattoo, and there are several others offering vegan inks/care items.
2. Communicate/call ahead
Be really forward about communicating with your artist or studio, but also be polite! Inquire about materials used (see below), ink of course, and if they don’t offer vegan inks, you can also kindly suggest they offer that for vegan customers and explain why you want vegan ink. It might be a good opportunity to enlighten them and encourage them to offer cruelty free options!
3. Offer to bring your own products with you
If the studio/artist does not have products that are vegan, offer to bring your own with you. Again, you definitely need to ask whether this is okay with them, in advance, but this is a great alternative to expecting them to purchase new products just for one client.
4. Ensure your products are vegan
Okay, so what products need to be vegan?
A. Transfer Gel & Paper
This is the first step where product is used–transferring the design sketch to your skin for guidance. Most transfer paper is not vegan because it is made with lanolin, an ingredient made from sheep’s wool. Fortunately there are vegan transfer papers on the market now (we used Spirit Transfer Paper)
We also used vegan transfer gel — Stencil Stuff.
Ink is not usually vegan because it can be made with ingredients like bone char, gelatin, shellac (crushed beetles used for colour), and animal fat based glycerin. Doesn’t sound too sexy right? Well, luckily vegan inks exist, and there are many brands out there on the market! My artist used Kuro Sumi ink.
C. Aftercare products
After you get your tattoo, you usually cover it in something like petroleum jelly or vaseline or A&D. This isn’t vegan either, so make sure you look for a good vegan alternative. I personally use the EIR NYC tattoo balm which is not only vegan, but also nontoxic and made with clean ingredients.
Make sure your sunscreen is vegan too. With tattoos, you need to apply sunscreen always (and a little extra) to preserve the quality! Opt for a vegan, cruelty free, nontoxic and reef safe sunscreen if you can. Your body and the planet will thank you 🙂
Since all of these products go into and on your skin, it’s a good idea to get rid of the weird/nasty ingredients regardless. Remember that skin is your largest organ and absorbs everything that goes on it! Hope this is helpful!!!
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Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.
Some brands I’ve had the pleasure of working with…