While the exact ingredient list varies from product to product, the most common animal ingredients in tattoo ink include bone char, glycerin, gelatin, and shellac:
• Bone char is used to make black ink, the most commonly used color in tattoos. This ingredient is made from burnt animal bones to achieve the “crispest, darkest shade of black.”
• Glycerin is a derivative of animal fats. It functions in tattoo ink as a stabilizer and makes the ink easier to deal with.
• Gelatin is a common culprit in many products. It is made from the boiled connective tissue of cows and pigs and serves as a binding agent in many varieties of inks. Shellac, an ingredient made from insects, also acts as a binder in these inks.
• Shellac is an ingredient used in tattoo ink from crushed beetle shells. Shellac is a resin secreted from the female lac bug.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of ingredients – you’ll want to check the product label to be sure – but it is the list of the most common animal products in most tattoo inks. Of all the colors, black is usually the one you need to pay the most attention to.
Luckily, this doesn’t mean you have to trash the tattoo design you’ve been working on! Vegans can opt for plant-based inks that are completely devoid of animal products.
VEGAN TATTOO INKS INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING INGREDIENTS:
-Vegetable Glycerin- used in replace animal glycerin. This type of glycerin is plant-based and also called Glycerol.
-Hamamelis – also known as witch-hazel is made from flowering plants. This ingredient is also called Virginiana extract in tattoo ink
Non-toxic (and Vegan) ink ingredients:
Black – carbon and logwood
White – titanium dioxide
Yellow – turmeric
Green – monoazo, a carbon-based pigment
Blue – sodium and aluminum, many of which contain copper are safe
Red – Naphthol which can still cause a reaction
Purple – dioxazine and carbazole
LIST OF VEGAN TATTOO INK BRANDS
These companies have confirmed that their inks are vegan and the glycerin used is plant-based:
- Kuro Sumi
- SkinCandy / Bloodline
- Southeast Tattoo Supplies
- Eternal Ink
- Electric Ink USA
- Silverback Ink
- World Famous Tattoo
- Waverly Color Co (Dark Black is also vegan)
- Alla Prima Ink
- Pelikan –black is vegan
- Fusion Tattoo
- Classic Color Systems
- Good Color
- Intenze Tattoo Ink
- Unique – Perma Pro
- I Max Tattoo Inks
- I Max brands include: Makkuro Sumi Blacks, Makkuro Sumi Colors, Azayaka Live Tattoo Colors, Universal Blacks, Cobra Inks, Flashing Colors, Glam Colors, Pure Colors
Nowadays many companies are seeing the demand for vegan tattoo ink, meaning you get the luxury of choice when it comes to your next tattoo!
Tattoo by: Taste of Ink Tattoo Studio
Check out this relevant article: What It Takes To Make A Vegan Tattoo.