Vegan Tattoo Guide: From Stencils to Aftercare, and Everything in Between

Vegan Tattoo Guide

Vegan Tattoo Guide: From Stencils to Aftercare, and Everything in Between

Considering a new tattoo to permanently display your commitment to veganism? Or are you simply a vegan who loves tattoos? No matter what tattoo you’re thinking of inking, if you want it to be vegan, finding a vegan-friendly tattoo artist is a must!

That’s right, the tattoo industry generally uses inks, equipment, and aftercare products that contain ingredients derived from animals. In some cases, these products may also be tested on animals. However, thanks to the increasing awareness of animal cruelty issues alongside the production of vegan tattoo products, there is a growing range of vegan-friendly options available for tattoo artists. In fact, these days vegan tattoo artists and parlors are popping up all over the world!

Vegan tattoo artist
What makes a tattoo vegan? It's not just about the message. You might want to check if your ink and aftercare products are vegan too.

The Basics of Vegan Tattoos

What makes a tattoo vegan? In the tattoo parlor, the answer comes down to the ink and equipment used to create the tattoo. However, aftercare products are also important to consider, if you want your tattoo to reflect your vegan ethics.

When looking to create a vegan tattoo, here are the main considerations you’d probably want to explore:

Tattoo Ink

While there are many high-quality vegan-friendly tattoo inks available these days, others still contain ingredients derived from animals, and in some cases have also been tested on animals.  The following are some of the more common animal-derived ingredients used in tattoo inks, with the color black usually containing the largest amount of non-vegan ingredients.

  • Glycerin, often used as a stabilizer to make the ink easier to handle, can be derived from animal fats.
  • Bone char, made from charred animal bones, is another ingredient that can be found in non-vegan ink – mostly in black inks, to deepen the pigment.
  • Gelatin, made mostly from connective tissue of cows and pigs, serves as a binding agent in many inks.
  • Shellac, made from insects, also acts as a binder.
Tattoo ink
While there are many high-quality vegan tattoo inks available these days, others still contain ingredients derived from animals, and in some cases have also been tested on animals.

Vegan ink has become quite common, and therefore, easy for tattoo parlors to order. This is because many ink companies are following in the footsteps of cosmetics and clothing brands; they’re making an effort to cater to vegan and eco-friendly lifestyles. The result? More ink companies are using natural, cruelty-free and non-animal-based ingredients in their products. In fact, many tattoo artists may be using vegan ink without even knowing it. But for your own peace of mind, be sure to ask about the ingredients in your tattoo inks, or check the labels yourself. Some of the many reputable vegan ink brands are Kuro Sumi, Skin Candy, Crazyhorse, Southeast Tattoo and Eternal Ink.

Vegan ink

Tattoo Equipment and Parlor Essentials

Besides the ink, there are other aspects involved in the tattoo process that may not align with the vegan lifestyle. Main considerations may include:

  • Are the hand sanitizers used in the parlor cruelty-free?
  • Do the stencil papers contain lanolin (a substance derived from sheep wool)?
  • Do the strips of the disposable razors that the tattoo parlor provides contain glycerin?  
  • What about the surface disinfectants and antiseptic soaps? Do they contain animal- and cruelty-free ingredients?  
  • Does the parlour use tattooing equipment that integrates leather?

Only you know the degree to which the answers to these questions matter to you. But if you do care, and would rather not worry about these issues, than a vegan tattoo parlor will probably provide you with the most stress-free tattoo experience.

Tattoo accessories and essentials

Tattoo Aftercare

As with tattoo inks, there is also a wide variety of vegan-friendly tattoo aftercare products that are both easily accessible and affordable. While balms usually contain lanolin or beeswax, there are many that don’t. For a great vegan moisturizer, check out Lush Ultrabalm, After Inked’s moisturizer, or Superdrug’s Vitamin E Range. Additional recommended vegan aftercare options include shea butter, cocoa butter and coconut oil.  If you’re looking for a disinfectant soap that doesn’t contain any animal fats or lanolin, check out the plant-based Castile soap.

Vegan tattoo aftercare products

The tattoo industry is becoming increasingly more vegan-friendly 

The next time you get a tattoo, you can feel relieved, knowing you have vegan options. From completely vegan tattoo parlors to regular parlors that accommodate vegans with cruelty-free options, and a great variety of vegan aftercare products – you have choices! 

If there’s a parlor you’re interested in but they aren’t vegan, ask if they are willing to put in an order for vegan ink – you’ll be increasing awareness and might even introduce them to a cruelty-free option they’ll be happy to stick with! You’ll be making the world a better place, one vegan tattoo at a time.

A vegan tattoo is just not complete without amazing vegan ink and aftercare products!

Discover the Billion Vegans Tattoo Collection

Rachel Segal

Rachel is a mom of two who lives in Tel Aviv. She studied Middle Eastern studies and Communication at the Tel Aviv University,getting her start in broadcast journalism at CNN as well as at an NPR affiliate. She is now a freelance content writer.
Rachel Segal

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