Vegan Tattoo Guide: From Stencils to Aftercare, and Everything in BetweenRachel Segal
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!
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:
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.
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.
Kuro Sumi Tattoo Outlining Tattoo Ink, Black (6 oz.)
- 6 oz. bottle
- Organic tattoo colors
- Vegan tattoo friendly
- Absolute blackest pigment
Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink, Double Sumi Tribal Black (4 oz.)$21.84
Color: Double Sumi Tribal Black | Size: 4 Ounce
- Organic tattoo colors
- Vegan tattoo friendly
- Super bright tattoo ink
World Famous Tattoo Ink Greywash Shading Set (4 oz.)$42.49
- The Darkest Side of Tattooing
- Boutique Tattoo Ink
- Worlds best in quality Tattoo Ink
- Vegan Friendly
- 3 bottles – the full spectrum of GreyWash
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
S8 RED Tattoo Stencil Transfer Gel, Individual Packs (Pack of 25)$9.99
- 2-in-1 Tattoo stencil transfer gel cleans skin and transfers stencil onto the skin
- Individual sachet packets reduce product waste to save you money
- Contains natural ingredients to avoid allergies and safe for all skin types
- Compatible with Spirit and S8 tattoo stencil paper
- Vegan Friendly
S8 RED Tattoo Soap, Alcohol Free (20 Individual Packets)$8.99
- Cleans and prepares skin for the tattoo process
- Plant enzyme mixture to clean excess oils and neutralize skin’s pH
- Single use sachets reduce product waste and save you money
- Vegan friendly formula contains no petrochemicals
- Alcohol-free solution reduces client inflammation
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
After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer & Aftercare Lotion (3 oz. Tube, Pack of 1/2/3/6)$12.99 – $149.99
- Exclusive Tattoo After Care product for INK MASTERS.
- Non-Petroleum based, Paraben-Free, Fragrance-Free, Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Gluten-Free.
- Clinically tested. Dermatologist tested. Safe on all skin types. Non-allergenic. Non-irritant.
- Premium brand used & recommended by World-Renowned Tattoo Artists.
- Patented Formula enriched with Grape Seed Oil.
H2Ocean Ocean Foam Tattoo Aftercare (2 oz. / 2.5 oz.)$11.00 – $11.55
- Skin barrier
Ohana Organics Vegan Tattoo Butter, Certified Organic (0.5 oz. / 2 oz.)$12.00
- Tattoo aftercare
- Tattoo ointment
- Certified Organic
- Gluten free
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.
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