Tattoo Ink

Posted by Dragon Tattoo on


Tattoo ink comes in a variety of colors and thicknesses from a whole plethora of sources. There are hundreds of companies providing ink but is there really any difference between them? Absolutely; inks can come in two forms those mixed using plastic polymers or those mixed with water. As to which is considered the best tattoo ink. Most artists have their own preference based on experience, some prefer thicker, some thinner, others simply buy the popular brand because their favorite artists use it.

Generally tattoo ink is made of a powdered pigment of some form, this should not be metal based but if you are buying unbranded from somewhere online like China then caveat emptor. Usually this sort of pigment is similar to the powders used to make non toxic tempura paint. This is then mixed with a liquid base, as mentioned either polymer (plastic) or water based. If you don't know which your ink is, let some of it dry. If it forms a peelable plastic shell then it's polymer, if it's water based adding a little water to it will make it dissolve again like water color paint. At this point formulas will start to differ. Some artists like adding witch hazel while others add alcohol. 

Your style of tattooing will determine the type of ink you prefer. Companies like Eternal, Infinity Pro, Intenze, and Mom's are some of the most popular thicker style inks; while Starbrite is probably the most well known “thin” style ink. Within each brand however there are still going to be differences in thickness based on what is known as the pigment weight of each tattoo ink. This is basically how many tiny specks of pigment go into each bottle and how much they weigh. For example white is usually a heavy tattoo ink where blacks and lemon yellows tend to be thin. Any mixed color with white will also give a heavier and thicker ink.

Not all tattoo ink is sterilized. There is not a requirement for it to be so. Some even will say that this damages the pigments, however, there is really no research to support either claim and most companies do not bother but will do their utmost to maintain a clean environment during production. As with anything, tattoo related safety is important and knowing that your inks come from a reputable source is generally key to whether or not you need to question their safety.


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