Tattoos are awesome, but in a world where animals are so exploited they are in almost everything, how can you make sure that your tattoos are aligned with your ethics?
Before you go to your tattoo artist, there are a few things you need to know.
never assume that everything is vegan.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you are annoying, it’s your right to be! Tattoos are personal, and as such your tattoo artist should cater to your every need.
If your artist isn’t willing to use vegan alternatives that you bring/ or supply them for you, go else where. They cannot run a business that caters to clients, without actually catering to them. Your money is best spent elsewhere, on someone who respects you and will Give you what you want.
Don’t be rude though, Always offer to buy the vegan alternatives yourself and bring them in for your Artist to use on you.
If there is a vegan tattoo studio near you (or vegan artist) GO TO THEM, support your fellow vegans!
If there isn’t, then that’s okay to, you can just find a vegan friendly artist. Asking studios if they have anyone who can do a vegan tattoo shows them that there is a demand, they will be more likely to start stocking vegan supplies and being more vegan friendly!
So, Don’t be afraid to ask, in the long run it will help others vegans!
Below are some common ingredients that can be found in tattoo inks and products used in the tattoo process, that are not vegan:
- Glycerin: Made from animal fat, glycerin is a common ink stabilizer used to make the ink easier to work with. (but many brands do use vegetable Glycerin, just be wary)
- Bone char: Black ink, the most popular and widely used color of all, is usually made with bone char, which is the soot from burned animal bones. Inks formulated with bone char are said to achieve the darkest, crispest shade of black. (India Ink in black inks, consists of burned animal bones.)
- Gelatin: Made from animal hooves, gelatin is a binding agent and a frequent ink ingredient.
- Shellac: Shellac is used as a binding agent and is made from beetles.
- Indigotin 1: green ink often contains “Indigotin 1”, a pigment or color made from sour Indigotin - which stems from a special kind of slug, who are killed for Indigotin in particular.
(Concerning the green color of many things: even some producers of wasabi paste add animal-based indigotin to their product.)
- Lanolin: Made from sheep wool, lanolin is a common ingredient in lotions, ointments, Razor moisture strips, Transfer paper and salves used during the tattooing process, as well as in after care products.
- Beeswax: Used in aftercare lotions and salves.
- Cod Liver Oil: Used in aftercare lotions and salves.
- Petroleum Jelly: Can be filtered through Bone Char, or owned by a company that test on animals (Vaseline is owned by Unilever)
Now of course a some of the things listed above can be vegan (Vegetable glycerin, Black ink) but it is always good to not just assume they are vegan!
Many Tattoo inks ARE vegan friendly, so don’t despair, in fact some of the biggest name brand inks are vegan!
You may see other lists that say some inks are vegan, when in fact they are NOT.
so, be super careful, I have tried to link all pages below to info confirming they are vegan! Since there is some conflicting information out there about some brands (especially black inks) I will be waiting for email confirmation, then adding them if they are vegan! so this list is not final, please check back and feel free to email the companies yourselves/ ask your tattoo artist.
Listed below are vegan tattoo inks:
As I said this is not a complete list, I am still waiting on confirmation from some companies, the ones above are CONFIRMED vegan.
If you know of any inks that are in fact vegan, send me a message and I’ll look into it.
Vegan Alternatives to Vaseline or A&D:
Please always ask your tattoo artist if they are comfortable using these alternatives, and if you choose to bring one in, make sure they are okay with it! communication is key!
Petroleum is also made from oil, so when it is used to make the skin smooth, some of it is tattooed into you.. it’s like having gasoline put into your skin!
Green soaps & Alcohol:
Always ask your tattoo artist if the glycerin in the green soap is vegetable based! Medical grade/rubbing Alcohol is vegan. If your Tattoo Artist cannot confirm the Green soaps Glycerin origin, ask them to use or bring your own:
The majority of razors have moisture strips containing lanolin or glycerin derived from animal fat, They also may be from brands that test on animals, even if they don’t have moisture strips (bic).
Below I’ve listed some vegan suitable razors, You can Bring your own or shave prior to your tattoo appointment. I personally use Preserve, they are made from recycled plastic and eco friendly!
Vegan Transfer paper & transfer Solutions:
At the current time, there is only ONE vegan transfer paper, that is spirit VEGAN thermal transfer paper by reprofx. All other transfer paper is not vegan.
If your tattoo artist thinks that it’s “too expensive” to buy the vegan paper.. tell them it’s about 48c a sheet, and an investment in your loyal service + all your vegan friends will be stocked someone already has all vegan supplies! The investment is WELL WORTH the return. If they still refuse, buy yourself some transfer paper from the link below :)
Anesthetic and pain relief during tattoos:
If you are having a rather long tattoo session, a little pain relief can help a lot! I have had 8+ hour sits, and without the anesthetic spray I would have tapped out at around 5 hours. Below are some vegan anesthetic sprays/ creams. Some only a professional can buy, so make sure to speak to your tattoo artist.
Vegan After Care:
This will be an ever updated list of vegan products, so please check back regularly! And if anything on the list doesn’t belong there, or any thing needs to be added, message me and let me know.
Please be advised I am not a tattoo artist, I researched all this information myself, I may have left things out purposely, until i know for sure they are vegan. I do not want to spread misinformation.
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