4 Tips for Choosing & Buying Tattoo Ink

When it comes to tattooing, the manner and style in which you tattoo really drives your tattoo ink preference. Technology advances and stringent hygienic standards are constantly improved upon for the better of the entire tattooing industry. If you’re a novice tattooer, the sheer number of choices can be very overwhelming, especially if you’re just figuring out your specialization. Alternatively, you might be an experienced artist already and want to delve into a different ink from the one you’re currently using. It can be difficult to know just how to choose tattoo ink. Whatever your particular case may be, we’ve broken down four tips on what you should look for when choosing the best tattoo ink for you.

1.  Choose a Quality Ink
What exactly makes an ink high quality? The proof is in the ingredients. Traditional inks from long ago contained toxic materials like arsenic, lead, and even plastic components. Today, the majority of inks don’t contain heavy metal substances; however, it’s crucial for you to read the ingredients list. If you’re interested in a particular ink brand but don’t see the ingredients list, email them. Some ink companies are quite protective of their unique ingredient list and might not want to advertise their exact formula. If you don’t hear back or they refuse, it’s best to move on. If they’re not willing to share whether toxic materials are in their inks, you probably shouldn’t risk it. Many companies now utilize vegan, cruelty-free, and organic ingredients. What’s the difference? Vegan means ink contain no animal-based ingredients like bone char, glycerin, gelatin or shellac from beetles. Vegan brands include Eternal Ink, StarBrite Ink and Alla Prima Ink.

Cruelty-free inks are not tested on animals. Organic inks are derived from natural ingredients.

What’s important to you? Think hard about your customers and their particular needs. This might end up being the deciding factor for you.

2.  Powder-Based vs Pre-Dispersed Ink

The two main forms of ink differ in the consistency type. Powder- or pigment-based ink is a nod to more traditional forms of tattooing. Pigments in powder-based ink are suspended in a liquid carrier. A tattoo artist is able to utilize these powder-based inks to create custom color palettes. Pre-dispersed inks are more commonly found in the market today. Pre-dispersed inks are bright and bold and can be used right out of the bottle. No mixing is required.

3. Look for a Licensed, Reputable Manufacturer

The thought of bootleg products may seem like a thing of the past, however, it’s not uncommon to come across ink that has not gone through any safety tests and may still contain harmful, toxic ingredients. There are even manufacturers out there that create products utilizing a well-known brand’s name. In a word- fake. Since regulations differ from country to country, it can all be confusing to a new buyer. Our best recommendation is to look for solvent- and PET plastic-free inks.

All of the inks offered on Element Tattoo Supply website are made in the USA.

4. Invest in an Ink Set

If you’re a beginner, choose to buy a set from your preferred brand. Since you’re utilizing the same brand ink, this ensures there are no negative reactions from mixing ink formulas. Ink sets are also carefully curated by brands to ensure a cohesive color palette that complement each other. Overall, you’re able to get more bang for your buck while trying out a new ink brand.

Element Tattoo Supply is an authorized distributor of all the inks on our website. We carry our very own formulation, Element Tattoo Inks, that combines affordability and pigmentation in 1, 2 and 4 oz bottles. We’re always happy to help answer any questions to help you pick the right tattoo ink for your particular style and needs. Send us a question at help@elementtattoosupply.com.

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