Vegan Ink: How Tattoos Have Environmentally Progressed
You may be thinking, vegan ink? And I can confirm it actually does exist, and has become quite the phenomenon among tattoo enthusiasts. Nowadays, it’s quite easy to find a tattoo artist that specialises in vegan tattoos, with tattooing and veganism both being a commitment to life, it was only a matter of time before both communities merged together.
WHAT IS VEGAN INK?
Vegan ink, as its name implies, does not contain animal products in any part of the tattooing process. Traditional tattoo ink includes glycerin and bone char. The glycerin is primarily used as a stabiliser, but it is actually animal fat, whereas bone char is found as a pigment in some black inks. In addition to this, there are various aftercare products and equipment that are used during the tattoo process that are not eco-friendly. The stencil papers used in the majority of traditional tattoo shops are made from lanolin, which comes from sheep.
Not only do vegan tattoo artists use vegan ink, but they use the same materials and procedures as traditional studios without involving animal cruelty. From the ink to the equipment to the aftercare products, every compound is environmentally friendly.
We can all agree, what you put on your body is equally as important as what you put in…
In order to ensure that your tattoo aftercare is as ecologically conscious as possible, these ingredients are important to look for for when shopping for aftercare products:
Rosemary Oil Extract
Sunflower, Grapeseed and Rice Bran Oils
Variety of Essential Oils and Natural fragrances.
Vegan tattoo aftercare products contain no traces of harsh chemicals nor synthetic compounds, which could irritate the skin surrounding your new tattoo. In contrast, vegan products soothe inflamed and itchy skin and leave it feeling refreshed and soothed through a blend of healing and nourishing natural ingredients. As a matter of fact, their natural, clean ingredients actually can increase the speed at which the healing process occurs (thank, GOD), while decreasing the amount of scabbing that tends to occur.
LIST OF VEGAN TATTOO INK BRANDS
It can be hard to distinguish the difference between vegan tattoo ink and traditional tattoo ink just by looking at it, therefore it might be useful to remember some of the most popular vegan tattoo ink brands:
Alla Prima Ink
Classic Color Systems
Southeast Tattoo Supplies
I Max Tattoo Inks
Intenze Tattoo Ink
Electric Ink USA
Waverly Color Co
Skin Candy Bloodline
World Famous Tattoo
Artists usually don't have an issue disclosing what products they use, but if they do, I would suggest going somewhere that you feel more comfortable. Often or not, a lot of tattoo inks are vegan friendly by default, however it’s always good to be certain.
SOME OF THE MOST TALENTED VEGAN TATTOO ARTISTS SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS ON THE SUBJECT…
I contacted a few of the most gifted vegan tattoo artists, asking them why they chose to work in a climate-friendly fashion.
Among them was Sam Carver (he/them/they), a vegan tattoo artist from Bristol, UK, who said:
“I choose to use vegan inks and products as much as possible because I don’t see the need to cause harm to animals when there is an alternative option. In the same way that I eat a vegan diet and generally try to lessen my impact on the planet. There’s a multitude of reasons to be vegan, most of which resonate with me [...] The more people make the connections between what they consume, food, clothes and even tattoos, then the more chance we have of making a future that everyone can enjoy”
Carly Taylor (she/her), tattoo artist from Sheffield, UK said:
“I myself am vegan and I can not justify using any supplies that are not vegan. Vegan supplies exist and are easily available, so I think every artist should use them as it helps vegan clients to be able to go to artists they think are best to do their tattoo”
Lastly, Nickhole Arcade a tattoo artist based in Tumwater, Washington had A LOT to say on the topic:
“As a tattoo collector, you now have more choices than ever between custom art, styles, artists, shops and different session experiences. As tattoo artists we have a responsibility to prioritise the quality of care we give to our clients and the environment. This requires consideration of sustainability. The tattoo process generates trash during each session, which mostly consists of plastic and paper towels. Our mission at Stellar Door tattoo is to be plastic-free by 2023, and making good decisions to replace as many items as possible with more ethical supplies [...] By putting these practices into effect we can all work together to create less waste and less plastic in the ocean”
For those who are interested in Nickhole’s work, she is also giving a seminar in Las Vegas at Coalition For Tattoo Safety discussing ethical practices in Tattooing! A true green queen.
To ensure that the tattooing experience is as green as possible... from the stencil to the ink being injected into your skin. Asking questions is essential! Most artists can accommodate your needs, but if they can't, you can easily find an artist wh
o can. We need to be aware of the ingredients we are putting into our bodies - especially if they are going to be there forever. The question of vegan ink should strike everyone's interest!