I have been itching for a new tattoo lately, but I want to do it right and make sure it’s vegan-friendly (and share my research with you of course)!
I would say I have two and an eighth tattoos now. Yes, an eighth lol… I had 3 that I got done between the ages of 17 and 20. The first was a tribal design on my lower back which would in later years be labeled a “tramp stamp” (I have come to embrace my tramp stamp over the years)! The second some Chinese characters on my ankle meaning “peace, light, and secure.” And last a female symbol with tribal art right below my bikini line. Well, I don’t know if the guy was nervous or what but he royally screwed that one up and I ended up getting 6 laser sessions to remove it. It’s almost gone, but I can still see the remnants so I consider it still an eighth there. I will finish the removal process eventually!
In the mean time, 10+ years have gone by (if I want to totally date myself), and I’ve been craving a new tattoo, one that truly represents who I am and what I stand for. I’m playing around with tons of ideas and as soon as I decide on the right one I will be ready to get it done. That’s why I want to go ahead and get the research done to make sure I end up with a truly vegan tattoo. Especially since the tattoo itself will have the word “VEGAN” in the design and I want it to spark vegan-related conversations with anyone and everyone I come across.
So here’s what I found out…
Finding a vegan tattoo shop would be the best case scenario… There’s one in Portland for example, called Scapegoat Tattoo Company. Then you have nothing to worry about! But since vegan tattoo shops are fairly few and far between, it’s important to at least find a shop where the owners and artists are understanding and helpful dealing with your request to have a fully vegan tattoo experience. In Miami, Gauntlet Tattoo for example, is one shop that uses vegan ink (they even advertise it on their website).
Some tattoo inks are made with animal products like bone char, glycerin from animal fat, gelatin from hooves, or shellac from beetles. So it’s important to ask if the tattoo shops/artists if they use vegan inks or if they can order some for you.
Some vegan brands of ink include:
- Stable Color
- Electric Ink USA
- Fusion Tattoo Ink
It will be smart to take along your own razor, since the ones they have in-house may have a gel strip made from glycerin. Green soap, which is often used, is not vegan, so using a soap like Dr. Bronner’s is safe. Also, petroleum jelly is a vegan alternative to some A&D Ointment which can sometimes contain cod liver oil or lanolin.
And of course, We’ll want the tattoo-care products to be vegan as well.
Some vegan after-care products are:
- Merry Hempsters Vegan Hemp Tattoo Balm
- Black Cat Vitamin Infusion Serum
- Ohana Organics Tattoo Butter
- Dr. Bronner’s Body/Tattoo Balm
- Jojoba oil
- Coconut oil
- Shea butter
When it comes to the safety of the ingredients in tattoo ink, we can’t rely on the FDA to help us out. They do not regulate tattoo ink. Beyond the ink, the other ingredient that carries the pigment into the skin is known as the carrier. Non-toxic versions of the carrier include purified water, glycerin (vegetable-based), and ethanol. White and black (iron) are the most toxic colors of conventional tattoo ink, and red pigments cause the most allergic reactions due to the iron oxide (rust), cinnabar, or cadmium red content. Bright and neon pigments often require plastics or chemicals so are best to avoid.
Some non toxic (and Vegan) ink ingredients include:
- Black – carbon and logwood
- White – titanium dioxide
- Yellow – turmeric
- Green – monoazo, a carbon-based pigment
- Blue – sodium and aluminum (is that really safe?), many that contain copper are safe.
- Red – Naphthol which can still cause a reaction
- Purple – dioxazine and carbazole
Here is some vegan tattoo inspiration I got from Veganmarks.tumblr.com
I hope this helps… Please let me know if you have more suggestions and share your experiences!
Featured Image Photo Credit: Being Vegetarian on Tumblr
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