Good news: old school, DIY, homemade tattoos no longer need to be done with pen ink or india ink! You can easily get professional tattoo ink for use for your sticknpoke online! The question is: which tattoo inks are the best and safest to buy? There are many options and it is an important decision. This is a substance that you will be putting into your body. They don’t make it to your bloodstream, but into the many alive layers of your skin – and a lot of what you poke into there will be absorbed by your body.
Up until the 1980’s, tattoo ink used by professionals contained heavy metals that are hazardous to your health. Yellows, reds, blues contained Cadmium, Molybdenum, Nickel, Beryllium, and ‘salts’ that are not just carcinogenic, but actually toxic. Bad reactions to tattoos were more commonplace. Today, major brands do not use these metals and salts to create colors. Reactions from tattoos has gone way down. Additionally, ink recipes, composition and production methods have improved to make a sterile product (in alcohol), decreasing the risk of infection from contaminated ink.
Tattoo inks are not regulated in the U.S. – however they are regulated in Europe. U.S. companies, like our very own kit ink bottler, sends each new color they produce to a CTL Laboratory in Germany to be tested and approved. Inks must be relatively low in “amines” and “azos” (referring to the common part of the name of some hazardous chemicals used in pigments and dyes). If it is rejected, the company cannot sell that tattoo ink color within the European Union. It is this standard that also makes major U.S. inks relatively safe.
Mark August the owner of Bloodline inks, a major reputable brand manufactured in California, told me that the biggest danger is buying inks from China.
“You just don’t know what you’re going to get,” he remarks.
Recent scares and recalls in the tattoo ink community have been linked to cheap inks manufactured in China and imported into the U.S. or small brands with poor manufacturing processes. A search on Amazon.com will reveal the plethora of options for inks, tattoo kits and other tattoo supplies. It is best to avoid tattoo products from outside of the U.S. or small-time new companies.
When buying tattoo ink, “stick with the US based reputable brands like Bloodline, Eternal, Kuro Sumi, Intenze and Starbrite,” August says. These brands sell worldwide and have a strong brand because they have been improving their inks over many years to be safe and to work well in the skin and maintain the original bright and bold color for years. Professional tattoo artists use these brands.
More tips from the ink maker:
- Although inks have a shelf life of 5 years, it is best to use them within 1-2 years.
- Keep your inks in a cool dry place and keep them shaken so they do not separate.
Our kit can be purchased with 15 different mixable colors bottled just for us by Bloodline. The ink is vegan, high quality, and used around the world by the top professional tattoo artists. Check out the original sticknpoke tattoo kit. To read about the FDA Ink recall, click here.