Many people are surprised to find out that not all tattoos are vegan.
Body art is an amazing form of self-expression and there is nothing wrong with getting tattoos. Unfortunately, the tattoo business does use animal products and many people make the mistake of not doing enough research beforehand.
The main thing that makes most tattoos not vegan-friendly is the ink. Most ink is full of bone char, gelatin, and shellac (beetle secretions). They use these ingredients to get authentic color pigmentation. For example, many black inks are made out of charcoal that is produced from burning animal bones.
It’s not just the ink that makes vegan tattoos not vegan – it’s also the transfer sheets, the products used to clean a client’s skin, and the aftercare products.
Products used to clean skin during the tattoo will likely contain animal fat from glycerin, along with being tested on animals.
For aftercare, many tattoo shops provide or recommend ointments that aren’t vegan because they contain ingredients such as lanolin, beeswax, or they are tested on animals.
Despite all this, you can still get a tattoo “vegan tattoo” that is cruelty-free and vegan!
There are now many tattoo parlors that offer vegan ink, vegan transfer papers, and have other cleaning options if you ask in advance.
For aftercare, just buy a vegan one instead of using the one that is recommended. The vegan ones will be more natural and better for the healing.
The natural oils and plant based ingredients will keep your skin softer and not be as harsh. You can buy tattoo aftercare products from companies such as The Merry Hempsters who make a vegan tattoo soft salve out of herbs and hemp butter, Ohana Organics who makes a shea-based butter one with aloe and lavender, and so much more.
For cleaning during the tattoo, if the shop doesn’t have any vegan options you can bring your own such as Dr. Bronners or H2Ocean, and ask the artist to use those products for cleaning.
There are now many 100% vegan tattoo parlors all over the States. Even though the people who work there might not be vegan themselves, they recognize the demand for vegan ink.
Many people who aren’t vegan prefer to use this alternative ink for their vegan tattoos because it’s more natural and has a much lower chance of someone having a bad reaction to it.
If you know of a shop that doesn’t yet have any vegan ink options, there is no harm in asking them to offer vegan ink that they can purchase from Stable, Waverly Color or Intenze.
Overall, it’s totally possible to get a vegan tattoo! You just have to do your research in advance, and search for a reputable tattoo parlor that is knowledgeable about vegan tattoos.