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September 18, 2010 / gooisma

Life in Colour – Tattoo Inks for Long Lasting Effect

Talk to any “ink head” – that is, tattoo aficionado – and you’ll find the same subject topping the conversation. How long tattoo inks last for, and what can be done to make sure they last as long as possible. Check out any new tattoo, compare it to one that is two or three years old, and you’ll instantly see what is meant here. Tattoo ink fades, and the worse the quality of the ink the quicker that happens.


Look at a new tat on the body of a man or woman who has had previous work done in the past. The new tattoo is bright and bold next to the less obtrusive colours of the older images. The grail quest of the tattooist’s art is to find those elusive tattoo inks that really work – the ones that hold their richness, depth and colour through years of sun, wind, rain and of course personal hygiene routines.

There are ways to ensure that tattoo ink and the tattoos it makes doesn’t, or don’t, fade with time: avoiding direct exposure to sunlight until a tattoo is well and truly “worn in”, for example; or not using abrasive soaps or household cleaners. The best way, though, by far the best way, is to check that the inks being used in the first place are of the best possible quality – and the easiest way to do that is by sourcing tattoo inks from quality suppliers.

Fortunately, the shrinking world (brought close together by the invisible strands and byways of cyberspace) has made sourcing good quality anything pretty easy – and tattooist’s inks are no exception. UK based sites like Tattoo Kit have excellent trade links with the world’s best brand names and most prominent suppliers of ink. UK tattooists and ink heads can now get their hands on the real deal, imported from Japan and the US – ensuring that every kind of tattoo, from the old style Oriental look tats to modern South America flavoured images (skulls and flowers are big right now, done large and in vivid colours) is done with the proper tattoo inks.

In every case, a tattoo has a variety of ink it would be done best in. Older style inks are gentler, less boldly coloured but full of a soft depth. This kind of ink is best for the traditional tattoo designs first popularised by soldiers and sailors returning from World War postings in Asia and the Orient. Modern tattoo designs, which tend to have their roots more in mainstream underground music forms like rockabilly, and the Latin influenced rock music found on the West coast of the US, use brighter inks – larger areas of solid colour filled with blazing oranges and deep blues. The tattoo inks required for this kind of image are completely different – the kind of thing first used by the Californian chopper guru most famous for his 1980s skate and hot rod designs.

Source the right inks and one’s tattoo will stay bright and clear forever. Just make sure the equipment matches the quality of the ink.

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