If you’re wondering what the best tattoo ink to use is, you’re on the right page.
Today we’re going to discuss the best tattoo ink brands.
We’ll recommend long-lasting, safe tattoo ink with the brightest colors.
You’ll learn about the companies that make the best black tattoo ink for lining.
Plus, we included those that make light-reactive pigment which glows under ultraviolet.
Now, let’s go over a few questions to think about while you shop.
- Characteristics of Trustworthy Ink Brands
- Pre-dispersed Inks Versus Mixing Your Own
- The Top Tattoo Ink Brands That Professional Artists Use
- The Tattoo Ink Brands to Avoid
Characteristics of Trustworthy Ink Brands
It’s great if you can ask experienced tattoo artists which brands they prefer and why.
Also, consider these points:
- Where were the inks made? The USA and European Union have health and safety regulations regarding tattoo ink. Inks sold in California have to meet even higher standards.
- Check the ingredients. Does the company use organic, vegan-friendly components? It’s likely those will be safer for the skin.
- How long-lasting are the colors? The ink may look great in the bottle, but how will it perform long-term?
- What kind of color palettes does the company offer? Do their inks work well together?
It’s worth it to use only the best inks because the durability and beauty of the pigment will reflect on your reputation as an artist.
Pre-dispersed Inks Versus Mixing Your Own
Most tattoo artists buy pre-made inks. Pre-dispersed inks ensure consistent color and presentation. It’s certainly easier than mixing your own from dry pigment and a carrier (1).
The only brands we will review today are those that make this kind of ink.
The Top Tattoo Ink Brands That Professional Artists Use
Following are the best ink brands in no particular order. They can all be purchased online. Follow the links to see example products.
Kuro Sumi began in Japan, but now manufactures their inks in the USA.
Artists love their inks because the highly-pigmented colors stay bright year after year.
Furthermore, these are organic, vegan-friendly inks that use no animal byproducts like bone char. You can download the SDS sheets and CTL certificates right from their website for free.
According to artists around the world, Kuro Sumi ink lays down smoothly. Afterward, tattoos heal quickly with no loss of color.
If you need to restore or alter an old tattoo, use this brand because the rich pigments will quickly override the old ink.
Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink Lining and Shading Set
This set from Kuro Sumi includes black for lining and two gray washes for shading.
These are 6-ounce bottles.
The texture is consistent, as are the colors.
Each ink is made from organic ingredients with no animal byproducts. For example, components include pigment, vegetable glycerin, deionized water, and witch hazel.
Kuro Sumi Colors Tattoo Ink – Master SET of 7 BEST Sellers
Experiment with Kuro Sumi’s rainbow palette by starting with this set of seven colors.
It comes with Tokyo Rose red, Koi yellow, Buddha blue, Mineraru green, samurai white, rising sun orange, and double Sumi black. Each bottle holds a ½ ounce of ink.
Authentic Kuro Sumi Primary 16 Color Ink Set
Expand your collection with one of four sets of sixteen colors each. Each bottle holds a ½ ounce of ink.
The next top brand is World Famous. That’s its name. It was started by Lou Rubino, Jr.
This company has been around for more than 50 years.
They manufacture according to reAP2008 regulations in Europe. This means the vegan inks are non-toxic.
They also sterilize the inks with gamma radiation.
Artists like Jose Becerra, Matt Hixson, and Lydia Bruno use World Famous.
6 Bottle Simple Color Set – World Famous Tattoo Ink
Experience World Famous tattoo ink by starting with this set of six 1-ounce bottles. Each one is sterilized and sealed with a tamper-proof label.
Each one is also vegan-friendly.
World Famous Tattoo Ink – Pitch Black, 1 Ounce
Pitch Black is one of the boldest lining inks on the market.
Michele Turco Color Portrait 6 Bottle Set – World Famous Tattoo Ink
If you do portraits, you need to try this set. It includes tones like Portrait White, and light, medium, and dark skin tones.
StarBrite is a trademark of Tommy’s Supplies. They make 160 colors of tattoo ink.
Each ink is manufactured in the USA according to FDA regulations. They don’t contain nickel or iron.
Each one is sterilized as well.
StarBrite Colors Tattoo Ink – White/Black 3 Bottle Set
Highlight and line with this set from StarBrite Colors. It has Jet Black Outliner, Tribal Black, and Brite White. The Tribal Black is lighter in tone than the outliner.
Each bottle contains a ½ ounce of sterilized ink.
The highly pigmented ink flows smoothly whether you use a coil iron or one of the best rotary tattoo machines.
StarBrite Colors Tattoo Ink – 4 Primary Color Set
Mix your own custom shades using this primary color set. It has Scarlet Red Country Blue, Canary Yellow, and Leaf Green. Each is a ½ ounce bottle.
Starbrite Tattoo Ink – Glowing Neon Set- 5 Colors
Go bold with neon ink. This collection contains Blue Freeze, Bubblegum Pink, Lime Green, Mango, and Canary Yellow.
StarBrite Colors Sterilized Tattoo Ink – 25 Essential Color Set
Outfit your studio with 25 of the most popular StarBrite ink colors. This kit comes with half-ounce bottles of everything from Yellow Ochre to Deep Purple to Jet Black Outlining. It even has neon Bubblegum Pink and Light Flesh Tone.
Intenze probably has the largest collection of colors on the market.
These vegan inks meet both USA and EU quality standards. A third-party lab verifies their purity after they are sterilized.
Artists recommend them because they flow well and go in nicely. Furthermore, the colors stay crisp and vibrant in the skin for years.
Intenze Authentic Zuper Black With Free Skin Companion Grey Wash
Line and shade like never before with Intenze’s Zuper Black and Grey Wash inks.
If someone asked us which is the blackest tattoo ink, we might reply that it’s Zuper Black.
100% Authentic Intenze Pigment Sets (Bob Tyrrell Ink Set)
Artist Bob Tyrrell created this 6-color ink set for artists who do realistic tattoos. It contains dark, medium, and light tones, plus Sculpting Black, Dimension Black, And High White.
Intenze 19 Color Tattoo Ink Set
Did you know that Intenze offers a money-back guarantee on their ink? You can try them for 30 days to see what you think.
This set of 19 colors includes everything from light magenta throughout the rainbow to true black and white.
Pastel Color Set – Intenze Tattoo Ink – 10 Bottles
Intenze’s gorgeous pastel set comes with C Foam Green, Lavender, Peach, Platinum, Baby Blue, Creamsicle, Carol’s Pink, Bahama Blue, Rose Pink, and Banana Creme.
Millennium Moms, aka Mom’s Ink by Millenium Colors
With a name like Mom’s, it’s no surprise that these inks are pure, bright, and safe.
They are vegan-friendly, with uncut, homogenized pigment dispersion. Artists appreciate how well they flow and how consistent the colors are.
US company Technical Tattoo Supply has been manufacturing Mom’s ink since the 1990s. They now offer more than 120 shades.
If you’re looking for black light-sensitive ink, try Mom’s Nuclear Colors.
Tattoo Ink Set – MOM’S Nuclear UV Blacklight Colors
Here they are – colors that glow under black light.
This set of nine ½-ounce bottles includes Purple Haze, Blue Smoke, Atomic Green, Raging Magenta, Radiant Pink, Afterglow Yellow, Smoldering Orange, Red Dawn, and Invisible Fallout.
Yes, they contain phosphorous as it’s the safest and best way to create that brilliant radiance. But they also look vibrant under ordinary light.
Take note that the Invisible Fallout ink is literally invisible under normal lighting conditions.
Millennium Moms EXOTIC SET Tattoo Ink
It’s hard to resist this set of fourteen ink colors. It features popular shades like Kentucky Blue Grass, Viper Red, and Danger Zone Orange.
When unopened, each ink has up to a 5-year shelf life. Give them a shake every month or so to keep them in top condition when you’re not using them.
MOM’S Shading Series Set – Greywash
Mom’s also offers this set with four shades of graywash. It goes from dark to light gradients.
When you use this pre-made set, you’ll get consistent shading each time.
Bloodline, Formerly Known as Skin Candy
Bloodline began making inks in 1995. They manufacture vegan water-based inks in California.
Instead of dispersing the pigment with toxic carriers, their commitment to using water means that tattoos heal more quickly.
They have a wide variety of colors that have a shelf life of over two years.
If you need ultra-black ink for tribal designs, try theirs.
Skin Candy Tattoo Ink 14 Color Starter Kit by Bloodline
Cover all the basics with this set of 1-ounce bottles. It comes with everything but black.
For example, you’ll get All-Purpose White, Candy Apple Red, Bellbottom Blue, and San Brownadino.
Bloodline UV Blacklight Colors Tattoo Ink – UV Yellow
Bloodline also makes UV reactive inks that glow under black light.
One example is this UV Yellow available in a ½ ounce bottle.
Radiant Colors manufactures ink in the USA. They use uncut homogenized pigment. Then the ink is sterilized as well.
Radiant Colors 7 Color Primary Set Tattoo Ink
This basic set makes sure you have everything you need. It comes with Tribal Black, Super White, and primary colors to mix your own shades.
Victor Portugal Set of 6 — 1oz Bottles — Radiant Colors Tattoo Ink
Famed tattoo artist Victor Portugal is a master shader who does biomechanical, realistic, and portrait tattoos.
If you’re anxious to improve your shading work, try this personalized set with four shaders and one liner. It’s perfect for black and gray art.
Dynamic Inks started in 1990 in the USA.
Fans respect the company’s ethics as well as their ultra-vibrant shades.
In fact, their smooth-flowing inks are so bold you may need to cut them to create softer tones.
Plus, the large bottles come in handy when you use a lot of product.
Dynamic Black Ink Bottle
Get what may be the best tattoo ink for outlining. This 8-ounce bottle of Dynamic Ink is a top seller.
The straightforward no-nonsense packaging isn’t flashy. It doesn’t have to be because it has one of the best reputations in the business.
Dynamic Color Triple Black Tattoo Ink
The Triple Black ink is the blackest of black with an especially high pigment load. Compare it to the regular Dynamic Black and see for yourself.
It’s made of carbon black, acrylic polymer, isopropyl alcohol, and water.
Dynamic Color Tattoo Ink Set of 12
This American-made set of tattoo inks comes with a dozen bold colors like Fire Red, violet, green, and black.
The Tattoo Ink Brands to Avoid
After reviewing these top brands of tattoo ink, it’s almost a shame to have to mention the tattoo ink brands to avoid.
Without naming names, we can give you some guidelines.
In general, inks made in the USA or the European Union are supposed to adhere to higher standards for safety. They avoid heavy metals and other toxins per FDA rules. And you can request the safety data sheets (SDS) to learn about any potential hazards.
Also, reputable companies maintain fresh stock and put an expiration date on each bottle.
Meanwhile, not every country has stringent rules about ink ingredients and production. That’s why many artists won’t buy budget-price inks made in Asia.
If you ever have a question about an ink’s safety, or whether the ink you bought is counterfeit, contact the manufacturer directly.
We hope that you never look at tattoo inks the same way again after reading this article. It’s essential to know which brands you can trust.
After all, your reputation and your clients’ well-being are on the line.
Which are your favorite tattoo ink brands? What do you love about them? Let us know in the comments below.
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tattoo_ink accessed July 17, 2019