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8+ Best Tattoo Ink Brands In 2021: Reviews & Buying Guide

by  Kin Liu -  Last updated on September 6, 2021
Best Tattoo Ink Brands

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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 inks with the brightest colors.

You’ll learn about the companies that make the best black tattoo inks 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.

 

What Criteria To Consider When Choosing Tattoo Inks?

 

Where was the tattoo ink made?

Tattoo ink is regulated by the European Union and the USA. Tattoo inks from these areas have to meet strict health and safety requirements before being sold to customers. Tattoo inks in California must meet even higher standards.

Although there is no one location that is more suitable for sourcing ingredients than another, certain countries have higher manufacturing standards. This includes Japan, the United States, and several regions in Europe (such as Italy).

These inks are safest to use for tattooing and the top ten tattoo inks come from these countries.

The ingredients

Is the company using organic and vegan-friendly ingredients? These are likely to be more gentle & safer on human skin.

To ensure safety in skincare and tattoo inks, the ingredients must be rigorously tested.

Tattoo inks must adhere to safety and health guidelines, therefore, the tattoo ink’s ingredients should be:

  • Sterilized
  • Vegan friendly/Organic
  • Animals not tested
  • Standards comparable to those in the US and EU
  • Non-toxic

How long-lasting are the tattoo ink colors?

While the ink may look beautiful in the bottle, how long will it last? is a much more important question to ask.

While the quality of tattoos mainly depends on how skilled and well-trained the tattoo artist is, high-quality ink also plays an important factor.

Good tattoo inks won’t spread considerably during inking or leak while the tattoo heals. High-quality inks will help your tattoo heal faster than lower-quality inks.

Moreover, high-quality inks remain looking great for a much longer period of time.

Inks and Tattoo Colors

Make sure you know the ingredients of the ink before you buy and apply it to your skin. 

Pigments and carriers can be very different from brand to brand; just because a tattoo ink is the color you like, doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. 

Avoid inks that contain heavy metals and any other ingredients that could trigger an allergic reaction.

 

Pre-dispersed Inks Vs. 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.

The only brands we will review today are those that make these kinds of inks.

 

Quick Comparison

If you don’t want to read the full article then check out our favorite products in the table below.

 

Best Tattoo Ink Brands That Professional Artists Use

Following are the best tattoo ink brands in no particular order. They can all be purchased online. Follow the links to see examples of quality products.

 

1. Kuro Sumi

Kuro Sumi tattoo ink began in Japan, but now manufactures their top quality tattoo inks in the USA.

Artists love their tattoo 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 tattoo inks lay 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 tattoo ink includes black for lining and two gray washes for shading.

The kuro sumi tattoo ink are 6-ounce bottles.

The texture is consistent, as are the colors.

All tattoo inks are 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 tattoo ink.

 

2. World Famous

The next best 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 these top tattoo inks with gamma radiation.

Artists like Jose Becerra, Matt Hixson, and Lydia Bruno use World Famous.

Six Bottle Simple Color Set – World Famous Tattoo Ink

Experience World Famous tattoo inks 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 tattoo 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.

 

3. StarBrite Colors

StarBrite is a trademark of Tommy’s Supplies. They make 160 colors of tattoo inks.

These top tattoo inks are 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 a 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 tattoo ink.

The highly pigmented tattoo inks flow 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 tattoo 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 tattoo 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.

 

4. Intenze

Intenze tattoo ink probably has the largest collection of colors on the market.

These top tattoo inks meet both USA and EU quality standards. A third-party lab verifies their purity after they are sterilized.

Tattoo 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 tattoo inks.

If someone asked us what are the blackest tattoo inks, we might reply that it’s Zuper Black.

100% Authentic Intenze Pigment Sets (Bob Tyrrell tattoo 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 ink.

Intenze 19 Color Tattoo Ink Set

Did you know that Intenze tattoo ink offers a money-back guarantee on their tattoo inks? You can try them for 30 days to see what you think.

This set of 19 vibrant colors includes everything from light magenta throughout the rainbow to true black and white ink.

Pastel Color Set – Intenze Tattoo Ink – 10 Bottles

Intenze tattoo ink gorgeous pastel set comes with C Foam Green, Lavender, Peach, Platinum, Baby Blue, Creamsicle, Carol’s Pink, Bahama Blue, Rose Pink, and Banana Creme.

 

5. Millennium Moms, aka Mom’s Tattoo Ink by Millenium Colors

With a name like Mom’s, it’s no surprise that these tattoo 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 tattoo ink since the 1990s. They now offer more than 120 shades. We feel this is one of the best tattoo inks on the market.

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 UV blacklight ink is literally invisible under normal lighting conditions.

Millennium Moms EXOTIC SET Tattoo Ink

It’s hard to resist this set of fourteen tattoo ink colors. It features popular shades like Kentucky Blue Grass, Viper Red, and Danger Zone Orange and is of high quality.

When unopened, each tattoo ink has up to 5-year shelf life. Give them a shake every month or so to keep them in the best 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.

 

6. Bloodline​, Formerly Known as Skin Candy

Bloodline tattoo ink began making tattoo 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 and this is of high quality.

They have a wide variety of colors that have a shelf life of over two years.

If you need ultra-black tattoo 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 tattoo ink also makes UV-reactive tattoo inks that glow under black light.

One example is this UV Yellow available in a ½ ounce bottle.

 

7. Radiant Colors

Radiant Colors manufactures tattoo ink in the USA. They use uncut homogenized pigment. Then the tattoo 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 a one-liner. It’s perfect for black and gray art.

 

8. Dynamic Inks 

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 tattoo 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 this quality product.

Dynamic Black Tattoo Ink Bottle

Get what may be the best tattoo ink for outlining. This 8-ounce bottle of Dynamic Tattoo Ink is a best 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 tattoo 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 best 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, tattoo 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 tattoo ink ingredients and production. That’s why many artists won’t buy budget-price tattoo inks made in Asia.

If you ever have a question about an ink’s safety, or whether the tattoo ink you bought is counterfeit, contact the manufacturer directly.

 

Conclusion

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 client’s 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.

Resources:

 1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tattoo_ink

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