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When used for highlighting, white ink makes a tattoo pop.
Or by itself, it creates a delicate image that’s barely there.
If you’re looking for a niche where you can make serious cash, you could become a tattoo artist specializing in white ink.
But are white tattoos a good idea?
Does white ink fade quickly?
We’ll address those questions and more in our review of the best white tattoo inks.
- Why You Need White Tattoo Ink
- Do White Ink Tattoos Fade?
- Why Does White Ink Hurt More than Other Colors?
- Dynamic Heavy White Tattoo Ink – 8oz. Bottle
- Dynamic Tattoo Ink, White, 8 oz
- POWER WHITE Millennium Moms 1/2oz Tattoo Ink
- Authentic Radiant Colors U Pick Tattoo Ink SUPER WHITE
- Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink, Samurai White, 2 Ounce
- StarBrite Colors Tattoo Ink Brite White, 4 oz
- Intenze Tattoo Ink Snow White Opaque, 1 oz
- Authentic Intenze Bob Tyrrell Specialty Ink High White
- White Bowery Series – Intenze Tattoo Ink
- Element Tattoo Supply White Tattoo Ink
- World Famous Ink — White House
- Bloodline Tattoo Ink – All Purpose White
- Dynamic White Tattoo Ink – Long Lasting Ink
- Shine White – Nocturnal Tattoo Ink – Pick Your Size
- VIKING INK USA Tattoo Ink, White Ultra
- Viking Tattoo Ink, White from the ARTIST SET by Javier Obregón
- Temporary White Ink Tattoos
- Tips and Ideas for Using White Ink
- How to Keep a White Tattoo from Fading
Why You Need White Tattoo Ink
Here are just a few reasons why white tattoo ink on hand.
White ink tattoos are popular among people who want subtle body art.
Plus, white ink highlights boost portraits and geometric designs to a whole new level of artistry.
Of course, mixing white ink with other colors creates unique shades.
Or you might get a request to alter an old tattoo by lightening it with white ink first (1).
And white on black tattoos are simply stunning.
Do White Ink Tattoos Fade?
Yes, white ink tattoos fade more quickly than other colors. They may also look yellow or resemble scars more than tattoos.
But it’s not the ink that changes color – it’s because you’re viewing the ink through the pigment of your skin (2). That’s what makes it hard to predict how a white tattoo will look on any particular person once it’s healed.
Fortunately, white tattoos are very easy to cover up with makeup if needed.
Why Does White Ink Hurt More than Other Colors?
Don’t blame it on the ink. The reason why those white highlights are causing you agony is that your skin is already raw from all the work done beforehand (3).
Happily, you can spare your client some of the pain. Be sure to use a richly-pigmented white ink so that you won’t need to go over it again and again.
Check out our top picks below to see the best white inks in the tattoo industry.
Dynamic Heavy White Tattoo Ink – 8oz. Bottle
Dynamic’s Heavy White ink is a vibrant white that’s ideal for highlights, black on white tattoos, or lining white tattoos. It won’t look creamy or translucent once the skin is healed.
This ink should stay visible and true to color for years to come.
Dynamic Tattoo Ink, White, 8 oz
American company Dynamic Inks has also been around for more than two decades. The plain labels on their ink bottles might deceive you into thinking that these are cut-rate products.
On the contrary, these are some of the most trusted inks in the business. Moreover, they sterilize each bottle before it goes out the door.
One thing we liked is that they sell the ink in 8-ounce containers, which is convenient if you use a lot.
Use their regular white ink for portraits and blending colors.
POWER WHITE Millennium Moms 1/2oz Tattoo Ink
Mom’s ink is one of the best tattoo ink brands on the market. It’s made by an American company called Technical Tattoo Supply. They’ve been in the business for over two decades.
This ink is vegan-friendly with highly concentrated pigment that’s homogenized for even dispersion. It flows smoothly and stays bright once it’s healed, unlike some white inks.
Use Power White for highlights and white ink tattoos.
Authentic Radiant Colors U Pick Tattoo Ink SUPER WHITE
Radiant Colors comes from Mexico, where they have a tattoo studio. With local artists, they developed their line of ink. Each is sterilized before shipping.
Unlike some inks, this white flows quickly into the skin.
Choose from a variety of sizes according to your needs.
Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink, Samurai White, 2 Ounce
Kuro Sumi ink originated in Japan but is now manufactured in the USA. It’s organic and vegan-friendly. Furthermore, you can download safety data sheets and other information from their site for free.
Artists who use this brand of ink say that tattoos heal quickly and the colors stay bright.
Something to note: if the bottle you receive has a black and white label, it may not be authentic. Unfortunately, counterfeit ink is a big problem for all the major brands these days.
Knockoffs are cheaper but likely to be full of toxic chemicals and heavy metals as well as unsterile. If the price looks too good to be true, it usually is. When in doubt, contact the manufacturer directly for details on how to tell what’s real.
StarBrite Colors Tattoo Ink Brite White, 4 oz
StarBrite Colors is made by Tommy’s Supplies in the USA. It’s highly pigmented and easy to use. Each batch is irradiated to sterilize it.
Intenze Tattoo Ink Snow White Opaque, 1 oz
Intenze’s ink is manufactured according to both USA and European Union quality standards. An external laboratory verifies its purity once it’s sterilized.
The White Opaque ink best for mixing with other colors. As a standalone ink for white tattoos, it’s subtle.
Authentic Intenze Bob Tyrrell Specialty Ink High White
Artist Bob Tyrrell specializes in portrait work. He created this shade of High White to accompany black and gray ink for realistic portraits.
White Bowery Series – Intenze Tattoo Ink
“Bowery Stan” Moskowitz developed this shade of white early on in his career. It’s ideal for retro and classic styles.
Element Tattoo Supply White Tattoo Ink
Element Tattoo Supply is a popular tattoo brand. They are located in California where they make water-based inks that are vegan-friendly.
Since the rich pigment in this Heavy White ink is dispersed in water, it helps tattoos heal more rapidly.
Artists who’ve tried it say that the texture is thick and the color is bright in the skin.
World Famous Ink — White House
World Famous has been in business for over 50 years. They make non-toxic, sterile, vegan inks used by artists like Lydia Bruno who appeared on Spike TVs Inkmaster.
Bloodline Tattoo Ink – All Purpose White
Use Portrait White ink from Bloodline to make your portraits stand out from the rest.
On the plus side, this compact 1-ounce bottle is TSA-approved for flying.
Dynamic White Tattoo Ink – Long Lasting Ink
You’ll notice that Italian artist Michele Turco uses this shade in portrait work. Check out his Instagram feed to see it in action.
Shine White – Nocturnal Tattoo Ink – Pick Your Size
Nocturnal Tattoo Ink was started by artists Franco Vescovi and Jack Rudy. They planned to create a line of inks that shade smoothly and feel as fluid as drawing inks.
Shine White ink has only three ingredients: sterilize water, ethyl alcohol, and organic pigment. It blends with other brands if needed.
Choose from one, 2, 4, or 8-ounce bottles.
VIKING INK USA Tattoo Ink, White Ultra
Viking Ink is made in the USA from vegan ingredients.
Their White Ultra shade works for lining white tattoos, filling, and highlighting. It saturates well and looks bright
Viking Tattoo Ink, White from the ARTIST SET by Javier Obregón
This white was created by the artist Javier Obregón.
Another interesting fact about Viking Tattoo Ink is that it’s one of the few legal brands that can be used in Spain.
Temporary White Ink Tattoos
Offer temporary white tattoos to your clients who are hesitant to commit to the real thing. Of course, it won’t turn out the same, but it could wet their enthusiasm for more.
White Henna Temporary Tattoo by Dearbeauty
These temporary tattoos are hand-drawn by Dearbeauty artist. They’ve been featured in various popular magazines. Plus, they’re sold by retailers like Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom.
Unlike the inexpensive Asian-made temporary tattoos that endure for just a day or two, this white ink can last up to two weeks. It’s non-toxic and waterproof.
Just like a kid’s fake tattoo, you’ll need to wash and dry the skin first. Peel off the plastic and put the tattoo face down on your body. Then place a damp sponge on top to soak the paper. Hold it for up to 20 seconds, then peel off the paper.
Ta-da, instant white tattoo!
To keep it in top condition, don’t use oil-based lotions or sunscreens over the top.
Body Paint – ProAiir White Temporary Tattoo Ink
It’s also possible to airbrush temporary tattoo ink for long-lasting results.
This brand is made in the USA. It uses FDA-approved cosmetic-grade alcohol and pigments and has a long shelf life.
The thin texture flows smoothly to avoid clogs.
On the skin, the ink is waterproof and can last up to two weeks. It withstands humidity, high heat, sweat, and swimming.
If it needs to be removed, you can use alcohol or oil to dissolve it.
Custom Body Art Airbrush Temporary Tattoo Ink Kit
If you want to try the white ink from Custom Body Art, you’ll need to buy the entire set of all sixteen colors. But each bottle is good for several applications. Additionally, the ink is water-resistant and can last up to 10 days.
Tips and Ideas for Using White Ink
As a novice artist, you’ll probably spend a lot of time working with black ink. But take the time to practice with white as it adds visually stimulating dimensions to ordinary images. Just take a look at the geometric designs done by artist Nathan Mould. He specializes in white on black.
White on black tattoos take a long time to complete. Once everything is shaded black, the skin has to heal before any white ink can be added.
On the other hand, a white tattoo may be fairly quick for an artist to complete. Once healed, it’s like it’s barely there. In other words, white ink is perfect for folks who want a private image that doesn’t call attention to itself.
As a tattoo writer pointed out, white ink could also represent a painful memory that will fade in time (4).
As an artist, you may find that blending a minimal amount of color with the white ink can help it retain visibility better once the skin is healed.
One friend of ours also suggested working with a black light to make the white ink stand out a little better.
But you may be wondering if white ink is light reactive. Will it glow under black light? No, not especially.
At this time, we didn’t find any light-reactive white ink that we could recommend. The closest we came was the Invisible Fallout color in the Nuclear collection from Mom’s. But since it has a sort of greenish glow under black light, it might not match the effect you’re trying to achieve with the white ink.
How to Keep a White Tattoo from Fading
As we pointed out earlier, white ink fades faster than other colors. It may also look not true to color as the client’s own skin tone affects the results.
If you want to keep a white tattoo from fading, protect it from sunlight. UV radiation is the number one reason why tattoos fade.
Tell your clients to cover up their tattoos with sunscreen or clothing to preserve their ink as bright as possible.
Have you tried white tattoo ink already? We’d love to know what you did with it and how it worked for you. Let us know in the comments.
In the meantime, it’s smart to try different brands of white ink so that you can get a feel for which works best for your art. We hope we helped you find what you need today.
1. https://indyskinrenew.com/tattoo-cover-ups-partial-lightening/ by Stacey, published September 21, 2016, accessed July 23, 2019
2. https://scene360.com/art/98199/white-on-black-tattoos/ by Morgan English, published September 1, 2016, accessed July 23, 2019
3. https://www.inkedmag.com/profiles-and-features-on-the-best-tattoo-artists-in-the-world/why-tattooing-white-highlights-hurts by Devon Preston, published October 30, 2018, accessed July 22, 2019
4. https://scene360.com/art/59264/white-ink-tattoos/ by Morgan English, published April 30, 2014, accessed July 23, 2019