We talk about a lot of vegan and cruelty-free beauty products on this website, but today we want to bring attention to a beauty issue that many people don’t know might not be vegan. If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, do you know that most tattoo process involve animal products and aren’t cruelty free? When you get a tattoo, you need to be extra careful to make sure that you choose a tattoo parlor that offers vegan ink, cruelty-free tattooing materials, and vegan after-care products.
What Makes a Tattoo Vegan or Not Vegan?
There are many aspects of getting a tattoo that may not be vegan, the biggest one being the ink used for tattooing. Most tattoo shops use inks that contain pigments sourced from animals or their inks have ingredients in them that are derived from animals. In addition, the transfer papers that some tattoo parlors use to put designs on their customers’ skin for copying with ink may contain animal-derived ingredients. Many shops also finish the tattooing process by applying a tattoo balm to their patrons’ skin, and guess what, these tattoo balms are not typically vegan.
So, what do you do if you want to get inked and you want to keep animals safe? You follow these tips.
Ask About Ink
To make sure you’re getting a vegan tattoo, you need to ask the tattoo shops you’re interested in whether or not they can use vegan ink on you. If they don’t know what vegan ink is, we suggest you move on to a shop that does. Traditional tattoo ink is loaded with animal products (not to mention some harmful chemicals that aren’t kind to humans), including glycerin from animal fats that are used as stabilizers. You might even find gelatin (it comes from pigs hooves) and shellac (sourced from beetles) in standard tattoo ink. Ask your potential tattoo artist if he or she or can use a vegan ink instead like StarBrite, Eternal, or SkinCandy.
Vegan Tattooing Products and Tattoo After-Care Products
It’s best if your tattoo shop is familiar with vegan tattooing products, such as transfer paper that doesn’t contain lanolin (derived from sheep’s wool, and most tattoo parlors use this) or after-care tattoo products like balms and salves that are plant-based and hopefully all natural. You’ll likely need transfer paper to get your art exactly the way you want it and your new tattoo will require a balm afterward, for hydration, ink longevity, and infection avoidance. Inquire about balm and salve products like The Merry Hempsters Vegan Tattoo Soft Salve and Ohana Organics shea butter-based tattoo butter. If your tattoo artist doesn’t have these products or anything similar, bring your own for immediate after-tattoo care and make sure you have some stocked up for use at home for about a week or so afterward.
Your tattoo will become a permanent part of your body, so make sure it’s made with something that will always reflect your values of kindness to animals and to yourself.