Vegan Tattoo Inks: Ensuring A Tattoo will be Vegan!

In the past few years, vegan tattoo has become quite the phenomenon all over the world. Veganism has become a way of life for so many people.

Tattoos are great, but in a world where animals are so exploited in almost everything, how can you be sure that your tattoos are in line with your ethics?

Before you go to your tattoo artist, there are a few things you need to know. Never assume that everything is vegan. Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if you're annoying, it's your right to be inquisitive!

Tattoos are personal, and your tattoo artist should cater to your every need. If your artist isn't willing to use vegan options that you take/or provide them for you, then there are other places to go. They can't run a business catering to customers, without catering to them.

Your money is better spent elsewhere, on someone who respects you and gives you what you want. Don't be rude but to buy vegan options yourself and bring them to your artist to use on you.

If there is a vegan friendly tattoo studio near you (or vegan artist) go to them. Asking studios if they have someone who can do a vegan tattoo shows that there is a demand, and they will be more likely to start stocking vegan products and be more vegan friendly! So, don't be afraid to ask, in the long run this will help other vegans!

Below are some common ingredients that can be found in tattoo inks and products used in the tattooing process, which are not vegan:

Glycerin: Made from animal fat, glycerin is a common ink stabilizer used to make the ink easier to work with. (But many brands use vegetable glycerin).

Bone char: Black ink, the most popular and most widely used ink of all, is often made from bone char, which is the soot from burned animal bones. Inks containing bone char are said to achieve the darkest, brightest shade of black. (Indian Ink in black ink, made from burnt animal bones).

Gelatin: Made from animal hooves, gelatin is a binder and a frequent ink ingredient.

Shellac: Shellac is used as a binder and is made from beetles.

Indigotin 1: green ink often contains "Indigotin one", a pigment or color made from Sour Indigotin - which is derived from a special type of snail, which is killed for Indigotin in particular. (As for the green color of many things: even some producers of wasabi paste mix animal-based indigotin into the product).

Lanolin: Made from sheep's wool, lanolin is a common ingredient in lotions, ointments, re-hydrating strips, transfer papers and ointments used during the tattooing process, as well as in aftercare products.

Beeswax: Used in aftercare lotions and ointments.

Cod liver oil: used in aftercare lotions and ointments.

Vaseline: can be filtered through Bone Char, or owned by a company that tests on animals (Vaseline is owned by Unilever).

Of course, some of the things listed above may be vegan (vegetable glycerin, black ink etc) but it's always good not to just assume they are vegan!

Many tattoo inks are vegan friendly, so don't despair, in fact some of the biggest name brand of tattoo inks are vegan! You may find listings that say some inks are vegan, when in fact they are not, so be super careful, We've listed below to information that confirms they are vegan! This is because there is some conflicting information out there about some brands (especially black inks). Please contact the companies themselves - and let me know if any information has changed.

List of vegan tattoo inks:

Ink Pots Sweden Gothenburg


SkinCandy / Bloodline (organic)


Electric Ink


Eternal Ink

Stable colour


Fusion (organic)

Alla Prima (organic)

IMAX tattooing - Brands include: akkuro Sumi Blacks, Makkuro Sumi Colors, Azayaka Live Tattoo Colors, Universal Blacks, Cobra Inks, Flashing Colors, Glam Colors, Pure Colors.

This is not a complete list, if you know of any more inks that are actually vegan, send us a message and we will look into it.

Vegan Alternative to Vaseline:


Care Jelly

Organic Vaseline (it's not actually Vaseline)

Un-Petroleum Jelly (not even a petrolium product)

Merry Hempsters tattoo salve (although this is more aftercare, your tattooist can use it during tattooing)

You can also use water-based lubricant (it's vegan of course)

Lush Ultrabalm

Inkeeze green glide

Always ask tattoo artist near you if they're comfortable using these options, and if you choose to bring one, make sure they're okay with it beforehand! Communication is key! Green soaps and alcohol: always ask your tattoo artist if the glycerin in green soap is vegetable! Medical grade/rubbing alcohol is vegan. If your tattoo artist can't confirm green soaps glycerin origin, ask them to use or bring your own:

Dr Bronners

H20ceans Blue Green Foam soap

Inkeeze hand sanitizer

Razors: the majority of razors have moisture strips that contain lanolin or glycerin derived from animal fat. They may also come from brands that test on animals, even if they do not have moisture strips. Below I have listed some vegan suitable razors, you can put your own or shave before your tattoo appointment.

Persons - Tri-Flexxx Women's system, Halo 5-Blade Women's system, Tri-Flexxx Men's system, Comfort Touch disposables. Razor Refills - Halo 5-Blade, Tri-Flexx for men, Tri-Flexxx for women.

Preserve - Preserve Tripe Blade, Triple Blade Refills.