Let’s face it, even if you’re the most skilled tattoo artist in the world, your work will only be as good as the ink you’re using will allow. Therefore, you’re probably wondering what’s the best tattoo ink out there.
The best inks on the market for colored tattoos include Intenze ink, Millennial Moms ink, and World Famous Ink. For tattooists that specialize in black and gray art, the best choices are Nocturnal, Panthera, and element ink.
Read on to find out more about the best tattoo inks available on the market. You’ll also find useful guidelines to follow when choosing a tattoo ink to buy.
Table of Contents
- Top Ten Best Tattoo Ink to Use in 2022
- Factors to Consider When Buying Tattoo Ink
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Ten Best Tattoo Ink to Use in 2022
Here are some of the safest, most durable, most vibrant tattoo inks available on the market in 2022:
1. Intenze Ink1. Intenze Ink
Intenze tattoo inks are the ones that are used by some of the world’s premier tattoo artists, including Steve Butcher and Bob Tyrrell.
This is no coincidence, these inks are produced right here in the US, which ensures that their quality is up to excellent standards. In terms of ingredients, Intenze inks use vegan, cruelty-safe ones and are sterilized using gamma radiation.
Additionally, this fade-resistant ink comes in a wide variety of colors, including “Bahama Blue” and “Sea Foam Green”.
- Third-party tested for ingredient safety
- Uses vegan, cruelty-free ingredients
- Has a diverse range of colors, including pastels
- Not the best option for white ink
2. Dynamic Ink2. Dynamic Ink
Having over 30 years of experience, the Dynamic tattoo ink brand is world-renowned for being the best option the market has to offer in terms of black ink. The black color of this ink is incredibly deep, giving you excellent healed results that stand the test of time.
As with the majority of premium tattoo ink brands out there, Dynamic exclusively uses skin-safe, cruelty-free ingredients. Additionally, their products come in a fully sterilized container that’s heat-sealed with Dynamic’s stamp of authenticity.
- The consistency of the ink gives it a smooth flow rate
- Its Deep black color is ideal for lining
- Easy to wipe from customers’ skin as you work
- Not the best option for colors other than black
3. World Famous Ink3. World Famous Ink
If you’re looking for a diverse palette of color options, World Famous is another tattoo ink brand that’ll provide you with just that.
The vibrancy of World Famous ink colors doesn’t come at the expense of safety. This ink is produced with 100% vegan ingredients that are never tested on animals.
Additionally, World Famous makes it a priority to protect you from counterfeit products. Each container of World Famous ink comes with a code that you can scan to confirm its authenticity. In turn, you can use this product on your customers with complete ease of mind.
- Vegan, cruelty-free, ingredients
- Skin-safe ingredients free of heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
- A great option for both black and colored inks
- Its price tag may be unattractive to some
4. Allegory Ink4. Allegory Ink
If you’re looking for tattoo ink to use for your shading and lining needs, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than Allegory ink.
This ink comes in black and white and is mixable. This allows you to provide your customers with tattoos that have intricate details and highlights.
Additionally, the smooth, butter-like consistency of this ink makes it a joy to work with. It also gives you the ability to give your customers their money’s worth in terms of tattoo quality.
You should also note that Allegory ink is 100% skin-safe and vegan-friendly.
- An excellent option for lining and shading
- Has a smooth consistency, yielding great results
- Locally produced in the USA
- Only comes in black and white
5. Bloodline Ink5. Bloodline Ink
Bloodline is known worldwide for the vibrancy of its inks’ colors. Not only that, but the brand has a reputation for producing some of the fastest healing inks that the market has to offer.
Another perk of using Bloodline ink is that it has a shelf life of up to two years. This is twice the amount of time that the average tattoo ink lasts.
Furthermore, Bloodline is well-known as a brand that supports many humanitarian campaigns worldwide. The most prominent of these campaigns is Food For Life, which helps combat poverty in the Philippines.
Therefore, by buying Bloodline inks, you’ll be helping make the world a better place.
- Comes in 12 mixable, vibrant colors
- Lasts for two years even after the container seal has been broken
- Uses industry-leading fast-healing pigments
- Some of Bloodline’s product ranges contain phosphorus, which can cause skin irritation
6. Kuro Sumi Ink6. Kuro Sumi Ink
Originally manufactured in Japan using a local traditional formula, Kuro Sumi inks are now produced in the USA. The brand is certified and fully in compliance with EU Reach standards thanks to its organic, non-toxic, cruelty-free formula.
Many professional tattoo artists opt to use Kuro Sumi ink because of the amazing vibrancy of its colors. Using this ink is bound to get you plenty of referrals through your existing customers when their friends ask them where they had their tattoos done.
- 100% organic, skin-safe, cruelty-free ingredients
- An equally great option for high-quality black and colored inks
- There’s a high risk of ending up with a counterfeit product
7. Element Ink7. Element Ink
If you’re in search of an affordable tattoo ink to use for gray-scale tattoos, Element ink is the choice for you.
This ink comes in three shades of gray, light, medium, and dark. These shades are mixable, giving you the ability to create a wide spectrum of gray shades to suit your needs.
Additionally, all of Element’s products are cruelty-free and made using organic, vegan-friendly ingredients.
- Three different shades of gray allow for intricate detail in gray-scale tattoos
- Excellent quality compared to other inks in its price range
- The colors available aren’t as diverse as other products in this guide
8. Millennial Moms Ink8. Millennial Moms Ink
Since its inception 24 years ago, Millennial Moms has become one of the leading brands in the market for tattoo inks. The variety of ink colors it offers is unparalleled, with over 80 vibrant shades available.
What really sets apart Millenial Moms ink is its consistency and flow rate. This ink has a buttery texture that makes it incredibly smooth and easy to work with. This is a big reason why so many professional tattoo artists choose to use it.
- Excellent consistency and smooth flow rate make for excellent results
- Vegan, skin-safe, cruelty-free ingredients
- Available in over 80 colors
- Not the most affordable option out there
9. Panthera Ink9. Panthera Ink
Who knows what you need in tattoo ink better than tattoo artists with decades of experience? The answer to that question is probably nobody.
This is what sets Panthera inks apart. The company was started 22 years ago by a duo of tattoo artists that had already been in the game for 25 years.
While this Italian brand offers a variety of ink colors, it mainly specializes in black and gray ink. Panthera produces some of the highest quality, longest-lasting black inks on the market. This quality isn’t just in performance, but also in safety. These inks are 100% organic and skin-safe.
- Made using 100% organic, vegan, high-quality ingredients
- Made by tattoo artists with over 30 years of experience
- Panthera’s patented technology makes this ink highly resistant to sun-fade
- Imported from Italy, making it more expensive than US-based inks
10. Nocturnal Ink10. Nocturnal Ink
Although not as established as many of the other brands in this guide, Nocturnal’s inks can more than hold their own.
These inks are 100% skin-safe and organic, all while not compromising on their color quality and consistency.
Nocturnal inks come in black and white and can be mixed together in different proportions to create multiple shades of gray. Therefore, if you’re a tattoo artist who mainly uses these colors in your work, then this ink is just right for you.
- Fully organic, containing only organic pigment, ethyl alcohol, and sterilized water
- Created by world-renowned tattoo artists
- Only available in black and white
Factors to Consider When Buying Tattoo Ink
Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing a tattoo ink that you’ll enjoy working with and will leave your customers satisfied with the results:
Ingredients & Safety
Since the tattoo ink you buy ends up in your customers’ skin, ensuring that this ink is composed of safe, non-toxic ingredients is paramount. Some tattoo ink manufacturers use toxic materials that make the ink’s color more pronounced or improve the ink’s consistency.
The main red flags you should be on the lookout for are ingredients such as heavy metals, which include lead and chromium.
You should also avoid buying inks that have acenaphthene, fluorene, fluoranthene, or any other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in them.
Failing to do so puts your customers at risk of developing skin conditions, and in some extreme cases, cancer.
Another aspect of the ink’s ingredients you should check is if they’re ethically sourced.
Another factor to keep in mind when choosing a tattoo ink is how long it lasts. This also depends on the ink’s ingredients.
In turn, you should be mindful of the levels of metal salts, plastics, and iron oxides the ink contains.
The highest quality tattoo inks can last up to ten years without fading and requiring your customers to get a touch-up.
Texture & Consistency
The texture of the tattoo ink you buy is also a big part of its quality. How thick or runny tattoo inks are is determined by the carrier substance the manufacturer uses to suspend the pigments in.
Generally speaking, the thicker a tattoo ink is, the higher its quality and the better results it gives.
However, inks that are too thick can make your life as a tattoo artist more difficult. You should go for an ink that has a moderate thickness. Such inks are usually alcohol or glycerine-based.
You should also consider the color consistency of tattoo inks. Getting a color-consistent product will allow you to do your job without having to worry about shade mismatches.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions (and their answers) regarding tattoo ink:
How long does tattoo ink last after being opened?
Tattoo inks typically last for a year once their container has been opened. In order for tattoo inks to reach their maximum potential shelf life, you need to store them in the proper conditions.
This involves keeping them in a cool, dry cabinet that protects them from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. The optimum temperature for tattoo ink ranges from 60 to 77℉.
Is it safe to tattoo with expired ink?
Once your tattoo ink has surpassed its expiration date, it becomes unsafe to use.
This is because expired tattoo ink is likely to contain harmful bacteria that can give your customers infections. Even if this doesn’t happen, the results expired tattoo ink gives aren’t up to par.
What tattoo color lasts the longest?
Some tattoo ink colors last longer than others in your customers’ skin before they need to come in for a touch-up.
The longest-lasting tattoo colors are typically black and gray. These are the colors that maintain their integrity the best and take the longest to fade.
If you’re wondering about the best tattoo ink available on the market today, the answer is that the right choice for you depends on your needs. You should base your decision of which ink to go for on the type of tattoos you typically do.
If you’re an artist that mainly does black and gray tattoos, your best bet is to go for Nocturnal, Panthera, or Element ink.
On the other hand, if you’re more specialized in colored tattoos, the best options for you are Millenial Moms, Intenze, and World Famous ink.
When making your choice, be sure to familiarize yourself with the ingredients, consistency, and durability of the ink you’ll buy, while pairing it with one of the best tattoo guns.
If you’re dealing with a client struggling with a particularly painful spot, check out our list of best tattoo numbing creams as well.
If you’re looking to stay up to date with new tattoo tools and techniques, we recommend visiting a tattoo convention.