Best Tattoo Ink: Know the Basics Before Buying

The best tattoo ink has more than a good defined color, but what to look the get the right ones?

Not all tattoo inks are created equal. That alone is enough reason to always seek out the best tattoo ink for any jobs you would be doing.

Looking for quality does not mean that you have to break the bank, though.

We have found that it is less expensive to always go for the better tattoo inks than the cheap ones in the long run.

In this guide, we will discuss what to look out for, signs of good and bad inks and last but not least, the top 10 brands that offer reliability.

Why Should You Care as an Artist and as a Client?

As it is known, there as so many tattoo parlors around the world. Some of them offering relatively low prices and other almost hard to afford.

The point here is why is it important to care about the quality of the ink?

As an artist, after all you can just get that relatively inexpensive ink and get the job done anyway, right?

On the other hand, as a client you trust the artist and the quality of the equipment used such as well tuned tattoo machines, site cleanliness and the inks to be used.

Have you ever question the artist about the inks used for your tattoo?

More often than not, you and your client will end up regretting that you made such a decision.

For what reasons? Oh! We thought you’d never ask.


Disease Transmission

Some inks could come contaminated and can transmit diseases into your clients’ bloodstream.

Even if the tattoo machine and other pieces of equipment used are new and sterilized, the ink could be your greatest undoing.

Thinking of the amount of ink that goes into every job and how much of that ink will get into the bloodstream, you know that the contaminated ones can truly spread enough pathogens to cause concern in the bloodstream.


Poor Outcome

The best drawings will be ruined by poor inking.

The best tattoo inks carry true and defined colors that stay in the right hue even after scabbing and multiple washes.

We cannot say the same for the cheap inks.

They might look vibrant at the start but you will notice a decline in quality as time goes on.

This also puts a financial strain on client as they now have to worry about re-inking the tattoo instead of getting one that they can stick with for life.

Well, we know that at some point there will be a need for retouching the tattoos, if you care of course.

These two (2) points lead us to the last one.


Loss of Reputation

No one wants to go to the tattoo parlor where everyone is coming away with an potential infection.

At the same time, no one will see a fading tattoo on their friend and ask to go get inked in the same place.

Slowly, but surely, the reputation of the tattoo shop will be tarnished when clients have their say.

Finally, this could even result in loosing the shop license.

What to Look Out for When Buying the Best Tattoo Ink?

These simple signposts will guide you to the best brands and tattoo inks anytime you are making a purchase.


Best tattoo ink ingredients

Some brands decide to not tell what they have in their inks, claiming it is some sort of trade secret. Well, not much can be done to reveal this info.

Based on scientific research, red inks could contain mercury, cadmium and iron oxide. Other colors may contain others such as arsenic and lead.

Depending on the dose, these heavy metals can be adverse for human’s health.

So, if you are a tattoo addict, please consider that the more you ink your body, the higher the dose of heavy metals running through your blood stream.

It is recommended to buy from brands that declare what they have in their ink. Even at that, ensure they are using purely organic components in their products.

It is good to find more information about the inclusion of heavy metals in tattoo inks to give you peace of mind.


Color variety

The best tattoo ink brands have a variety of colors that can be chose from. Thus, you don’t have to buy just one color from one brand and go looking for other colors elsewhere.


Country of origin

Some countries have strict health laws and regulations when it comes to protect peoples health, so something as sensitive as tattoo inks will have to be federally rated to even make the market.

There have been numerous complaints about the authenticity of inks coming out of China, so you might want to stay away from that market.


Inks credibility

As it is with every other purchase, check the brand’s credibility before moving forward at all.

It is better to go with established brands that have a longstanding reputation and social proof behind them than a start-up.

We are not saying that start-ups are not good for competition, but only choose them when you know what you are doing.

Below we have listed a few good brands to select from.


Best tattoo ink for beginners

The best tattoo ink for beginners is not the one that is less expensive or easiest to find.

To make life easier as a rookie, some top brands offer affordable packages for you to practice.


If you really have a very tight budget, you can always consider buying the cheap ones coming from China.

You already know they can be harmful for humans, right?….but….

As what you need is to get experience and the feeling of tattooing, buying a practice kit that includes a fake skin (pig would be great) would be the go.



Vegan tattoo inks

Some of your customers will prefer vegan-friendly options, so it is not a bad idea to have a stack of them.

Fortunately, some good brands are doing a great work with non-animal-based ingredients in their inks. You will find this in our list further below.

Do’t worry, it is known that they perform well too.

The Top 10 Tattoo Ink Brands to Buy From

Now that you know what to look out for – which is also what we would keep in mind when shopping for the best tattoo ink – here are the brands that catch our fancy:


#1 Intenze

Intenze tattoo ink kitRead public reviews and rating

This brand has been here for almost fifty (50) years now. They must be doing something right to have lasted long in the market.

Intenze is so sure of their inks that they back them up with a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.

Seeing the bright and intense colors that you get from them; we don’t see why you will ever want your money back.

Also selling one of the very best black tattoo inks on the market, it is little wonder why they are the first on our list.


#2 Kuro Sumi

Kuro Sumi tattoo ink set - the vegan alternativeRead public reviews and rating

This Japanese company is named after an elite Japanese warrior force of the same name, distinguished by the markings on their body.

It is believed that these warriors do not die but live forever. It is, thus, little wonder that the company makes these inks to last forever on your skin also.

Actually, it is quite interesting their concept. I just think about my tattoos as to not fading over time. If a brand can offer me this, well, I will get them.

The inks are made from the best and most organic ingredients that the company can find.

Offering vegan options and at affordable prices too, you cannot go wrong with this brand either.


#3 Millennium Moms

Millennium Moms inksRead public reviews and rating

The name is a little misleading. We can assure you though that this does not mean the brand is for moms alone.


Any tattoo artist who cares about the flow and consistency of their ink, as well as the final output of the job, will try this ink brand out at least once.

From just a few selections of color when they started, this brand now has almost a hundred alternatives under its belt.

That allows them to ship some of the unique tattoo ink colors that you will come across.


#4 Bloodline

Bloodline products - Best tattoo ink for beginnersRead public reviews and rating

A bold name for a tattoo ink brand. Fortunately, they are not all bark and no bite.

Bloodline excels in making the tattoo shiny after it scabs and fully heals.

Made in the USA, there is a higher level of quality and adherence to health / safety standards.

The brand might have started in 1995, but they have come a long way in the market.

That is why they remain as the best tattoo ink for beginners and professionals alike, according to plenty of enthusiasts.


#5 StarBrite

StarBrite colors for tattoosRead public reviews and rating

StarBrite ticks all the right boxes.

They have been here since 1990, carry as many as 160 unique shades, and have been certified by the FDA itself.

The brand builds on that to create inks that are as consistent as they are smooth.

They know that the work of any good artist is challenging in itself so they aim to make that easier with their choice inks.

Promised to last forever, claims have also been made that the tattoo ink ingredients help to heal the skin faster.


#6 Radiant Colours

Radiant Colours set of 7 inksRead public reviews and rating

Where every other tattoo ink brand is focusing on creating a lot of colors, Radiant is more focused on helping you to bring your artistic side even more.

They have an ink set that comes with seven primary colors only and a ball bearing for mixing the hues.

Any true artist knows that they can create different shades and multiple unique colors when they have access to the primary ones.

On top of that, Radiant also boasts 100% organic manufacture materials and mouth-watering affordability to match.


#7 Eternal Ink

Eternal Ink - another vegan option for artistsRead public reviews and rating

Eternal? maybe.

They back up their claim with a promise of totally vegan products.

They have been around since the 1980’s so they do know what they are doing in this market.

Eternal Ink has stood out over time in the way it not only makes inks feeling great, but working with tattoo artists to know what they need best.


#8 Solid Ink

Coming out of Germany, Solid Ink is also certified by the EU laws for health and safety.

Their unique selling point is in super concentrating their inks so that they have high levels of intensity.

We guess they were not joking when they chose their names then.

With such a model, it is sure that their inks will last longer than average picks and take a long time to start washing off at all.


#9 Obsidian Ink

We have seen brands that make from tens to hundreds of different shades, but how about a brand that only focuses on the black?

That puts Obsidian ink on every list of the best black tattoo ink on the market.

As the name implies, this UK brand has dedicated its resources to make different shades of black ink for tattoo artists from all over the world.

They have enjoyed over 20 years of experience doing this, and surely, they will be here for many more years to come.


#10 Nocturnal Ink

Nocturnal Ink - only black professional colors - Franco Vescovi and Jack Rudy inksRead public reviews and rating

It is not every day that we find a tattoo ink company started by true tattoo artists.

The story of Nocturnal Ink is even more interesting that we think.

This is because it was tested by its founders for two (2) years before release to the market.

This says a lot of the quality of the inks. Wonder how many test were done before knowing what ingredients were safe to use on people.

The company was borne out of the need to create specialized tattoo inks.

Something like matching the quality of what was in vogue then while maintaining a darker, smoother, and more even shade.

After years of formulation and tests, that is what the cofounders (Franco Vescovi and Jack Rudy) achieved.

Best Tattoo Ink Wrap up

Tattoo artists have the responsibility to use safe inks with known ingredients.

By contrast, clients should ask their artist what inks are used and if so, the components. Of course, if you are into the vegan world, this is a must.

As you have seen, the market is full of alternatives. Most well known brand are located in Europe and USA.

But as the demand is high, mass produce of inks are also done in other part of the world.

All in all, don’t be cheap; the same way you want to have the best tattoo machine, you should source always the best tattoo ink when working on human skin.



Hi!, I'm Thomas, the driver of TMA. Tattoos are a way to express our thoughts, right? but how can we do it without the right tattoo machine? Thanks to my tattoo artist friends, I can transfer their point of view about their experiences in the industry.

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