Choosing Tattoo Inks Guide

best tattoo ink

To produce a good quality tattoo requires a good quality ink. Vibrant colours are only achievable by using superior inks. There are many inks readily available, but care should be taken to make sure that they are produced from good quality ingredients.

It may seem that the initial outlay for good quality inks is expensive, but in the long run, a tattoo artist needs referrals. A tattoo artist whose work fades quickly, or does not live up to the standards that he advertises, will soon find that he is out of work. 

The difference between good quality inks and the cheaper inks are the ingredients which are used to produce them. Most inks are either water or alcohol based. Pigments may contain a vast range of ingredients which may include heavy metals, vegetable dyes and carbon. Quality ink is only half the battle because you also need quality tattooing equipment.

Two of the most popular ink brands have emerged in the tattoo market. These are 'Intenze' and 'Kuro Sumi'. Both of these inks are made from a glycerine base which means that they are suitable for sensitive skins. Kuro Sumi makes use of natural dyes, while Intenze uses heavy metals, and a combination of oxides.

Intenze Inks

All inks created by Intenze must meet rigorous standards, and must be manufactured in a licensed facility to ensure the highest standards.Although Intenze inks are water based, they do contain some toxic materials. Pigments are created by making use of cadmium, titanium and phthalocyanine.

Intenze uses these ingredients in minute amounts when they create their hallmark colour silver.Intenze prides itself on the fact that their inks come in the most vibrant and durable colours in the tattoo market. They have a huge range of colours – 196 in the collection! They sell the inks in complete sets, and the inks are available in sizes from 1 oz to 12 oz.

Bright, modern colours such as hot pink and lollipop red are some of the best sellers, and most often purchased in the economical 12 oz bottle.

Kuro Sumi Inks

Kuro Sumi boast that their products make use of only natural pigments. Because they state that their inks contain no animal products, they are suitable for vegans. Kuro Sumi uses water soluble glycerine for the base, and claims that their vibrant colours come from Japanese technology, which uses unique products for the vibrancy.

Because the products are all natural, there is less likelihood of a reaction when they come into contact with sensitive skins. Although Kuro Sumi has a smaller colour range, with just 59 colours on their charts, they believe that the collection is vast enough to create extremely colourful, vibrant designs.

Kuro Sumi inks are often used as outline and shading options because of the quality of the hues. The inks are sold separately or in sets, with black and grey inks being available in economical 12oz bottles.* While both companies produce inks produced from very different manufacturing processes, it seems that there is a place for both of them.

Intenze has a vast array of colours which are suitable for bright shades and deep outlines, and Kuro Sumi having a collection of inks suitable for delicate shading.

Wrapping it up

Make sure you get your ink from a reputable company. Whose production company follows strict manufacturing rules concerning health and safety. The online market is in a lot of ways unchecked for quality. If you're looking for historical context check out this article

About the author

John Thatch

John Thatcher is a computer science educated artist. He uses technology to solve artist problems. His friends don't like it when he speaks of himself in the third person. But John does it anyway, because he's a rebel.

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