Vegan Tattoos: Environment, Ethics, Ink, and Design

By Jacob Pullman of Skin Design Tattoo

Tattoos have never been so popular, with people of all ages embracing the idea of inking their skin to express their personalities, honor someone they care about, or simply decorate their bodies in interesting and vibrant ways. For a long time, vegans were left out of this process, but that’s no longer the case. Read on to find out how the art of tattooing has evolved, and the possible future of eco-friendly and vegan tattoos.

See Also: Tattoos in Society: A Progression of Acceptance

How Tattoos Have Environmentally Progressed

Many people don’t stop to worry too much about the ingredients in tattoo ink, but for vegans, that’s simply not an option. Vegans have to think carefully about every product they use and check the ingredient list in detail to ensure that no animal products were used, and no animals were harmed in the production of those items.

Well, in the past, tattoo ink was, unfortunately, only made with animal by-products like glycerin (sourced from animal fat) and bone char (made from animal bones). Not only that, but animal by-products were also sometimes found in aftercare products, and certain elements of the tattooing process were made in ways that weren’t particularly eco-friendly.

However, as the popularity of veganism has risen and attitudes have shifted to become more progressive and eco-friendly, the tattoo world has evolved and adapted. Nowadays, a lot of tattoo studios and artists offer vegan-friendly services and products that are cruelty-free and kind to the environment.

Girl touching grass in white dress witrh vegan tattoos

Can Vegans Get Tattoos?

Yes, while it might have been difficult or even impossible in the past for vegans to get tattoos, it’s now perfectly possible. And this is all thanks to vegan tattoo ink. Unlike traditional tattoo ink, which contains certain animal products, vegan tattoo ink is 100% vegan-friendly and available in many tattoo studios around the globe.

Differences Between Vegan Tattoo Ink and Non-Vegan Tattoo Ink

So, what actually makes vegan tattoo ink so special when compared to traditional or non-vegan tattoo ink? Well, in terms of structure, color, and effect, there aren’t really any major differences to speak of. Vegan ink works just as well as traditional ink and produces the same great colors and effects. The only real difference between the two is in their lists of ingredients.

Tattoo Ink Ingredients

Traditional tattoo ink contains certain ingredients that are not vegan-friendly, like gelatin, which is often used as a stabilizer, along with glycerin and bone char. These ingredients have long been used due to their accessibility and convenience, but now, many tattoo professionals are opting for vegan ink, which uses vegan-friendly alternatives and cuts out the animal products.

tattoed hand pointing down with a lake in the distance

Advantages Of Using Vegan Tattoo ink

Vegan tattoo ink isn’t more effective than traditional tattoo ink, but there are still plenty of benefits to using it. The main benefit is that it’s vegan-friendly and ideal for people who prefer to use green or eco-friendly products, as it’s made in a kind way for the environment, without the use of animal products or animal testing.

Are Vegan Tattoos Healthier?

In terms of health, vegan ink may be less likely to cause allergic reactions than non-vegan ink because it contains no animal ingredients. It is important to research the ingredients and safety practices of the tattoo artist and shop you choose, and to follow proper aftercare instructions to minimize the risk of infection or other complications.

Vegan Aftercare

It’s not just the ink that you need to think about if you’re a vegan getting a tattoo; you also have to consider what kinds of aftercare products you’ll use in order to look after your tattoo. Aftercare is a big part of the process of having a tattoo in order to help the skin heal and prevent infections or other issues.

As with traditional tattoo ink, there are several traditional aftercare products out there that are not vegan-friendly and contain animal products such as glycerin. In addition, some products are tested on animals, making them unsuitable for vegans. If you’re looking for vegan-friendly aftercare, try to focus on products that are labeled as safe for vegans and cruelty-free.

black and white photo of tattoo on an arm

Stencil or Transfer Paper

Both Stencil and Transfer paper are used in the tattoo industry to ensure that the tattoo design is accurate and precise, and that the tattoo is applied correctly.

  • Stencil paper is used to create a stencil of a tattoo design, which is then applied to the skin as a guide for the tattoo artist.
  • Transfer paper, also known as carbon paper, is used to transfer a design or image from a drawing or a computer onto the skin as a guide for the tattoo artist, and can be useful when the tattoo design is complicated or detailed.

Stencil and transfer papers are typically made from paper. However, some types of stencil and transfer papers may contain animal-derived ingredients or be processed using animal by-products, so it’s always best to check the product’s ingredients.

How Long Do Vegan Tattoos Last?

Vegan tattoos typically last the same amount of time as non-vegan tattoos. Factors that affect the longevity of a tattoo include the quality of the ink, the skill of the tattoo artist, and how well the tattoo is cared for during the healing process. Proper aftercare, including keeping the tattoo clean and moisturized, can help ensure that a tattoo lasts as long as possible.

Is vegan tattoo ink easy to remove?

Vegan tattoo ink is not necessarily easier to remove than non-vegan tattoo ink. The ease of removal depends on the type of ink and the method used for removal. Some inks are easier to remove than others, regardless of whether they are vegan or not. Additionally, tattoo removal methods such as laser removal and tattoo fading cream can be used to remove tattoos, regardless of the type of ink used.

It’s important to consider all your options and to research different removal methods before making a decision. If you are considering getting a tattoo removed, it’s a good idea to consult with a tattoo removal specialist or a dermatologist to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

Arm with a tattoo laying in water with flowers

How to Find a Vegan Tattoo Artist

So, if you follow a vegan lifestyle but also love the idea of getting one or more tattoos, you can see that it’s perfectly possible to do so! Vegan tattoos are becoming more and more popular all over the world, and there are plenty of friendly artists out there who are ready to provide this service.

If you’ve been looking for the best tattoo shops near me that offer vegan or eco-friendly tattoos, the trick is to do your one of the easiest ways to find a shop you can trust is to look online. You can search for the best tattoo artists in your area who offer vegan tattoos, and it’s also a good idea to call up local shops and studios to ask what kind of ink they use.

Common Tattoo Ideas for Vegans

Plant-based imagery

Many vegans choose to get tattoos of plant-based images, like leaves, flowers, or vegetables. These tattoos may symbolize the importance of living a plant-based lifestyle and the importance of protecting the environment. They can also be used as a reminder to stay true to your vegan values.

Animal rights or welfare symbols

Another popular tattoo idea for vegans is animal rights or welfare symbols. The vegan symbol is a simple yet powerful design that represents the vegan lifestyle and ethical stance against using animals for food, clothing, and other purposes. It’s a circle with the letter “V” in the middle, and it is often used as a symbol of compassion, kindness, and respect for animals. Additionally, the animal liberation symbol, which features an animal breaking free from a chain, is often used to represent the idea of animals being freed from captivity and cruelty.

Quotes or phrases

Some vegans choose to be tattooed with quotations or phrases that promote veganism or animal rights. These tattoos can serve as a reminder of why you have chosen a vegan lifestyle and can also serve as a starting point for conversation.

Portraits of animals

Some vegans choose to get tattooed portraits of animals, such as cows, pigs, chickens, etc. the aim is to raise awareness about the treatment of animals in industrial farms.

Tattoo of a lion on a man's arm

Famous vegan icons

Some vegans choose to be tattooed with famous vegan icons like Albert Einstein or Mahatma Gandhi. These tattoos can serve as a reminder of the impact these people have had on the world and can also serve as an inspiration.

Foods commonly associated with veganism

Some vegans choose to get tattoos of foods commonly associated with veganism, such as avocados or berries. These tattoos can serve as a reminder of the delicious and healthy foods that can be eaten on a vegan diet.

Going vegan is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to prevent you from getting a tattoo and expressing yourself. As this guide shows, vegan tattoos are becoming more common and more accessible. It’s great to see so many tattoo artists and studios offering this kind of service, and it’s never been easier for vegans to get the tattoos they want.

About the Author

Jacob Pullman is a former tattoo artist turned into consultant-enthusiast-writer-educator. A change of career, before he started writing, he got a degree in PR and communications. He is passionate about traveling and exploring the world and cultures visiting all those funky museums as an modern art lover.

His ultimate goal is to spread knowledge about relationships (but only theoretically, he is still single), healthy lifestyle, body art, and of course, everything related to tattoo art. That’s how he went deep into digital marketing, working with Skin Design Tattoo to educate and share his knowledge and experience.