Both tattooing and veganism are growing trends, so it’s inevitable that the two would collide. Many people wouldn’t even think about asking if their tattoo was vegan, assuming that animals couldn’t have been used in the process, but any long-term vegan will know that you must be on the lookout everywhere. From the inks used to the razors that remove the hair in preparation, vegan tattoos can be difficult to find, but it’s not impossible.

Should You Trust A Non-Vegan Artist?

The best artist around may not be vegan, so you should still consider them, but it can leave you feeling unsure about if your tattoo will truly be vegan. Ask the artist questions to get an insight to how knowledgeable they are about both veganism and why a tattoo may not be vegan. They should be happy to let you look at the products they use. Communication is important, so if you don’t feel like you’re getting informative responses or they’re presenting potential problems to doing a vegan tattoo, then you should opt for a different artist.

Ingredients To Avoid

Tattoo artists may not know if the inks they are using are vegan-friendly and cruelty free or not, so make sure you know what to look for. Black inks often contain bone char as it’s believed it makes a darker shade of black. Glycerin, made from animal fats, is a common ingredient in all colors as it’s a stabilizer that makes ink easier to work with. Gelatin, a common ingredient in food, is made from animal hooves and is used to bind inks. Shellac is also a binding ingredient and comes from beetles. There are many vegan inks that are good quality, such as Eternal and SkinCandy, that non-vegan artists may be happy to order in for you and other potential vegan customers.

Go To A Vegan Tattoo Artist

Still don’t trust the tattoo artist after asking questions? As a vegan after a cruelty-free tattoo you can’t go wrong with a tattoo artist that holds the same beliefs as you. Some studios will promote themselves as vegan-friendly, making them easy to find, while other studios may not be vegan but have a vegan artist working from them who will be knowledgeable and used to doing fully vegan tattoos. Vegan tattoo artists can make the whole experience a lot easier as you know you can trust them.

From Ink To Petroleum Jelly

The ink is the most important part of a tattoo as you’re committing to it being in your skin permanently. However, if you’ve gone to the effort of finding an artist who will use vegan inks, then you should consider everything else involved in getting a tattoo. Most artists will use petroleum jelly as a lubricant to reduce the amount the needle drags on the skin, making for a smoother application, and some will use it again once they’ve finished each part of the tattoo to act as a barrier before it’s wrapped in cling film at the end. Petroleum jelly is a vegan product but can be mixed with other ingredients that aren’t vegan or the final product is tested on animals. Offer to bring your own, but vegan artists should already have this covered.

The Little Things Count

You should consider the transfer paper used as these are often lined with beeswax or lanolin from sheep’s wool, but vegan options are available. Be aware that if the area of skin needs to be shaved, the moisture strip on razors often contains lanolin or glycerin. Ones without moisture strips can also be tested on animals, such as Bic razors, so either remove hair from the area yourself before getting your tattoo or buy a vegan-friendly razor and take it with you to avoid this problem.

There are so many elements to getting a tattoo that aren’t vegan, all of which have a vegan alternative. The ink is the most important part as it stays with you, but a truly vegan tattoo doesn’t involve any animal products or testing at all. If you opt for an artist who isn’t vegan you need to feel comfortable with them and have good communication, but a vegan artist will take away the worry.