Are Tattoos Vegan?

Is my tattoo vegan?

Many vegans overlook this important question about the tattoo they are considering: are tattoos vegan? The short answer is– if you do not already know, it probably is not. While there are artists who ink vegan, you need to do some research to find the ones that do. Also, there are some traditional artists who use vegan ink, but may still use non-vegan ingredients elsewhere.

Tattoo ingredients

The tattoo ink (or pigment) is suspended in a solution called a “carrier” solution. The purposes of the carrier include:


  • Keeping the pigment or ink mixed evenly to avoid blotching
  • Making if easier to apply the ink
  • Disinfecting the entire solution

Non-vegan elements may include:

  • Glycerin (by-product of animal fats)
  • Some pigments (such as black pigment is made from charcoal from animal bone ashes, also referred to as “bone black”)
  • Needle lubricant (may contain epinephrine which may not be vegan)


Non-vegan elements may include:

  • Aftercare products (many contain beeswax, collagen, lanolin or egg whites). These include A&D Ointment, Tattoo Goo, H20cean and Technicare.

How vegan tattoos are different

Vegan artists are committed to their craft and their lifestyle. In order to accommodate both, they may:

  • Substitute vegetable glycerin for the traditional glycerin
  • Use organic vegetable inks *many traditional artists use vegetable inks because of their popularity
  • Use vegan anesthetics
  • Offer vegan products for aftercare(may include Dr. Bronner’s, Triclosan)

Before you get your tattoo:

DO Ask for a referral, if possible, to a vegan tattoo artist or an artists who inks vegan.

DO Ask about other parts of the procedure, such as anesthetics and needle lubricants.

DON’T Blindly trust an ad or a sign. Enter the tattoo chair informed and confident in your artist’s vegan abilities.

DON’T Forget the aftercare! Do your research and ask your artist for products designed specifically for vegans.

ALWAYS Follow your tattoo artists instructions for aftercare. They know best and, after all, you would not have chosen them in the first place if you did not trust them!

So, now that you know that there are such things as vegan tattoos and how to identify different parts of the process that could slip-up an otherwise unaware but well-intentioned vegan, go and get that tat! Proclaim to the world that you are absolutely, 100% vegan, through and through!

Source by Shawna Peters


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