Whether you’re looking to simply cut down on the amount of animal byproducts you encounter in your daily life or you wish to eliminate them altogether, taking the plunge into a vegan lifestyle is now easier than ever before. A growing number of companies, from restaurants to retailers to tattoo shops, cater to vegans by offering plant-based goods and services. However, anyone who has made a vow to stay cruelty-free also knows that it can be tricky to navigate this lifestyle, because non-vegan ingredients are hiding in some of the most unexpected places. Commonplace items like razors and Nalgene plastic bottles, both used by tattoo artists throughout the tattoo process, don’t seem like they’d violate a vegan’s code of ethics, but they contain some hidden animal byproducts and often share manufacturing spaces with other non-vegan items.
When it comes to vegan tattoos, it’s important to be aware of the steps in the tattoo process that may have you coming into contact with animal byproducts. Here are a few questions you might have in making sure your tattoos are all natural and cruelty-free:
- Is tattoo ink vegan?
- What should I do if the artist I love isn’t fully vegan?
- How can I find vegan tattoo artists?
By staying informed on what goes into making a vegan tattoo and being equipped with the knowledge you need to find a vegan-friendly tattoo artist or shop, you can feel confident about getting cruelty-free ink.
Is tattoo ink vegan?
Tattoo inks have made great strides in the cruelty-free market, with many popular brands like Eternal Ink, Intenze, Fusion, and Silverback offering complete collections of vegan inks. From vivid colors to pigmented black tattoo inks, artists have a whole catalog of vegan tattoo ink available to them. The wide variety of vegan tattoo inks on the market means artists can try out different inks until they find what works best for their art and their clients. Eternal Ink is a popular choice thanks to the company’s proud vegan and cruelty-free badges emblazoned on their website.
A fully vegan tattoo process is free of any supplies that count animal byproducts among their ingredients, so vegan tattoo ink is just one component of a cruelty-free process. Vegan tattoos also require soaps and ointments free of animal-testing and animal byproducts. Common ingredients like glycerin and bacitracin, as well as the tiny lubrication strips on disposable razors, contain animal byproducts. Because animal byproducts are hiding in places that even dedicated vegans might not expect, knowing what supplies are cruelty-free means you can confidently discuss with your artist about them.
What if my desired artist isn’t fully vegan?
If the artist you want for your tattoo doesn’t have a setup that is entirely vegan-friendly, ask whether they’re open to using alternatives. If they are, create a checklist of vegan-friendly supplies together. Offering to provide these vegan alternatives for your tattoo artist if they don’t already have them at their station shows you’re dedicated to your lifestyle with respect to their craft. Check out this resource of vegan tattoo brands and tattoo supplies put together by Memphis Mori of Grim City Tattoo Club.
How can I find vegan tattoo artists and shops?
For vegan tattoo lovers living in especially vegan-friendly cities like New York City, Portland, or Los Angeles, a number of fully vegan tattoo artists and vegan tattoo shops are available to you. There is even a useful tool on the Vegan Tattoo Studios website that allows you to search by location for artists that they have certified as vegan-friendly. Wherever you’re located, living a fully cruelty-free lifestyle with vegan tattoos is painless, at least until the needle hits your skin.