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What You Need to Know About Tattoo Inks for Darker Skin

It is a common misconception that there are tattoo inks specifically formulated for darker skin. That is not true. All tattoo inks are created to provide full, vibrant pigments no matter what the skin color is. However, that doesn’t mean all tattoo ink colors will work with all skin types. 

First, Some Science

Before we get into discussing the best color tattoo ink for dark skin, let’s talk about the science behind it. When tattoo ink is injected into the skin, the melanin (the pigment that controls the color of the skin—the more melanin, the darker the skin) within the skin acts like a filter. So when there is more melanin, a lot of the colors will be filtered out. So lighter, pale tattoo ink colors simply will not be seen on darker skin because the large supply of melanin filters them out.

What Are the Best Tattoo Ink Colors for Dark Skin?

Keeping the above science in mind, it becomes clear that the best color tattoo ink for dark skin is black (like our StarBrite Turbo Black tattoo ink). Black is one of the few colors that will still show through the skin and make the tattoo stand out. Of course, everybody’s skin is different, and there are many different shades of skin, so this answer can be variable, but generally speaking, it is best to stick to black or similarly deep colors. 

That being said, when in the hands of a talented and practiced tattoo artist, white ink can look amazing on dark skin. It becomes a dull, creamy brown shade on dark skin, and it can be incorporated into tattoos in a very creative way. 

If your client insists on a colored tattoo, then make sure you choose bold tattoo inks for darker skin. The color should be darker than what your client’s skin tone is in the middle of the summer, when they have been exposed to some sun and their melanin levels are at their highest. Red and green are popular tattoo ink colors for dark skin, and you will also want to make sure to use thicker lines to ensure the color shows up.  

Always Test Tattoo Ink for Darker Skin 

Surely, you are a skilled tattoo artist, but tattooing darker skin is quite different due to the way the skin absorbs the color and the inherent traits of the skin. To give your clients the absolute best tattoo, we recommend always running a patch test the day before. This will give you and the client a clearer idea of how the ink will look on the skin, and it will let you see if your client has any adverse reactions to the ink.

Tattooing dark skin can be challenging, but with high-quality inks, like our StarBrite Inks, and some knowledge on the way the colors work within the skin, you can successfully tattoo any client that walks through your door. To learn more about the best tattoo ink for darker skin, contact us now.