Ink With Care – Sustainable Tattoos

It shouldn’t be dangerous for you and for the environment to carry your heart on your sleeve. Literally.

You aren’t alone – 1 in 5 Australians have a tattoo, but they aren’t normally environmentally friendly. Tattoo inks potentially contain arsenic and lead, and some have dangerous components when exposed to sunlight or during laser removal. The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) recently published a May 2018 report that heavily urges states to tighten regulations on some tattoo inks used in the industry.

This isn’t to scare you from getting a tattoo. There are products used in Australian studios and by Australian artists that are good for the environment and are good for your skin. Thanks to the NICNAS and local efforts, there are regulations in place that make sure the art you commit to is all benefits without the fuss.

Featured booths and products (L-R): Good fellaz Ink (@goodfellazinkmel), The Shit Sisters (@theshitsisters), Amy Lou (@amyloutattoo_ , Vintage Lane Tattoo), Good fellaz Ink, Australian Tattoo Expo (@austattooexpo, Ganko Hanko (@GankoHanko), Metrix Needles (@metrixneedles), Fusion Tattoo Ink (@fusion_ink), Tatsup Tattoo Supply Co. (@tatsupsupplyco)
Scouting the Scene

The Australian Tattoo Expo was an exciting and illuminating experience on the wide array of art styles by the many tattoo artists in Australia, and even by the international artists in their respective booths. The Expo itself runs throughout the year in venues in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, finally making their last stop in Melbourne.

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Australian Tattoo Expo stage. Photo credit: Jyqa Patano

The talent in attendance during the Melbourne leg of the event were very accommodating to answering our questions about what products were safe to use for customers, and what they used themselves to ensure that they minimise harm without sacrificing the quality of their art. Aussie Vibez set out to find out more about what eco-friendly, cruelty-free tattoo products you can ask for from your chosen studio or tattoo artist.

Fusion Ink: Vibrantly Vegan-friendly

Plenty of tattoo artists use vegan-friendly inks because they are often better for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and among these, Fusion Ink proves that you do not have to sacrifice quality of colour to be vegan-friendly. Being a top-tier tattoo ink brand also does not mean that they care little about the chemical residue on the customer’s skin. In fact, they seem to care a lot about the mark they leave behind.

Protat/Tatsup booth at the Australian Tattoo Expo. Photo credit: Jyqa Patano
Fusion Ink Instagram: @fusion_ink

Supplied by Australian tattoo supplies Protat and Tatsup, Fusion Inks is commonly used among the vegan-friendly tattoo artists and studios in Australia. It is not considered a harmful substance, according to its MSDS sheet, which is easily accessible on their website, and is “free of preservatives” and “free of carcinogenic, mutagenic, and reprotoxic substances”. Fusion Inks is also an internationally top choice for its colour and quality.

Using vegan-friendly tattoos is fast becoming a more common practice in the Australia tattoo industry. Don’t be afraid to ask your tattoo artist or studio prior to booking if they’re using this product.

Aussie Inked: For Before and After

Taking care of yourself can also mean that you take care of the environment as well. Aussie Inked does both by providing tattoo products that can be used before and after you get your tattoo. Their Tattoo Care product works immediately in “reducing skin stress, redness and irritation” before you get a tattoo, and afterwards, supports the maintenance of your ink while minimizing the harm it causes to the skin.

Aussie Inked looks out for the customers’ skin while also looking out for nature by using natural ingredients, which they proudly display on their website.

Aussie Inked booth at the Australian Tattoo Expo. Photo credit: Jyqa Patano
Aussie Inked Instagram: @aussieinkedofficial

Founded in Sydney, Australia, Aussie Inked is an accredited Aussie Made and Owned® product. It prides itself on being very organic and eco-conscious, and the company is very transparent about the ingredients that they use. They are extremely against animal testing and are vegan-friendly, truly reciprocating the commitment of their clients by being committed to their skincare as well.

Committing to the Long-term

There is no harm in finding out which products are good for your skin to ensure that you have the best quality of art during the process, and best quality of care during the ongoing maintenance, for as long as you choose to have it.

There are other resources to find out about vegan-friendly tattoo artists and studios as well. Vegan Tattoo Studios is a good reference list for any vegan-friendly, environmentally-conscious tattoo artists and studios in Australia and around the world. After speaking with the guests at the Australian Tattoo Expo, it was clear that tattoo artists are also very willing and open when it comes to talking about the products that they use. In the end, committing to a tattoo means that you have to live with it, including any chemical residues in the ink or the aftercare products.

Even if this is your first or your nth tattoo, it doesn’t have to be dangerous to be daring.

Jyqa Patano

I write to discover and learn all that there is, and hopefully help form what can be. I am interested in the visual arts, including all kinds of art, architecture and film.

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