White Ink Tattoo Pros and Cons: Should You Get One?


White Ink Tattoos

via Tattoo Ton

I first started seeing white ink tattoos on Pinterest, and after doing a little research, I found mixed reviews. So I decided to ask my good friend Steve, owner and tattooer of Art in Motion Tattoo Studio in New Jersey, all about the white ink tattoo pros and cons. Here are his answers.

The white ink tattoo has been trendy for a while now. When do you think it first started, or when did you first get a request for one? I don’t know when the first all-white tattoo started, but I’m assuming, like all trends, it started with seeing it already done and trying to reproduce the look. I received my first request about 10 years ago. It was a young woman who saw it on someone in a magazine or on television if I can remember correctly. My first reaction wasn’t supportive or encouraging to do the tattoo, just from knowing white ink looks its strongest or most saturated/brightest when surrounded by darker colors. If the whole tattoo was simply white, it wouldn’t look as strong and could give the appearance more like a scar than a traditional tattoo. As a tattoo artist, one of the biggest concerns for tattoos is having them look vibrant for as long as possible with respect to time. But I quickly realized having a tattoo that wasn’t meant to be bold or vibrant was the whole point of doing an all white ink tattoo.

White Tattoos

via Tattoo Ton

Do people ask for them often? Is there a trend in designs/styles that people want in white ink? I receive a few requests through the year, but I would say this trend is slowly fading (no pun intended). I have less and less requests for this type of artwork. Unfortunately, when the requests come in, 80% are looking for something that has already been done. At my studio, we only do custom work and don’t believe in copying another’s artwork. So a bit of adjusting and discussion has to be done to make the designs unique for each individual. Trendy tattoos can always end up on the negative side of things as time goes by. Take a look at the lower back tattoos, aka tramp stamps. Even if you have a beautiful design, what was once in style or trendy can easily become something in a negative light. So my advice would be to always be you. A good rule for looking at an idea for a tattoo could be to find something that might be timeless and meaningful for the design, and once you decide to go through with your tattoo, own it. Love it and have no regrets. Thinking and preparing in this way usually leads to having something you’ll be proud to wear for life.

All White Tattoo

via White Ink Tattoos Center

Are there any styles of tattoos that you wouldn’t recommend getting done in solely white ink? The only styles I wouldn’t recommend would be a design that would need to be faded or shaded in 3D while using all white ink. I would recommend something that is bold and strong to allow enough saturation of the white ink to make it easily visible. Maybe some designs like mandalas or writing, etc. Keep in mind that the white tattoos would have a faint look when healed, so thinning out or fading white can be a super technical process when considering what it will look like when healed.

white ink tattoos on dark skin

via Cuded

Do white tattoos heal as well? Does white ink fade faster or look as aged as black or color when they finally do fade? Sure. Keep in mind white ink is still ink. If the tattoo is done professionally and correctly and the client follows the simple aftercare instructions provided, the tattoo should heal fine. As for the white ink fading, I would rather say it blends with the skins complexion, giving it a “faded” look. It’s important to note this happens with all colors, not just white. It happens with black ink as well, but since black is a strong shade, it won’t be as noticeable as white or other colors. You will notice a difference in your skin’s appearance, but complexion and skill level all play a part in how it will look when healed.

Is it harder or easier to see any mess-ups when it does heal? I think this all comes down to the artist. Again, white ink is still ink, so the level of professionalism will determine how well the tattoo will look. There are no mistakes in tattooing, at least that’s the goal anyway.

white tattoo pros and cons

via Tumblr

I’ve seen some pictures of white tattoos that really just look like weird scars. Is that because of the ink, the artist, or the person’s skin? When most people initially find out about all-white tattoos, they see them when they are relatively new. So you might expect your all white tattoo to heal just as you would imagine or seen in a magazine or online somewhere. But the truth is 9 times out of 10, they will look faded or not exactly white, or even like scar tissue in some cases. Sure the artist is your first reason for a successful tattoo or a failure, so make sure to pick someone you trust who has the experience and skill to pull it off. And any reputable artist should be using a good quality ink.

I’ve also seen white ink that turns a weird color or gets stained. How can that happen? The easy answer is your skin’s complexion. The darker the skin complexion, the less vibrant an ink’s color will appear.

white tattoo ink

via Designzzz

Depending on skin tone, is there a chance that a white tattoo won’t look as good on some people, perhaps if they’re too fair or dark, or even have freckles? In darker complexions I recommend sticking to black and grey and a limited color palette. As far as freckles, a white tattoo will look spotty, but again only because the ink blends with the skin rather then covers it. If there is a difference in your skin with freckles, expect the ink to have different effects when healed, especially for lighter or brighter colors of ink. You would have a more successful outcome using darker ink.

tattoo white ink

via Inspirations Web

What’s your personal opinion on white ink tattoos? Honestly, I love the idea of having a tattoo be on the subtle side, but I try to avoid doing all-white ink tattoos. My theory is if I can’t guarantee a perfect looking tattoo and having it last over time, I would rather not do it. My clients spend hard-earned money and expect me to give them what they’re looking for, so I’d rather play it safe than experiment or hope things go well. If I know an artist can do a better job at something due to style or specialty, I have no problem directing them in that direction. At the end of the day it’s about respect for your client and respect for the art of tattooing. I have done all-white ink tattoos and clients have been happy with them, but if you’re looking for a tattoo that has a faded or ghost-like appearance, stick to a shade that will compliment your complexion. For example, instead of white ink you may want to consider a beige color, or again a color that will compliment your complexion rather than doing what’s trendy. Your tattoos and artwork are only limited to your imagination, so plan ahead and make sure to express yourself in a way you will be proud of not only now, but for years to come.

Website: Art in Motion Tattoo Studio

Location: North Arlington, New Jersey

Connect with Steve and AIM Tattoo NJ via Facebook and Instagram

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Writer & reader. Drinker of tea & whiskey. Tattoo aficionado. Hairless cat mommy.

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