Buying Safe Tattoo Ink | Painful Pleasures Community

Buying Safe Tattoo Ink

In this modern age, it's easy to assume that all tattoo inks are safe, but to assume is to make an "ass out of u and me". Only buying ink from reputable wholesalers ensures quality.

by PainfulPleasures Last Updated: April 13, 2023

Eternal Tattoo Ink Full 50 Color Set | Eternal Tattoo Ink at In this modern age, it’s easy to assume that all tattoo inks are safe, but remember that to assume is to make an “ass out of u and me”, as they say. Yes, more manufacturers than ever make sterile tattoo inks, and many are even crafted from vegan-friendly, non-toxic, organic ingredients. That doesn’t mean that all tattoo ink is safe, though. There are counterfeits out on the market, as well as tattoo inks made in foreign countries like China that have lower manufacturing standards than the US, Japan and most of Europe. You have to buy your tattoo ink from a reputable wholesaler like Painful Pleasures to ensure that you receive quality products. Otherwise, you may end up with ink containing some scary ingredients.


What Tattoo Ink Ingredients Are Bad?

It’s not only important to purchase tattoo ink from reputable wholesalers, but also from those who carry quality tattoo ink made from safe, sterile ingredients by top brands you can trust like Alla Prima, Eternal Ink, Intenze, Formula 51 Ink, and the other leading ink manufacturers listed in our Top Brands in the Golden Age of Tattoo Inks article and sold in our Tattoo Ink section. The most well-known ink manufacturers are leaders in the tattoo industry for a reason. They’re producing tattoo inks that are free of ingredients that may harm your tattoo clients–known carcinogens like PET plastics, acrylics and solvents. Even ingredients pulled straight from the earth that would logically seem to be organic and therefore safe can actually be harmful, like certain heavy metals, so it’s important to purchase brands of tattoo ink that are focused on the well-being of tattoo collectors and enthusiasts, as well as the reputations of the tattoo artists who use their products. That way when you buy organic tattoo ink, you’ll know without a shadow of a doubt that it contains only safe all-natural ingredients.


Does it Matter Where Tattoo Ink Is Manufactured?

There’s a good reason why 11 of the top 14 tattoo ink brands Painful Pleasures carries are made in the USA. Although the United States has yet to institute FDA regulations specifically for tattoo inks, leading US tattoo ink manufacturers are known for their self-imposed strict standards. Intenze, the #1 tattoo ink manufacturer in the US and globally, was the first to create sterile tattoo ink, but now all ten of the other top US ink brands we carry make sterile inks, too. Most have been sterilizing their tattoo inks for years, if not decades. On top of that, nearly all of them use vegan-friendly, organic ingredients in their inks, and most of them proudly tout the fact that they’re free of acrylic, PET plastic and solvents.

As for the other tattoo inks you’ll find on, like Kuro Sumi and Sacred Color, they’re made in countries like Japan and Italy that have equally if not more stringent tattoo ink production standards than those followed by top US manufacturers. Tattooing has been such a time-honored tradition in Japan that producing quality tattoo ink is a matter of pride for ink manufacturers like Kuro Sumi, whose intensely-bright, long-lasting colors are certified to be vegan, organic and sterile. In Italy, tattoo ink manufacturers like Panthera Ink and Sacred Color follow the super-strict standards enforced by the Italian Ministry of Health and ResAP 2008, an agreement entered into by most European countries to protect consumers by regulating cosmetics, pesticides and pharmaceuticals more rigorously.

Conscientious tattoo ink manufacturers all over the world are enforcing the same types of standards and government regulations as leaders from the US, Japan and Italy, but that doesn’t mean that every brand of tattoo ink produced in every country is free of carcinogens and other potentially harmful ingredients. If you’re not sure where a brand is made, look it up. You can start in our Differences Between Tattoo Ink Brands article or on most manufacturers’ websites, or you can simplify your life and just buy tattoo ink from Painful Pleasures with the peace of mind that we’ve vetted the brands we carry for you, to protect your reputation and your clients’ health.


What Qualities Make Safe Tattoo Ink Organic or Vegan, too?

These days, many tattoo consumers are looking for more than just tattoos created with sterile, non-toxic tattoo ink. They also demand that their tattoo artists use vegan and/or organic inks. What exactly makes tattoo ink organic? It absolutely has to be comprised of ingredients plucked straight from nature. When an ink is touted as both non-toxic and organic, you know that you don’t have to worry about it containing heavy metals or any other of Mother Nature’s more deceptive elements that could actually be hazardous to your tattoo clientele’s health. The certified organic tattoo ink brands you’ll find in our stores include Kuro Sumi tattoo ink, Dynamic ink, Fantasia tattoo ink, the original Starbrite tattoo ink, Formula 51 tattoo ink, Alla Prima Ink, Eternal Ink, Arcane tattoo ink, Bloodline ink by Skin Candy, and of course Intenze tattoo ink.

As for what makes a line of tattoo inks vegan-friendly, it all boils down to whether or not they contain any ingredients that are either direct products or bi-products of animals. The main ingredients to watch out for are glycerin carriers derived from animal fat and pigments made from crushed bone, but those aren’t the only ingredients that may come from animals. If you’re unsure whether a tattoo ink brand is truly vegan, then stick to one of the top brands that pride themselves on crafting vegan-friendly inks, including Eternal tattoo ink, Intenze, Kuro Sumi tattoo ink, Dynamic, Fantasia, Starbrite, Formula 51, Mom’s Ink by Millennium Colors, Alla Prima, Arcane, Bloodline tattoo ink, and Panthera.

Any time you want to confirm that a tattoo ink you’re interested in purchasing meets all of your most important criteria, like being vegan and organic, visit our How Tattoo Ink Brands Stack up Against Each Other blog post to see our “Top Tattoo Ink Brand Qualities” chart. It lists the top tattoo ink brands we carry, where each is manufactured, whether or not each is vegan and/or organic (or in some cases marked TBD for “yet to be determined”), whether each brand is a pre-dispersed or stable pigment, and where each brand falls between low and high on the price scale.


What Do Top Quality, Safe Tattoo Inks Cost?

All the tattoo ink links above point to our Wholesale store, but we actually have three online stores where you’ll often find three different sets of prices for the same product. You’ll have to visit the Tattoo Inks sections of our individual stores (Retail | Wholesale | Distributor) to see the actual prices for each tattoo ink brand, type and bottle size we sell. Those tattoo artists spending under $100 should shop Retail, while those spending $100-$499.99 should shop Wholesale to take advantage of our discounted prices for industry professionals placing larger orders. We offer the absolute lowest prices to tattoo artists and shop owners in our Distributor store, where you have to spend $500 or more to take advantage of our premium price breaks.

In all of our stores, you’ll find you can save on many products, including tattoo ink, by purchasing more than one of a particular item at a time. Just look at the “Add to Cart” box on any product detail page to find out if you’ll save by purchasing larger quantities of tattoo ink when you place an order. For an example of exactly where quantity price breaks are displayed on our product detail pages.

There’s one more way you can save on tattoo ink and other tattoo supplies when you trust Painful Pleasures to provide you with quality products that will not only meet but exceed your expectations. If you haven’t done so already, sign up for our e-newsletters! We send our subscribers weekly emails containing coupons, sale notices and other special offers, as well as updates on new products and relevant items you may not have discovered on our site yet. To start getting coupons delivered to your inbox, just scroll to the bottom-right corner of any page in your preferred store (Retail | Wholesale | Distributor), enter your email address in the newsletter sign-up box, and click the “Submit” button.

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