Black tattoo ink serves a vital purpose in the tattooing process, from lining to shading to comprising all-black tribal tattoos. Unsurprisingly, it's the most commonly used "color" in tattooing. You need the best black tattoo inks available to create the sharpest lines and softest shades when you're tattooing – and you'll find it all here.
What Are the Different Types of Black Tattoo Ink?
There are endless brands and variations of black tattoo ink, and artists often prefer different formulas for different tattooing purposes. For example, many artists prefer a highly-pigmented formula with a thick body for outlining and tribal tattoos, while they might opt for a more gray-washed black ink for shading.
Some black inks are even specifically marketed for lining, lettering, shading, or packing. Others, such as Dynamic Triple Black Tattoo Ink, have a reputation for being the best for darker skin tones. Ultimately, the best way to find the perfect black ink for each of your different tattooing needs is to experiment with different brands until you find your favorites.
Solid Black Tattoo Ink
“Solid” black tattoo ink refers to black ink that is undiluted and richly pigmented. This is what most artists use for outlining and tribal tattoos. A few that are famous in the industry include World Famous Blackout Ink, Legendary Outlining Black Black Buddha Ultra Black, and Intenze Zuper Black – just to name a few.
Gray Wash Tattoo Ink
Gray wash tattoo inks are actually black inks that have been diluted with gray ink to create varying shades perfect for shading. Some artists actually mix their own gray-washed ink, while others prefer the convenience and consistency of pre-mixed gray-wash ink.
Black and Gray Tattoo Ink Sets
When you purchase sets of black and gray-wash ink instead of individual bottles, you get the assurance of knowing you have a variety of shades that will still complement each other and “blend” well with one another in the final piece. This removes some of the guesswork that’s involved in mixing your own gray wash ink for shading. Several top brands including Black Buddha, Kuro Sumi, Empire Inks, and Silverback Ink have formulated black and gray-wash ink sets just for this purpose.
Best Black Tattoo Ink Brands
There’s no single black ink brand that’s best for every artist and every tattoo. That being said, many brands have rightly earned reputations for producing the best black ink – but only you will know what’s truly best for you and your tattooing style. Experimenting with different brands will give you an idea of their pigmentation, flow rate, body, and more.
Of course, we only recommend experimenting with trusted, industry-leading brands. World Famous, Allegory, Kuro Sumi, Panthera, Intenze, Eternal, Bloodline, Empire Inks, Dynamic, Black Buddha, and Silverback Ink are some of the brands known for producing the best black tattoo inks on the market. At Painful Pleasures, we only carry the best of the best when it comes to black tattoo inks, so whatever you choose, you know you’re getting a quality black ink product that’s earned a seal of approval from artists across the world.