I had been itching for a new tattoo, but I want to do it right and make sure it’s vegan-friendly (and share my research with you of course)!

Less than a year ago I found myself needing to scratch my tattoo itch. It had been years since I had been inked (long before creating my brand, Sexy Fit Vegan®) in large part because I was doing a bunch of fitness modelling, and the more tats you have, the less likely you are to be hired. Having finally been able to move on from modelling with the success of my 12-Week Plant-Empowered Online Coaching Program however, I decided to celebrate by getting my vegan ink on!

Unlike the other tattoos that I had gotten in my late teen and early adult years, I wanted art that wholly represented who I am and what I stand for. I also wanted to be certain that the ink used was 100% vegan. I did my due diligence and here is what I discovered…

Finding a vegan tattoo shop would be the best case scenario, because they would truly “get it” and I’d have nothing to worry about. And guess what… Vegan tattoo shops DO exist! There’s one in Portland for example, called Scapegoat Tattoo Company. In Miami, Gauntlet Tattoo uses vegan ink (they even advertise it on their website).

I ended up choosing an artist, James Hamilton, of Miami Ink-Love Hate Tattoos in Miami Beach, who had done incredible work on some of my good friends. He was understanding and helpful in dealing with my request for a fully vegan tattoo experience. You see, some inks are made with animal products like bone char, glycerin from animal fat, gelatin from hooves, or shellac from beetles. So, if you don’t want animal products embedded in your skin for life it’s important to do your research. If the ink the artist uses is not vegan-friendly, they may be able to order some to use on you.

Some vegan brands of ink include:

  • Eternal
  • StarBrite
  • SkinCandy
  • Stable Color
  • Electric Ink USA
  • Dermaglo
  • Intenze
  • Fusion Tattoo Ink

When it comes to the safety of the ingredients in tattoo ink, we can’t rely on the FDA to help us out. They do not regulate tattoo ink. Beyond the ink, the other ingredient that carries the pigment into the skin is known as the carrier. Non-toxic versions of the carrier include purified water, glycerin (vegetable-based), and ethanol. White and black (iron) are the most toxic colors of conventional tattoo ink, and red pigments cause the most allergic reactions due to the iron oxide (rust), cinnabar, or cadmium red content. Bright and neon pigments often require plastics or chemicals so are best to avoid.

Some non toxic (and vegan) ink ingredients include:

  • Black – carbon and logwood
  • White – titanium dioxide
  • Yellow – turmeric
  • Green – monoazo, a carbon-based pigment
  • Blue – sodium and aluminum (is that really safe?), many that contain copper are safe.
  • Red – Naphthol which can still cause a reaction
  • Purple – dioxazine and carbazole

If you’re adamant about having a 100% vegan tattoo experience, it would also be smart to take along your own razor since the ones they have in-house may have a gel strip made from animal glycerin. Green soap, which is often used, is not vegan, so using a soap like Dr. Bronner’s instead would be a safe choice. Also, petroleum jelly is a vegan alternative to A&D ointment which can sometimes contain cod liver oil or lanolin.

Some vegan aftercare products are:

  • Merry Hempsters Vegan Hemp Tattoo Balm
  • Black Cat Vitamin Infusion Serum
  • Ohana Organics Tattoo Butter
  • Dr. Bronner’s Body/Tattoo Balm
  • Jojoba oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Shea butter

I couldn’t be happier with the results of my efforts for an awesome vegan tattoo experience. I hope this information will allow you to make conscious decisions about your next tat adventure so you can be as  proud of your body art as I am of mine!


This article republished courtesy of Ella Magers.

About the Author


Ella Magers, 22-year ethical vegan and founder of Sexy Fit Vegan® strives to empower people with the tools they need to bring ditch dieting, adopt a fit, vegan lifestyle, and build a plant-strong body, heart, and mind for LIFE.

Follow Ella (Sexy Fit Vegan) on Instagram.

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