white ink

White Ink Tattoos - Everything You Need to Know Before Getting One

White ink tattoos are gaining popularity, especially because so many celebrities have been seen sporting white ink tattoos. But they do come with their own set of pros and cons. There is a reason why black ink tattoos are the OGs. 

If you’re considering getting a white ink tattoo to follow the trend, or simply because you want something inconspicuous, then you’ve come to the right place. This is a complete guide to all you need to know before getting a white ink tattoo, from what it actually is to how to care for it.

What are white ink tattoos?

White ink tattoos are not the same as a regular tattoo filled with white ink in certain areas. They are tattoos that are created entirely out of white-colored ink, from the line work to the shading. 

Tattoos made with white ink are notoriously hard to do. They are usually tattooed by the most skilled artists in the business. These artists have very sharp skills and their eyes are trained to work with the almost translucent white ink. The technique for doing white ink tattoos properly takes a lot of practice and knowledge. 

Who should get one?

Anyone can get a white ink tattoo, provided they are of the correct legal age and have done their research. But, the truth is, it doesn't look great on everyone. 

White ink tattoos are extremely light, and if your skin isn’t dark enough, chances are it won’t be very distinct no matter how much ink the artist adds. Freckled and blemished skin does not provide a solid color canvas for the artist to work with, so it may appear patchy or out of place. They can also look a bit like scars if your skin is very pale, which could be the effect you are going for. 

Dark skin tones provide the perfect contrast or background for white ink tattoos to stand out. They also give the tattoo artist more freedom in terms of how intricate the designs can be. Note that some people with darker skin may experience the ink fading completely once the tattoo has healed. Either way, it is best to ask our artist for some pictures of their white ink tattoos healed in different skin tones before you decide to get one from them. 

If you are a tattoo artist looking to improve on your skill or a newbie in the game, we recommend singing up for our extensive Black and Grey Realism Masterclass by Hugo Feist today. This course will provide you with everything you need to know to become the best tattoo artist you can be. 

Why are white ink tattoos raised?

It may appear that some white ink tattoos are raised off the skin, but that is the same for black and other ink tattoos. They should be no more raised on the skin than any other ink. They may appear to be more raised as the white ink makes the scar tissue above it more noticeable while darker inks conceal it.

Many artists capitalize on this effect to make their designs look 3D or more realistic. 

Do white tattoos fade faster?

You may have heard people speaking about this drawback of white ink tattoos, and the answer to your question is yes. This is because the pigments that make up the ink are light, and light pigments generally fade faster than darker pigments. The sun can also damage a white ink tattoo more than a regular tattoo, and it is a good idea to get a white ink tattoo in a spot that doesn't see too much direct sunlight. 

Sometimes, the ink can fade into colors such as yellow or orange. Over time, it will start to look more like a well-pronounced scar rather than a white ink tattoo.

This means you will have to touch it up more often than you would a black ink tattoo if you want to keep it looking fresh. 

Do they glow in the dark?

It is a common misconception that white ink tattoos glow in the dark or under a blacklight but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The truth is, in order for any colored tattoo to glow, the artist has to use special UV ink to create this effect. However, the research is spotty when it comes to UV ink and some people even claim it has a greater chance of causing an allergic reaction than regular tattoos. 

 What are the pros of white ink tattoos? 

We can agree that white ink tattoos are very beautiful, but there is more to them. 

They are perfect for professionals

Visible tattoos are not appropriate for many professional settings and can even cost you your job. White ink tattoos are barely noticeable, especially on light skin, and getting one affords you the experience of getting a tattoo without the stigmatization.

They’re conservative

If you live in a conservative or religious society that looks down on tattoos, a white ink tattoo allows you to be yourself without discrimination or societal pressure. 

They can be used to improve the appearance of scars

If you have a scar, you could use a white ink tattoo to create a unique design since they generally resemble scars after some time. 

They don’t last forever

Even though tattoos are thought to be permanent, they all fade somewhat over time. White tattoos fade much faster and can seemingly disappear. This is perfect for a person who wants a tattoo but doesn’t want one forever. They can also be covered up extremely easily if you change your mind. 

What are the cons of white ink tattoos? 

White tattoos are known for being virtually invisible, but that’s a drawback for many people. Other cons of white ink tattoos are:

They may change color while they fade

White ink fades quickly. When they do, the color can change to a yellow or off-white color that isn't very attractive. This sometimes makes it more difficult to touch up or regain their original brightness. In reality, many people end up covering them. They also need to be kept away from the sun - read all about the dangers of direct sun exposure to your tattoos here

It’s hard to work with

White ink is notoriously hard to work with and it takes a bit of skill to master the proper application techniques. For starters, white ink is thicker than other inks, which means it’s more difficult to achieve clean lines. Furthermore, it has to be inserted deeper into the skin so that the ink stays as long as possible. 

Good ones are expensive

While white tattoos can be unpredictable, you have a better chance if you get it done by a skilled and experienced tattoo artist. Generally, these tattoo artists are on the pricier side, but, if you want good results, you’ll have to be willing to pay more for the best in the game. 

You’re limited in terms of designs

Because of the nature of white ink tattoos, less is generally more. Intricate designs may not come out great, while simple ideas are more likely to pop. We recommend small, simple patterns or cursive script. 

How can I care for a white ink tattoo? 

White ink tattoos require more attention than regular tattoos. Aftercare lasts even after it has scabbed and the dead skin has peeled off. Yes, tattoo peeling is completely normal! Read all about it here

Wearing sunscreen is very important in preventing fading and keeping your ink looking vibrant. You’ll also have to moisturize it every day to keep the skin hydrated. Just be careful not to over-moisturize as your tattoo needs to breathe. You may also exfoliate to remove dead skin to keep the ink as close to the surface as possible. This makes it look fresher for longer. 

What about white henna tattoos?

Henna tattoos are great alternatives if you want to get a white ink tattoo, but are not comfortable with its drawbacks. However, you should know that white henna is not the same as organic henna. It is typically made of white body paint/powder and a type of medical adhesive. It does not last as long as organic henna tattoos. 


White ink tattoos are very popular and if you want to experience them for yourself, you should consider all of the pros and cons fully before committing. 

You should always consider your skin tone and how visible the tattoo will be in a couple of years' time. They are known to fade much faster, yet this can be a good thing for many people who don’t want a tattoo that lasts for a long time. 

White ink tattoos are very conservative and are great for professional settings. However, they are generally more expensive, can change color, and white ink is notoriously harder to work with. 

They are not the same as white henna tattoos. However, if you just want it for the look and not the longevity, you can consider getting a white henna tattoo instead. 

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