What is a vegan tattoo?
We often get asked: what is a vegan tattoo? and aren't tattoos vegan by default? Nah, not really... It's mostly about the inks used by your tattooist, but other factors can come into play; like the cleaning products and soap your tattoo studio uses.
There is no need to be concerned when you visit us as all the products we use are cruelty free. No products are tested on animals and none of the products we use in the shop from barber/hairstylist to tattoos contain animal by-products. Yes, all are ethically vegan!
It's not always easy to tell if a product is completely vegan because not ALL of the ingredients are always listed correctly. You can trust another's word or do a little research yourself.
Let's face it, so many tattoo inks are actually vegan, not all brands are. We did a double check -in with renowned vegans from PETA and they did a double confirm that products containing glycerine (you can use vegetable based glycerine as I have done with my Sass + Co. skincare products in the past), bone char (it darkens the pigment of black tattoo inks), gelatin, or shellac. These animal derived ingredients in that formula could be ground up beetles, or animal bones, or animal fat, and the ever popular (especially in lip-balms) is lanolin which is derived from sheep's sebaceous glands.
Why do some tattoo inks contain these nasty ingredients?
They're added because they act as stabilisers that maintain the function of the main active ingredients of the formula. I know this so well due to my vegan skincare range - and will forever avoid them. In the case of ink for tattoos, a stabiliser will be present to increase the pigmentation of the ink.
So, if these not-so-vegan-friendly ingredients are added to the ink your tattoo artist is using, it's not a vegan tattoo nor is your tattoo studio vegan friendly! It's usually a good idea to call ahead and ask your tattoo studio before booking an appointment, if this is an issue for you.
Vegan tattoos are more than just ink!
Now we're looking right into it, let's go! The stencil paper/ transfer paper that your tattoo artist may apply to your skin when laying down the design for them to follow is not always vegan. That pesky moisturising ingredient lanolin pops up yet again.
Up to you if you'd like to ask your tattoo shop what the brand of the stencil paper they use is. When tattooing in Roxxi & Sioux's, tattoo artists all use a certified vegan tattoo transfer paper, Spirit Thermal Tattoo Transfer Paper by ReproFX. This company uses vegetable waxes instead of lanolin.
Soap! Most often and commonly known as green soap, this sterilising product is used throughout the tattooing process for the sake of constantly cleaning the area of the skin about to be tattooed. The brand we use (Cosco) is vegan, and the best news is that in the near future we'll be developing our own. Winning! Watch this space.
For now, Giving you the heads up that most tattooists use a product that contains glycerine, so again it's just about calling in to make sure the glycerine is plant-based and not derived from animal by-products.
Vegan Tattoo Aftercare is another entire blog, but I can't keep my shiz together and not tell you that I've been developing my own brand of natural healing and nourishing vegan tattoo aftercare balm for way too long. It's so close I can smell it! As we know, tattoo aftercare is all about healing and protection, aiding in the recovery of your fresh ink.
When it comes to a vegan tattoo aftercare balm, this is where most people forget to go (fully) vegan. A lot of tattoo non-vegan aftercare balms have beeswax in the formulation. I've often seen skincare and tattoo aftercare brands that have started out with beeswax omit it for a vegan ingredient, like candelilla wax. Perhaps they have suddenly gained a conscience.. Perhaps they are keeping up with a "trend". Regardless - no animal was harmed in the process, right. When using a vegan (or non-vegan) tattoo aftercare balm don't go over kill and use too much of the product, you'll stop your skin from breathing and the healing process will be messed with! Oh, and lanolin is also in a lot of non-vegan aftercare products.. jus' sayin' :)