Featured Image for Techly Explains: What’s the deal with white ink tattoos?

Techly Explains: What’s the deal with white ink tattoos?

Let’s discuss white ink tattoos. It seems people either love them, hate them, or are just downright confused by them.

Either way, white ink tattoos are becoming more and more popular, so if you or someone you know is considering getting a white ink tattoo, there are several things you should be aware of before getting one.

First and foremost, white ink tattoos are not very visible! Most people get a white ink tattoo thinking that it will be some bright white piece that will be visible from across a room, but that just is not the case.

It will NOT look like this:

Not true to white ink tattoo, it is too vivid, and therefore is not a real white ink tattoo representation.

Credit: Fabulousdesign.net

White ink tattoos are infamously known to be subtle and to fade quickly. Although both of these things are relatively true, sun exposure and the quality of the healing process play a HUGE role in how your white ink tattoo will turn out.

The more sun exposure your white ink tattoo receives, the less it will hold it’s pure white colour. However, regardless of sun exposure, white ink tattoos will naturally want to fade over time into a colour that is more ivory than white, sun exposure just speeds that process up.

Also, when a white ink tattoo is healing, it is particularly vital to take extra good care of it. This means not submerging it in water for 10-14 days, religiously keeping it clean and moisturised, and avoiding sun exposure if at all possible.

If a white ink tattoo gets contaminated while it is healing, once it is healed, it could show those contaminations by appearing green or grey in colour…which is definitely not what you want!

A bad white ink tattoo that has turned grey/green.

Credit: Corey from Buddha’s Belly

A white ink tattoo that has turned a green colour.

Credit: Sarah Jo

Another factor that will greatly affect the outcome of your white ink tattoo that not many people consider, is the quality of the ink that is used. It’s important to find a tattoo artist that is not only experienced in tattooing with white ink but also tattoos with a high-quality, pure white ink.

Your tattoo artist should be experienced specifically with white ink because the chemical composition of white ink is different from black ink. An artist that is experienced with white ink, will know that white ink “spreads out” a more than black ink does. Therefore, a tiny, intricate tattoo would not look good in white ink and the tattoo artist should know that and be able to warn their customers of the “do’s” and “don’ts” of white ink tattoos.

Personally, I am a huge proponent of white ink tattoos, I have two of them myself; I find them to be beautiful, subtle, and even pretty professional in the workplace. Although, it should be noted that white ink responds differently to different types of skin tones. On darker complexions, it will appear more prominent than it will on lighter complexions and this is especially true when the tattoo is brand new and hasn’t had time to fade.

But beauty is a subjective thing and I find white ink appealing on all skin tones. White ink tattoos have a very distinctive look and someone should only consider getting one if they know for a fact that they are a fan of the organic-scar type of look.

I will also warn you (from my experience with various tattoo artists) that many tattoo artists will try to talk you out of getting a white ink tattoo. This could be for several reasons: they want their work to be seen and white ink tattoos aren’t very visible, they aren’t comfortable tattooing purely with white ink, they fear that you are unaware of the catches of getting a white ink tattoo (i.e. they are subtle, require better care, could possibly change colours, fade quickly, have a scar-like resemblance), etc.

When white ink tattoos are done right, they are not only extremely unique in their appearance but they are the perfect solution to wanting a tattoo that is more low-key.

Here is one of my favourite tattoo artists, Kristi Walls, who is clearly comfortable with creating beautiful white ink tattoos:

I love you @georgiagreynyc and also these white fishbones that were definitely my idea and not yours ?

A post shared by ❃ Kristi Walls ❃ (@kristiwallsnyc) on

Healed client photo from @gabriellefleck ?

A post shared by ❃ Kristi Walls ❃ (@kristiwallsnyc) on

Healed white protection spell for Katrine!

A post shared by ❃ Kristi Walls ❃ (@kristiwallsnyc) on

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