Frequently I get asked about vegan tattooing and about the products I use. So I’ve put together a list of what I use before, during and after the tattooing process. Being vegan doesn’t just relate to what you eat, but what you consume. That means anything that contains animal or animal by-products, as well as anything that has been tested on animals.

I am very conscious of the products I use and always choose vegan options even if it costs a bit more, where possible. On a personal level, i care deeply about the environment and try to keep my carbon footprint as low as possible in my business. I don’t use a printer to print out designs, everything is done on my iPad and printed directly on stencil paper from my laptop. I try to minimise waste where I can and without compromising on hygiene.

What might not be vegan when getting a tattoo?

Although many good quality tattoo inks are now vegan-friendly, some inks still contain ingredients that are animal derived. Glycerine derived from animal fats is often used as a stabiliser, sometimes alongside gelatine, and bone char can be found in black inks to provide an increased pigment. The main issue, however, stems from the equipment and aftercare products used within the tattoo process, with stencil papers often made with lanolin, the substance derived from a sheep’s wool. Many recommended aftercare products, and even disposable razors provided by the tattoo studio also aren’t vegan, as animal-derived glycerine can be found in razor strips and aftercare soaps. Meanwhile, balms often contain lanolin or beeswax. – The Vegan Society

Here is a list of the products I use during the tattooing process that are vegan to the best of my knowledge: 

These products I use when tattooing, either I don’t know if they are vegan or they defiantly aren’t vegan:

  • Grip tape for wrapping around my machine
  • Micropore tape – to use when dressing your tattoo once the tattoo is completed.
  • Plastic coverings to cover cables and my tattoo machine
  • Bactine pain relieving spray – used but not necessarily used on longer tattoo sittings
  • Medical-grade hand wash
  • Clean Ink disinfectant spray and wipes – needed to disinfect surfaces like my workstation, couch, armrest, power supply and machines.

Plastic covering may contain animal fats but this is not stated on my suppliers’ website. I don’t know for sure if micropore tape and the grip tape are vegan is because I can’t find information on the adhesive they use to find out what its made of. Disinfectant, hand-wash and pain relieving spray aren’t likely to be vegan as there is a high chance they are likely to test on animals. These products that aren’t likely to be, or are not vegan are used for hygiene purposes which are unavoidable when dealing with blood and pathogens.

All the products that touch the skin and that I use, are vegan, and I am always searching to find vegan alternatives that don’t compromise hygiene standards. I’m sure as veganism continues to rise, it will be more common that products being used in tattooing are vegan. Although many tattoo products do state that they are vegan they are not officially certified by a third party. You can find me on the Vegan Tattoo Studios directory as well as on the Bristol Vegans website.

If you have any other questions regarding vegan tattooing please email me.