Stick and poke tattoo ink is one of the key ingredients that will improve your stick n poke tattoos quality, safety and longevity. Although you might hear of people tattooing themselves using pen ink or India ink, we strongly advise against going cheap on tattoo ink. High quality and sterile stick and poke ink will greatly improve your homemade tattoo results. Professional ink is affordable and will guarantee peace of mind.
Tattoo Ink Types
Tattoo inks come in two main categories.
A) Stable pigment-based inks
You likely won’t use stable pigment-based inks for your hand poked tattoos since they have to be mixed. This type of ink is often presented as “old school”. Alla Prima is the most well-known brand of stable pigment-based inks.
B) Pre-dispersed inks
Pre-dispersed inks, also called pre-made inks, are readily available and commonly used. These tattoo inks are ready to use and they don’t require mixing. However, even if they are pre-dispersed, you should shake the bottle shortly before using it. For stick and poke tattoos, we recommend to go with this kind of ink, as it is simpler and yields great results.
Tattoo Ink Components
Inks contain two main elements: pigments and carrier (solvent). However, they can contain a few different pigments and products with specific functions such as astringents.
- Pigments can be made metal-, vegetable- or plastic-based. These substances appear as powder particles – pigments – with different sizes depending on ink types. In pre-dispersed tattoo inks, the pigment particles are finely broken up.
- Carriers can be composed of water, witch hazel extract, alcohol or surfactants (glycerine, propylene glycol). They keep the pigments evenly mixed, disinfect the solution and insure the ink is pathogens-free.
- Witch hazel is hamamelis water, a plant-based solution. It is used as an astringent to tighten and firm up the skin, reduce bleeding and ink rejection. Witch hazel also attenuates skin redness and soothes it down.
Stick and Poke Tattoo Ink storage
Storing your stick and poke tattoo ink in a proper environment is important to keep it safe and in good condition. Here are basic guidelines:
- Store stick and poke ink away from sunlight or high heat, as this could alter the pigments or dry up the solvent.
- Never keep your tattoo ink in freezing condition. Freezing separates the different chemicals composing the ink and therefore alters its quality.
- Use your ink before its expiration date. Unfortunately, not every manufacturer provides this information. It is generally recommended to keep your ink for up to 3 years. In all cases, you should never keep a bottle that could have been contaminated or altered by biological contamination, temperature or other factors.
To extend your stick n poke ink life and maintain its quality you should also:
- Shake your ink before each use.
- After use, close the cap tightly and wipe the pouring ink with a sterile cloth.
- In all cases, never pour your needle directly in your ink bottle. Also, avoid manipulating the ink bottle with gloves that touched the fresh tattoo or with any of your tools. Fill a small container with the ink required for the tattoo and prepare your ink away from your work area. It is crucial to avoid touching the ink bottle with unwashed hands or equipment to prevent cross contamination.
Here is a list of recommended black stick and poke inks. If you’d like to work with color inks, we suggest choosing the same brands.
- Natural ingredients
- The Intenze True black contains carbon black, distilled water, glycerine and witch hazel.
- Water-based, non-toxic and glycerol-free
- Natural ingredients (contains organic pigments and witch hazel)
- Black would be a good choice to start with.
- Organic pigments
- The Bloodline All-purpose Black contains: carbon black, distilled water, glycerine and witch hazel.
- Dynamic’s inks contain isopropyl alcohol as the sterilizing agent
- The Dynamic color Black contains: carbon black, acrylic resin and isopropyl alcohol.
- The Mom’s Ink Black Onyx contains: carbon black, water and glycerine.