Skip to content

7 Tattoo Ink Brands To Avoid (And Ingredients)

  • by
  • 7 min read
Tattoo Ink Brands To Avoid

When it comes to choosing good tattoo ink, it’s important to do your research. There are a lot of tattoo ink brands on the market, but not all of them are created equal. Some tattoo inks contain adverse chemicals and metals that can be harmful to your body.

So, if you’re looking for something safe and non-toxic, then you need to know which tattoo ink brands to avoid.

I compiled a list of 6 tattoo ink brands that should be avoided based on the research I did and I’ll leave the links to the sources. 

But before we move on to the brands, let’s talk a bit about what ingredients a tattoo ink shouldn’t have and how these are harmful to people.

Tattoo Ink Ingredients That You Should Avoid

One of the best things you could do before purchasing tattoo ink is to visit the ink brand’s website and take a look at the ingredients list.

You should avoid brands that have:

  • Heavy metals
  • Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Oxides
  • Carrier Ingredients
  • Carcinogens
  • Alcohol

Here’s a list of specific ingredients it shouldn’t have:

Tattoo Ink Ingredients That You Should Avoid

However, some brands won’t have a full list of ingredients as manufacturers are not usually bound to tell you what is in their products. So beware!

Related: Is Bactine good for tattoos?

Tattoo Ink Brands To Avoid 

Here are some of the brands and types of tattoo ink I would personally avoid using:

1. Color King

The TUKES (Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency) did a large examination of a variety of tattoo inks and tested each of these for harmful ingredients back in 2019. 

color king black avoid

Turns out, Color King along with a few other brands had chemicals that cause cancer and that are toxic for reproduction! These chemicals were polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals like nickel which are known to be harmful to our bodies.

However, these results were from a single lot that was tested. 

But because they were careless, I would avoid this tattoo ink brand. And, we don’t know for sure if other lots might be the same. 

2. Scalpaink

Back in 2018, the FDA discovered a large amount of Scalpaink inks along with a few others were contaminated with microorganisms and were voluntarily recalled! 

Using contaminated tattoo ink can cause infections and it could lead to serious injuries.

While this too was LOT specific, again they were careless and I’ll never know if the ink I have is contaminated, so for these reasons I would avoid using Scalpaink tattoo ink. There are plenty of safer and more affordable options available.

Also read: How to waterproof a tattoo?

3. Ink Eeze

Despite its widespread availability, Ink Eeze has been met with criticism for ink consistency issues.

Reports from multiple artists suggest that the pigments may not heal as expected, leading to faded tattoos that require touch-ups sooner than is typical.

4. Cheap Ink 4U

Cheap Ink 4U is often targeted for its below-par quality. The brand tempts with low prices but fails to meet professional standards.

Unknown ingredient compositions and a tendency for the ink to cause adverse skin reactions to place this brand on the avoid list.

5. QuickFade Inks

QuickFade Inks are seen unfavorably because they are specifically formulated to fade more quickly over time.

This characteristic runs counter to the desires of most individuals who want their tattoos to be permanent and enduring, making QuickFade an impractical choice for serious tattoo artists and recipients.

6. Cheap Unbranded Chinese, Thailand, and Indian Inks

Several unbranded tattoo inks of varying quality are made in China, Thailand, and India in the market these days. 

While most of these are decent unbranded inks, many are of extremely poor quality.

unbranded ink

The main reason why we should avoid them is that we don’t know for sure where they are made and how they are made. It could pretty much be poster paint to get your money containing mercury, phosphorus, and other metallic elements made in non-sterile production.

Another reason to avoid unbranded inks is that they are often much cheaper than the major brands. While this may seem like a good thing at first, it is important to remember that you get what you pay for. Inks that are made cheaply are often made with inferior ingredients that aren’t properly tested and could be harmful

Plus, cheap inks are often harder to work with, making it more difficult to get a good result.

In general, it is best to avoid unbranded tattoo inks, especially those that are very cheap and are made in China, Thailand, and India.

Related: Can You Tattoo Over A Mole?

7. Buying Any Ink Off eBay

You should avoid buying any tattoo ink from eBay since even the branded ones are usually fake.

The same reasons as cheap unbranded inks apply to buying ink off eBay. We don’t know for sure how they are made and what’s in them.

Fake Skin Inks

A lot of the color kits that come with fake skin are a no-go. Some have a website for details and when you research it you will find they are labeled for fake skin only.


You should avoid any tattoo ink that isn’t from a reputable supplier. And make sure you look at the ingredients list before you buy it. Stay away from cheap brands that aren’t water-based or aren’t made in the US or Canada.

Other than that, inks perform in a very comparable way. There’s lots of emphasis put on brand favorites, but the truth is that a skilled tattooist can work with almost any decent brand regardless.

Choosing a good tattoo ink brand is not something that you should take lightly, and it is important to do your research to make sure that you are getting a quality product. Choosing a reputable brand is one of the best ways to ensure happy clients.


Leave a Reply