VIDEO – the lowdown on vegan tattoos

Got questions about vegan tattoos? Watch this video with Andy Wharton and have them all answered.

What’s vegan and what’s not vegan about tattoos and tattoo aftercare? Here’s a confession – I’ve been getting tattooed for 8 years and I’ve been vegan for 2 1/2 of those years and I had absolutely no idea. Bad vegan.

Now I’m not talking about tattoos of animals, or ink that pledges your allegiance to veganism – I’m talking no animal products being used throughout the tattooing process, and avoiding the sneaky one hidden away in inks, aftercare and other places.

Ask the expert

I started by doing a little research online about vegan tattoos and couldn’t find much information. Then I remembered I’d met Andy Wharton on my last visit to Octopus Tattoo in Derby (where I’ve been going for the last 6 years).

Andy is a vegan tattoo artist and I thought he’d be the perfect person to clue me (and you) up about veganism and tattooing. I got in touch and we decided the best thing to do would be to make a video and bang it this blog post and on YouTube.

So feel free to kick back and watch that, but if reading is more your thing though, here’s the lowdown on vegan tattoos.


As Andy says in the video, the stuff you’ve got to watch out for in tattoo ink is bone char, glycerin and shellac (beetles). It can be difficult to identify which inks are 100% vegan but, as with most vegan things, it getting easier to identify the vegan options available on the market.

It’s important to make sure the ink that’s getting blasted under your skin contains vegetable glycerin and not animal glycerin. The good news is that most inks now use the vegetable version, but you’ve still got to stay on your toes.

Andy mentions Intenze in the video, so there’s one vegan ink for you.

I’ve also had a dig around the internet and the following companies offer vegan tattoo ink:

Eternal Ink


If you know of any more, let me know and I can add them to the list.

Transfer paper

Say what? Yeah, you know that seemingly innocent transfer paper that your design gets printed out on and then stuck on you? Well, chances are it’s not vegan. Most transfer paper has beeswax in it.

Thankfully though, there are vegan transfer papers out there, like the one from ReproFX that Andy shows in the video.


Again, you’ve got to keep your wits about you if want to make sure your tattoo stays vegan once it’s done. The choice is getting much better, and a quick Google search will throw up tons of options for aftercare that’s not full of gross stuff.

As Andy points out, Bepanthen (my old go-to aftercare cream) is a big no-no thanks to the lanolin in it. That’s basically a wax sweated out by woolly animals to keep their wool waterproof. Yum.

I used Ink Nurse to look after my new knuckle tat, and I’ve got to say, it did a pretty sweet job of keeping the ink looking fresh. Plus, I bagged the limited edition Marge Nurse 182 tub, so I felt pretty cool using it.

These are the vegan aftercare options Andy talks about in our video:


True Love Butter

El Gato Negro

Lush’s Dream Cream

Wrapping up

Now you know how to get a vegan tattoo all that’s left to do is figure out what design you want to get and save some cash.

If you’ve got any questions about vegan tattoos, or anything else, then drop us a line.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

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And follow Andy on Instagram if you’re thinking of getting a vegan tattoo.

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