While solid black tattoos are gaining popularity in some circles, others seem to prefer getting their skin etched with white ink. The new trend involves the use of only white ink, without any black outlines or additional color. So a white ink tattoo is pretty much just an outline – it could look amazing if done well, but there’s a high chance of it turning into a disaster as well.
There’s a lot of mixed information about white ink tattoos on the internet – while some sources think they’re brilliant, others believe that no professional tattoo artist would ever recommend them, mainly because they’re too faint and can end up looking like scars, or worse still, a skin disease. To make matters worse, the white ink have a tendency to fade much faster than regular ones, taking on a yellowish tinge that looks absolutely horrible, especially when low quality paints are used.
Ink Done Right, a website dedicated to the world of tattoos, is all for white ink tattoos, can end up looking absolutely stunning (especially under UV light) but they are also very difficult to pull off. “White ink doesn’t show up well on skin of any color, so the design itself will always be subdued,” the website states. “This also means that the skin that was torn up during the healing process will be evident in the form of a raised outline that outshines the ink itself. This can be good or bad, depending on your take of it.”
But when done correctly, the website guarantees that they could look amazing, especially under UV light. “Small outlines of white ink can accent the tattoo more than black ink would, and it’s a good way to tattoo something that you imagine to be glowing. The white ink can be mixed with other inks to give a gleaming sheen, and it can also be toned down to show barely perceivable lines on the skin. Since white ink is less saturated and very light, it’s easier to see how the skin raises from a tattoo. This can be used to your advantage – 3D shadows will make it pop more than a regular tattoo.”
The key, it appears, is to choose your design and your tattoo artist wisely. The general advice is to stay away from small, abstract designs – they might end up looking like acne or mosquito bites over time. Large designs could look uneven, so a moderate size should work best. The quality of ink used also seems to play a role in how long the tattoo will last before fading away. All tattoos fade, but a white one fades much faster and low-quality ink can make it appear as a grayish-yellow after a while. Eventually, most white ink tattoos will require touch ups, but apparently they won’t look as good as a fresh one does.
Skin color is an important factor too. The human eye is naturally attracted to contrasts, so white tattoos look great on dark or tanned skin, but on lighter skin, the paint needs too have more pigment than usual just to make the artwork visible. Less pigment just makes the tattoo transparent. Not to mention that there is such a thing as to light a skin for white ink tattoos, so make sure you consult a seasoned tattoo artist before going through with one, or you might end up with just a raised scar on your body.
Even though white tattoos have been around for a while now, they are still considered somewhat of a novelty, but they are definitely growing in popularity at a steady pace, so you can expect to see more of them in the next few years.
Abd now for some less impressive examples of white tattoos: