Every individual is a unique canvas for a tattoo. Their skin type will affect how well they take the ink. Meanwhile, their tone acts as a filter, subtly altering the appearance of the ink. Are you curious about the best tattoo inks for darker skin? Are certain colors or brands better than others?
In the reviews today, we’ll cover ink brands for tattoos on dark skin and how to choose colors that will look rich and vibrant.
Best Tattoo Ink for Dark Skin Reviews
Here’s our list of the ideal tattoo inks for brown or darker skin. This list is based on extensive research and particular emphasis on how these inks have worked on darker skin over time.
|1. Millennium Nuclear UV Tattoo Ink|
|2. Dynamic Black Tattoo Ink Bottle|
|3. StarBrite Colors Sterilized Tattoo Ink|
|4. Intenze Mark Grey Tattoo Ink|
1. Millennium Mom’s Nuclear UV Blacklight Tattoo Ink
The Millennium Mom’s Nuclear UV Blacklight Tattoo Ink comes in a pack of 9 color tattoo inks, each made from special dyes that glow in UV light and blacklight conditions. This ink will give you vibrant-looking tattoos that glow stunningly under black light.
In natural light conditions, the ink is almost invisible on the skin, having a subtle scar-like appearance. The flow of this blacklight tattoo ink isn’t any different from other good-quality tattoo inks. Hence, its homogenized mixture of carrier and pigments flows out from the tattoo machine smoothly and effortlessly into the skin. The choice of 9 rich color inks makes for a perfect palette without the requirement of needing water for dilution.
Furthermore, you’ll get consistent, long-lasting results with flawless color, quality, and richness in tone each time this ink is applied. The product is made in the USA and is a favorite among many tattoo professionals, all of whom seek the highest quality and results.
- Blacklight/UV sensitivity allows the ink to glow in the dark.
- Made entirely in the USA with a Worldwide reputation
- High level of pigmentation.
- Time-tested and loved by tattoo professionals worldwide.
- Safest ink to use with beautiful & vibrant results.
- You get 9 stunning colors in 1-ounce bottles.
2. Dynamic Black Tattoo Ink Bottle
Dynamic is one of the most popular American tattoo ink brands. They’ve been in business since 1990. They offer a wide range of colors and sizes of bottles, so you can stock up on what you use the most.
Their black ink flows fast into the skin. But don’t let the thin consistency for you – it can be diluted for the grey wash. Artists like it because it heals quickly and retains its vibrance, too. The ink is made with vegan ingredients, and it’s cruelty-free. But be careful to avoid knockoffs as this brand is often imitated.
- Made in the USA
- Authentic and Hygienic
- Reliable Healing
- Vegan and Never Tested on Animals
3. StarBrite Colors Sterilized Tattoo Ink
Starbrite’s tattoo inks are vibrant, consistent, and smooth-flowing. They are made in the USA and come pre-sterilized. Starbrite tattoo ink irradiates them with gamma rays to kill harmful microbes.
Are you familiar with the Fitzpatrick skin type scale? It has six categories, from the skin that burns easily and won’t tan to skin that never burns and tans quickly. For us, this tops the list for best tattoo inks and is of high quality.
The basic set of red, green, and blue is bright enough for medium and olive tones (numbers III and IV).
- Authentic, brightest, and cleanest color
- Manufactured in Connecticut
- Vinyl die-cut Label and Bottles
- Watch out for any leaky bottle caps.
4. Authentic Intenze Mark Mahoney’s Gangster Series Grey Tattoo Ink
Tattoo artist Mark Mahoney introduced Gangster Grey Tattoo Ink as a response to curious customers of INTENZE Products. Their customers wanted to learn about his legendary Black & Grey Tattoo style. He formulated the Gangster Grey Tattoo Ink using the exact formula he uses while tattooing black & grey designs. This product, containing 6 ink bottles of 1 ounce each is also one of the best tattoo ink for dark skin.
As an outcome of this impeccable black and grey tattoo ink system, you get incredible lettering, spiritual tattoos, black and grey portraits, and Cholo artwork. The contents include four shades of black/grey and one bottle each of white silk ink and miracle water.
- Mark Mahoney’s personal black & grey tattoo ink formula
- Meets both Mark Mahoney and ‘INTENZE Products’ high standards.
- Great for fine line and black & grey inking.
- Perfect selection of black and grey colors.
- According to some users, the packaging could’ve been better.
5. Allegory Premium Tattoo Ink Blak
This black tattoo ink was the first product developed by Allegory in Florida. It has a silky texture that stays smooth so that lines are easy to pull and the color is easy to pack. Blak is excellent for both lining and shading.
Each bottle has a glass marble agitator to keep the pigment adequately mixed. Moreover, the transparent bottle shows you at a glance how much ink is left. Each one has a tamper and leak-resistant twist top.
- Works great with Tattoo gun
- Perfect for line and shaders
- True black color
6. Millennium Moms Black Pearl Outlining Tattoo Ink
Black Pearl is the most advanced outlining and shading tattoo ink you can find. It is preferred by elite tattoo artists across the world for its outstanding black and grey results. Its consistency is thin flowing yet it’s a bold tattoo ink having extra high pigment concentration. The ink gets absorbed into the skin quicker relative to most other similar products.
The homogenized pigments in this tattoo ink help the tattoo stay vibrant, black for the long haul. Moreover, the results of each application are consistent. You don’t have to worry about the quality of the unused portion of the bottled ink deteriorating while still stored.
Usually, inconsistencies in the fluidity of the ink flow can cause jamming at the endpoint of the tattoo needle. Not in this case though, the flow rate of this ink is smooth and fast, which is perfect for uninterrupted tattooing.
- The watery (11.5% water) consistency of the tattoo ink makes it a breeze to work with.
- An excellent black tattoo outlining ink; also excellent for mixing washes & cool Greys.
- Incredible 12-ounce quantity bottle.
- Some users say it’s a wee bit short of a true black ink.
7. Panthera Artist Series — Ralf Nonnweiler Black Tattoo Ink
Italian brand Panthera makes one of the safest tattoo inks. The company was founded by experienced artists in 2000. Their goal was to create premium ink that respects the tattoo collector’s well-being. They also ensure that the colors withstand exposure to the sun.
Each pigment has to meet strict European standards for purity and quality. They never include carcinogens. Then, each ink is sterilized in the final phase of production.
If you do portraits, you must try the Ralf Nonnweiler series as it’s one of the world’s best black and grey sets. Otherwise, try their XXX Tribal Black as it’s extremely dark and won’t fade in sunlight.
- Diluted, light-toned pigment
- Ideal for creating subtle details/shades
- Durability against sun fade
- Part of Ralf Nonnweiler’s greywash series
- Some users have reported the vibrancy of the inks in this ink set isn’t as long-lasting as compared to higher-priced ink sets.
8. INTENZE Professional Tattoo Ink Formula 23
Formula 23 is a superior black tattoo ink that comes in a 10-ounce bottle. The formula of this ink is devised based on the contention to create an innovative and safe ink leading to amazing tattoo designs.
So what’s so innovative about Formula 23? It’s the ink formula that meets the quality standards expected by the creators Intenze Products and famous tattoo artist BJ Betts. Appropriately termed the next evolution in tattoo lettering, Formula 23 is a superior black tattoo ink created by undergoing 23 iterations specifically to enhance tattoo lettering designs of tattoo artists.
There are no hazardous ingredients in the ink. It’s vegan-friendly and not animal tested so it’s a cruelty-free product. The packaging is spot on and tamper-proof and the ink is made in the USA so you won’t have to worry about quality-related flaws. For reliable, professional results and a rich-tone effect, go for this item!
- Tamper-proof bottle.
- Vegan-friendly with no animal testing undergone.
- No use of hazardous ingredients in this ink.
- Made in the USA.
- Professional and rich tone results.
- Some customers had an issue with the twist lid.
9. VIKING INK – Tattoo Ink – DARK SKIN 0.5oz (15ml)
Tattoo ink for dark skin by ‘Viking Ink’ is one of the top contenders when it comes to the best tattoo ink for dark skin. The ink gets applied easily to the skin through bright, long-lasting colors of ink that are easy to penetrate.
When we say black ink it doesn’t get as truly black as Viking black ink. Moreover, the colors are long-lasting, which means the black won’t turn into another color over time. Whether you’re lining, shading, or solid coloring, the consistency of Viking Ink is so great it’s suitable for all types of tattoo work. Furthermore, the product is vegan and has never been tested on animals.
- Vegan, cruelty-free ink.
- Made in the USA.
- Suitable for all types of tattoo work.
- Long-lasting black, won’t change colors over time.
- Excellent ink for dark skin tones.
- A high-end brand with ultra-fine pigments.
- The bottle contains only 0.5 ounces of ink.
10. Intenze Bob Tyrrell 6 Colors Ink Set
Black-and-white portraits have never looked more realistic. This set has the colors you need for professional results: Dimension Black, Sculpting Black, High White, and light, medium, and dark tones.
Their formula is no longer a big secret! Intenze Bob ink has organic, vegan-friendly elements that result in great tattoos. The Intenze Bob Tyrrell tattoo ink is super bright tattoo ink that will make the tattoo design appear amazingly vibrant on the skin.
- You get dreamy black & grey effects.
- The color is bright & bold.
- All-natural ingredients.
- Trustworthy brand globally.
- The flow of the ink is consistent.
- You need to open the bottle cap carefully as it could spill.
11. World Famous Tattoo Ink – Black Outlining
The founders of World Famous Ink have a combined 50 years of experience. Although they make ink in the USA, they comply with the stricter European standards for health and safety.
Artists say the black lining ink is richly pigmented yet has the perfect consistency for fine details. The outlines stay sharp long after the tattoo heals.
The ink is highly concentrated, hence, the ideal choice for tribals filling. Moreover, the renowned World Famous of the colors makes it one of the best ink choices for easy pigment dispersion.
- Value for money.
- Excellent flow rate.
- Highly concentrated ink makes it suitable for filling tribal designs.
- Hopefully, none of the bottles is leaky, otherwise, you’re all good.
Which are the best colors of tattoo ink for darker skin?
It’s time to throw out preconceptions about tattooing Black or Brown skin. The amount of melanin will affect the color like a filter. But that shouldn’t stop you from experimenting.
Tattoo artists with experience tattooing dark skin will do a color test. They discuss the design with the client, creating a stencil if needed. (One artist we know of sketches the stencil on brown paper to help the client visualize the end result).
Then, they tattoo various colored dots to see how the ink looks. They may wait a week to see how it heals. (This is also helpful for monitoring allergic reactions).
While that process isn’t always necessary, it’s crucial to have an awareness of how skin color interacts with tattoo ink.
Tips for Tattooing Darker Skin
Skin type can cause more difficulty than skin tone. Some folks are prone to scarring and forming keloids regardless of the color of their skin.
Part of the reason why those with darker skin may end up with keloids from tattoos is that untrained artists insist on being heavy-handed. There’s no need to overwork a line just because someone has dark skin.
Take it easy if you’re practicing on darker skin. Do a color test first. And remember, use a light hand.
You can’t go wrong with black ink, but remember to match the tone. Some are reddish, while others are neutral or bluish. Don’t skimp on detail or shading.
Finally, if you’re not sure which shades look best on dark skin, try earth tones. Rich reds, salmon, and olive green are gorgeous.
There are way too many products in the marketplace that fit into the category of tattoo ink meant for darker skin. Choosing the right one is a daunting task, especially if you have no knowledge or experience with such products. The 11 products we’ve reviewed above are some of the best for this purpose. Something you can’t go wrong with.
Although, selecting any of these for yourself or your clients may not guarantee the tattoo will look extremely beautiful, but it’s a step towards a safe, sterilized, and vegan-friendly direction. Having said that, you may choose any of the above-listed tattoo inks for dark skin as each is of the highest quality standards and safe to apply.