As vegans, we probably all spend a great deal of time mulling over ingredient lists at the grocery store and asking our salon if their products are tested on animals or contain any animal product, but who would have thought that we needed to worry about tattoo ink too? As it turns out, most is not vegan. Black ink, probably the most common color used, is made by burning animal bones into to charcoal. If that isn’t bad enough, some black inks also contain shellac. While most of the color pigments don’t contain animal products, oftentimes the liquid used to turn them into something suitable to be injected under the skin, is not.
Don’t be too discouraged though, vegan tattoo ink does exist! If you have a tattoo artist you want to keep using, ask them to purchase a vegan ink. Here is a list of known vegan inks (as well as aftercare products).
There are also a few shops in the Grand Rapids area that are vegan-friendly. Those are:
Anarchy Ink – The only tattoo shop in the area that advertises “vegan-friendly” ink. Anarchy also uses vegan-friendly cleansing soaps during the tattoo process, like Dr. Bronners.
The Gremlin Gallery – The Gremlin Gallery is located in Grandville. The shop manager is vegan and has assured us that everything they use is veg-friendly!
Plowshare Studios – They do not advertise as being vegan-friendly, but we have confirmed with them that all items used in their tattooing process are vegan safe.
Sovereign Arms – This is a fairly new tattoo shop in the Cherry Hill shopping district. They have told us that all of their ink is vegan-friendly.
Did we leave anyone off the list? If you know of a vegan-friendly tattoo shop, please let us know!
So go on and get that cute little “V” tattooed on your wrist or a stalk of celery on your calf, just make sure that veggie-loving tattoo is indeed vegan. You’re going to be walking around with it the rest of your life!