Not All Tattoos are Created Vegan

As vegans, we spend a great deal of time mulling over ingredient lists at the grocery store – and asking our salon if the products are tested on animals or contain any animal products – but getting your next tattoo in Grand Rapids might take some research to ensure your brand new badass work of art is vegan.

Kolene got this awesome cover up done by Gareth at Sovereign Arms Tattoos in East Hills.

As it turns out, most tattoo ink is not vegan. Black ink, probably the most common color used, is made by burning animal bones into to charcoal. Some black inks also contain shellac. While most of the color pigments don’t contain animal products but the liquid used to turn them into something suitable to be injected under the skin do.

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. This website is a handy guide for all things vegan tattoos. Michigan-based Eternal Ink’s entire line is vegan. However, when it comes to aftercare, the “gold standard” of healing ointment, Aquaphor, contains lanolin, a wax that comes from sheep. Spending some time sourcing a vegan cream is worth the effort!

The toughest part for vegans and your artist will be the stencil paper used to transfer the art to your body. The vast majority of the stencil paper used contains lanolin. A vegan version does exist so make sure to ask your artist about what they use.

West Michigan Tattoo Shops

This list is certainly not comprehensive but a good place to start to find your vegan tattoo in Grand Rapids.

  • Anarchy Ink – The only tattoo shop in the area that advertises ”vegan-friendly” ink.
  • Sovereign Arms Tattoo – Located on Cherry St. at Diamond, this is where VGR co-founder Kolene got her latest tattoo.
  • 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.
  • The Gremlin House – This spot in Jenison advertises their vegan tattoos and use of Eternal Ink.

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-pride tattoo is indeed vegan. You’re going to be walking around with it the rest of your life!

**We do our best to provide the best information as possible but always do your own research!

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