How Long Does a Stick and Poke Tattoo Last? Why It’s Popular

If you’re wondering how long does a stick and poke last, you are in luck!

Commonly known as hand-poked tattoos, the stick and poke, consisting of simple designs, are manually crafted on a client’s body by an experienced artist.

The stick-and-poke method dates back to early Egyptian times when it was frequently used in punk cultures worldwide, especially in countries such as India in the 1970s.

What’s more, this tattooing method renounces the art of tattooing and how it’s used in various cultures worldwide (1).

Key Takeaways

  • Your tattoo can last between 5 and 10 years.
  • Your tattoo’s lifetime will depend on your care and maintenance.

CHECK: Easy Tattoos for Beginners

Why Are Stick and Poke Tattoos Popular At All?

Recently, the demand for DIY tattoos has increased amongst teenagers, Generation Z and millennials teenagers (2).

Elle Magazine interviewed professional tattoo artist and illustrator Smriti Chaudhary on the increasing popularity of ‘stick and poke’ tattooing.

She claims that the revival of traditional methods speaks a lot about diversifying cultures.

The popularity of stick and poke are a solid reaction to the commercialization of the tattoo industry (3).

Younger generations, especially Gen Z, are at the forefront of DIY, at-home stick-and-poke tattooing because it helps them stand apart from the regular machine-made tattoo industry.

Another reason for being so popular is that hand poked tattoos are cheaper and less painful.

What’s more, less pain tolerance may be a bonus: people with low pain tolerance may prefer this ‘homemade tattoo’ method to other more complex and expensive alternatives. (4)

This style of tattooing has 2 major pros: (1) it is less invasive and (2) it does not have an extended healing period.

But as with anything in life, your tattoo demands proper aftercare to reduce the chances of cross-contamination and ensure proper safety.

Here’s a video tutorial on how to hand poke.

How Long Does A Stick And Poke Tattoo Usually last?

So, you may wonder: how long do a stick and poke last?

Your tattoo may not last as long as its machine counterparts. On average, it can last between five and ten years, depending on how well you care for it.

Being a traditional method, the stick and poke is non-electrical, so it doesn’t involve any complex machinery or intimidating gadgets. So redoing it may be cheaper.

Still, its fate can depend on other factors:

If the artist does a nasty poke, because of inexperience or a bad day, the designs will likely fade sooner rather than later.

Also, a novice may apply inappropriate tools, not enough, or use inadequate tattoo ink, causing damage and making a machine tattoo superior in some sense.

Should your artist use a professional stick kit, your tattoo may last for many years and, with proper care, last decades.

To care best for your tattoo design, please keep the following points in mind:

Beware of too much sunlight, frequent washing, or little aftercare, as these can destroy your beauty and make it fade in no time.

How Can I Make My Tattoo Last Longer?

It’s true what they said: good things do not last forever. And it’s also true for your specially crafted beauty.

Care will pay dividends to the health of your tattoo and how long it stays fresh and sparkly clean. So what can you do? Here is a couple of DOs:

  • Do keep hydrated. Drink plenty of water daily to ensure your tattoo stays nice and fresh.
  • Do put sunscreen on. Fun fact: your tattoo is another version of you. If it gets sun exposure, it also starts to look bad. So apply sunscreen on it!
  • Do moisturize. When your body loses water, it drys out like a fish out of water, and so does your tattoo. Avoid this by applying moisturizer each day.

It is vital to care for your beauty the same way you care for your skin: avoid scratching or damaging the spot in any way, shape, or form.

Also, use alcohol-free and fragrance-free moisturizers. Alcohol can dry the skin, leaving a tattoo in a lousy shape. Check the labels!

To go the extra mile, feel free to wait a couple of hours, wash your treasure with antibacterial soap and a bit of warm water, and let it dry. 

You can make your tattoo last longer by following these simple rules. It shouldn’t be difficult at all.

Prevention is better than cure. This means proper prevention and pretreatment can prevent your tattoo from getting infected and getting line blurs (tattoo blowout).

This stunning procedure has an added benefit: it will prevent infections and speed up the healing process altogether, given the many unforeseeable damage(s).

Will Showering Damage My Hand Poked Tattoo?

Rinsing or soaking the area with freshly tattooed ink excessively and constantly might ruin the tattooing, so please avoid it!

Allow your hand poke tattoo to dry for a few hours (a minimum of 9) before soaking it in water for at least one month.

Quick showers will do, but long baths or soaks are not advised and will ruin your quality tattoo and professional tattoo ink.

For best care, always pat dry your skin where the tattoo is rather than rubbing it to dry it. If you scrub it too hard, the art can blur and look patchy on your skin.

As always, keep a gentle hand!

READ MORE: How Long Does Tattoo Ink Stay Good?

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why Do Stick And Poke Peel Off?

The surface layer of your skin, the epidermis, will be colorful when freshly tattooed.
As your tattoo heals, the topmost layers of the epidermis will strip away, including the pigment trapped within these cells.

2. Can I retouch the stick and poke the next day?

One should consider waiting 2 to 3 weeks for the stick and poke ink to heal before reworking or touching it up entirely.


So, if I have answered this puzzling question of how long a stick and poke last and am keen to approach professional artists, you must get one now, right?

Once adequately cared for, your stick-and-poke tattoo can last very long. But how long is very long? Of course, this will depend on several factors.

If you tan for too long or forget to moisturize, you may ruin your tattoo very quickly. So do take proper precautions and handle your beauty with utmost care.

artistic hand poke tattoo

So, what do you think? If you have any questions or inspiring tales for us (we love good stories!), leave them in the comments below and follow us. We’d love to hear from you.


  • 1. Watson T. Intricate animal and flower tattoos found on Egyptian mummy. Nature. 2016;533:155–5.
  • 2. Everything You Should Know Before Getting a Stick-and-Poke Tattoo [Internet]. Byrdie. [cited 2022 Nov 25]. Available from:
  • 3. Professional Tattoo Artists Talk About Stick-And-Poke Tattoo [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2022 Nov 25]. Available from:
  • 4. Thinking About a DIY Stick Poke Tattoo? Read This First [Internet]. Healthline. 2021 [cited 2022 Nov 25]. Available from:

About Martina Todorovska

Martina is a graduated Doctor of Dental Medicine with a huge obsession for anything beauty-related. Her freelance writing started out as a creative outlet and turned out to be a full-time job. If you have any beauty questions, the chances are Martina has the answers. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES . Follow her on LINKEDIN , INSTAGRAM. Learn more about her HERE.

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