If you are a tattoo artist, then you know that buying inks can get expensive. So, the natural question is, how long does tattoo ink last?
A good quality bottle of tattoo ink can last anywhere from 2-5 years, depending on how well it is cared for. To get the most out of your tattoo ink, store it in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.
This blog post will provide more information and tips for keeping your ink fresh. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- Tattoo inks usually don’t have an expiration date.
- A good quality bottle of tattoo ink can last anywhere from 2-5 years, depending on how well it is cared for.
- Store your tattoo ink away from direct sunlight to get the most out of it.
Do Tattoo Inks Have Expiration Dates?
It’s important to be aware of the expiration dates of the products you use, including tattoo ink.
To answer the question, tattoo inks do NOT have expiration dates.
But it is important to note that they will EVENTUALLY dry out and lose their pigment over time. This is why storing your ink properly is essential (more on that later). Depending on the brand, tattoo inks can last anywhere from 18 months to 5 years .
However, it’s important to note that these are only estimates, and the ink may degrade sooner if it’s not stored correctly. Additionally, once you OPEN a bottle of tattoo ink, it is best to use it within 6-12 months .
After that, the ink will start to lose its color and vibrancy.
READ MORE: How to Get Tattoo Ink Out of Clothes?
Factors That Affect Its Longevity
There are a few factors that can affect how long does tattoo ink last, including:
1. The Quality Of The Ink
The quality of the ink you use will significantly impact how long it lasts. In general, higher-quality inks will last LONGER than lower-quality inks. This is because higher-quality inks are made with better pigments that don’t degrade as quickly over time.
2. How The Ink Is Stored
Another factor affecting your tattoo ink’s longevity is how you store it. It’s essential to store your ink in a cool, dark place AWAY from direct sunlight.
Additionally, be sure to SHAKE the bottle well before each use to prevent the ink from drying out.
3. How Often The Ink Is Used
The frequency you use your tattoo ink will also affect its longevity. If you only use your ink occasionally, it will last LONGER than if you use it regularly.
This is because the less often you open the bottle, the less chance the ink will dry out or become contaminated.
Pro Tip: When you are done tattooing for the day, be sure to close your ink bottles tightly and store them in a cool, dark place.
Signs That It Is Going Bad
Sometimes, it will eventually go bad even if you store your tattoo ink properly. Here are a few signs that your tattoo ink is no longer good:
1. Changed Color
One of the first signs that your tattoo ink is going bad is that it will start to change color. The pigments in ink will begin to break down, causing the ink to lose its VIBRANCY and become dull.
For example, black ink may start to look more like dark grey. If you notice that your tattoo ink has changed color, it’s best to discard it and get a new bottle.
2. Thinner Consistency
Another sign that your tattoo ink is going bad is that it will become thinner in consistency. This is because the pigments are broken down, and the ink loses color.
When your tattoo ink becomes thinner, it’s time to say goodbye and open a new bottle.
3. Bad Smell
If your tattoo ink starts to smell bad, it’s a sure sign that it has gone bad and needs to be discarded.
The ink may smell sour, rancid, or just off. If you notice any STRANGE smells coming from your ink bottles, it’s best to get rid of them (expired ink stinks).
Pro Tip: If you’re unsure if your ink is bad, it’s always better to be safe and throw it away.
How To Prolong Its Lifespan
Now that you know how long tattoo ink lasts and what causes it to go bad, let’s talk about how you can prolong its lifespan. Here are a few tips for keeping your tattoo ink fresh:
1. Store It Properly
As I mentioned before, proper STORAGE is key to prolonging the lifespan of your tattoo ink.
Be sure to store your ink in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and shake the bottle well before each use to prevent the ink from drying.
2. Use A Good Quality Ink
Using good-quality ink will also help prolong the lifespan of your tattoo ink. Higher-quality inks are made with better pigments that don’t degrade as quickly over time. So, invest in good-quality ink if you want it to last longer.
3. Change The Needles Regularly
You must change your needles regularly if you’re a professional tattoo artist. Using dirty or old needles can CONTAMINATE your tattoo ink and cause it to go bad. So, change your needles often to keep your ink fresh.
Pro Tip: Qualified tattoo artists will know how often to change needles but always use fresh and sterile needles.
3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Expired Tattoo Inks
Now that you know how long tattoo ink lasts, let’s discuss why you shouldn’t use expired tattoo inks. Using expired tattoo ink can be dangerous for a few reasons:
1. The Ink Is No Longer Sterile
One of the most important things to remember about tattoo ink is that it must be STERILE.
If the ink is no longer sterile, it can be CONTAMINATED with bacteria or other harmful microorganisms that can cause infections or distortion at the tattoo site. So, it’s best to avoid using expired tattoo ink to play it safe.
2. The Ink May Have Changed Colour
As I mentioned, one of the signs that tattoo ink has gone bad is that it has changed color. If you use expired tattoo ink, it may not appear as you want it to on your skin.
The pigments in ink may have broken down, causing it to lose its VIBRANCY and become dull. So, if you want your tattoo to look its best, it’s best to use fresh ink.
3. The Ink May Not Be Effective
Another reason you shouldn’t use expired tattoo ink is that it may not be as effective as fresh ink. The pigments in ink may have broken down over time, making the ink less POTENT.
So, if you want your tattoo to be as effective as possible, it’s best to use fresh ink.
Check: How Long Do Stick and Poke Last?
Are There Any Health Risks To Using Expired Tattoo Inks?
Yes, there is a health risk to using expired tattoo inks. The link may no longer be sterile and can be contaminated with bacteria which can cause infections.
Does It Hurt To Use Expired Tattoo Inks?
No, it does not hurt to use expired tattoo inks. However, the ink may not be as effective as it once was and may not show up the way you want it to on your skin.
What Should I Do With My Expired Tattoo Inks?
You should dispose of your expired tattoo inks properly. The best way to do this is to take them to a professional tattoo artist and have them dispose of the ink for you.
So, how long does tattoo ink last? It lasts longer than you might think, so be sure to properly care for it if you want to get the most out of your investment.
With proper care, your tattoo ink can last anywhere from 2-5 years. That means you can enjoy your new tattoos for a long time before it reaches their expiration date.
Just remember, if you want to avoid any health risks, it’s best to avoid using expired inks. So, if you have any old ink you’re not sure about, dispose of it properly.
So, how long does your tattoo’s ink last on your skin? Let us know in the comments section!
- 1. Does Tattoo Ink Expire? Everything You Should Know – Saved Tattoo [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2022 Nov 27]. Available from: https://www.savedtattoo.com/does-tattoo-ink-expire/
- 2. I MAX TATTOO INKS SHELF LIFE & CARE AFTER OPENING [Internet]. Available from: https://www.imaxshop.com/download/Pigment_Care_Shelf_Life.pdf