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What is blackout tattooing and why it's trending


You know that old ink you regret? That tattoo you got on a whim, or that just didn’t turn out the way you envisioned? We've all heard of cover-ups, but there's a bold, captivating trend sweeping the tattoo world that you might not know about, the blackout tattooing.

Instead of delicate designs masking old ink, this method takes a 'paint it black' approach. But before you jump to conclusions or get lost in the sea of Instagram photos showcasing this blackout tattoos trend, let’s shed some light on the world of of this tattoo style.

What is the purpose of a blackout tattoo?

Blackout tattoos, characterised by their bold and intense appearance, serve multiple purposes in the world of body art. One of the primary reasons many opt for such tattoos is to cover up existing tattoos, perhaps regrettable ink that's too intricate or dark for a traditional cover-up.

Beyond the practical application, the aesthetic allure of a solid black tattoo can't be denied. For some, this art form is a unique style statement, while for others, it's a personal symbol representing a fresh start, the closing of an old chapter, or a testament to personal rebellion.

Most tattoo artists have also embraced the technique to carve out negative space designs, using untouched skin to create contrast and patterns. In certain cultures, such full black tattoos bear traditional significance, making them a homage to ancient practices and a form of cultural appropriation.

And speaking of the black ink that gives this art its characteristic depth, if you're considering getting such a tattoo or are an artist aiming for that perfect shade of black, you might want to check out the Total Eclipse Black Tattoo Ink. It's trusted by pros for its rich consistency and lasting finish and Made in the EU with the highest purity of solid black ink.


Eclipse - Total Eclipse Black Tattoo Ink (260ml)


Essential factors to know before doing a blackout tattoo

Intensity and trauma to the skin

Blackout tattoos differ from regular ones primarily because of the sheer intensity involved. The tattoo artist will be saturating vast portions of the skin with black ink, which can be traumatic for the skin. The constant needle penetration over a specific area can cause more micro-tears in the skin, which might result in increased discomfort and healing time.

Detection of skin anomalies

One potential health concern with blackout tattoos is that they can obscure the visibility of skin conditions, including the early signs of skin cancer. The dense, dark pigment makes it challenging to spot changes or new developments on the skin. Regular skin checks and awareness of any changes in the tattooed area are crucial.

Pain level

As with any tattoo, pain levels vary by individual. However, given the nature of blackout tattoos—continuous ink saturation in large areas—the discomfort might be more pronounced. Those with tattoos can attest that areas where the tattoo needle goes over multiple times are generally more painful, and this is essentially the process for blackout tattoos.

Duration and sessions

Blackout tattoos, given their extensive coverage and depth, are not a one-session commitment. Depending on the size of the area you're covering and your pain tolerance, you might need multiple sessions. It’s crucial to understand this time commitment before starting the process.

Healing process

While the basics of healing are the same as any tattoo style—avoid touching, keep it clean, avoid submerging in water—the risk of complications like allergic reactions, infections, and scarring may be slightly heightened due to the intensity of ink application.

Increased pain and peeling post-session

Post-tattooing, the inked area might exhibit more pain than what one experiences with a regular tattoo. This is natural, given the extensive work done on the skin. Peeling, too, can be more pronounced, with thicker and larger "sheets" of dead skin coming off during the healing process.


It's common for tattoos to cause swelling, but with blackout tattoos, the swelling might be more pronounced and prolonged. The extensive trauma caused to the skin can lead to increased inflammatory response. It's advisable to have cold packs ready and to elevate the tattooed area when possible.


The aftercare for a blackout tattoo remains similar to that of regular tattoos but is even more crucial. Keeping the area clean and free from potential irritants is paramount. Additionally, given the ink's density, sun protection becomes even more critical; ultraviolet (UV) rays can break down the ink faster, causing it to fade or discolour. Regular moisturising can also aid in the healing process, ensuring the skin remains supple and reduces excessive scabbing or peeling.

Speaking of aftercare, if you're looking for an all-in-one solution, check out the Tattoo Goo Tattoo Care Kit (3 in 1). It's a game-changer for maintaining that fresh ink.


Tattoo Goo Tattoo Care Kit (3 in 1)


What are the common types of ‘blackout’ tattoos?

  • Large negative space designs: This style is mesmerising in its balance of contrast. Here, large portions of the skin are inked in solid black, but what makes it unique are the untouched or "negative" spaces left blank. These negative spaces can take the shape of symbols, patterns, or any chosen design, creating a stark visual contrast against the black.
  • Large geometric blackwork tattoos: Geometry meets ink in this style. Encompassing vast areas of the skin, these blackout tattoos leverage geometric shapes and patterns – from simple circles, triangles, and squares to intricate tessellations. When combined with the deep black of the ink, they create compelling visuals and patterns.
  • Tribal and neo-tribal designs: Drawing inspiration from traditional tribal tattoos, these designs are a fusion of the old and new. Classic tribal patterns are given a modern twist, often with thick black lines and heavy shading. With the influence of tribal tattoos from various cultures globally, these can range from Polynesian symbols to African patterns, presented in a dominant black aesthetic.

Can a blackout tattoo cover anything?

The good news is blackout tattoos can be used to cover up an older or existing tattoo, regardless of the complexity or darkness. Even for existing sleeves, a skilled artist can turn them into solid black works of art. The extent to which they should be covered and the design elements that are chosen are determined by the individual's preferences and comfort levels.

However, there are a few limitations. It’s not always possible to guarantee the complete removal of underlying tattoos, depending on variables like age and complexity. Due to the intense saturation involved in blackout tattooing, certain colours may need multiple sessions for full coverage or might require additional treatments after the initial tattoo session.

It's essential to speak with your artist about these matters before embarking on this kind of project. Not only will they be able to advise you on the best way forward, but they’ll also be able to educate you on any risks or limitations associated with your case.


woman with blackout tattoos


What's the deal with blackout tattoos anyway?

Blackout tattoos? They're not just your everyday ink. It's like taking a bold leap into the tattoo world, diving deep into a sea of pure, unbroken black. And even though it looks straightforward, there's a whole story behind each one. Maybe it's a fresh start, a cover-up, or just someone wanting to make a statement.

While most tattoos shout their stories with colours and designs, blackout tattoos do it differently. They whisper their tales, leaving room for interpretation, all while turning heads with their daring simplicity. It's like wearing your bold, unique style statement right on your sleeve – or wherever you get inked. So, next time you see a vast expanse of black, remember: there's more to the story than meets the eye. Cool, right?


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  • Mark Joshua Luz