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White ink tattoo guide: Techniques, tips, and ideas


White ink tattoos represent a unique challenge and opportunity for tattoo artists. Unlike traditional tattoos that rely on black and coloured inks, white ink tattoos require a different approach to ensure clarity, longevity, and customer satisfaction. This guide offers techniques, tips, and advice to help tattoo artists master the art of white ink tattooing.

What are white tattoos?

White tattoos are a unique form of body art that uses white ink instead of the traditional black or coloured inks. This style creates subtle, often delicate designs that look like lace, branding, or barely-there impressions on the skin. Because of the light colour of the ink, white body art is less visible than traditional tattoos, offering a more understated option.

Over time, they may fade or change to a yellowish colour, depending on the skin tone and exposure to elements. White inks are popular among those seeking a more discreet form or wanting to highlight the design's intricacy without the boldness of darker inks.

How and when should white ink be used in tattoos?

For highlights and accents

White ink is particularly effective when used as a highlight within a tattoo, helping to add depth and dimension to the design. By strategically placing white highlights in specific areas, you can make the illusion of light reflecting off the tattoo, making certain elements pop and giving the design a more dynamic look.

This technique is often used to emphasise the finer details of a tattoo or to bring a sense of realism to depicted objects or figures.

In shading and dimensional work

Aside from highlighting, white ink is also great for shading. It can add depth and a three-dimensional look to a tattoo, making it look lifelike. This technique is especially useful in designs that aim to have a realistic portrayal of light and shadow.

For white ink-only tattoos

Tattoos made only with white ink have a subtle and sometimes almost magical look compared to those made with colour or black ink. These tattoos can be anything from detailed, delicate patterns to simple shapes, offering an understated and eye-catching unique style. They're especially good for people who want a more noticeable tattoo up close than from far away.

On dark skin tones

Tattooing with white ink on darker skin tones needs extra care to ensure the tattoo is visible and stands out. Using thicker lines and making the design bigger can help make the white ink pop against the skin.

This usually results in tattoos with a bold, graphic look, highlighting the white ink well. Getting a clear and bright white ink tattoo on darker skin might require more visits to the tattoo artist to keep the ink looking fresh and the details sharp.

Creating negative space

White ink can create negative space in tattoos, where the untouched skin is part of the design itself. This technique involves putting white ink around certain areas to outline shapes or patterns, effectively making the skin's colour a part of the tattoo. Tattoos with negative space can offer a bold contrast and make the design uniquely appealing.

For adding final touches

White ink is often used to add finishing touches towards the end of the tattooing process. It can enhance the overall look of the tattoo by adding highlights or refining the details, ensuring that the tattoo has a polished and complete appearance.

Our recommended white ink products you can consider

Dynamic Triple White

Make your tattoos pop with Dynamic Triple White! It's a special white ink that is three times whiter than our regular one. Perfect for bright spots, lines, and big white parts in tattoos. You can use it straight from the bottle. Pick from small (1oz) or big (8oz) bottles.


Dynamic Triple White


Radiant - Super White

Radiant Super White makes your tattoos shine with super bright white highlights. It's the perfect ink for adding a sparkling touch to your work.



1/2oz Radiant Ink - All Colours - magnumtattoosupplies


Eternal Ink White gives you a strong and bright white colour for all tattoos. It's safe, lasts long, and looks natural on the skin. You can buy it in different sizes, whether you use a little or a lot.



Eternal Ink - White - magnumtattoosupplies


Fusion Ink - White

Fusion Ink White is a bright, high-quality ink made by experts. It's safe for everyone (even vegans) and doesn't have any unnecessary stuff in it. This ink is easy to use and stays bright. This is available in small (1oz), medium (2oz), and large (4oz) sizes.



Fusion Ink - White - magnumtattoosupplies


Tips for caring white ink tattoos

A white tattoo requires special care due to its unique characteristics. Follow these expert tips:

  • Keep it clean: Wash the tattooed area with mild, fragrance-free soap and water 2-3 times daily.
  • Pat dry: After washing, pat the white tattoo dry with a soft cloth or paper towel. Do not rub.
  • Moisturise: Then, apply a thin layer of fragrance-free moisturiser or tattoo aftercare lotion to keep it hydrated. Avoid heavy products that might clog pores.
  • Avoid sun exposure: Keep the white tattoo out of direct sunlight. White ink can fade or change colour with UV exposure.
  • Use sunscreen: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect it from UV damage once healed.
  • Avoid soaking: Stay away from swimming pools, hot tubs, and long baths during healing.
  • Wear loose clothing: Avoid tight clothing that rubs against the white tattoo.

Tips for preparing clients who want white ink tattoos

  • Explain that white ink tattoos are more subtle and may require different techniques. The ink may also appear differently on various skin tones.
  • Inform clients that white tattoo ink may not be as vibrant as traditional black or coloured tattoos, and it can fade or yellow over time. The final result can also vary based on their skin tone.
  • Advise on choosing a placement less exposed to sunlight, as UV rays can cause the white ink to fade faster.
  • Explain how skin tone can affect the visibility and appearance of the tattoo. White ink tends to be more visible on lighter skin tones.
  • Let clients know that the healing process for white ink tattoos can differ and take longer. The tattoo might also look different once healed.
  • Inform them that white ink tattoos might require more frequent touch-ups to maintain their appearance.

Does a white ink tattoo easily fade?

A white ink tattoo design is more prone to fading than traditional black or coloured tattoos due to the nature of white ink, which is less pigmented and can blend more with the skin over time. This fading is often accelerated by exposure to sunlight, which can diminish the ink's visibility.

Will white ink tattoos show up on the skin?

White ink tattoos appear on the skin, but their visibility varies with the individual's skin tone. They may appear very subtle on lighter skin and fade to become even less noticeable. They can offer more contrast on darker skin tones but still tend to fade over time, affecting their overall visibility.

Can you tattoo white ink over black?

It is possible to tattoo white ink over black ink, and this technique is sometimes used for adding highlights or correcting mistakes in existing tattoos. However, the effectiveness of covering black ink with white can vary, depending on the desired outcome and the skill of the tattoo artist.

While white ink can provide contrast against the black, achieving the intended effect might require multiple sessions, and complete coverage of the black ink may not always be possible.

Final words

White ink tattoos offer a unique avenue for artistic expression but come with their own set of challenges. You just need to understand the nuances of working with white ink and adapt your techniques accordingly, and you can create beautiful, lasting tattoos that stand out.

Remember, the key to mastering white ink tattoos lies in patience, practice, and open communication with your clients about what to expect from their tattoos over time.


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  • Mark Joshua Luz