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It’s impossible to think of tattoos without the color red being used at one time or another. Neo-traditional tattoos are good examples of how red tattoo ink makes a tattoo pop. It is a bold color that turns a tattoo into a statement piece.
But there is one problem: Not all red tattoo inks are made equal. However, you came to the right place. In this article, you’ll learn what to look for when you’re buying tattoo ink, and we’ll review the best red tattoo ink on the market in 2023.
Red is one of the trickiest colors to create and it’s also one of the main colors that lose its vibrancy early. That is why choosing the right red tattoo ink is very important. It doesn’t matter how talented you are, if you use low-quality red ink that fades, your client won’t be happy and your reputation will suffer.
Often, beginner tattoo artists look at the color in the bottle and make their decision based on that. That’s a rookie mistake. The ink may appear super bright and vibrant in the bottle, but how it takes to the skin and how durable it is are up in the air.
How To Choose The Best Red Tattoo Ink
No company will come out and say their red tattoo ink isn’t up to par.
No, they will promise you that their product is one of the best red tattoo inks on the market when it isn’t. This makes it hard to distinguish between fact and fiction. Add to that the fact that there are many tattoo ink manufacturers in the industry, and the waters become even muddier.
Thankfully, if you educate yourself, you’ll be able to separate the winners from the losers.
Here are the most important things to consider before buying red tattoo ink:
Getting a tattoo is a lifelong commitment and your client trusts you to produce a superb work of art. To help you do that, you have to choose tattoo ink that compliments your skill. Tattoo ink bought from trusted and well-known brands in the industry will do just that! After all, these companies have a good reputation for a reason.
Reliable tattoo ink brands tend to be very strict when it comes to the production of their inks. They have high-quality standards and won’t deviate from them.
Inks made in the US or Europe have to adhere to very stringent regulations, which means you can rest assured that you’re buying high-quality ink made from only the best ingredients and in the most hygienic environment possible.
The brands that worry about you as the tattoo artist, as well as your client, will test their product to make sure it is safe to use on human skin and they will sterilize it.
Another way to figure out if a brand is reputable, look if any professional (famous) tattoo artists around the world endorse it.
This is a vital part of any tattoo ink—the quality of the pigment and how much is used all impact how vibrant tattoo ink is.
Red, especially deep reds, are known to fade quickly and that is why you should choose a red tattoo ink that is highly pigmented. Some red tattoo inks are so pigmented that they appear black at first. Don’t worry. The ink hasn’t gone bad; this is an indication that the ink will last.
This builds on the former point. If you use tattoo ink that isn’t durable, your client’s tattoo will start to fade as soon as they walk out the door! This is particularly true of red tattoo ink. Alcohol-based tattoo inks tend to be the most durable as they are easily absorbed into the skin. That being said, alcohol-based tattoo inks contain chemicals that may cause discomfort.
Luckily, the tattoo industry is very innovative, and a handful of brands have created water-based red tattoo inks that are fade-proof.
Your client’s health and well-being should be a priority when you choose tattoo ink. Negative reactions to red tattoo inks are very common, so choosing ink that contains harmless ingredients is paramount. You should never use tattoo ink that contains iron and nickel—no matter how durable the manufacturer says it is.
You should always check if your client has any allergies. That way, you can check the ingredients list of the red tattoo ink you plan on using to be certain that it is safe for them. As mentioned, red tattoo ink usually does cause some negative reactions but they’re usually mild symptoms such as redness, swelling, and itchiness. In some cases, reactions can be more severe and they may experience bumps and blisters on their tattoo.
If your client is prone to allergies and skin conditions, consider doing a patch test before. If there is a bad reaction when the ink is on top of the skin, you can imagine what will happen when it penetrates the skin.
In general, organic and vegan-friendly tattoo ink should be your go-to, but make sure you buy it from reputable brands, or the ink may not be durable.
How the ink gets packaged is a good indicator of how safe it is to use. Choose companies that pay attention to the bottles they use. They should also sterilize the bottle and seal the ink in to prevent any leakage. Also, keep in mind that when there’s room for the ink to seep out, there’s also room for bacteria to get in. Using contaminated ink on your client opens up a whole can of worms and that is the last thing you want.
We also recommend you stay away from bottles made from glass. Accidents happen and you don’t want a mix of ink and glass on your studio floor after a mishap.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what makes a great ink, it is time to review the brightest red tattoo ink on the market.
5 Best Red Tattoo Inks
1. Kuro Sumi Red Tattoo Ink: Most Renowned
This Japanese brand is recommended by professional tattoo artists all over the world. Kuro Sumi is known for its bold inks made from all-natural, cruelty-free ingredients. They have perfected a formula that contains no toxic materials such as arsenic and lead.
Kuro Sumi’s red tattoo ink is one of the brightest reds on the market. No wonder it is one of the most-used reds worldwide. The ink is highly pigmented and has a medium consistency which makes it manageable for beginners and professionals alike. Since the ink is water-based, you can adjust the consistency if you’re a fan of more runny ink. If you’re wondering about the ink’s longevity, wonder no more; Kuro Sumi tattoo ink is durable across the board—their reds are no exception.
When you buy this ink, make sure the label is dark maroon. There are many fake tattoo inks on the market and when it comes to Kuro Sumi knock-offs, they use black and white labels.
What makes this one of the best red tattoo inks?
- It is made with all-natural ingredients.
- It’s non-toxic.
- It has a good consistency that you can thin if you want.
- The red is bold and bright.
2. Starbrite Scarlet Red Tattoo Ink: Top Quality
If you ask professional tattoo artists what Starbrite is known for, they’ll say quality. This brand has decades’ worth of experience making tattoo inks so they know what they’re doing and the end results speak for themselves.
Throughout the years, they have improved and adapted their ink but they have also built a solid relationship with their customers. Tattoo artists trust Starbrite to create top-quality tattoo ink that will do their tattoos justice.
Starbrite offers a variety of red tattoo inks but Scarlet is a showstopper. Not only is it high-quality, but it is highly pigmented. It looks bright on the skin and will stay that way for a long, long time.
StarBrite is a water-based ink with a lightweight formula that tattoos like a dream. The company also sticks to using natural organic ingredients, which makes it extra safe to use. The ink is also vegan-friendly.
Why choose Starbrite’s red tattoo ink?
- Great for sensitive skin
- Made by a brand with a solid reputation
3. Dynamic Fire Red Tattoo Ink: Most Pigmented
- Pre-Dispersed Professional Tattoo Ink
- Mix Colors to Create Your Own Blends
- Made in the USA
- Never Tested on Animals
Dynamic tattoo ink is known for its highly pigmented ink. In fact, their black tattoo ink has global fame with professional tattoo artists saying it is the blackest of black ink and basically fade-proof.
Well, their fire red isn’t trailing far behind on the reputation train. It is super pigmented which gives it a vibrant and bright look in the bottle and on the skin. To give you an idea of just how pigmented this ink is: Dynamic inks have a very thin consistency, which may cause you to worry that you’ll have to do two or three passes to saturate the skin. Not with this red tattoo ink! One pass is all you need. The formula is quickly absorbed and penetrates deep into the skin, so you can expect bright red for years to come.
Dynamic’s inks are held to the highest quality standards and they never disappoint their customers who are expecting bold and durable inks.
We have to mention that the thinner consistency may be challenging for beginners to work with, so keep that in mind when you’re shopping for the best red tattoo ink.
Why choose Dynamic’s Fire red tattoo ink?
- It is the most pigmented red tattoo ink on the market.
- It has proven longevity; your tattoo will stay vibrant red for years.
- It has a great consistency.
- It’s made by a well-known and trusted brand.
4. Intenze Bright Red Tattoo Ink: Longest Shelf Life
- Intenze Authentic Tatoo Ink
- Sealed and Sterilzed Ink
- Comes with Long Expiry
- Choose your own color and make set
- Shipping Same Business Day With Free Shipping
Intenze is one of the most innovative tattoo ink manufacturers in the industry. They blend traditional manufacturing methods with modern technology to create tattoo inks that are safe to use, long-lasting, and of the highest quality.
Their revolutionary methods made it possible for them to extend the shelf life of their tattoo inks. If you buy Intenze bright red tattoo ink, you won’t have to worry that it will go bad as soon as other tattoo inks will.
Intenze’s bright red color is made from high-quality ingredients. The ink also gets a cruelty-free and vegan-friendly stamp of approval. What’s more, you can use this bright red tattoo ink for outlines, shading, and color-packing, you name it.
The brand is also conscious of safety standards so they use materials that won’t harm your client. Also, the bottles are sterilized and sealed to keep it free from any contamination.
Why buy your red tattoo ink from Intenze?
- Ink is certified by UN and US safety standards.
- Has an extended expiration date.
- Brand uses an innovative formula.
- Ink is quick-drying.
5. Viking American Red Tattoo Ink: Premium Choice
If you have the budget for a high-end red tattoo ink then Viking Ink’s American red is for you. This company is known for their use of highly refined pigments. This red tattoo ink is deep and dark. It has the perfect consistency for use by both beginner and professional tattoo artists.
Viking’s Ink’s American red penetrates the skin remarkably and has a fast-drying time. This makes it a great pick if you plan to do hyper-detailed tattoos. In fact, this tattoo ink is created with tribal and detailed tattoo art in mind.
When it comes to manufacturing, the inks meet all health and safety standards and they’re certified.
This red tattoo ink is made from only premium quality ingredients and is free from any harmful chemicals and metals. It is vegan-friendly.
What makes Viking Ink’s American red tattoo ink the best?
- Only high-quality ingredients are used.
- Consistency is perfect for beginners and experts.
- Ink is certified.
- Great for highly-detailed tattoos.
- Vegan-friendly and non-toxic.
Red is a tricky color to master, yet the creative world of tattoos won’t be the same without it. Thankfully, there are manufacturers who put a lot of time and effort into coming up with a red tattoo ink formula that is safe and long-lasting.
So, if your tattoo design calls for an eye-catching vibrant red or a deep, dark red, there are options on the market that won’t disappoint. The brands mentioned in this article are the industry leaders when it comes to tattoo ink manufacturing. You’re in safe hands when you buy any of their red tattoo inks.