Is India Ink Permanent – Our Breakdown!

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With the viral videos on social media and YouTube making more and more people aware to India ink and what you are able to do with it when it comes to traditional art and body art, there has been a huge spike in the number of people reaching out with questions specific to using India ink. Although we have been publishing more and more content about it due to so many people wanting to know about it, we have noticed more people asking if India ink is permanent or not.

Due to so many people reaching out to ask about the permanence of India ink as well as there being so much misinformation out there about India ink we have decided to publish this dedicated article on the topic. Our hope is that we are going to be able to help as many of our readers as possible who are looking to use India ink and help ensure that they are definitely using the correct ink for the job.

One of the main issues with looking at if India ink is permanent or not is that the current content available online offers a black or white answer without actually factoring in the ink formula used for the ink. Although most of the modern India ink products on the market these days stick to the traditional formula, some do have their own tweaks and homemade India ink is also becoming more and more popular.

This means that the correct answer and the permanence of India ink is more of a shade of grey depending on the formula of the ink rather than a straight up black or white answer. There are also differences in the application process of the ink that can end up changing the answer too but we will touch on all of this in our article below.

Is India Ink Permanent?

Please keep in mind that although some homemade India ink can be permanent, there are recipes and tutorials on how to make it on YouTube with additional, non-essential ingredients that can cause the ink to fade within months. The same goes for the commercially available India ink products on the market as some do put additional additives into their ink to change the color slightly that can change its permanence.

Is India Pen Ink Permanent?

One of the main issues with brands marketing their inks as “permanent” is that there are actually different levels of permanence. Depending on the country, an ink that lasts for four years can legally be marketed as a permanent ink so by those standards, many of the weaker India ink formulas on the market can be classed as a permanent ink.

Thankfully, there are products such as Winsor & Newton Liquid Indian Ink on the market that can last you decades due to their excellent India ink formula that really is able to stand the test of time with ease. That said though, although it will last, there has been some discussion on the inks lightfast performance but please keep in mind that Windor & Newton do not claim that their ink is lightfast but people often presume that all permanent inks have lightfast qualities but this is not the case.

If you really do want a permanent ink that is able to ensure that your writing has the capability of lasting for decades, if not over a century then an archival ink will always be the better option over an India ink. Additionally, modern archival ink formulas tend to retail at the same price as an India ink formula anyway.

Is India Ink Permanent On Fabric?

This is another common question that we see asked on a regular basis when it comes to India ink as well as other types of commonly used inks too. Again, this comes down to issues with what can and can’t be marketed as a permanent ink and the general publics understanding of what a permanent ink is.

An art based ink such as most commercially available India ink formulas can be marketed as a permanent ink formula due to the regulations for art based inks. When it comes to an ink stain on fabric you can almost always get a permanent ink stain out, often with minimal effort.

Depending on the specific India ink formula that has stained your fabric, you may be able to wash it out with a simple boil wash and some laundry detergent. Although this will often remove your India ink fabric stain for some ink formulas, the stronger ones will need you to use liquid chlorine bleach but you are still often able to completely remove the stain from the fabric.

Is An India Ink Tattoo Permanent?

We often see people reaching out to ask about if India ink is permanent when used for tattoo work and although we have already covered this in our article going over if India ink is safe for tattoos, we will touch on it again in this article. Although some India ink formulas such as Winsor & Newton Liquid Indian Ink are popular for use with tattoos, we tend to recommend that our readers stick to tattoo ink for all of their body art work.

There can also be issues with the toxicity levels of India ink for tattoo work too but there are a number of variables included in that. The main point is that although an India ink tattoo can be permanent, the detail and coloration of the ink in the tattoo can start to fade in as little as a year.

Now, there are a number of reasons behind this ranging from the actual India ink formula that you used to how clean the actual tattoo instruments were as well as the skill level of the tattoo artist for something like a stick and poke tattoo. In the grand scheme of things though, you will almost always be better off just using real tattoo ink as it is actually permanent and has a great track record when it comes to preserving the detail of your tattoo too.


That brings our article going over if India ink is permanent or not to an end and we hope that you have found it helpful. We have tried to answer the various variants of the question that we see asked the most as well as offer alternative options where possible to better serve the potential needs of our readers who are looking for a permanent ink for various uses.