The Ultimate India Ink Vs Tattoo Ink Comparison!

We have already published a few articles going over India ink and its various uses and comparisons for both general art as well as body art but its popularity is continuing to grow so we are seeing even more questions being asked. For todays article, we want to be taking a look at our India ink vs tattoo ink comparison and go over the advantages and disadvantages for various uses for both ink types.

We hope that we will be able to help our readers decide on the ink type they should be using for their goals and circumstances as well as point out some alternatives at times that can be used depending on your needs. Please note though, we will be comparing regular tattoo ink to Winsor & Newton Liquid Indian Ink specifically rather than the other India ink formulas on the market.

We have gone over this a few times, especially in our article on if India ink is toxic or not but the reason is that the Winsor & Newton Liquid Indian Ink formula has one of the lowest toxicity levels out there making it safer than some of the other formulas. This is why the Winsor & Newton Liquid Indian Ink product is such a popular option for stick and poke tattoos as well as anything else involving ink on your skin.

India Ink Vs Tattoo Ink

We already have a dedicated article going over if India ink is safe to tattoos that goes into much more detail than we will be for this article that may be worth reading if you want to know as much as possible. We also have our own dedicated Sumi ink Vs India ink article online as that has been a highly requested article too that may be worth reading too depending on what you are trying to do with your tattoo.

What Is The Safest Ink For A Tattoo?

This is a very common question and if you have read any of our articles based around tattoo ink before you will know that we always recommend that our readers stick to a high-quality tattoo ink. This is just much easier and safer with modern tattoo ink being a very similar price to India ink anyway.

Although a large number of people do use an India ink product such as Winsor & Newton Liquid Indian Ink for stick and poke tattoos, there are more risks and some people will use other India ink formulas that have a higher toxicity level. On top of this, more and more people are using a homemade India ink recipe that presents a number of issues and we would never recommend that you use homemade India ink for tattoo work.

What Ink Type Is Best For A Stick And Poke Tattoo?

There are a huge number of different ink types on the market that can be used for great stick and poke tattoos. Thankfully you can get stick and poke tattoo ink much cheaper these days then you used to be able to making it a much easier option for most people. As we touched on above though, a large number of people do tend to use Winsor & Newton Liquid Indian Ink and get decent results too.

If you are dead set on using India ink over tattoo ink for your stick and poke tattoo though we would not recommend that you use any other brand or homemade ink. Winsor & Newton have built up an excellent reputation for themselves due to their low toxicity ink formula that is free from impurities that helps to keep you safe.

On top of that, their low toxicity ink formula reduces the chances of ink rejection too meaning that more ink will stay in the skin and help keep your tattoo looking sharp and clear. In our opinion though, actual tattoo ink will be the better option as it holds itself much better over longer periods of time as we will touch on more later in the article.

What Is The Best Ink For A Permanent Tattoo?

If you are wanting a permanent tattoo that will stand the test of time, hold its color, and stay sharp then ink specifically designed for tattoos will always outperform India ink. Although there are a few methods that can improve the staying power of an India ink tattoo so it last for a few years prior to fading, actual tattoo ink will still outlast it.

Moving forward, the differences will only become more and more obvious too as the ink formulas for tattoo ink constantly get improved where as India ink is still based on the soot and water formula. There are new break throughs with tattoo ink each year as well as the tools used to draw the tattoo that helps to improve them and ensure that they are the best option.

How Long Can You Expect Each Ink Tattoo To Last?

A modern tattoo ink can last you for decades without you having any issues with it, especially if your tattoo work was done with a modern tattoo needle gun in a sterile, clean environment. India ink can start to fade in as little as a year depending on the situation and although the tattoo will last for decades, the detail and coloration can drop off massivley by the five year point making it hard to see what the tattoo used to be.

Please keep in mind that even if you do use a low-quality tattoo ink, it can have the same issues that an India ink tattoo can have and end up fading fast. Thankfully, when it comes to modern tattoo ink, high-quality does not mean high prices and you can get some excellent tattoo ink without having to break the bank.

What Tattoo Type Will Fade First?

An India ink tattoo will usually start to fade much quicker than a tattoo ink tattoo. Even a low quality tattoo ink will often hold its sharpness and color for two to three years at least before it starts to fade where as India ink can start to fade in as little as a year.

We have also seen some reports from people who have had India ink tattoos that they have started to fade within a few months. We would guess that this is due to the tools used for the tattoo rather than the actual India ink that has been used though as stick and poke tattoos can be notorious for poor hygiene and sterilisation on their equipment that then leads to later issues such as tattoo fading.

What Ink Type Has The Highest Chance Of Ink Poisoning?

Provided you are using a tattoo ink that is up to regulations, the chances of ink poisoning from it is minimal but some India inks can have a higher risk as they have not been designed for use for tattoo work. On top of this, if you do use a homemade India ink there are additional health issues that may come into play due to the quality of the soot used as well as additional impurities getting into the ink formula.

Please keep in mind that a decent chunk of the health issues and risks associated with India ink are not actually due to the ink itself. As we mentioned earlier, it is often down to the stick and poke tattoo tools that are used not being clean and brining the reputation of India ink down so keep that in mind too.


That brings our India ink vs tattoo ink comparison to a close and as you can probably guess from our article, in our opinion, you should be going with tattoo ink all the time. We know that a few people do like the old school look of an India ink tattoo, we feel that the associated health risk and fade potential of an India ink tattoo just push it into second place with tattoo ink taking the clear win.

Similar Posts