People have lots of ways on how to be expressive. Some perform music and theatre on stage, and some create art through canvasses and murals. Meanwhile, others carry their art with them - body art. Among the most common body art forms nowadays are tattoos.
If you’re a first-timer getting a tattoo, deciding what colors and designs to choose for your tattoo can be a real challenge. Here is a guide for what tattoo colors and designs you should consider. We’ll also go over proper tattoo care for your ink.
What to Consider When Choosing an Ink Color for a new Tattoo
Tattoos are permanent, and you do not want to regret having them for a lifetime or spend money for laser removal. Before deciding to go for the trendy color or your favorite color for a tattoo, you might want to look at these few considerations first:
- Skin tone and complexion: Your skin color plays a significant role in the visibility of your tattoos. Lighter tattoo colors can show up better with lighter skin tones than darker ones. Medium or tanned skin can have reds, oranges, greens, and blues. Lastly, dark skin works best with dark-colored inks such as dark blue, crimson, and black.
- Undertone: Tattoo inks are injected within the dermis, and your undertone lies just above your tattoo ink. It acts as a “filter” that affects the actual appearance of your tattoo color. There are three undertones: warm, neutral, and cool. Warm undertones are usually yellowish, peachy, or golden, characterized by green-colored veins, and complementing dark blue, green, purple, red, and black. On the other hand, cool undertones are usually bluish, reddish, or pinkish complexions and are characterized by blue- or purple-colored veins. These work well with red, black, white, purple, and orange. Lastly, neutral undertones do not have distinct vein colors, nor do they have uneven complexions. Any tattoo color can match with a neutral undertone.
- Freckles: Light skinned-people are more prone to freckles and usually have sensitive skin. Some ink colors, such as white and pastel, do not show up well with freckled skin. Consult a dermatologist or your tattoo artist first, on their opinion, whether or not you can put tattoos on freckles.
Best Tattoo Colors that Last the Longest
Below is a quick guide to tattoo colors, ranked from the color that lasts the longest to the one that fades the quickest.
- Black and gray: Black and gray inks are the boldest and most dense; thus, they are the most fade-resistant colors. These are suitable for any skin tone, especially with tan or black skin. With proper aftercare, black and gray colors last for up to 10 years or longer before requiring a retouch.
- Dark blue: Like black ink, dark blue tattoo colors are suitable for dark skin. They have long-wearing pigments and can also last for up to 10 years.
- Red, orange, yellow, and purple: These tattoo colors fade faster on light skin and are more crucial to working with sensitive and freckled skin. They generally last for about eight years or longer before requiring a retouch.
- Pastel colors and white are the lightest tattoo colors; thus, they fade the quickest among all colors. They generally last for about five to eight years before fading. Moreover, pastel and white ink colors may look like scars if not done correctly.
- ‘Glow-in-the-dark’: UV tattoos are trendy since they appear fluorescent with UV light. However, they do not last as long as the other tattoo colors. Most tattoo artists say that glow-in-the-dark tattoos can last for three to five years before starting to fade.
Colored Tattoo vs. Black and Gray Tattoo
Your preferences define your tattoos. If your personality is more expressive, then flashy, colored tattoos might work better for you. Also, if you want to get a tattoo of real-life images, choosing colored inks can bring more life and dimension to the design.
On the other hand, black and gray tattoos are classics. Monochromatic inks can flawlessly execute delicate and minimalist tattoo designs. Moreover, tribal and symbolic tattoos usually go well with these colors. In terms of personality, most introverts prefer black tattoos over vibrantly colored ones.
How to Choose the Right Tattoo Design?
The essential question before getting a tattoo is, “Should I go for realistic-looking tattoos or something more symbolic?” Well, it depends on your preferences. But, here is a quick guide that may help you choose a tattoo design.
Realism is often applied with tattoos of photographs of a person, animals, or any real-life images. These tattoos are bold and highly expressive. Some of the most famous realistic-looking tattoos are roses, lions, wolves, butterflies, and Marvel characters. However, it takes a lot of time and practice for tattoo artists to achieve identical images for these designs.
On the other hand, symbolism is usually applied with small, relevant symbols. The most trendy symbolic tattoos are peace signs, song lyrics, infinity symbols, zodiac signs, and birthdates written in Roman numerals. These are more subtle and minimalist in appearance, and they usually have deeper meanings.