Tattoo ink made from fruit? Whether you’re looking for a temporary tattoo or want to use the jagua style as a model for a tattoo design, we’ve got the info you need here.

Everything You Need to Know About the Jagua Tattoo

Jagua tattoos are 2-week temporary tattoos created with “ink” extracted from the jagua fruit. It’s applied in the same way that henna artists apply henna to the body, but the jagua-juice ink is a bit more “runny” and comes out as a blue-black color. 

While it’s very different from creating a real tattoo, jagua gel can be a good way to practice working with skin and the curves of the body for aspiring tattoo artists. (It’s also a great to test out a tattoo design before committing.)

In this article, we’ll be breaking down:

  • How jagua tattoos work
  • How to do jagua tattoos
  • How jagua tattoos can offer great practice to aspiring tattoo artists

What Is a Jagua Tattoo?

fresh jagua
black henna tattoos

A jagua tattoo is a temporary tattoo that uses “ink” that sits on top of the skin instead of inside it. The ink is made with fresh jagua, a fruit that’s been used in many cultures to create body art for centuries. It’s only recently become a big deal in North America and Europe, though, creating a trend that’s now sweeping the rest of the world.

How is Jagua Gel Different From Black Henna?

black henna

On a basic level, jagua comes from a fruit whereas henna comes from a plant. Accordingly, they come from different climates: henna comes from a desert plant while jagua is more of a tropical thing (hence the areas where it was originally popular such as South America).

On a functional level, jagua can be a bit more convenient. After about two hours, it will stay on your skin for a good, long time. Although the jagua gel itself can take longer to dry than a henna tattoo.

How Do Jagua Temporary Tattoos Work?

blue black henna
temporary tattoo of a skull and snake
Singapore Chinese Cultural Center jagua

Like henna, fresh jagua fruit ink will stain the skin. As the skin exfoliates through showers, brushing against clothes, or even chemically if you’re in a chlorinated pool, the temporary tattoo will fade.

Generally, the fading process takes two weeks.

Is the Jagua Tattoo Safe?

jagua tattoo

Generally speaking, the answer is “yes.”

One of the jagua selling points is that it is all-natural. In fact, in the cultures where it originated, it has even been used for many medicinal purposes.

Basically, the only way that jagua can be harmful is if you are already allergic to the fruit that it comes from. This is not a common allergy, but it’s always best to do a small patch test to make sure fresh jagua doesn’t irritate your skin.

How to Create a Jagua Tattoo

fresh jagua gel
tiny tries it jagua tattoo

The process to creating your own jagua tattoo is pretty straightforward.

You will need:

  • Jagua gel from a reputable supplier
  • Stencil paper
  • Small plastic bags (optional “needles”)


Prepare Your Jagua Gel

Just like henna tattoos, you’ll be squeezing the jagua fruit gel out of a tiny hole at the bottom of the bag. (Some jagua tattoo suppliers will offer “needles” you can use instead.)


Prepare the Client’s Skin

Like normal tattooing, you’ll want to be working on clean skin. If needed, shave the area before applying the jagua tattoo. 

While you can freehand a jagua tattoo, it’s recommended to use a stencil. The stencil transfers the design to the skin. Many jagua artists use a stencil solution spray instead of a gel. Because a “mist” will dry better than a gel, it can keep the fresh jagua from sliding on the skin.


Complete the Jagua Tattoo

Follow the stencil with your jagua gel, gently squeezing the bag as you go to apply an even amount to the entire stencil.


Allow the Gel to Dry, then Peel

The jagua gel will take about 30 minutes to dry. However, it’s recommended to leave the gel on for at least 2 hours, if not more. The longer the gel stays on the body, the darker the tattoo will appear. Once you’re ready to take the gel off, peel the dried jagua gel to reveal the design underneath.

How Jagua Tattoos Can Help Aspiring Tattoo Artists

temporary tattoo

While creating a temporary tattoo is much different than doing permanent tattoos, the process looks similar and can give you good practice if you want to become a tattoo artist.

While your tattoo machine vibrates and jagua gel does not, practicing getting long lines with the gel can help you work on the hand control and stability you’ll need for tattooing.

Additionally, the steps of creating and applying stencils are similar, and you have to work with the curved surfaces of the body and figure out how to position yourself and the client, which are all important parts of the tattooing process. 

You can do all this without necessarily needing the same sterile environment that is required for safe tattooing, making it a good option for new artists who do not yet have the ability to create a sterile space.

Become a Tattoo Artist With the Artist Accelerator Program

student work from the Artist Accelerator tattoo artist training programs

Having a career in tattooing is not only fulfilling, but it’s also the most stable way to make a living as an artist. However, for decades, the process to become a tattoo artist has been notoriously difficult. 

The apprenticeship process requires aspiring tattoo artists to work 50-60 hours a week without pay for 2-4 years. That, combined with the toxic culture of abusing apprentices, makes getting into the industry almost impossible for newcomers. 

That’s why we created the Artist Accelerator Program. Our online course provides a simple, structured way of learning to tattoo that has been proven to work by over 2500 successful students, with many of them having gone on to open their own shops all around the world. 

Inside the program, we’ll take you through every step of the tattooing process in 9 clear, easy-to-follow modules and support you along the way within the Tattooing 101 Mastermind online community.

In the Mastermind group, you’ll collaborate with other students, get answers to your questions, and receive personalized video feedback on your artwork and tattoos from professional tattoo artists. With this friendly community of both new and experienced tattoo artists, you’ll never be stuck again. 

When you join the Artist Accelerator Program, you’ll have instant access to the full course and the Mastermind community, as well as our 30-Day Flash Challenge and recorded interviews with tattoo artists from all over the world. 

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

Tattooing 101's Artist Accelerator 90 day program is the closest thing to a real apprenticeship

  • 500 video modules
  • Professional tattoo artist coaches
  • Private mastermind community
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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