Everything You Need to Know About Blue Tattoo Ink

Blue ink is extremely common in tattooing - but is it safe? And can an all-blue tattoo really stand the test of time like black ink? 

Though blue has been used in tattooing for decades, there has recently been controversy about whether it should be considered safe for use in tattooing.

In this article, we’ll break down:

  • What blue ink is made out of and why certain pigments have been banned in Europe
  • Whether dark blue tattoos can hold up well long-term
  • Our favorite all-blue tattoo designs

Is Blue Ink Toxic?

blue ink tattoos
intenze tattoo ink
intenze tattoo ink

Blue ink contains azo pigments, which can cause cancer when they’re broken down (either by bacteria or laser removal). 

However, in its original state, the blue ink itself isn’t considered too dangerous to use, which is why artists are trying to fight the ink bans currently happening in Europe. 

The tattoo ink ban is meant to get rid of the potentially dangerous pigment used to make blue, but it’s also in lots of other ink colors including purples, browns, greens, and most colors other than red and black.

What is in Blue Ink?

blue ink tattoos

Tattoo ink is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and there isn’t a lot of data out there about the long-term effects of tattoo ink in the skin. 

Some blue pigments, like cobalt and ultramarine, are not considered as safe as pigments made with copper salts. Because of this, many countries are banning those ingredients.

European Commission Tattoo Ink Ban

In December 2020, the European Union banned the use of many of the chemicals used to make tattoo ink. Two of those colors were Blue 15:3 and Green 7. 

Though the European Union has banned the use of these pigments due to potential toxicity and concerns about cancer, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment studied the banned pigments and found that their toxicity levels were very low. 

These conflicting ideas have caused controversy in the tattooing community.

Opposition to the Ban

Blue 15:3 and Green 7 are both very common pigments used to make a variety of inks. Banning these pigments would limit tattooers access to a lot of ink colors, making certain tattoo styles much more difficult to pull off. 

Many tattoo artists in Europe and around the world are fighting the ban on these pigments because:

  • There’s a lack of evidence that these pigments are harmful
  • The impact their absence will have on the industry is huge

Does Blue Tattoo Ink Last?

Blue tattoo ink has also been under fire because many artists have used it for line work, while other tattooers say it won’t hold up over time.

While a dark blue - like navy - will last as line work for a while, black ink is going to last the longest. This is because black ink creates the most contrast against the skin.

Note:

It is true that dark blue is one of the easiest colors to remove with tattoo laser removal, along with black. Colors like orange, yellow, and some light blues are the hardest to remove.

Blue Ink Tattoo Designs

large tattoo using blue tattoo ink

Though there is currently controversy about blue tattoo ink, it’s still available and legal to use. Studies have found that blue pigments have low toxicity and that they can stand the test of time. 

Tattoos using only shades of blue are gaining popularity. Here are some design ideas for all blue tattoos:

Sky and Sea

cool blue tattoo for calm affect
water art with blue tattoo ink

Flowers

high quality blue tattoo ink flower
blue tattoo ink roses
blue tattoo ink line work tattoo design

Light Blue Tattoos

small tattoo
cool blue roses body art

Prepare for a Tattooing Career with the Artist Accelerator Program

Learning about your tattoo ink is an important step in your journey, but it can also be pretty eye-opening to how difficult tattooing can be. Without the right knowledge, it’s impossible to level up your skills and become a professional tattoo artist. 

However, finding the straight-forward information you need to progress is difficult. And with so much out there online, it’s hard to avoid picking up bad habits from incorrect and outdated resources.

This is one of the biggest struggles new tattooers face, and too many talented artists have given up their goal of getting into tattooing because of the years it would take to unlearn their bad habits. 

That’s why aspiring artists are learning to tattoo with the Artist Accelerator Program’s structured course. As a student, you learn every step of the tattooing process from professional artists with the experience and advice you need to build your skills and create incredible tattoos. 

With the Artist Accelerator, you can stop wasting time searching through incorrect information. You just get the clear, easy-to-understand lessons you need to start improving fast… along with support and personalized feedback from professional artists in our online Mastermind group.

Over 2500 students have already gone through the course, with many of them opening up their own studios. If you want to join them and learn the skills you need to start tattooing full time faster…

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
AUTHOR
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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