How to Clean Your Fake Skins

Fake skins let new tattoo artists practice their skills without risking a bad tattoo on themselves or a client. 

This is important because it lets you practice more and grow your skills faster without the pressure of making a permanent mistake. Additionally, good tattoos on fake skin can even become great portfolio pieces.

However, it can be hard to get the excess ink off your fake skin. This makes the entire piece look messy.

If you want to show off your fake skins but don’t know how to clean them up, keep reading.

In this article, we’ll break down:

  • How to keep fake skins clean while you’re tattooing
  • How to get excess ink off fake skin when you’re done tattooing
  • Why the brand of fake skin you’re using matters

How to Keep Fake Skins Clean While You’re Tattooing

A big part of making sure your fake skins look nice and clean at the end of a tattoo is to help keep them clean throughout the entire process. There are a few ways to do this:

Use Vaseline While Tattooing

Vaseline makes a thin coating over the skin that keeps ink from actually getting on the skin in the first place. So, while you’re working, make sure you have a thin layer of Vaseline over the area. 


You should use Vaseline on clients, too. It helps your hand slide more smoothly over the skin and it can help prevent your colors from looking muddy.

Pro Tip:

Keep this layer thin. If you use too much Vaseline, it will clog your needles. If your lines suddenly look weak or ink is spitting out of the cartridge, it might be because the ink is getting blocked by Vaseline.

Dab - Don’t Wipe - While Tattooing

When there’s excess ink on the skin, you want to dab it with a paper towel instead of wiping across the skin. 

Wiping with a paper towel can cause a lot of trauma to the fake skin and put it at risk of tearing or ripping up. This can make it impossible to use as a portfolio piece. If there’s chunks missing from your fake skin, a shop owner won’t hire you. 

If you’re dabbing the entire time you’re tattooing, whenever you get to the end and need to wipe it clean, you won’t be causing too much damage.

How to Clean Fake Skins After Tattooing

There’s a lot of information online about different methods you can use to clean your fake skins. Some people soak them or use different kinds of soap. However, we recommend using more Vaseline. 

To get the excess ink off, you’ll want to use a lot of Vaseline. Wipe it around a little bit to pick up all the excess ink and get it mixed in with the Vaseline.

Then, you can wipe the Vaseline off with a paper towel. You do not need any other products.

Some Fake Skins will Never Get Clean

Which brand of fake skin you’re using will play a big part on whether or not you can get the skin truly clean. Cheaper, thinner skins are very difficult to clean, no matter how much Vaseline you use. This is why we do not recommend getting fake skins off Amazon.

We recommend using ReelSkin. It’s the closest thing to real human skin, and it’s easy to clean with Vaseline.

Learn to Tattoo Without an Apprenticeship

In the past, learning in the shop through an apprenticeship was the only way aspiring artists could learn to tattoo. There was no such thing as fake skin, which meant aspiring artists could not safely practice tattooing on their own. Today, however, artists are skipping the apprenticeship to learn on their own time at home with the Artist Accelerator Program.

The world’s oldest and largest online tattoo course, the Artist Accelerator Program’s easy-to-follow, 9-step framework lets anyone go from complete beginner to professional tattoo artist without the year of grunt work or hazing. 

Inside the program, you’ll be taught everything you’d learn in a traditional apprenticeship by professional tattoo artists and receive feedback on your art and tattoos in the program’s private online Mastermind community.

Over 2500 students have used the Artist Accelerator Program’s 9-step framework to break into the tattoo industry, with many opening their own studios or working in shops around the world. 

If you’d like to see the framework they used, 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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