Last month I posted an article about vegan tattooing and it’s been great to hear from people interested to learn more.
I was motivated to write this particular blog because Inkluded received some unpleasant anti-veganism comments in response to a previous article about Bepanthen. I just couldn’t understand how anyone could be so negative about something that aims to spread positivity and nothing else.
Recent conversations I had with vegan tattooer Kat Winifred about this have inspired her to also “come out of hiding”, as she puts it. “That’s what being a vegan can sometimes feel like,” she told me.
She has her say in this blog… the first in a series of articles around the topic of veganism, intended to share love and respect for this selfless lifestyle choice.
Over to you, Kat.
Veganism is on the rise. Personally, I moved towards veganism in the last few months. I always felt compelled to avoid animal products for consumption so it got me thinking about what goes into our bodies in other ways. I’ve spent the last few months researching and creating a vegan tattoo set-up, and wanted to share this information with you all.
A little disclaimer. This article contains my own personal beliefs that are in no way intended to influence your own or make you feel that yours aren’t valid. I am sharing my story, my opinions and my experiences. I ask you to be respectful of this. Putting your thoughts on the internet is scary enough as it is.
I’m coming out
Why am I writing this blog? Well, I’ve had enough of hiding my being vegan. I don’t tell everyone that my tattooing is vegan because I know some people’s conceptions (or mis-conceptions) of vegans.
My reasons for being vegan are simple. I wish to be kind to animals. I wish to be kind to the planet. I wish to be kind to my body.
What is veganism and how does it effect tattooing?
Being vegan doesn’t just relate to what we eat, but what we consume. That means anything that contains animal or animal by-products, as well as anything that has been tested on animals.
When tattooing, the following elements need to be considered:
- Stencil paper
- Stencil primer
- Green soap or something to clean the skin
- Aluminium foil
- Plastic coverings (for cords and machines)
- Healing ointment
- Cleaning products
So, what might not be vegan about some tattooing products?
- Many inks are laced with bone char, gelatine and shellac
- To create a black ink, charcoal made from burning animal bones is often used
- Products used to clean the skin can contain animal fat from glycerin
- Aftercare creams can contain ingredients like beeswax, cod liver oil or lanolin. Some are also tested on animals
- Lanolin is also found in stencil paper
- Many cleaning products used for the general cleaning or workstations and tattoo studios are tested on animals
- Latex gloves are not vegan, as latex contains a milk protein called casein
- Plastic coverings can contain animal fats
- Aluminium foil isn’t vegan because it contains vark which is made from silver metal beaten between sheets of animal skin and/or processed intestine
How do I create a vegan tattooing environment?
- Many tattooing inks are now vegan. I use a combination or Eternal and World Famous
- I use nitrile gloves which are made from a synthetic material
- A company called Spirit now offer vegan stencil paper
- The vegan stencil primer I use is by Electrum
- I use Panthera green soap which is vegan
- I use El Gato Negro tattooists lube during the tattooing process and use and recommend their aftercare balm too
- To the best of my knowledge, needles are also vegan
Many tattoo products do state that they are vegan but are not officially certified by a third party, as discussed in Inkluded’s article.
There are elements of my tattooing that are not as vegan as I would like. Mainly plastic coverings, cling film and cleaning products. I always want to provide the same level of hygiene needed when carrying out a tattoo, as well as using vegan-friendly products.
I’m sure that as more people hunt-out vegan tattoo products, the industry will try to meet those demands. It may take a little while but in the past ten years, we’ve already come so far.
Read more about Kat and her attitude towards veganism on her own blog.
Words: Kat Winifred