What Colors are Not Possible in a Tattoo & What are The Best Alternate Colors?

If you have been planning to get a tattoo done, browsing through just the designs won’t help much. You need to do some homework on the tattoos and their effects on the skin.

As a tattoo lover, you must know what colors suit you and which colors fade faster. There are various other things associated with tattoo inks that need to be investigated.

Some more factors to be considered are:

  • Stubborn tattoo inks
  • Tattoo inks for lighter skin tone
  • Tattoo inks for darker skin tone
  • Cool color tones
  • Warm color tones
  • Aftercare and precautions

All the above factors decide the selection of tattoo ink for a respective person. However, some tattoo experts have advised to staying away from certain tattoo colors. In this article, we shall take a read about those colors that are generally not recommended for tattoos.

Before you begin to reveal those colors to you, check three main factors on which the article is based. These are the most common factors based on which your tattoo expert decides what colors to go for with their clients.

Top 3 factors globally considered for choosing tattoo colors

1. Design

You tattoo design speaks volumes for the colors chosen. You may have finalized a design that needs specific tattoo colors and that’s the pitch!

Choosing difficult colors or any random colors may ruin the results of your designs. Thus, your designer knows the best about what to go for!

2. Skin tone

Tattoo colors may give different results on different skin tones. You may be crazy for a design to be inked on your, however, your tattoo expert may not recommend you to do so.

It is only because certain colors do not show up on fairer skin and the same rule applies to darker skin tone too. Thus, most tattoo designers rely on their decision as per the skin color.

3. Area

The area where you intend to get the tattoo design done also matters the most! Certain body parts would not deliver the same results as they would otherwise in other areas. For instance, the colored tattoos on areas like the arms, elbows, feet, face, and hands fade the fastest!

Let’s get back to the core of the subject; what colors are not possible for tattoos? Even the top tattoo artists would warn you before beginning their artwork with the below tattoo inks.

Colors not suggested for tattoos

1. Red

Red is highly not recommended and is also considered to be one of the riskiest tattoo inks. To some people, red has highly potential risks.

People with red tattoos are highly prone to allergic reactions, bumps, blisters, scaly patches, and other dreadful skin diseases too.

It is one of these reasons why tattoo artists consider it impossible to tattoo. Swelling and itching are the two most common causes of permanent red tattoo ink.

Alternative to red color:

Fruit based inks have been introduced to replace harsh tattoo inks like red. You may find out more about them on the web. Switch to non-metallic colors that are free of mercury.

You must find red inks that contain naphthol as other red colors are responsible for most skin allergies.     

2. White

Few researchers also confirmed that white ink is generally used to mix tattoo colors. However, it is not possible to do white ink on sensitive skin. White ink is also known to be the fastest to get faded and thus requires frequent touchups.

These are also some of the most expensive inks and it is sometimes difficult to find a really good quality online.

Alternative to white:

Use inks that are also used in Henna. Switching to the Henna route is the best alternative.

To share a secret, if you mix little drops of blue ink into white, you will be able to prevent the yellowing that otherwise occurs on white tattoos.

3. Yellow

We are not sure if you are aware but yellow inks last the longest in tattoos. Thus, if you plan to go for removal in the future, avoid these colors.

Yellow is also the hardest inks even in laser removals so you can imagine the risk you are taking unless you have decided to spend a lifetime with it.

Alternative to yellow:

Heavy metals are used that contain pigments, especially in white, yellow, and green colors. ‘Jagua’ is getting popular which is a fruit-based ink and is the best alternative to metal-based colors.

You can also switch to pigments that consist Arylide and Turmeric.

4. Green

Green is another color that is highly resistant even to the stricter tattoo laser removal techniques. Thus, one has to be wiser in terms of tattoo selection.

Alternative to green:

The same rule of switching to Jagua is advisable for this section too. Thus, we won’t stretch much and confuse you further. All you need to remember is copper pthalocyanine pigments are considered to be safest for both, green and blue pigments.

5. Orange

Green, Yellow, and orange, all three colors go in a row to be known as the hardest in laser removals and other home remedies for tattoo removal. Thus, these are not generally recommended so that you don’t regret later ending up living with them.

Alternative to orange:

Other than the alternatives suggested above that is applicable for orange too, you may also shift to organic tattoo inks that are safer.

Let’s discuss some colors that are alternatives to the above and preferred by most tattoo lovers.

Alternative tattoo colors suggested by tattoos artists

If you talk about universal colors, black, grey, and dark shades of blues are universally acceptable tattoo inks. For the alternative tattoo colors and shades of colors as we explained above, remember the basic rule of a tattoo;

  • People with darker skin tone must avoid light colors in tattoos. Colors like royal navy blue, green (emerald green), black, purple, and dark shades of red go well. Some more alternatives are emerald, pink, gold, and cobalt (rich dark blue). Light colors will not show up well on dark skin tones.
  • Medium, tanned, olive-toned, and wheatish skin: People must switch to bright or light blue, light green, and other shades of orange.
  • Lighter skin tones: Those having fair skin and so they can switch to violet, pale blue, red, or white ink that show the best on their skin tones.

Our Recommended Tattoo Colors

Final comments:

One thing you must know that tattoo inks are not approved by the federal government. Thus, you must be careful while choosing the tattoo inks. Go for a good brand and quality. Switch to colors that are safe, organic, chemical-free, and harmless on the skin. Take a look at our other articles to know more about Tattoos and colors.