UV-reactive ink makes a tattoo pop under black light. The effect is stunning.
Once you’ve seen a neon tattoo in all its glory, you’re going to want one for yourself.
But it’s not easy to create a blacklight tattoo. It’s smart to find an artist who specializes in them.
You can bet the artist will be using the best UV tattoo ink.
Frequently asked questions about UV tattoo ink
Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about blacklight tattoos.
Q: How long do UV ink tattoos last?
A: If you get a UV ink tattoo from an experienced artist and follow recommended aftercare steps, you’re likely to enjoy it for up to 5 years. The more it’s exposed to sunlight, the more the UV ink will fade (1).
Q: Is UV tattoo ink FDA-approved?
A: The FDA doesn’t regulate tattoo ink (2). They will intervene if there are complaints about its safety as they did when contaminated batches caused infections.
Q: Is UV tattoo ink safe? Is UV tattoo ink dangerous?
A: UV ink is not necessarily any more dangerous or safe than regular ink. At one point, some manufacturers were including phosphorus. In large doses, that’s potentially carcinogenic. It also burns as it enters the skin. But it’s also possible to find UV-reactive ink that’s vegan and made with organic pigments (3).
Q: Which is the best glow-in-the-dark tattoo ink?
A: This is a tricky question. Glow-in-the-dark tattoo ink doesn’t exist. Blacklight tattoos don’t shine after absorbing light. They only fluoresce under UV light. It’s similar to how a white T-shirt glows bluish under the lights at a nightclub or in a haunted house. UV ink contains optical brighteners like the ones found in laundry detergent and certain cosmetics (4).
Q: Which are the best colors of UV ink?
A: The brighter colors like green, orange, yellow, and pink show up the best in a UV-reactive tattoo. Under black light, they “glow” vibrantly. Meanwhile, blue and purple aren’t as brilliant. Some brands offer a transparent shade that looks invisible in daylight but bluish-purple under UV light.
Q: Which are the best brands of UV tattoo ink?
A: UV ink tends to have a thin consistency and is harder to work with, especially for shading. Because the ingredients are an industry secret, it’s smart to stick to reputable brands and avoid discount ink. On the American market, Kuro Sumi, Intenze, Millennium Mom’s, Starbrite, and Bloodline (Skin Candy) are the best-known manufacturers of UV tattoo ink.
Best UV Tattoo Ink in 2023
Moms Nuclear UV Tattoo Ink Invisible Fallout Ultra Violet
Let’s start with Moms Nuclear Colors, specifically Invisible Fallout Ink. It fluoresces electric blue like a white T-shirt under black light.
Consider the possibilities when you use this color. It’s virtually invisible once it heals. That makes it even more discreet than a white ink tattoo. Yet, under UV light, it glows brightly. Imagine what would happen if you used it as a highlight on an ordinary tattoo. A few minutes on Instagram will inspire you.
There are benefits to choosing Mom’s tattoo ink. They are a trusted brand made in the USA. The inks are manufactured by Millennium ColorWorks, which provides MSDS sheets for most colors.
The typical carriers they use include witch hazel, glycerin, water, and propylene glycol. Unfortunately, the Invisible Fallout pigment is a secret.
Take note that there are some criticisms left by reviewers. Some say the pigment doesn’t stay in the skin like regular tattoo ink. Also, some clients have had allergic reactions to it.
We recommend practicing before using any UV-reactive ink to tattoo a person.
Millennium Mom’s Nuclear UV Blacklight Tattoo Ink 5-Color Set
Get this 5-pack and try out a variety of blacklight shades. It comes with Blue Smoke, Red Dawn, Atomic Green, Purple Haze, and Invisible Fallout. Each bottle contains ½ ounce of ink.
Similar to other inks from this brand, they flow smoothly. However, artists have commented that the UV colors don’t stay in the skin as easily as regular ink. They found that touch-ups are necessary.
Invisible Fallout isn’t visible once it heals, yet it shines blue under black light. Meanwhile, the purple is pale under regular light and glows only dimly. The blue ink seems grayish under normal light but looks blue as expected under UV.
The red looks more orange in black light. But the green looks grassy in daylight and fluoresces intensely under UV lamps.
MOM’S Nuclear UV Blacklight Colors 9 Primary
Millennium Mom’s has the most variety of UV tattoo ink. The entire set has 9 colors, including Afterglow Yellow, Smoldering Orange, Red Dawn, Raging Magenta, Radiant Pink, Purple Haze, Blue Smoke, Atomic Green, and Invisible Fallout. Each is packaged in a half-ounce bottle.
When questioned about whether the ink is free of phosphorus, the answer was no, but no specifics were given as to which colors contain it.
Bloodline UV Tattoo Ink Nuclear Invisible UV Blacklight
If you’re new to using UV tattoo ink, you may have better luck using Bloodline’s colors. Everything about this American brand’s manufacturing process indicates that they are perfectionists.
They make the ink in a clean room in California. It’s furnished with technology like an EU-certified dispenser that weighs the pigment for perfect batches each time.
Furthermore, their regular tattoo ink has an excellent reputation for even saturation and quick healing.
The Invisible ink is colorless in regular light but glows bluish-white under black light. In order to tattoo someone with it, you will need a UV lamp to check your work.
We saw fewer complaints about this ink compared to Moms Invisible Fallout. It seems to heal better and stay in the skin longer. It also retains its brightness long after healing.
One experienced artist warned that the UV ink tends to thicken in the bottle. Place a sanitized steel bearing or glass marble inside and shake the bottle daily to prevent this problem.
Bloodline 6-Color Tattoo Black Light UV Ink Highlight Set
Get all of Bloodline’s best UV colors in one set. It comes with half-ounce bottles of invisible, red, orange, pink, yellow, and green.
Reviewers say in daylight, all the colors except Invisible are pastel. But they all shine brightly under black light.
During the tattooing process, collectors have commented that the ink burns a bit. Fortunately, they are all manufactured in the USA and described as non-toxic.
Immortal Tattoo Ink “NEON INVISIBLE”
The pandemic has negatively impacted the tattoo industry as well as its supply chain. Therefore, there are fewer UV tattoo inks currently available.
If you’re curious about blacklight tattoos but reluctant to spend money on expensive ink, here’s a budget option. It’s made and sold by Worldwide Tattoo Supply.
Immortal Tattoo Ink has a selection of UV colors, including red, blue, orange, yellow, magenta, green, purple, and invisible neon. Each comes in a half-ounce bottle.
UV LED Black Light Lamp with Gooseneck and Clamp
Every artist definitely needs a black light to do UV ink tattoos. This clip-on lamp is handy as it has a flexible neck.
It features a single giant LED chip emitting UV light at a wavelength of 395nm. That’s the correct color to make UV-reactive ink glow.
The lamp It runs off a 5V DC power supply, meaning you can plug it into your phone charger or a power bank. It’s portable and can travel with you without the need for a power outlet.
EverBrite Black Light Headlamp UV Blacklight
This hands-free UV light is mounted on an adjustable headband. You can swivel the head up to 90° to shine it exactly where you need it.
There are 4 light modes, including low, medium, high, and strobe (which could mimic club conditions). It puts out UV wavelengths from 395 to 410nm, which is ideal for tattooing UV ink and locating pet urine stains and scorpions.
The headlamp requires 3 AAA batteries to operate, but they should last about 6 hours. Also, the headband can be removed and washed if needed.
Escolite UV Flashlight
If you just want to experiment with UV ink without making a big investment, get a UV flashlight. This one has an aluminum alloy body that you can sanitize or place in a plastic wrapper.
It runs on 3 AA batteries. It features 51 UV LEDs that emit 390 to 395nm wavelength for viewing UV ink and checking for scorpions at your campsite.
iLumen8 Glasses UV Blacklight Yellow Vision Safety Eye Protection
UV light can damage vision and skin. Protect your client by having them wear these safety glasses. The lenses are treated to defend against UV wavelengths like those emitted by black light lamps.
They also happen to be handy for night driving and shooting as they have an anti-glare design.
The durable lenses are made of polycarbonate that’s resistant to scratching and shattering. The frame is rubber-coated.
Opticz All-Purpose Invisible Blue UV Blacklight Reactive Ink
No, this is not tattoo ink. As tempting as it may be, please do not inject this under your skin or anyone else’s.
Nevertheless, it’s non-toxic when used on the surface of the skin. It’s alcohol-based so that it dries rapidly. Yes, it’s the same type of ink used to stamp hands at bars, fairs, and any place where people need to have proof for reentry.
What’s more, you can use it to make temporary tattoos that glow purple under black light. It’s a way to test-drive UV ink without waiting weeks for it to heal.
You can also draw with it on glass, plastic, metal, or paper.
It will wash off skin with soap and water and a little scrubbing.
Opticz UV Blacklight Reactive Invisible Ink Markers
There are 6 invisible ink markers in this set that fluoresce blue, red, and yellow under black light. Each color comes in both fine felt tips for lining and XL points for shading large areas. (The kit comes with a UV flashlight so that you can see what you’re drawing).
Although the ink will bleed a bit on the skin, it dries quickly and will glow intensely under UV light. Be aware that prolonged exposure to sunlight will fade the ink.
The ink is non-toxic and safe for the skin and will wash off with soap and water.
Midnight Glo Black Light Paint UV Neon Face & Body Paint
It’s hard to resist these neon colors. The day-glow selection includes purple, blue, green, yellow, pink, and orange.
Even under sunlight, the shades are brilliant. But put them under black light, and they pop!
Although the paint may stain fabric, it washes easily off skin, and it’s safe for both the face and body.
UV Glow – Neon UV Paint Stick for the Face & Body
You won’t need a black light lamp to draw with these fluorescent paint sticks. Each shade is vibrant in normal lighting.
But when the colors go under black light, they glow intensely.
The paint is non-toxic and certified for cosmetic use.
Festival World UV Temporary Tattoos – Blacklight
Give yourself a temporary tattoo that can last up to a week. This selection comes with animals, flowers, geometric, and tribal designs.
In black light, the tattoos glow pink, green, blue, and yellow.
It’s easy to apply them. Peel off the protective plastic and put the printed side on the skin. Press a wet washcloth on top for 30 seconds. Peel the paper away slowly, checking that the image has transferred.
Give it a minute to dry completely, then marvel at it under UV light.
110 Temporary Tattoos Glow-In-The-Dark Tattoos
This is the ultimate temporary tattoo kit with everything from music notes and the constellations to pirates and animals. They all glow in the dark, just like the little stars you had on your ceiling as a kid.
The tats are colorless in daylight but absorb light to shine in the darkness. Apply them just like any other temporary tattoo with a wet washcloth.
As a tattoo artist, it pays to gain experience with UV ink. There aren’t many who specialize in blacklight tattoos. Those who do may earn double what they would for a regular tattoo.
Moreover, UV ink adds a depth of expression that ordinary ink can’t provide. It’s excellent for adding highlights and secret messages, too.
1. https://www.inkedmag.com/original-news/black-light-tattoos-uv-ink-guide ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BLACKLIGHT TATTOOS, ACCORDING TO TATTOO ARTISTS by Tess Adamakos, updated January 4, 2019, accessed January 2, 2021
2. https://daily.jstor.org/why-doesnt-the-fda-regulate-tattoo-ink/ Why Doesn’t the FDA Regulate Tattoo Ink? By James MacDonald, published September 21, 2017, accessed January 2, 2021
3. https://www.kaylanewelltattoos.com/faq accessed January 2, 2021
4. https://coatings.specialchem.com/product-categories/pigments-special-effect-pigments-fluorescent-whitening-agents-optical-brighteners accessed January 22, 2021