How Long Do Stick and Poke Tattoos Last?

With tattoos becoming less and less taboo, more people are opting for this new style of permanent body art. However, you can now choose from different styles and techniques. Stick and poke tattoos are becoming increasingly popular and while you can get one in a professional studio, you may also want to try your hand at creating your own at home.

Machine tattoos and stick and pokes are different in technique, style, and the amount of time it takes to create them. One also provides a completely different overall experience to the other. But, a common question is “how long do stick and poke tattoos last?”. Let’s take a closer look:

So, How Long Do Stick and Poke Tattoos Last?

Stick and poke tattoos are just as permanent as their machine counterparts. While they differ in a variety of ways, the process of inserting the ink with a needle into the dermis of the skin is the same. The main difference is that instead of receiving hundreds of punctures to the skin in a short amount of time, a stick and poke involves getting ten to twenty by hand depending on the size of the design.

The permanence of a tattoo depends entirely on how precisely you insert the needle into the skin. If the needle only goes as deep as the top layer of the skin, also known as the epidermis, then the tattoo will fade as this layer sheds cells every couple of weeks and replaces them with new ones. On the other hand, if you go too deep and puncture the hypodermis, your tattoo will look blurry. This is referred to as tattoo blowout. The sweet spot for a permanent, good looking tattoo is the dermis. It is approximately 1/16 of an inch into the skin.

There are also some other factors to consider when it comes to how long your stick and poke tattoo will last. Here they are:

The Location of the Tattoo

The location of a tattoo is everything if you’re worried about how long it will last. A tattoo on a part of the body that is constantly used or experiences friction regularly will not last as long as one that is barely ever touched. For example, areas such as your hands and feet are constantly scrubbed clean as well as covered with shoes, gloves, and rings. On the other hand, the chest, legs, and ribs are simply covered with light layers of material. They are not exposed to the elements day in, day out.

The Experience of the Person Tattooing

As mentioned above, you need to make sure that you find the sweet spot when doing a stick and poke tattoo. Too deep and you’ll get tattoo blowout. Too shallow and the ink will fade more quickly. With this in mind, it is partially your experience that will dictate how long your stick and poke tattoo lasts. The best way to practice without the risk of blowout is to use practice skin. When you reach the sensation that the needle is inserted into the skin with a slight pull back when you remove it, that’s when you know you’re ready to tattoo a person.

The Equipment Used

The key to achieving the best quality tattoo is to use professional equipment. Too many people today use sewing needles to create stick and poke tattoos at home. Aside from the fact that this is a far more dangerous method that can lead to infection or the spread of life-limiting diseases, sewing needles do not offer the same results. The point of the needle is not the same as a professional needle and therefore, does not deposit the ink in the same way. Moreover, sewing needles are not as sharp meaning they may not go far enough into the skin and they are far more painful to tattoo with.

Using the correct ink is just as important as the quality of the needle. Pen ink will not do the trick. Aside from carrying harmful bacteria and chemicals, this type of ink will not last as long. For your DIY tattoos, use professional tattoo ink, or India ink. Also, make sure all of your materials are sterilized.


A tattoo, no matter how big or small, is an open wound that can easily get infected. No matter what the size of your stick and poke, you need to give it the best aftercare possible. As soon as you finish the tattoo, wash it, disinfect it, and wrap it in saran wrap or professional protective tattoo film. Two to three hours later, wash it again with antibacterial soap. Whatever you do, always pat your tattoo dry and do not rub or scrub it. Once clean, apply a very thin layer of healing ointment, preferably one that only uses natural ingredients. Last but not least, never pull off a scab, no matter how tempting or itchy it may be!

Do you want to try tattooing yourself and your friends from the comfort of home? If so, check out the stick and poke tattoo kits we have to offer, all of which come with professional needles, ink, aftercare supplies, as well as all the materials you need to avoid infection and keep your tattoo as prominent as the day you got it!