How To Tell If Your Stick And Poke Tattoo Is Vegan

DIY hand poke tattooing is a great way of expressing self-identity, but it can be difficult to commit to new ink if you follow a vegan lifestyle

Hand poked flower in a bottle, by Black Sand. source

Unless explicitly stated, it should be assumed that tattoo ink is not vegan, and according to Peta, non-vegan pigments can contain anything from bone char, glycerin from animal fat, gelatin from hooves, or insect parts. And ink isn’t the only tattoo product vegans have to worry about. When people think of vegan stick and poke tattooing they think of the ink and maybe the type of aftercare used to heal the tattoo or piercing, but not about all the extra stuff needed for the process. Animal by-products can actually be present throughout the entire process of getting a tattoo, so there are many hidden non-vegan items to be on the look out for. So when you’re getting poked make sure you’re using vegan products and make sure what you’re talking about.

GRL PWR by Messy Tats source

Luckily, tattoo products are mostly vegan by industry standards, in fact the top ink brands are vegan (note that when we talk about vegan we include cruelty free into the definition) but all the products needed to execute a stick and poke tattoo (cleaning products, stencils, razors, tracing papers, skin markers, and more) can be found in a vegan alternative and therefore it is entirely possible to make the whole procedure vegan.

Hand poked sculpture, by Stick Around source

However, some products do not have a cruelty free alternative by the nature of the product. In countries such as the USA and Canada, all medical products have to undergo medical testing on animals by law. Unfortunately, these products are not found in alternative brands that we are aware of, but are used to disinfect and ensure that the space is free of blood-borne pathogens to ensure everyone’s safety.

Make sure you look for brands that sell cruelty-free, vegan products. You can find many vegan products here.