How long do white tattoos last?


Does white ink tattoo fade quickly? In this article we’ll focus on what to consider around getting a white colour tattoos or using white on blank anchored tats. And how long the quality of that colour should last. Thanks to Thais and Sergy for providing the answers.


Getting a design on your body takes a lot of consideration. You might be planning on getting one for months, even for years. And it’s such a specialised process that you’re bound to have a lot of questions. Particularly if it’s your first one.

Here at The Black Hat Tattoo, we understand that you’ll be as curious and nervous as you’ll be excited before diving in and getting inked. So, we’ve decided to answer your most common questions.

And who better to answer them than our Tattoo Artists themselves. They’ve been asked anything and everything in our studios down through the years. And they have all the expertise you’ll need to answer your most burning questions.

Let’s start and see how long do white tattoos last.

Why would I get one?

There are some pieces of information you ought to know before addressing how long do white tattoos last.


White ink tattoo is made exclusively with white colour. Every tat outside of this strict definition is not considered as a white tattoo and then the advice and information in this article might not apply to your specific situation.

White tattoos have become popular over the last decade as a lighter, more delicate looking designs. They can be really elegant and a great choice for someone worried about a tattoo compromising their professional look as they won’t stand out as much – especially if you have light skin.

While is also used a lot to highlight in order to help provide more shape. And it can also contrast nicely with black dye. But it should be stressed that it’s used to highlight more than to outline.

Indeed, getting a light design remain a rare request and most artists use the white at the end of colourful or black and grey art pieces.

What does the hue consist of?

Most manufacturers do not specify the full composition of their artist ink but white usually contains chemical ingredients like lead carbonate, titanium dioxide, barium sulfate and zinc oxide.

To the best of our knowledge, the composition of the tint does not impact on how long do white tattoo last. Most manufacturers use the same product base in their formulas. Each artist has a favourite colour palette and colours providers and you shouldn’t be worried on the impact that can have on the final result.

If you want to learn more about inks, you might be interested to read this article about vegan inks.

Is it new?

Is white a new introduction to the tattooing industry?

No. That colour has been around for a long time – as long as the other colours. It just has gained more prominence in the past decade. It is a basic colour in an artist palette and that does not impact how long white tattoo last.

Is the application technique different?

The application is different from the other colours, not just black. That’s because white is generally used for highlight purposes. So it gets applied at the end of the session to bring the body art more to life. Or alternatively it may be used to mix with the other inks to create a new palette of colours or shades of colour.


It’s worth noting that the application of the ink can impact on how long do white tattoos last. The technic is the same but not all artists are good with light tattoos. A good rule of thumbs is to ask the studio or the artist you want to collaborate with how they feel about preforming this specific shade.

What about ink quality?


Yes, all modern inks are generally of good quality. It’s the responsibility of a good artist to choose their inks carefully. Not just for your sake but their own reputation too. And generally we’ll look for brands that have a great track record for quality ink. So you don’t need to worry about white ink quality specifically.

Is that popular?

I want a white design, but I’m afraid that it’s not as good as black.

These are hard questions to answer because it’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges.

There is no real comparison that can be made because they are used for different purposes.


There’s nothing to worry about. The main thing to consider as to whether to get a black or white dye is that the black one will give you more contrast on your skin. It will stay more visible than a lighter shade which will fade into the skin more. So that’s why we use black for outlining.

White hue isn’t used as much as black in the tattooing world because white works best to highlight the art piece, so it’s mainly used for the small details instead of outlining completely a full piece.

Nonetheless, people who request a lighter palette aspire to discrete body art. That also means you just won’t notice it as much as you would for a colourful full sleeve.

White colour and black/brown skin tones.

Will a white tattoo work better on dark or black skin than the black one?

Although this sounds like it would make sense it’s actually not the case. What happens here is the white ink will mix with the pigment in the darker skin and this will create a greyish tone instead of the expected result.

If your skin is black or brown, it’s still better to use black. It will still stand out better on darker skin and is more durable against fading or mixing with other pigments.

So how long do white tattoo last then ?

In general white doesn’t last as long as other inks, though this might depend on lots of factors like what type of skin you have or how much sun you expose your skin to.


When having a lot of lighter colour applied you’ll need to listen carefully to your artist’s specific aftercare instructions. By following those you’ll get more time from your tattoo.

That said, it depends of how much you care about it, the position on the skin as face, hands and feet tats fade faster than other body parts. A white body art is a project that requires preparation so get in touch with a skilled artist and ask the question!

Sun Sensitivity

So white ink doesn’t like the sun or tanning?

Yes, that’s correct. This is where listening to the artist can really help you. So you should listen very carefully to their suggestions even if it’s not something you want to hear about baring your skin to the sun.


The other thing to bear in mind is that it can also yellow as well as fade. So it does need more vigilance than black and it’s important to be careful.

Touch ups on white tattoos

Is the re-tattooing more difficult or painful than the other colours?

No, not at all. There is nothing different about the process of applying white ink on the skin. It’s just more predisposed to fading over time. So the experience and the technique will be exactly the same.


Lighter tattoos are not more or less painful than other. The pain you experiment while getting a body modification procedure is due to the needle going in and out of the second top layer of the skin. Colour has nothing to do with pain levels.

However, re-tattooing a non-yet healed wound is potentially dangerous and stay in touch with a skilled artist when proceeding to a re-colouring of an existing one.

If you intend to use a lot of light tint then you are most likely to have regular touch-ups to keep the design visible enough. This will help it’s durability over time. It depends on the role of the shade in your design and on your own preferences how many times this needs to happen.

Got more questions?

We hope this gives you all the information you needed around how long do white tattoo last. If there’s something in particular we haven’t covered, we’ll be more than happy to discuss that with you.

You want to design and price your next one? Read this about tattoo price and get in touch, were always happy to help!

You are a tattoo artist and you seek for a welcoming environment to help you to grow? Read the tattoo artist collaboration details here or email directly our great manager.