Skin tone tattoo inks are in a unique position in the world of body art. They can be used for background, smoothing, and highlighting work, much like any other color of tattoo ink. However, they are also in demand from clients who don’t want to get tattooed, per se. It’s because these tattoo inks can be used to cover up scars, tears, marks, and blemishes of any kind.

Expert tattoo artists can mix up colors themselves to make up any skin tone that they have to match. But this process can be time-consuming and tricky. As an artist, your time is money, and you have to consider the viscosity, pigment oversaturation, and possible cases of ink pigments reacting to each other.

It’s better to simply get a skin tone tattoo ink and adjust it as needed, as this will reduce all of the mentioned issues. But not all skin tone tattoo inks are what they promise to be in terms of performance and safety. So, we’ll be taking a look at the 6 best skin tone tattoo inks on the market, and how to choose your perfect one.

6 Best Skin Tone Tattoo Inks Review

The inks that we mentioned have been selected based on these criteria.

  • Shade.
  • Matching skin tones.
  • Ink flow and viscosity.
  • Certifications and safety.
  • Safe packaging.
  • Healing rate.
  • Price to volume analysis.

To decide the ranking of these skin tone tattoo inks certifications, color adjustment, healing rate, and safe packaging was given priority in order.

1. World Famous Mona Lisa Skin Flesh Tattoo Ink

World Famous Flesh Tattoo Ink

World Famous is truly a world-famous brand for its vivid, unique shades, great pigmentation, and attention to safety. The brand’s 30-year-long dominance over the tattoo ink market is due to its creator Luo Rubino refusing to compromise on any factors on his tattoo inks.

Why We Selected It in Our Top List

Shade

The shade of Mona Lisa Skin is the closest to the Desert Sand color. The light shade of the skin tone ink is great for highlighting work, and portrait works on tattoos. The base shade is great for light and pale complexions, but can’t work with brown or darker complexions.

Matching Skin Tones

Creating a variety of skin tones ranging from pale to brown complexions with Mona Lisa Skin is simple. You can expect to access this great range without too much adjustment. However, this tattoo ink will struggle to create darker skin tones without extensive adjustment.

Ink Flow and Viscosity

Mona Lisa Skin has a thin consistency. The carrier is made to seep easier into the skin and disperse the pigments quickly. With the low viscosity, the ink doesn’t have issues flowing out of the bottle and during the tattooing process.

Certifications and Safety

World Famous produces the Mona Lisa Skin inside their ISO 13485 certified facility, which is equivalent to the safe environment of a medical-grade facility. The company also sterilizes the bottles and ink before they seal them. Mona Lisa Skin is undoubtedly one of the safest skin tone tattoo inks on the market right now.

The tattoo ink also uses all vegan ingredients in its carrier. The testing process doesn’t involve any animals either. The ink is completely animal cruelty-free, and you can expect no reactions caused by the carrier.

Safe Packaging

Packaging-wise, Mona Lisa Skin is the market-leading skin tone tattoo ink. The PET bottle is a crystal flex bottle that comes with a tamper, contamination, and spill-proof seal. So, you can expect zero issues during transit. The bottle’s unique design and high build quality alone deter many forgers. But every authentic bottle comes with a QR code that you can scan to prove that it was made by World Famous.

Healing Rate

The Mona Lisa Skin’s safe manufacturing and ingredients ensure that the tattoo ink is inoffensive to the skin. With no alterations done to the chemical composition, tattoos will be in under 2 weeks.

Price to Volume Analysis

A 1-ounce bottle of World Famous Mona Lisa Skin tattoo ink will cost around $12. The price to volume ratio comes to 1:12, which places it in the expensive bracket. However, considering its quality and amount, this price isn’t too high.

Reasons to get
  • Effective base shade with good range.
  • Wide range of skin tones with minimal adjustment.
  • Good ink flow and thin viscosity.
  • Medical-grade manufacturing certification for the manufacturing facility.
  • Safest and most authentic tattoo ink packaging.
  • Rapid healing rate.
Reasons to avoid
  • The price is somewhat high.
  • Cannot easily match dark complexions.

Verdict

The World Famous Mona Lisa Skin takes 1st place on this list. It has a wide range of coverage, the highest overall safety, and one of the lowest healing times needed. The pricing may seem high, but you do get what you pay for.

2. StarBrite Colors Light Fleshtone

StarBrite Colors Sterilized Tattoo Ink Light Fleshtone

StarBrite Colors was trademarked in 2004 from Tommy’s Supplies, but the tattoo inks have existed since 1992. StarBrite Colors is an industry-leading brand when it comes to safety, reliability, and pigmentation. Every tattoo ink produced by StarBrite is done so under strict regulations, so you can expect top-quality and safety for every bottle.

Why We Selected It in Our Top List

Shade

The shade of the tattoo ink is of a lighter variety, close to the Muddy Waters color. The shade is quite agreeable with slight light to slight brown skin complexions. But the tattoo ink by itself won’t match up to pale complexions or darker ones.

Matching Skin Tones

The color allows quite a lot of room for adjustment. The shade isn’t too light nor too dark, so it doesn’t need too much adjustment to divert to either a light or dark complexion. The tattoo ink on its own is also quite capable of matching any skin tone that ranges from lighter shades of brown to slightly darker ones.

Ink Flow and Viscosity

StarBrite Colors Light Fleshtone is a tattoo ink with a very liquid consistency. It has low viscosity, meaning the ink flow is generous. The thin consistency allows the ink to disperse and flow freely, allowing the carrier to disperse the pigments inside the skin easily.

Certifications and Safety

StarBrite Color Light Fleshtone is made in a certified ISO 8 facility, inside a Class A 100,000 grade clean room that has powerful HEPA filters to keep everything sterile. The brand itself is a member of the Coalition for Tattoo Safety, Alliance of Professional Tattooists, Connecticut Alliance of Professional Tattooists, and many other tattoo safety groups worldwide. Light Fleshtone is one of the safest skin tone tattoo inks that you can get on the market.

The Light Fleshtone tattoo ink is also made with vegan ingredients, making it a completely cruelty-free ink, with safer carriers. It’s also free of any metallic pigments. The tattoo ink is sterilized before it is packaged, so any chances of microbial contamination out of the factory are eliminated.

Safe Packaging

Unfortunately, StarBrite Colors doesn’t have any unique designs or safety mechanisms for the Light Fleshtone. The ink is sealed and stored in a typical PET bottle. The bottle is quite safe in terms of transit and contamination, but it can be easily replicated.

Healing Rate

StarBrite Colors goes to extensive lengths to make sure that the tattoo inks are as safe as possible. As a result, the Light Fleshtone boasts a great healing time. If applied without any other pigment or ink mixed in, it can heal up greatly within only 2 weeks.

Price to Volume Analysis

A 0.5-ounce bottle of StarBrite Color Light Fleshtone costs around $7, making the price-to-volume ratio 1:14. This price puts the Light Fleshtone in the bracket of expensive inks.

Reasons to get
  • Good shade for out-of-the-bottle use.
  • Very capable of matching skin tones with minimal adjustment.
  • Generous ink flow and pigment dispersion.
  • Certified and takes extensive care for safety.
  • Good healing rate.
Reasons to avoid
  • Subpar packaging.
  • Expensive ink.

Verdict

The StarBrite Colors Light Fleshtone places 2nd on this list, as the tattoo ink is great overall, but loses out to the World Famous brand for safe packaging.

3. Kuro Sumi Kin-Cha Skin Tone Tattoo Ink

Kuro Sumi Kin-Cha Skin Tone Tattoo Ink

Kuro Sumi is an American brand of tattoo inks that uses Organic Japanese ingredients and formulas to create inks. The inks produced by Kuro Sumi are harmless to the most sensitive skin and have a great healing time.

Why We Selected It in Our Top List

Shade

The shade is light but deep, matching the color Tuscany. The deep and rich color allows the tattoo ink to match lighter skin tones but also can create brown and slightly dark complexions as is. However, pale and darker complexions need adjustment.

Matching Skin Tones

Kin-Cha is the most effective skin tone tattoo ink on this list for matching various skin tones. The color is light enough so that it can match a wide range of light and pale complexions with minimal adjustment. It’s also deep and rich enough that it can reach all but the darkest complexions with small adjustments.

Ink Flow and Viscosity

The consistency of Kin-Cha is not as thin as Mona Lisa Skin or Light Fleshtone. However, the viscosity is not problematically high. The ink flow is not staggered when tattooing, but the pigment dispersion is not as smooth as Mona Lisa Skin and Light Fleshtone.

Certifications and Safety

Kuro Sumi Kin-Cha is produced under the ISO 13485 quality control procedure. This certification is granted to organizations that deal with designing, producing, installing, and servicing medical devices and any other related services. Kin-Cha is made under the same QC procedure, making it a safe and reliable tattoo ink.

Also, Kuro Sumi is famous for using all organic, vegan ingredients. This effort makes up a chemical composition that’s harmless for even the most sensitive skins.

Safe Packaging

Kuro Sumi has always suffered from packaging issues, and Kin-Cha is no different. The tattoo ink is packaged in a typical, easily replicated, PET bottle that doesn’t have ways to maintain authenticity. There haven’t been any issues with seals breaking during transit or contamination. However, it is often very hard to tell a fake Kin-Cha apart from the real one.

Healing Rate

Because of how inoffensive Kin-Cha is to the skin, it boasts the best healing rate out of all the skin tone tattoo inks. Unmixed, you can expect any tattoo wounds to heal within a week and a half only. You can expect this healing rate across all skin types too.

Price to Volume Analysis

A 0.5 ounce of Kuro Sumi Kin-Cha will cost lower than $09. The price-to-volume ratio of the tattoo ink comes to 1:16. Which makes Kuro Sumi Kin-Cha the most expensive skin tone tattoo ink on this list.

Reasons to get
  • Amazing coverage on the base shade.
  • Widest skin tone range coverage when adjusted.
  • Certified QC manufacturing.
  • All organic and vegan ingredients, safe for the most sensitive skin types.
  • Fastest healing time.
Reasons to avoid
  • Generic, easily replicated packaging.
  • Highest price for volume.

Verdict

Kuro Sumi Kin-Cha is an excellent ink in terms of skin tone coverage, healing time, and inoffensiveness to the skin. However, the packaging makes finding authentic ink hard, and the price is too high for what it offers. All things considered, Kin-Cha ranks 3rd in this list.

4. Viking Ink Skin Tattoo Ink Kit

VIKING INK Tattoo Ink KIT

Viking Ink is a brand that sports high-end tattoo pigments in its tattoo inks. The brand specializes in tattoos that are Māori, tribal, and realistic styles. The tattoo ink brand is known for using traditional organic formulae and ingredients that are good for sensitive skin.

This isn’t exactly a single tattoo ink choice, but a tattoo ink kit that features 3 of Viking’s skin tone tattoo inks in a pack. This is a great choice as a kit, as it offers the widest possible range of base shades, and has low issues with mixing. The tattoo inks that come in this kit are Natural Lip, Skin, and Dark Skin.

Why We Selected It in Our Top List

Shade

Natural Lip is a slightly red-pinkish shade that is close to Turkish Rose. Skin is a lighter skin tone tattoo ink variant that matches the Angela Canyon color. The Dark Skin tattoo ink is darker variant that matches the color, Old Rose.

These 3 tattoo inks provide the highest coverage for skin tones as a kit, even greater than Kin-Cha. Natural Lip is great at coloring lips, eyelid edges, and shading for lighting. Skin is great for light and slightly brown complexions, while Dark Skin is great for deep brown and dark complexions.

Matching Skin Tones

As a kit, these 3 tattoo inks are made to accompany each other. So, there is little worry about oversaturation if you combine these at any ratio. However, the range doesn’t improve much with any combination but becomes more accurate.

If you want to extend the range to paler and darker complexions, then you have to mix other ink in. It’s best to use the Skin tattoo ink for achieving pale complexions and Dark Skin for the deeper and darker ones.

Ink Flow and Viscosity

These tattoo inks have medium viscosity. The ink flow is typical and has little issue flowing out of the bottle. Working with the tattoo inks doesn’t pose any issues either. If you mix these tattoo inks, the viscosity doesn’t lessen or increase enough to make any difference.

Certifications and Safety

All 3 tattoo inks included in the Skin Tattoo Ink Kit are declared non-hazardous by OSHA under 29 CFR 1910.1200(d). Viking Tattoo Ink claims that all of its tattoo inks are made to cater to clients who have sensitive skins. This includes the 3 tattoo inks, which are free of any common toxins and allergens.

The tattoo inks in the kit are also made from organic, vegan ingredients. The carrier specifically is made from non-allergic vegan ingredients that avoid triggering allergies in most clients.

Safe Packaging

The skin tone inks featured in the Skin Tattoo Ink kit come in specialized PET bottles. Each bottle is sealed with specialized, unique seals that are transit spill and contamination proof. The bottles are of excellent make, with features that aid ink flow and maintain the ink’s consistency. While the bottles look simple from the outside, the plethora of features and the seal make replicating them very difficult.

Healing Rate

The healing rate of the Skin Tattoo Ink Kit inks is a little less than 2 weeks on average. As the tattoo inks are made for sensitive skin, this healing rate is consistent across all skin types. While Kin-Cha boasts a faster healing rate, this is still impressive.

Price to Volume Analysis

The Viking Ink Skin Tattoo Ink Kit comes with 3 1-ounce bottles, the price hovering around $19. The price-to-volume ratio for this kit comes to 1:6.3, making this a very affordable tattoo ink. It is the cheapest tattoo ink on this list.

Reasons to get
  • Very wide coverage with base shades.
  • Average viscosity and ink flow.
  • Certified to be non-toxic.
  • Great for sensitive skin.
  • Good attention to packaging safety and authenticity.
  • Good and consistent healing rate.
  • Cheapest price.
Reasons to avoid
  • Lack of a wide range without heavy adjustment.
  • Using the kit shades only improves accuracy.

Verdict

The Viking Ink Skin Tattoo Ink Kit places 4th on this list. It is the cheapest ink option, with good attention to overall safety, and is inoffensive to the skin. However, it cannot match the Manufacturing, QC, and other standards of Mona Lisa Skin, Light Fleshtone, or Kin-Cha.

5. Millennium Mom’s Fleshy Flesh Tattoo Ink

Millennium Mom's Fleshy Flesh Tattoo Ink

Millennium Mom’s is a well-known US brand for its rich color and high pigment saturation. The tattoo inks produced by this brand are vibrant and long-lasting.

Why We Selected It in Our Top List

Shade

Fleshy Flesh is of a deeper and darker shade that matches Smoky Pink. The shade is great for matching brown complexions with no alterations. The shade is also great for use with darker complexion lips and shadow works.

Matching Skin Tones

Fleshy Flesh is great at matching light brown to the darkest complexions with little adjustment. The tattoo ink stands out in particular as it can match the darkest and deepest skin tones with ease. Other skin tone tattoo inks typically struggle with deeper and darker colors.

Ink Flow and Viscosity

As the carrier is very saturated with pigments, the viscosity of Fleshy Flesh is quite high. However, the high viscosity doesn’t affect the tattooing process. The tattoo ink can be used as-is, without dilution.

Certifications and Safety

Millennium Mom’s doesn’t have any safety ratings or certifications. The brand has been around for long enough to accumulate a long stream of user reviews. And typically, the verdict is that any Millennium Mom’s ink is safe to use, with infrequent complaints of skin allergies and other issues.

Millennium Mom’s also claims that Fleshy Flesh is made from vegan ingredients, and it’s cruelty-free.

Safe Packaging

Millennium Mom’s is one of the worst offenders when it comes to packaging. The bottle for Fleshy Flesh is of poor making and quite fragile. The seals that the bottles come with from the factory are easily broken in transit. There have been many tales told of people receiving spilled ink out of the box because the seal broke too easily in transit.

Healing Rate

Fleshy Flesh is rather slow when it comes to the healing rate. It can take up to three weeks for the tattoo to heal up if you use the tattoo ink without mixing anything. The longer healing time needed comes from a lack of innovation in pigment dispersion in the dermis layer.

Price to Volume Analysis

A 0.5-ounce bottle of Millennium Mom’s Fleshy Flesh can range from $7.25 to $10. The price-to-volume ratio for this tattoo ink comes to 1:14.50. Which puts this in the expensive tattoo ink bracket.

Reasons to get
  • Great base shade for brown complexions.
  • Can match the darkest of complexions with minimal adjustment.
  • Cruelty-free vegan ink.
Reasons to avoid
  • No certifications for QC, compound, or manufacturing.
  • Horrible packaging in terms of safety and authenticity.
  • Slow healing rate.
  • Expensive tattoo ink.

Verdict

Millennium Mom’s Fleshy Flesh ranks 5th on this list because of its overall poor performance. The price is unjustified considering the downside of this ink. The only reason it gets a spot above the last is that it is the only tattoo ink capable of working with dark complexions.

6. Bloodline Tattoo Inks Traditional Flesh

Bloodline Tattoo Inks Traditional Flesh

Bloodline Tattoo Inks is a brand that was founded in 1995. The brand is known for high-performance dispersion inks. The brand produces bold, bright tattoo inks that have a low percentage of liquid or carrier and pigment separation.

Why We Selected It in Our Top List

Shade

The shade of Bloodline Tattoo Inks Traditional Flesh matches Peru color. This is another great shade that can work across a wide range of light and brown complexions. Traditional Flesh works great when working with Latin American complexions.

Matching Skin Tones

Traditional Skin needs very little adjustment to create exact skin tones of light, brown and darker variants. Only a little white, black, or red can easily match the skin tone within this range. The tattoo ink can reach pale complexions with difficulty but fails to do so for darker tones.

Ink Flow and Viscosity

Traditional Flesh has a staggered ink flow and high viscosity. Its thickness causes a slow pour out of the bottle and sometimes gets in the way of tattooing. The pigment concentration is quite high in the carrier, which causes this issue. You will often have to mix the tattoo ink to dilute it for use.

Certifications and Safety

Bloodline Tattoo Inks does not have an ISO certification for its QC or manufacturing. However, the brand claims that the 4000-square feet facility where Traditional Flesh is made is quite safe. They do not disclose the safety measure that they take.

However, despite having no certification, the Traditional Skin tattoo ink is made with great attention to detail. The vegan ingredients that are selected for the carrier are done so because they won’t cause any allergic reactions.

Safe Packaging

Bloodline Tattoo Inks as a brand has always had generic, easily copied packaging. The bottle that Traditional Skin comes in is of shoddy, generic design. Also, the brand makes little effort to make sure that the ink is sealed well. The bottles often come with seals torn open from transit, and the ink dries out as a result.

Healing Rate

The healing rate of Traditional Skin is a little under 2 weeks on average. The tattoo ink is made with high dispersion capability, so the pigment doesn’t clump or struggle to spread within the dermis layer. This trait of the ink helps speed up the healing process.

Price to Volume Analysis

A 1-ounce bottle of Bloodline Tattoo Inks Traditional Skin will cost around $12. The price to volume for this skin shade tattoo ink comes to 1:12, which is the same as Mona Lisa Skin. The tattoo ink finds itself in the expensive tattoo ink bracket.

Reasons to get
  • Great base shade for Latin American Complexion.
  • Wide range for matching skin tones with low adjustment.
  • Vegan and allergen-free ink.
  • Decent healing rate.
Reasons to avoid
  • Thickest tattoo ink with the highest viscosity.
  • No certification and clarity of production safety.
  • No concern for safe, authentic packaging.
  • Expensive tattoo ink.

Verdict

The Bloodline Tattoo Inks Traditional Skin ranks 6th on this list. The tattoo ink has a specialized base shade that has room for a wide range when adjusted. It also boasts a good healing rate and comes allergen-free. However, the tattoo ink is pricey, has little clarification on overall safety and the bottle design and safety are simply atrocious.

How Do I Pick My Personal Best Skin Tone Tattoo Ink?

If you want to pick a skin tone tattoo ink that will serve you best, then you need to have a set of standards that you’ll use to judge all tattoo inks. Your needs as an artist can be entirely different from what others would want. So, you have to prioritize your needs over general opinions.

Best Skin Tone Tattoo Inks

I’ll provide a general guideline here for you to follow and choose the best skin tone tattoo ink for you. You can consider the following factors.

Purpose:

Skin tone tattoo inks are generally used for portrait-style tattoos. But you can also use them to hide any scarring, birthmarks, blemishes, tears, and other markings on the skin. You have to choose your ink based on what you’ll be using it for. Hiding markings will require you to work on sensitive skin most of the time, so you might want to opt for a tattoo ink that is safe for such skin.

Client’s needs:

As a tattoo artist, your client’s needs come first. You want to create the closest approximation or a replica of their vision. So, the tattoo ink you choose will have to achieve the same. That aside, the client can have unique skin tones, skin issues, preferences about vegan or cruelty-free inks, and such that you have to pay attention to.

Safety:

Safety is paramount, even if your client doesn’t focus on it. You have to choose the tattoo ink that will provide you with the maximum assurance of safety for specific skin types. Other issues such as contamination and seal breach matter a lot as well.

Art style:

The tattoo ink that you’ll use will have to cater to your art style. Granted, skin tone tattoo inks don’t usually lend themselves to diverse use cases or styles. But you still have the unique flair that you put in, and the tattoo ink should be able to accommodate that.

Price:

The price of tattoo inks affects how much you’ll charge your clients. You need the price to match your budget, and how much you expect to charge your clients. Don’t unnecessarily cheap out or overspend on tattoo ink, and try to strike a balance.

Longevity:

You need to pay attention to how long a tattoo ink will last in the skin. The longer it lasts, the more likely that you’ll be credited for it and get more clients.

A good idea would be to look for how long they have been in the market, what they are known for, and what they claim on their website. You can then cross-check all of these facts online to ensure that you aren’t fooled into choosing the wrong ink. You can also try multiple tattoo inks yourself and then pick your favorite.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are skin tone tattoo inks used for?

Skin tone tattoo inks are used for any kind of portrait style works, such as drawing faces and figures. However, you can also use a matching shade of tattoo ink to cover up your blemishes, birthmarks, scars, tears, and any other markings.

How do you adjust skin tone tattoo inks to match skin complexions?

You can use brown, and red mostly to deepen the shade. You can use white to lighten up the shade for paler complexions. Also, you can simply mix a light or darker shade of skin tone tattoo with another to create light or dark shades.

How do I make skin tone tattoo ink myself?

Mix red, blue, and yellow tattoo inks in a 1:1:3 ratio to create a very dark shade of skin color. You can then add in little red, and white to brighten up the mixture and create lighter shades. However, doing so with incompatible inks can cause drastic changes in the chemical compositions and cause reactions within the pigments. Make sure to understand what ingredients you’re mixing up and if they have any chemical interactions with each other.

Conclusion

Finding the best skin tone tattoo inks isn’t a simple online search away. You need to research every detail about all the popular brands, if not every brand, and then make your decision. However, you probably don’t have that time. You probably don’t even have the time to read the full length of this article.

So, I’ll provide a quick TLDR for you to read off. To pick your best skin tone tattoo ink, focus on what matters most to you. But always keep safety as a point to consider.

If you’re looking for good base shade coverage, then go for Viking Ink Skin Tattoo Ink Kit. You can mix and match the 3 inks as needed to create accurate skin complexions within its range.

If you want the widest possible range with minimal mixing, try Kuro Sumi Kin-Cha. The brand provides a great light but rich shade that can reach both ends of the spectrum with minimal adjustment.

If you want to focus on safety, get World Famous Mona Lisa or StarBrite Colors Light Fleshtone. Both brands go to extreme lengths to ensure that they provide the maximum possible safety for users. World Famous goes the extra mile and has the safest and most authentic packaging of all brands.

If you have to work with very dark complexions, then pick up Millennium Mom’s Fleshy Flesh. It’s the only skin tone tattoo ink on the list that can be adjusted for very dark complexions without much hassle.

Finally, if you value a fast-healing rate and skin-friendly properties, then choose Kin-Cha. The tattoo ink is made with Japanese formula and Japanese organic, vegan ingredients for its carrier, and even the pigments. This tattoo ink will cause no issues even if you tattoo people with very sensitive skin, or existing skin conditions.

The only thing left to say here is a word of caution. Do not consider any reviews to be exhaustive and up to date. Always research on your own if you can, or at least read from multiple sources. In the end, it’s up to you to find what’s your choice for the best skin tone tattoo ink and determine why.