We occasionally get clients asking what ‘brand’ of tattoo ink we mix the ashes with. We don’t, we always make our own superior tattoo inks to create your ashes infused tattoo ink. This is for a plethora of reasons, as we will go onto explain in this article in precise details. This may end up being a big read but at the end of it you’ll be gemmed up on most things that are covered on this site and hopefully answer some questions you may have as well.
On this page we are going to layout in both technical (at times) and simple terms (for the most part) why not only using our ashes infused ink is far superior to a normal tattoo studio just placing ashes into tattoo ink and claiming they have done you an ‘ashes’ tattoo, but also why our ink is high quality and the main fundamentals which make using our ashes infused ink for a commemorative tattoo is the best choice.
Placing Ashes In Tattoo Ink
We aren’t going to go over the health and safety aspects in this article, as we are sure through the various articles on this site, you have already worked out the health and safety implications of a ‘standard’ tattoo studio placing ashes into tattoo ink and tattooing you with it. We are just going to use basic logic.
If a studio places ash into tattoo ink it will either sink or float, (99% of the time they would sink), no other thing will happen and both are bad. We talk on this site that we make as big deal of molecularly matching the tattoo pigment to the ashes. At Cremation Ink ® we always do this, as then the ashes don’t sink or float, but are an actual part of the pigment suspension itself.
Take water as a visualisation, placed in a pot. If you placed a small amount of ashes in the water, some would float and some would sink, none would within 2 minutes be still in the main body of water. This is basic logic.
Now if there was a subtle resistance in the pot, say tattoo ink, the same concept would still apply unless the pigment molecule was the exact same as the ash’s molecule, thus creating molecular symmetry and thus offsetting the sink or float aspect. But the ashes will never float as they would need to be that fine to not break the resistance of the liquid surface.
Ashes in A Pot
So, lets visualize the tattoo studio placing the ashes in the ink, the same applies they will sink. Then they will probably whisk them up and say everything is mixed together and away they go. But you now know that the ashes are at the bottom of the pot. Whisking does nothing more than fling them to the side of the bottom of the pot.
Two things here tattooist’s 99 % of the time do, always feed the needles with the ink, from the centre of the pot and avoid the bottom of the pot like the plague.
We always feed of the centre as we don’t want to touch the sides of the pot and if their machine is running, fling the pot over the client and even if the machine is not running, we always aim at centre for the ‘dip’ with habit.
The bottom of the pot is avoided at all costs, as if the machines running and you touch the bottom, you’ll ground the point of the needles down and then them tiny hooks, that will appear on the bottom of the needle tips, will cause you, the client, to bleed nonstop, pushing the impregnated ink back out.
If an oversight in a studio or lack of attention is to blame, you’ll hear a very distinctive GRRR as the needle tips get ground to a pulp. For professional tattooists, that’s a full strip down and resetting new pins etc, which is a pain, which is why we avoid the bottom of the pot.
Even if you attempted to get to the bottom of the pot without the needle running, machines are set so the needles are always set way back in the tube, so even if you dipped the tip completely into the bottom, the needles are actually around 3-4 mm behind the tube tip. So basically, your loved one’s ashes are at the bottom of the pot and your tattooists won’t get to them.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you that a local tattoo studio placing ashes in some ink, isn’t getting an ashes tattoo at all, we shave clients before we tattoo them for a couple of reasons. One its hygienic and number two it's to stop the hairs blowing out the needle configurations when we are lining.
If as an example we have three needles in a triangle setup for lining and between two of them needles, hairs start to bunch up, then this creates what tattooists call tramlining. Where there’s a gap in the density of the line.
It may not be obvious to most clients but a seasoned tattooist can see it from miles away. You will also get sporadic sharpness of the side of the tattooed line. We avoid this, as a sign of bad workmanship and over time the tattoo will heal with dull lines. On this basis if any lumps of ashes got in the needle setup, then this would instantly cause tramlining.
So, after all your read above, do you really think any ashes are going into your tattoo at all when a local tattooist does your ‘ashes’ tattoo? At Cremation Ink ® all these issued are avoided with particle matching both the pigment and the ashes to create a perfect suspension of both, for a true ashes tattoo.
Our Pigment And Inks
We only use the best pigment available and always have done. We have never used manufactured pigments from china, as they don’t come with the data, we need to be able to track the pigment down to manufacturing batch data. Our pigments we use to make our inks are organic and have been the backbone of tattooing inks for the last 40 years.
We aren’t going to name names when it comes to tattoo inks supplied worldwide, but a lot use cheaper pigments to gain a bigger profit margin. As a clue, there are probably 100’s of tattoo ink companies out there and yet only around 20 come with full safety data sheets and even less come with heavy metal technical sheets. Ours come with both.
You may wonder why you can’t just pour some ink in a bottle and away you go. With logical thinking anything you add to something will increase it viscosity, in other words, it will make it thicker. But for a tattoo ink to perform, for all aspects of tattooing, you need to create low viscosity inks, that are actually too fluid to be utilized for tattooing and on the addition of a set amount of cremation ashes, it will be the right viscosity to use for tattooing, whether that be lining, shading or packing.
Imagine corn flour and water, the more corn flour you add the thicker the water becomes, till in the end it takes on a mud like consistency. This is obviously why we have set amounts of all ingredients to make our inks, so we can always give the tattooist a very workable ink, that they will love to use. Perfect viscosity with optimal suspension of both the ashes and the pigment, combined together to make a fantastic high quality, ashes infused tattoo ink.
We add only natural ingredients to make our inks, as we have done for many years. In our shop on this site, next to each ink is the data showing all components of the inks, excluding the ashes.
This may be where it gets a bit technical, but we are passionate about what we do and we pride our selves on delivering inks that stay bright and offset ‘encapsulation’, which is what dulls down a tattoo after it has healed.
We will try and simplify to a degree the complicated stuff. As your tattoo heals, your white blood cells and macrophages come racing in to the damaged area and if they really don’t like what they find, they will push it out of the skin, or for the most part it will cover it and this will be a biological signal to the other white blood cells and macrophages to relax, its all good and not to raise a signal on the pigment in the skin again.
On a grander scale this is why commonly when someone gets a lot of black work done, the black takes on a slightly grey appearance once healed.
This encapsulation has another negative effect in that as the encapsulation can be fractured by UV rays etc. Once the encapsulation has been fractured, along come the macrophages and the white blood cells again and they clean up any broken off bits of pigment and re-encapsulate the pigment again.
In doing this they are ever so diluting the depth of the ink, so over time the tattoo fades. This is why commonly tattooists suggest keeping tattoo out of the sun, to minimise the destruction overtime of the pigments in tattoo.
Ink manufacturers over the years have tried a multitude of techniques to try and reduce the effects of encapsulation. Many years ago, believe it or not, they would use PVA glue as an additive to try and offset this and in more modern times some have tried and failed badly at utilizing some of the unhealthier list of chemicals available from china.
Why do they keep adding chemicals to try and offset encapsulation? Time and money, it takes a lot of time to create inks the scientific way as we do, keeping the list of additives organic, sterile and natural and not polluted with chemicals.
Bright, Long Lasting Tattoos ?
Can we say it’s completely UV resistant, well no, if you decide to go to Ibiza and burn till you looked like a cooked lobster and the flight home is spent peeling off layers of skin, then this will affect your tattoo, but general wear and tear of the pigment if offset with our techniques, with the emphasise being in keeping the tattoo pigment organic in nature and staying bright.
Hopefully you’ve learned a lot and we admit, we have simplified some more technical aspects for our inks etc, but hopefully you have learned a lot.
Your loved one deserved the best and with Cremation Ink ®, they get the best!