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Stick and poke ink: a quick fire guide

The ink you choose to use for your hand poked tattoo is a key factor that’ll decide how long your stick and poke tattoo lasts. Not to mention it’ll affect how safe your tattoo is, so it’s important to choose wisely. The attraction of stick and poke tattoos for many people is the DIY, handmade feel to them, but the safety precautions surrounding ink should still be taken. You’ve probably heard of people opting for pen or India ink for their stick and pokes. However neither of these inks are sterile and can cause infection. This can be dangerous and should be avoided. People have different opinions on which ink is ‘best’ so it can be hard to know which one to go for. But we’re here to help you learn the stick and poke ink basics, so let’s take a closer look. 


Ink types

Let’s talk about ink types first. With stick and poke, there’s two main types called ‘stable pigment-based’ and ‘pre-dispersed’. Stable pigment-based inks are known as old school, as they have to be mixed before use. They aren’t used very often anymore as tattoo inks have since developed and are readily available pre-mixed, known as ‘pre-dispersed’. Although these inks are ready to use you should always shake the bottle well before use, just to be sure. This is the type of ink we recommend for stick and pokes, as it’s affordable, good quality and will make your stick and poke last. 


Ink components

Inks consist of two main elements, pigments and carriers. You can either get metal-based, vegetable-based or plastic-based pigments, which appear as powder particles with different sizes depending on the ink. In pre-dispersed inks, the particles are very fine. Carriers are key for not only making sure the pigments are evenly mixed, but for the hygiene of the ink. Carriers disinfect the ink and make sure it’s pathogen-free. They can be made from water, surfactants (glycerine, propylene glycol) or hamamelis water. 


Our inks

We have a wide range of professional inks in different colours available on our website.


Stick and Poke Inks



We recently added a lot of new shades to our Stick & Poke Ink range, so if you fancy adding some colour into your hand poked creation, say hello to primary pinks, pale purples, tropical blues and many more. 

Our Stick & Poke Inks are high quality, pre-dispersed inks which have a smooth consistency and go onto the skin with ease. They’ve been developed over several years to perfectly suit stick and poke tattooing, meaning they’re the ideal choice. Like with every other pre-dispersed ink, they’re already mixed but still make sure you shake the bottle well before use. 

If you’re ready to poke your first tattoo after using our practice kits, our Black Stick and Poke Liner is a great place to start. It creates the cleanest solid black lines that stay black, so you don’t need to worry about it fading fast. Our Hand Poke Tattoo Kits include a 30ml bottle of this black ink.


Dynamic Ink


We also stock Dynamic ink in a range of primary colours and also black and white. These inks go into the skin very easily and continue to stay bold even after healing. They’re perfect for lining, shading and even blending to create washes. 


Intenze Ink

If it’s a vegan ink you’re after, we’ve got you covered. Our Intenze Black Vegan Ink is perfect for outlining your tattoo, made from high quality, vegan ingredients. 


Ink storage 

After you’ve bought your ink, storage in the correct environment is key for keeping it in it’s best condition. Most ink bottles will have storage instructions, but if not, here are some general rules which apply to most stick and poke inks: 


  • Keep your ink away from direct sunlight and high heat, as this could dry up the solution.
  • As well as heat, keep your ink away from freezing conditions as this can separate the different chemicals in the ink and alter the quality.
  • Use your ink before the expiry date. If the manufacturer hasn’t provided this information, a general rule is to keep your ink for 1-2 years, but try to use it within the first 6 months. 
  • Make sure your ink bottle is properly sealed before you use it.
  • After using your ink, close the cap tightly to keep the air out of it and wipe the pouring ink with a sterile cloth.

Ink tips

Here are our ink top tips for creating a stick and poke tattoo safely, which will last a long time:
  • Shake your ink bottle well before use, to make sure everything inside is completely mixed.
  • Don’t put your needle directly into the ink bottle and instead pour some into an ink cup to keep it as hygienic as possible.
  • Avoid touching the ink bottle with gloves that have touched the fresh tattoo or any of your equipment. This helps to prevent cross contamination. 

Overall, we think professional inks are the best choice for stick and poke tattoos. They’re not only safe due to the sterilising ingredients, but they’re high quality, long lasting and affordable. Lets face it, you want your tattoo to look it’s best once you’ve finished it, so going for the top quality products is your best bet. This way, you can feel confident that your hand poked tattoo will look solid and last a long time.

Want to stock up on your ink supplies? Click here to view our full range of inks.


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