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How to make your stick and poke tattoo last

Posted on November 19 2021

While some people think that stick and poke tattoos will definitely fade quickly compared to machine tattoos, they’re just as permanent. However they’re different in a handful of ways, including technique, style and the length of time it takes to create them. Machine tattoos use many needles grouped together and electricity, meaning many dots are poked at a fast rate. This means they’re often quicker to complete compared to stick and poke tattoos. Which consist of a single needle being held by the artist, and poked into the skin. This means less trauma for the skin compared to machine tattoos, but they can take longer. With machine tattoos being quicker and using more needles, you can create thicker lines easily. This is why people think that stick and pokes fade quickly in comparison. But if the following elements in this blog post are considered, your stick and poke should last just as long as one created with a machine. Let’s take a closer look:


The location where you decide to place your stick and poke can affect how long it lasts. For example, if your tattoo is placed on an area of skin that’s consistently used or exposed to friction, it won’t last very long. Areas such as hands, fingers, feet, hips and ankles are good examples of this. Take hips for example, taking your jeans on and off multiple times a day will expose a tattoo placed here to lots of friction. This can mean that you require touch ups more often. On the other hand, areas like your chest and ribs are simply covered with lighter layers of clothes and will be exposed less, therefore requiring less touch ups. So this is something to consider with your stick and poke when thinking about the longevity of it. 


The products you use for your stick and poke are also a factor that’ll influence how long it lasts. You may have heard of people using sewing needles for their stick and poke, however this method often isn’t sterile and won’t give you a crisp, solid line that’ll last a long time. This is because sewing needles are often blunt, meaning the needle won’t go as far into the skin. The same goes for ink. People often use India ink or pen ink, which again aren’t sterile options and won’t last long. Opting for professional needles, and professional ink, is recommended, as they’re high quality products, so in return you’ll get a high quality tattoo. We’ve got a range of professional products available for your stick and pokes, which you can browse using the menu above.


When it comes to stick and poke tattoos, the trickiest part is finding the balance between poking deep enough but not too deep. If you poke too shallow, the ink won’t go far enough into the skin, which will cause your tattoo to fade more quickly. On the other hand if you poke too deep, you’ll cause a blowout. This is where the lines blur together and feather out. If you’re getting your stick and poke done by a professional artist, they’ll have experience with this. However, if you’re creating your tattoo yourself, a great way to perfect this technique is to use practice skins. These are great for beginners, as it gets you used to the motion of holding a needle and poking it into skin. Even if you’re an experienced poker, they’re still useful for practicing new designs and testing needles. We’ve got a range of practice kits available on our website!


If you want your stick and poke to last a long time, it’s super important that you care for it for at least ten days after getting it. It’s very common for people not to look after their hand poked tattoo, which can lead to it becoming infected or peeling too early. You want your stick and poke to look it’s best and we want you to get the best result, so here’s our top tips for safely and effectively looking after your tattoo. Firstly, as soon as you’re finished, bandage it up for a minimum of two hours and a maximum of six. After this time has passed, carefully take your bandage off with clean hands. You then want to wash the area with water and antibacterial soap. Fragrance-free is preferred as this is less irritating for your skin. Then pat the area dry with a clean towel, instead of rubbing it, as this can cause abrasion on your skin and damage your tattoo. After it’s dried, apply a thin layer of moisturiser and salve to the area to keep the skin hydrated. But don’t overdo this part, as too much moisture will cause damage. The aim is to repeat this part three to four times a day, for seven to ten days after getting your stick and poke. We’ve got a range of aftercare products available for your stick and poke, which you can view here.


Another thing to note during the healing process that can affect the longevity of your tattoo is scratching. It’s normal for your tattoo to peel or scab, and often this can itch. If this is the case, don’t scratch your tattoo, and instead lightly tap it. This is because scratching can cause abrasion on your skin and remove your tattoo ink. Or worse, it can lead to infection if your hands aren’t clean. Something else to consider is what clothing you wear around your tattooed area for the first few days after getting it. Your skin needs to be able to breathe, so loose fitting, natural fabrics like cotton are perfect for this. If you can’t avoid wearing tight fitting clothes, a good way to protect your tattoo is to place some protective film over it. However, this should only be used as a temporary measure, as the film won’t allow the tattoo to breathe. 

We hope this blog post has helped you understand how to help prevent your tattoo from fading. To view our range of kits and other products, click here.


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