Getting a new tattoo is one of the most exciting moments for tattoo lovers. However, sometimes the outcome doesn’t really match our expectations of a tattoo and we wish to cover it up or get rid of it completely. In most cases, tattoo artists will try to save the tattoo by recommending touch-up sessions, but even those cannot rescue something that you simply don’t want anymore.
Now, getting rid of a tattoo or covering it u with another one can be tricky in some cases. For example, if you want to cover up a black tattoo with another design, you may encounter some issues and limited options. We wanted to explore those options for our readers and in the following paragraphs, you can read about our findings and conclusions. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Can You Tattoo Over Black Ink? What You Need to Know
What Is Tattoo Cover-Up?
Tattoos are always created with the idea of them being life-long designs on your body. But, sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way we want it, and we find ourselves wishing to get rid of a tattoo or we want to cover it up with another, better tattoo design.
Tattoo cover-up is one of the most common ways people try to save their tattoos. It is also the most cost-effective way to fix an unfortunate tattoo situation. You may wonder who covers up their tattoos. Well, people whose tattoos got messed up by the tattooist’s fault or as a result of a tattoo infection, for example. There are people whose tattoos faded out and now they want to give them back a new vibrant shine with a new design as well.
In some cases, tattoo cover-up is difficult or even impossible. It is best to talk with a tattoo artist to go over all of the options for your tattoo.
How Does It Work?
Tattoo cover-ups work the same way regular tattooing works. The ink is always deposited into the dermis of the skin, regardless of whether there’s some ink in there beforehand.
Now, the biggest issue one may encounter when it comes to tattoo cover-up is the color of the tattoo one is trying to cover up. Because the pigment of the new tattoo won’t just go on top of the old tattoo’s pigment, it is important to adjust the color of the new tattoo so it doesn’t blend with the previous color.
Tattoo artists consider black or black & grey tattoos the easiest to cover up, especially if one is doing the new tattoo in the same shade. Now, when we say they’re the easiest to cover up, we do not undermine the fact that in some cases it can be difficult or challenging to cover up a bold black tattoo, for example. This usually applies to cases where the black ink has already faded out a little bit. When we’re talking about covering up a brand new tattoo with brand new color, things can get super tricky.
Factors That May Affect Your Tattoo Cover-Up
Covering up an old tattoo with a new one isn’t as easy as it may seem at first. The tattoo artist has to take into consideration a plethora of different factors that might affect the outcome of the cover-up tattoo. Here’s everything one needs to keep in mind before deciding to cover up an old tattoo;
- Tattoo size – smaller tattoos are always better candidates for a cover-up than bigger tattoos. To cover up a big tattoo means taking a risk in which the outcome might potentially look too dark or too crowded with the new and old design elements intertwining. However, in some cases, it is doable, depending on the design of the old tattoo. But, you need to be aware that your new tattoo might be bigger than the old one.
- Tattoo color – If your old tattoo is black or in a range of darker color shades, your options for a new tattoo color may be limited. Truth is, colors like orange, yellow, or red do not provide enough coverage in most cases. Therefore, your tattoo artist will recommend a limited color range for your new tattoo, including black, brown, or purple. The parts of the skin in the area that are not tattooed may be newly tattooed using bright colors.
- Tattoo design – intricate, crowded, complicated, and highly detailed designs are typically hard to ver up with a new tattoo without making it look super crowded and almost completely black. So, it is best to always get tattoos that are of medium size and of medium complexity so that in the future, if you want to cover them up, you simply avoid the hassle and have an easy camouflage experience.
Can I Cover-Up a Black Tattoo With Another Color?
Covering up a black tattoo with another black tattoo is the best and easiest way to get this issue out of your way. Tattoo artists especially appreciate when their clients want a black-on-black tattoo cover-up. However, some clients wish their new tattoo to be a tad bit more colorful than the previous one. So, is that even possible?
Well, it depends on which colors we’re talking about. If you want your new tattoo to be yellow, red, orange, or to contain these brighter colors, then you may encounter some issues. The black ink, in some cases, will simply push through the new colored ink no matter how many times the tattoo artist goes over it.
However, if the tattoo artist comes up with a calculated design that will strategically use darker colors to cover the old tattoo and brighter colors on the non-tattooed surrounding skin, then this can be done. But, for this kind of ‘maneuvering’, you will have to find a super experienced tattoo artist who is a master at tattoo cover-ups.
Truth be told, even highly professional tattoo artists will recommend the use of darker color shades to cover up a black tattoo. Dark blue or purple colors seem to work perfectly as a cover-up choice for a new tattoo. But, some tattoo artists make green, red, or even brighter colors, like white, work perfectly well in a cover-up tattoo. It is all about the strategic positioning and maneuvering of a new tattoo design that can allow you the use of different colors without the fear of black pigmentation pushing through.
When nothing else works, tattoo artists may even recommend covering up a black tattoo using white ink. Tattoo artists create a new design that will use mainly black ink but then incorporate white ink for shading, a 3D visual effect, or to simply make the design more unique and intricate. For the white ink to completely cover the old black ink, the tattoo artist will have to go over the tattoo several times. This can be super painful, especially if the tattoo is placed on thinner skin with close bone proximity. So, it is not the best choice for everybody.
Recommendations For Tattoo Cover-Up
If you’ve definitely decided that you want to cover up your old tattoo, here are some things to keep in mind in order to get the best possible experience and outcome;
- Always go to the most professional, and most experienced tattoo artists. They will know what to do and how to create a new suitable tattoo design that will cover up the old ink perfectly. Sure, you may have to pay a bit more than you initially expected, but it will be worth it.
- Have reasonable expectations, because even the masters of tattoo cover-up cannot create miracles in cases of super dark, complex, or big tattoos. It is essential to have reasonable expectations of the experience so you do not get disappointed later when the tattoo artist tells you you can use only certain colors or certain designs for a cover-up.
- Just because you’re dealing with a cover-up tattoo doesn’t mean you don’t have to take care of it. You still need to follow the tattoo aftercare routine. It is still a new tattoo that requires proper aftercare in order to heal healthily and nicely. Your tattoo artist will provide you with the aftercare instruction, but in a nutshell, you need to; wash the tattoo once or twice a day, moisturize it, avoid scratching and peeling it, avoid submerging it in water or expose to sunlight, etc.
Getting rid of an old, faded, or even regrettable tattoo can feel freeing and relieving. However, the process might not be as easy as many of us expect it to be. When covering up any tattoo, it is essential to find a professional, experienced tattoo artist, and to simply have reasonable expectations. Covering up a tattoo can be easy in some cases, but often it requires hard work, specific adjustments, suitable ideas, and expert execution. Whatever you decide to do, we wish you good luck and happy tattooing!
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