my white tattoo (alternate title: “oops”)

Megan asked a question about white tattoos this morning and since I have one I thought I should do a little post about it. Here it is (let’s pretend I don’t have super janky nails right now, mmkay?):

It’s on the inside of my left wrist, and it’s a word in Arabic reminding me to be thankful in every situation, whether it’s good times or bad. I wanted it in white because a) it wouldn’t be too noticeable to anyone but me, b) it kind of looks more like a healed scarification than a tattoo, and c) supposedly white ink fades after 5 years or so, so I wasn’t intimidated by the commitment (something that’s kept me from tattoos in the past). As for the noticeability, it’s definitely discreet! It took my mom a year to see it, and she notices EVERYTHING EVER.

I did some research before I got it (a lot of poking around in this flickr group) and I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted it to look like. Something sort of like this:

As you can see, mine really didn’t come out like that. It was my first tattoo, so I wasn’t too familiar with the process. Looking back, I definitely should have sought out someone who was familiar with working with white ink — apparently it’s some sort of specialized area? The guy who did mine applied a dark blue stencil, which is common practice…but the ink from the stencil got mixed in with the ink from my tattoo, turning it a very pale blue/grey-ish color. I asked him about it when he was doing it, but he assured me not to worry about it, that it wouldn’t matter. So definitely be assertive when you do it, and talk about it extensively before having it done!

Mine is also quite muddled up, not the fine print I had envisioned. I think this is also based partly on the artist’s inexperience in working with white ink — he went over it 6 times, trying to get the ink to “get deep into the skin” (his words) and that led to very thick lines. It was a little clearer when it was first done, but over the years it’s become much harder to read. This might just be part of the disappearing process, though.

It was also pretty bright white (well, blueish white) when I first had it done a few years ago, but I can’t find any pictures of that (I’ve been digging all morning and they are nowhere to be found! If I come across any I’ll post one). Over time it’s faded into a more subtle white that blends in with my skin.

So do I recommend you get one in white ink? Yeah, definitely, if it’s something you want! But you should absolutely do some research first and find someone that specializes in it and talk to them about it before you have it done!

If you’re looking for something subtle and are having trouble finding someone who will do white ink, you could also think about getting one in a very pale grey, light brown (a few shades darker than your skin color), or something like that. Similar idea, less of a headache!