Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the web’s best products. If you purchase through our links, we may receive a commission. Our editorial team is independent and only endorses products we believe in.
My tattoo fever is getting a little out of hand. I’ve been researching artists in my area and visualizing designs, but I can’t seem to figure out where I want my next tattoo. Should I be saving my calves for a potentially bigger piece than the phrases and quotes I have marked on me? What if eventually I want to start an intricate half sleeve on my left arm? I don’t want to jump ahead of my readiness and then have to pay more for a cover up tattoo later on in life. Between my sister, roommate, and other more tatted friends, I have heard of too many spur of the moment trips to the tattoo shop that have led to a regrettable and semi-permanent piece of body art -- and that is not a story I want.
Temporary tattoos are great for lots of reasons. Perhaps the idea of a permanent piece of art is unappealing to you or needles just aren’t your thing. Maybe you and your besties want to mark the season in a way that will fade even as your memories last. Maybe you want to prank your strict immigrant parents with some ink they’ll freak out over, or better yet, maybe you’re a cool parent trying to have fun with your preteens.
For me, temporary tattoos are a way to think through permanent tattoo logistics such as size and placement. I am overly sentimental and think a lot about what tattoos mean for me and my self expression. I have three tiny tattoos and I’d like to get more.
The Elephant In My Room: Tattoos And Darker Skin Tones
As a dark skin Black woman, most of my direct-to-consumer searches go something like this: “(insert product name) for dark skin.” Tattoos are certainly no exception. For me and my darker hued friends, there’s extra research involved when it comes to finding tattoo artists that can actually tattoo well on our bodies. We’ve all had that moment where we’re scrolling a tattoo page on Instagram and we notice that there is an absence of people of color being featured, and it’s not because we aren’t out here trying to get tatted. The tattoo industry has come a long way, thankfully with the increase of Black and brown tattoo artists.
Considering the gaps in the industry, surely you can imagine my hesitation and skepticism with trying out temporary tattoos. Luckily, Inkbox has made a believer out of me.
Inkbox, the direct-to-consumer temporary tattoo brand has made an impressive name for itself. Since launching in 2015, Inkbox has become one of the leading brands for semi permanent body art. Its origins mirror my quest for my next piece of body art: Tyler and Braden Handley’s indecisiveness over tattoos led to a brand that lets people have the art they want with the ease of impermanence.
I was pleasantly surprised by the company consciousness I found throughout Inkbox’s website. From ingredient transparency to the land acknowledgement to the curated collections by LGBTQIA+ artists, the thing that excited me most was their collaboration earlier this year with Doreen Garner, a New York based Black queer tattoo artist who has also called attention to racism in the tattoo industry and is someone who has tattooed at least three of my friends. Needless to say, I was sold. Inkbox has also collaborated with some other heavy hitters outside of the tattoo world, from Rupi Kaur to BTS.
How It Works
Inkbox is designed to put creativity and self-expression in the hands of its audience. The brand’s patented ink formula means Inkbox tattoos last on average up to two weeks. At first glance, Inkbox can be a little overwhelming. Its website features well over 9,000 tattoo designs to choose from, and if you still can't find what you’re looking for, you can customize your own. To get started, I took a short quiz to narrow down the best designs for me. I then ordered three designs of varying sizes: the tiniest baby tattoo for my finger, another small tattoo for the area near my elbow, and a larger tattoo for my calf.
The process is pretty simple and the instructions are both thorough and easy to follow, which as a disabled woman, is critical. After priming my desired areas and placing the applicator for the recommended hour, I was rocking some fresh albeit temporary ink. As far as my concerns about whether the tattoos would appear on my body, not only were they boldly visible, several friends were duped and thought they were real!
Okay, But How Quickly Did It Fade?
Considering I wash my hands more times throughout the day compared to my regular shower routine, I was fully expecting my finger tattoo to fade first compared to the lemon on my calf. Predictably, my finger tattoo faded first, about a week after the initial application. My lemon tattoo lasted about two and a half weeks, and there are trace outlines of it still fading. Of the three tattoos I tried on, one did not make it past the application phase. This is because I placed it on my forearm crookedly without noticing.
Now that I’ve seen it for myself, I’m happy to report there’s another round of Inkbox tattoos on their way to me. That will hold me off until I get in the chair of the tattoo artist of my choice.
Five More Reasons to Love Inkbox:
- So many options. Seriously, over 9000+ designs to choose from, and the opportunity to customize your own design. And yes, I’m here for the aesthetics.
- Clear Instructions. I measure a brand’s accessibility in part on how clear it is to apply the product and follow guidelines.
- Ingredient integrity: A full rundown of the ingredients used in their products can be found here.
- Creative control. Inkbox sells a Freehand Ink Kit to draw your own tattoos that last 1-2 weeks.
- Fan favorite. Don’t just take our word for it -- Forbes, VICE, Mashable, and Inked have all sung the brand’s praises, too.