Home » What Tattoo Colors Last the Longest (+ Ones That Fade Fast)

What Tattoo Colors Last the Longest (+ Ones That Fade Fast)

Tattoos are permanent body decorations applied to the skin by injecting the pigment via a needle. Some people may think of them as a sign of personal identity, while others may see them as a form of art.

Tattoos are not new, they have been around since ancient times, but their popularity has recently surged. It can be attributed to lessening the stigma that has always been attached to it.

But choosing the right tattoo ink color can be tricky, especially when you want something that will last. Here we will cover this topic.

Why are Tattoos Popular?

Why are Tattoos Popular?
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Many use tattoos as a form of expression and a way to connect with others. And with the various color options available today, why would not one want to express themselves with a tattoo?

But before getting a tattoo inked on the body, one must know the answer to some basic questions about them, like what tattoo colors fade the fastest, etc. So, let’s get onto it.

What Color Tattoos Last the Longest?

What Color Tattoos Last the Longest?
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If you are under the impression that it must be the darker color that lasts the longest, then you are right. Darker colors are harder to fade and tend to last longer.

When it comes to tattoo color that would last the longest, especially when treated in similar conditions to others, the answer would be black and some darker shades of grey tattoos. It is because of their boldness and resistance.

Now, if one compares this to the lighter shades of the tattoo, one will find that colors such as pink, red, and even green would perform poorly, at least in this metric. These lighter inks would also need more touch-ups to keep their vibrant look. 

As time passes, the lighter shades would start to get that ugly look with smears everywhere that no one likes.

So, if the longevity of the tattoo ink is among your primary consideration, it would be wiser for you to opt for a darker-colored ink.

It should also be noted that the darker shades of the more vibrant colored inks also tend to last longer. It is the case with the darker-colored inks as well.

Also Read:- 30 Interesting Watercolor Tattoo Design Ideas

Which Tattoo Fades Quicker Than the Others?

Which Tattoo Fades Quicker Than the Others
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Green, Red, and Yellow tattoo inks are certainly in the shout of this crown, but it is the white-colored tattoo ink fades the quickest among the lot. The white-inked tattoo would start to fade as early as 45 to 60 days, even with proper care of the tattoo.

It is due to the tendency of the human skin tone to get darker in the sun, which naturally impacts the white tattoo ink as well. If the tattoo is inked where it will get in contact with the sunlight, its degradation rate will also quicken.

Over time, the skin can darken and take on different appearances when that happens. Some people might see scars or ugly yellow lines. It ruins the tattoo rather than making it look appealing.

So, if you want a tattoo that looks great no matter the time, don’t choose lighter-colored or white tattoos.

Why Do Tattoos Fade?

Why Do Tattoos Fade
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There is no specific reason one tattoo-colored ink fades faster than the other; multiple factors come into play and determine the fading rate of tattoo ink. Before deciding on your preferred tattoo ink, it is wise to be aware of them.

Tattoos are a way one can express oneself, but they can also fade away if not taken care of properly. Tattoos can fade due to the following reasons:

1. Location of the Tattoo

The exact position where the tattoo is inked on the body also plays a role in determining the deterioration rate of the tattoo ink.

2. Ink Quality

Sadly, not every tattoo ink you would ever come across would be premium quality. The market is filled with several substandard quality inks that one must look out for when choosing a tattoo. High-quality and highly concentrated tattoo ink tends to last longer.

3. Inadequate Care and Hygiene

Smoking, excessive sun exposure, and other factors that cause pigmentation changes also impact the fading.

4. Changes in Your Body’s Natural Chemistry

Your body naturally produces melanin, which is responsible for your skin’s color. When you produce more melanin than your skin needs, it causes the tattoo to fade.

5. Substandard Aftercare

Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the tattoo inking process understands the importance of an adequately followed aftercare process. Any negligent behavior here would speed up the fading process.

6. Tattoo Artist Experience

Yes, the background of your tattoo artist also plays a crucial role in determining the fading rate of your tattoo. An experienced tattoo artist would insert the ink into the correct skin layer, impacting the fading rate.

7. The Color of the Ink

We have already discussed how crucial the color of the tattoo ink plays in determining how long the tattoo will last. The darker the ink is, the better result one can expect, at least in this category.

The Best Spot to Get a Colored Tattoo Inked

The Best Spot to Get a Colored Tattoo Inked
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As mentioned previously, the tattoo’s location plays a critical role in determining the fading rate of the ink. The more optimal the site is, the longer the color will stay vibrant and tattoo appealing.

The best spots to get colored tattoos on the body are clavicles, ankles, shoulders, and other similar body parts with stretched skin. It is because the tattoo ink tends to hold out in an area with sufficient fat.

You must follow this advice, especially if you plan to get a colored tattoo with a design requiring a fill-in. You would not want your tattoo to fade away quickly, do you?

How Can One keep the Tattoo From Fading Quickly?

How Can one keep the Tattoo From Fading Quickly?
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Tattoo fading is a common problem that many people have to deal with. There are a few things that you can do to help keep your tattoo from fading quickly.

However, they still need some care and maintenance to ensure their longevity. Here are some tips to keep your tattoo on your body for much longer:

  • Don’t pick at or scratch it, as it would cause damage to the ink underneath the skin.
  • Keep it clean by washing it with mild soap and water before and after getting tattooed.
  • Apply a layer of Vaseline on the tattooed area before bed so you don’t get chafing from sheets or other clothing.
  • Don’t use harsh soaps or detergents that could dry out your skin or the ink.
  • Keep your skin moisturized.
  • Keep the tattoo still, which can be achieved by resting it on a soft towel or pillow and wrapping it with a bandage if you’re prone to rolling or tossing about in bed.
  • Lastly, using a tattoo aftercare cream with sunscreen is vital to help keep your tattoo vibrant and healthy.

If you follow the above-listed tips to the letter, and without any negligence, you are sure to prolong the lifespan of your tattoo design without a doubt.

What Are the Options One has With a Fading Tattoo?

What are the Options One has With a Fading Tattoo
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No one likes a faded tattoo. Not only would it look unappealing, but it also diminishes the value of the message one is trying to convey with the tattoo design.

It is naturally something one wants to avoid, hence the question that one needs to tackle sooner or later – what to do with a fading tattoo?

1. Touch-Up

The first option is always the touch-up. The best thing you can do to rejuvenate your tattoo is to get a tattoo touch-up if it has faded slightly over time and is still in good condition.

Touch-up to cover fading tattoos is a new trend among tattooers who use tattoo touch-up inks to make faded tattoos more visible again. Tattoo artists reapply the ink on the tattoo to cover up old tattoos that have faded out. The tattoo artist would also add extra highlights, depth, and texture to the design.

Touch-up tattoos are a great way to ensure that your tattoos look their best for as long as possible. They can be done at home or by professional tattoo artists, usually lasting for about six months.

Tattoos are a popular way to express yourself to the world but they can also fade over time. That is why it is essential to touch up your tattoo before it becomes too faded.

2. Consider a New Design

On the same bandwagon as touch-ups, you also have the opportunity to consider getting a new design on top of the faded tattoo. One can convert their dull tattoo into something different altogether. However, you would need to consult with your tattoo artist first.

You can have your fading tattoo redesigned by a tattoo artist, so it looks as good as it initially did. It is a great way to preserve your memories and ensure they don’t fade away with time.

3. Tattoo Removal

Lastly, you can get the faded tattoo removed from your body. Naturally, one needs to think about this carefully before opting for it. Still, it is an option one must consider.

Laser tattoo removal is a relatively new technique that has become popular recently. It is a non-invasive and painless process that removes the ink from the skin with laser light.

Laser tattoo removal is a convenient and safe way to remove tattoos. It can be done in just a few sessions.

Laser tattoo removal is done using laser beams on the ink particles beneath the skin’s surface. This procedure can be done at home or in professional settings, depending on your preference.


The answer to the question of which color tattoo ink lasts the longest (and which is the shortest) might seem straightforward, black and white, but naturally, multiple factors influence it. And now, with this article, you are better positioned to choose the best-colored tattoo ink.

About Author

Jonathan Corby "Jonny" is a guy who is passionate about Tattooing and successfully running a Tattoo Studio in NY. Through my journey as a Tattoo Artist I have made unforgettable memories. This irrational poetry and sense of freedom of art on skin has given a blissfull experience to my life. Each Tattoo has a story behind it; Lets share one!