Exploring Semi-Permanent Tattoos

Jun 06, 2021
04:00 A.M.
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Nothing is permanent—even tattoos. While tattoos are known for their permanence, it might surprise you that 78 percent of people who have tattoos admit that they regret at least one of them.


Tattoo regret is a real thing, as well as tattoo hesitance. Many people remain unsure of the when, where, how, and why, that it makes perfect sense that offers of tattoos with an anticipated lifespan is enticing.

So then, should you go for a stick-on tattoo? How about a semi-permanent tattoo that can last you a year? Each has its pros and cons but if one thing is sure is that money is involved. Therefore let's explore the possibilities of a semi-permanent tattoo.

Are Semi-Permanent Tattoos Really Non-Committal?


While semi-permanent tattoos exist, it is logistically impossible to tell how the recipient will take to the tattoo. Your commute from work is just as different as the next person. Therefore, there will be differences in how your skin environment and lifestyle react to tattoos with short lifespans.

"It is impossible to guarantee how long any semi-permanent tattoo will last due to various skin types/textures."

Shaughnessy Otsjui, founder of Studio Sashiko.

Sometimes some tattoo artists will advise that they will tattoo very lightly on the skin for semi permanence. However, tattooing is the process of inserting ink into the skin. Therefore, the idea itself is flawed because no ink will fade after a length of time.

Stick On Tattoos As An Alternative


There are many scams out there, so the safer alternative is to stick with stick-ons. Literally. Companies like INKBOX offer temporary tattoos that work much like the tattoo stickers you might have used as a child. However, even as they gradually fade and might only last you a couple of days.

Thus, before you look into getting a semi-permanent tattoo, some due diligence is required. However, they are governed by the principle that stick-on tattoos do not crumble and fade like standard tattoos they will face between three to seven days. Tattoo ink is permanent, and henna art is temporary. However, the idea of semi-permanent is being challenged by a tattoo studio in Brooklyn.

How Ephemeral Tattoo Studio Created The Semi-Permanent Tattoo


Josh Sakhai, Vandan Shah, and Brennal Pierre are the co-founder of Ephemeral, a tattoo studio in Brooklyn specializing in semi-permanent tattoos that last 9-15 months. Their secret sauce? Their made-to-fade ink. Sakhai says,

"Our ink is real tattoo ink that's applied by real tattoo artists. It works just like any other tattoo ink."

Josh Sakhai, Ephemeral Tattoo

The ink is revolutionary and, at the moment, basically unheard of from other tattoo studios. It took the team 50 formulations and more than six years to create the ink. However, the ingredients are super secrets but are described as medical-grade bioabsorbable and biocompatible polymers with high-quality pigments.

How Does Ephemeral's Made-To-Fade Ink Work?


The ink is designed to break down. The particles in the ink become as small as possible and are then eliminated by your body for tattooless skin. Of course, the process then pretty much guarantees that the tattoo will begin to look dull over time.

However, this is to be expected by semi-permanent tattoos. Although note that people have very different reactions to things. According to dermatologists, there is a small risk of scarring or experiencing an allergic reaction. The same can also be said of standard tattooing, but the studio only offers the made-to-fade ink in black, and risk is often rare with black ink.



Like with any other tattoo, ensure that you follow your tattoo artist's aftercare advice. If you are worried about infections or reactions, make sure you contact your dermatologist.

Other than that, semi-permanent tattoos come in various forms, and knowing exactly how they work will define your expectation. Moreover, newer innovations on the market seem to be getting us closer to true semi permanence. However, for now, non-committal tattoos are the best way to test out if you are ready for the real thing.