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What is the best red tattoo ink that you can buy these days? This is the question we get a lot. It’s very important to get a good brand because lots of poor quality red tattoo inks can have harmful chemicals and other ingredients that you don’t need.
That’s why we created this buyer’s guide. To help our readers choose the best red inks on the market. While we won’t go over specific tattoo inks to avoid, we’ll give you advice on picking the best pigments.
Educate yourself as you read about the best red tattoo ink brands today.
12 Best Red Tattoo Ink Brands (2021 Reviews)
Intenze Advanced Tattoo Ink Bright Red
Intenze’s Bright Red is very strong and has lots of staying power, unlike some shades of this color.
The brand produces and bottles the ink in a cleanroom in the United States. Then they sterilize it and get it checked with a third-party lab.
We acquired the safety data sheet for this color, and here’s what we found out.
The carrier liquid is made using: glycerine, water, isopropyl alcohol, and witch hazel.
Then, the pigments contain Pigment Red 254, Pigment Yellow 14, as well as Pigment Orange 13.
That red pigment in it is considered to be organic and is commonly used for dying plastics, rubber, as well as other things.
VIPER RED Millennium Moms
Millennium Moms is popular because of their luscious, intense shades with a high amount of pigment and smooth consistency.
The Viper Red is one of the many colors utilized by professional artists around the world.
This brand provides a sample MSDS sheet on their website. It states that water, glycerin, and a proprietary resin are the carrier liquids for the pigment.
Tattoo Ink Viking Ink Ultra Red
The Ultra Red ink made by Viking USA is classified as being vegan-friendly. It’s a rich red shade used in Europe, as well.
Similar to other quality brands, this ink is sterilized before shipping.
Unfortunately, we could only find a generic MSDS sheet on Viking’s website that wasn’t specific about this color.
Formula 23 Lining Red Tattoo Ink by Intenze
The Formula 23 ink by Intenze is ideal for lettering, lining, and shading. It’s good for whatever challenge you need.
One thing we like is that it comes in a large 10-ounce bottle so that you won’t run out any time soon.
One thing we really liked is that the consistency is very fluid and smooth. It’s great for precision work.
Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink, Dragon’s Breath Red
Kuro Sumi inks are a common tool of tattoo artists around the globe.
They utilize organic pigments and vegan formulas.
Also important to mention, the colors are lively and resistant to fading.
Just be sure you get authentic Kuro Sumi ink. They’ve had issues with counterfeiters. One way to tell fake ink is that it uses a black and white label instead of the classic maroon on the real one.
We got the MSDS information and found that they use glycerin, isopropyl alcohol, water, Pigment Red 210, and other dyes.
Starbrite 3 RED Color SET
Not sure about which shade to go with? Then grab this 3-color red set by Starbrite.
It includes Light Red, Scarlet Red, as well as Vampire Red. You’ll get the full spectrum of red from close to maroon to almost pink.
Starbrite makes their inks in the United States.
We looked at the MSDS for the Light Red. Besides glycerol, isopropyl alcohol, and water, it contains two red pigments.
One is Napthol Red, while the other is Pigment Red 22.
The sheet states that it’s “primarily composed of organic pigment and not considered to be a hazardous substance.”
Bright Red Mario Barth Gold Label – Intenze Tattoo
Intenze also manufactures this Mario Barth Gold Label edition ink. It’s a custom color that is used by the famous artist.
Similar to others in the collection, it’s vegan-friendly and made according to the best quality standards.
Skin Candy Tattoo Ink, Candy Apple Red
Skin Candy is also known as Bloodline. We really liked their Candy Apple Red shade.
It comes in a 1-ounce bottle that doesn’t expire for at least 2 years. But we highly doubt that it will last that long once you start using it.
This is a color that looks good on pretty much every skin tone.
Here’s an interesting fact about European Union rules versus American regulations for ink.
The EU makes companies produce a detailed list of any potentially toxic amines that might be inside their ink. This one has only one at a ratio of 30 milligrams per kilogram.
Dynamic Tattoo Ink Color Fire Red
Dynamic Tattoo’s Fire Red is just as intense as any of their other colors.
The consistency is thin, so it hurts less when being used. Also, this is a shade that tends to stay bright.
One artist said that it provides solid saturation.
Dynamic put isopropyl alcohol, acrylic resin, and lots of pigment into their ink. One pigment that they use is Pigment Red 210.
World Famous Tattoo Ink – Vegan-Friendly Professional Tattooing Inks – Sailor Jerry Red
World Famous Tattoo Inks has a solid reputation. They have been in business for longer than 50 years, and they manufacture in the United States.
Each ink is sterilized using gamma radiation before shipment. They are also bottled in crystal flex, which means the color that you see is the color you get. Each bottle is tamper-proof and TSA-approved. This means that you can travel with these in your check-in luggage.
Since the EU has stricter regulations with tattoo inks, then the United States does, it’s good to know that this brand complies with EU quality standards.
The inks are vegan so that they don’t harm the skin from allergic reactions and speed up healing.
But wait, aren’t you interested in the actual color?
This is a shade used by Sailor Jerry for his legendary tattoos. It was reproduced so you can re-create his unique style if you want.
Scream Tattoo Ink -CANDY APPLE RED
Scream Tattoo Inks also has a Candy Apple Red.
While Scream isn’t one of our favorite ink brands, it is distributed by Worldwide Tattoo Supply. Also, it has a shelf life of about three years.
Try using it on practice skin to see what you think.
Philadelphia Eddie’s Tattoo Ink – Traditional Red 1
The original Philadelphia Eddie’s ink set features eight colors. But if you want only the Traditional Red by itself, this is it.
It’s manufactured in the USA by Technical Tattoo Supply and is based on the work of the famous artist.
In fact, Eddie hand-mixed the colors by himself.
You can choose from either one or four-ounce bottles.
Authentic Radiant Colors Tattoo Ink BLOOD RED
Radiant Colors designed this color to be a true red which makes it one of the most gorgeous shades we’ve seen.
Radiant Colors ink tends to flow nice and heal pretty well. The pigment is dispersed evenly, and the thin consistency goes down smoothly.
The brand says they are influenced by the shades popular in the Southern United States and Mexico. Artists from these areas have worked with them to create their range of colors.
The inks are manufactured in the United States and sterilized before their sale.
Tony Polito “Brooklyn Style” Tattoo Ink – Bensonhurst Red
Familiar with Tony Polito from Brooklyn? He’s legendary, and so is his ink.
This custom color called Bensonhurst Red, is made by Technical Tattoo Supply in the USA.
Synergy Tattoo Ink Madeira Red
Synergy Tattoo Inks might sound like a new brand, but its founders have 40 years of combined experience in the tattoo industry.
They manufacture their inks in the United States in a cleanroom. They also sterilize the ink before it’s shipped. Each bottle is sealed for added sterility. They state that they won’t sell anything that they wouldn’t use on themselves.
Their mission is to create a highly-pigmented ink with a fast flow rate and excellent color retention.
If you think that the Madeira Red meets these high standards, be sure to spread the word.
Millennium Moms INK SHOTS -Box of 30 Ink Shots, Monthly Red
Have you ever seen ink shots?
They are disposable little squeeze tubes of ink. They really cut down on making a mess.
Instead of opening up a big bottle for a small tattoo, these are ideal.
At 2ml each, they have just enough to fill two large ink caps.
Also, the rich red color looks similar to blood. That’s not surprising considering the name they gave it.
MOM’S Nuclear Colors Tattoo Ink – Red Dawn UV Blacklight Ink
No review of red ink would be finished without mentioning UV-reactive colors.
Red Dawn by Millennium Moms glows brightly underneath a black light.
But it also looks good in daylight.
Although UV color does fade faster than regular inks, they are great for highlights.
Luckily, Millennium Moms makes some of our favorite UV tattoo inks on the market. They are non-toxic and not any more painful than other colors.
Philadelphia Eddie’s Tattoo Ink Shots – Traditional Red – 30 Per Box
Philadelphia Eddie’s also has ink shots in a Traditional Red shade.
Each one has a capacity of 2 milliliters of ink or two large ink caps’ worth.
What’s in Red Tattoo Inks? (the Pigments)
You might be surprised to know that the red tattoo inks used to contain mercury?
It used to be in the form of cinnabar, which is also known as mercury sulfide. Of course, mercury is extremely toxic.
Then manufacturers then began using iron oxide, naphthol, cinnabar, barium, and cadmium red as an alternative.
These minerals and metals are what create a red color.
But iron oxide, barium, and naphthol can also cause allergic reactions. Also, cinnabar and cadmium are toxic.
If a person with a tattoo decided to do laser tattoo removal, these hazardous pigments would get into the bloodstream.
The European Union even published a study in 2017 that reviewed the safety of tattoo inks.
They said that cadmium builds up in the body and damages kidneys and bones.
It can also harm the baby of a pregnant mother.
Some newer tattoo inks have plastic and compounds that are found in car paint and printer ink.
Only about a third of these pigments are approved for use in cosmetics. Most were created for industrial applications, not human skin.
Commercial dyes such as azo pigments break down and release carcinogenic components when they are exposed to sunlight. Azo pigments include Solvent Red 1, which shows up in some organic tattoo inks.
So how do tattoo inks manufacturers get away with this?
This is because the FDA considers tattoo inks to be cosmetics, not drugs or medical devices. They don’t regulate tattoo inks safety to the same degree as other stuff that goes inside the human body.
This is why it’s important to become familiar with the best red tattoo inks.
It’s also crucial to look at the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for each ink you use.
This way, you protect yourself and your clients’ health.