Tattoo Colors That Fade The Quickest

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 14, 2019
    Last Updated: November 24, 2020

When it comes to getting a tattoo, you’ve got a wealth of choices. Not only are there thousands of designs to choose from, but there’s also a myriad of colors. Since tattoos are permanent, you really want to make sure it continues looking great for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, time is not kind on this form of body art. The chances are it will not look the same forever. Tattoo fading is something that occurs naturally, even if you look after your ink using the most detailed of tattoo aftercare guidelines.

Lighter and more vibrant colors, for example, yellows, greens, and pinks, typically fade faster than darker colors. Black and gray are the hardiest tattoo colors you can choose. Their dense and bold appearance means they last longer than any other color. 

Which Colors Fade Quicker Than Others?

The color of a tattoo is often the last thing you might think about, but it should be at the top of your list of considerations. The color of the ink matters when it comes to how quickly your tattoo fades.

While red, yellow and green tattoos can look vibrant and striking when first created, they are, unfortunately, the ones that tend to fade at the quickest rate.

However, if your tattoo artist is inexperienced, any color can end up fading much quicker than it normally should. This is because poor tattoo artists can insert ink too shallow into the skin, or not pack as much ink into the area as needed in order to maintain a solid color base. Each of these points is equally important when it comes to tattoo longevity.

Why Do Tattoos Fade?

There are many different factors that can cause your tattoo to fade. Some of the more common ones are:

  • Tattoo location: fading occurs quicker when the tattoo is in a place that rubs against other body parts or clothing
  • Ink quality: high-quality, highly-concentrated ink lasts longer
  • Tattooist’s experience: an experienced artist will insert the ink into the correct skin layer
  • Aftercare: help your tattoo through the stages of healing
  • Sun: the sun is not the best friend of tattooed skin
  • Aging process: your tattoo is affected by wear and tear, wrinkles, sagging and loosening of the skin
  • Color: the lighter the color, the more chance there is of it fading – this is why watercolor tattoos tend to have a shorter lifespan.

What Can You Do to Keep a Tattoo From Fading?

One of the most effective ways to keep your tattoo looking vibrant is to give it the best aftercare. If you want your tattoo to keep looking dramatic and not fade, you must:

  • Keep your tattoo clean and moisturized
  • Wash your fresh tattoo with mild antimicrobial soap and lukewarm water
  • For the first few days, use a recommended ointment
  • Don’t pick off the scabs while your tattoo is healing
  • Keep a fresh tattoo out of direct sunlight

Getting a Tattoo Touch-Up

All is not lost if your tattoo is fading. The most successful way to bring your tattoo back to life is to make an appointment with an experienced tattooist for a touch-up.

What does a touch up involve? The faded areas receive a packing of new ink, together with the addition of new highlights. Both give the tattoo more depth and texture.

Consider a New Design

A cover-up is another option if your tattoo is starting to fade. A faded tattoo is easy to work on using darker inks, although a new design can cover a tattoo equally well. Oranges, blues, magentas, greens, and browns are very useful at camouflaging an old tattoo.   

How good the final piece looks is all dependent on the experience of the tattoo artist you choose. A good one should be able to mask an unwanted design completely.

If you’re a little tired of the design, this is your best option.

The Devil’s in the Detail

No matter which colors you choose for your tattoo, correct aftercare can help to prevent colors from fading. To retain tattoo coloring, stick with darker colors. If you want lighter and brighter colors, be prepared to go and get the design touched or covered up in a few years.

When you eventually go ahead with getting your dream tattoo, it’s imperative that you always follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare advice closely, and be sure to invest in a high-quality tattoo healing lotion to aid recovery.

The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a vegan-friendly aftercare product called After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; not only by keeping your tattoo really well hydrated, but also by soothing any annoying itching and irritation. When using it from the very start of the healing process, this lotion will help to decrease tattoo healing times, and work towards eliminating any lingering dryness and scabbing.​

Related Tattoo Articles