Which Tattoo Colors Fade The Fastest?

Getting a tattoo is more than just walking into the shop and going under the gun. The design, location, and colors that you choose will make the difference between a piece that looks vibrant and sharp for years to come, and one that fades into something that's barely recognizable. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is choosing a colorful design without knowing how to keep your tattoo looking fresh.

Just like your skin ages over time, tattoos eventually fade and become less bold and defined. And while some people might be fine with that regrettable spring break choice becoming less identifiable, most people who pay good money for tattoos want to make sure they last. By choosing the right tattoo and the best location for it, you can help increase the lifespan of your piece.

Black and gray inks tend to last the longest and are more fade resistant than colors (via Chronic Ink Tattoo). On average, darker colors will last longer than lighter colors (via Authority Tattoo). The brighter and more vibrant the color, the faster they will fade (via Bustle). This is why some professional tattoo artists try to discourage clients from getting popular watercolor tattoos, which tend to fade the quickest out of any tattoo type.

Make your tattoo last by doing this

If you want to have a bold tattoo to show your grandkids, it might be a good idea to steer clear of yellow, red, and green inks. They are some of the fastest to lose their vibrancy even though they might look the best at first. But the ink that will disappear on you in the shortest amount of time is white. Designs inked with white tend to fade into the color of the skin they're tattooed on, with paler skin holding the color for a little longer than darker skin tones (via Slashed Beauty).

No matter what colors you decide to use in your tattoo, you can take steps to care for them so they last as long as possible. Always follow your tattoo artist's instructions for aftercare while your piece is healing. When you're in a situation where your tattoo might be exposed to sunlight, be sure to apply sunscreen to your tattoo or keep it as covered as possible (via Chronic Ink Tattoo). And if you're still not happy with how your tattoo is aging, there's always the option of getting a touch up to keep those colors looking fresh for years to come.