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Commitment-phobic to Tattoos? Here are some alternatives

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nanyang Tech chapter.

Tattoos seem very enticing as a style statement and a means of self expression. However, the pain and permanent aspect might bring one back to reality. Here are some tattoo alternatives to get an inked look without the pain or lifelong commitment.

1. Temporary Tattoos

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First off, the obvious and a flashback to primary school, temporary tattoos. Just place them on your skin face down, wet the back and peel the backing off. These adhesive tattoos are an easy and go-to alternative for a night out or just before you’re due to leave for an event. While they are highly cost effective and come in a variety of designs, they aren’t readily customisable and might look artificial up close. You can buy them here in a wide variety of designs.

2. Henna

Henna (or mehendi) is a traditional Indian body art form made of a plant-based dye. Natural leaves stain the skin creating intricate patterns which are completely skin safe. Henna lasts for between one to two weeks as its colour fades over time. It comes in a few colours, like brown, orange, white, etc. While you can buy henna all over Little India for similar prices, find henna tubes online here and a wide range of stencils here.

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3. Tattoo Pens

Tattoo pens give you ready to go convenience, enable unique designs and don’t require any downtime to prep or develop. You can make anything you want but it might be spotted as a dupe very easily. The most important concern while researching these should be that they are skin safe and certified for use. Find a 3-pack of skin safe body pens with stencils here.

4. Semi-Permanent Tattoos

Brands like Inkbox offer semi-permanent tattoos that last up to one to two weeks. They sell tattoo stickers, kits, and markers that look so lifelike that you might not be able to even tell the difference. Inkbox tattoos appear light at first then develop in 24 to 36 hours after you place them on primed skin for an hour. However, the tattoo-esque look does come at a higher cost. The official Inkbox site ships them from the US, and offers free international shipping on orders over US$45. Shopee sells dupes too, but their authenticity might be more dubious.

5. Jagua Ink

Jagua ink is another natural dye made from the Jagua fruit. It is a blue-black pigment that also first appears light then darkens over time and can last upto three weeks! There are many Jagua artists all over Singapore and you can buy Jagua Ink on Shopee. Inkperfect also sells Jagua tattoo stickers at a cost-friendly price and their application only requires water. 

While there are also other alternatives like airbrushed tattoos or gold leaf body art, these were the ones that lasted longest and looked most realistic. If you can’t decide where tattoos might look good on your body, you can also take inspiration from this guide

Vedika Sharma

Nanyang Tech '24

Vedika is an Economics major at Nanyang Tech and a lover of all things cottage core. When not writing or working on academics, she can mostly be found sewing, watching trashy reality TV or gushing over Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She can hold hour-long conversations on intersectional feminism but can't pronounce Worcestershire.