Best Tattoo Ink for Stick and Poke [Review] in 2021

Last Updated on March 21, 2022

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Looking to achieve a unique look of a stick and poke and wondering which ink will perform best for the job? Wondering what tattoo ink is best and safest to buy for these cool little tattoos?

Well, good news, I’m here to help you achieve all your tattoo-inking dreams. 

Stick and poke tattoos offer exceptional results that tattoo machines do not achieve. Therefore, there are a couple of things you need to get straight before getting into a poke and stick tattoo, and one of which is the right tattoo ink.

You might be looking for stick and poke ink alternatives, but let me tell you the results from the best tattoo ink for stick and poke will blow your mind. I have searched through my fair share of bad inks over the years to devise my guide of the very top inks! 

But wait, let me tell you something.

Although several tattoo inks brands give good results, you might want to dig a little deeper when talking about stick and poke. Stick and poke tattoos will provide unique results like no other tattoo with a machine; getting the right ink is critical. 

Here’s a tip: When on the hunt for tattoo ink for stick and poke, you should also consider a tattoo ink that will look good, last the time without fading, and healthy for your skin. 

Here are the five best tattoo inks for stick and poke you should get right away!

How we came to the conclusion of our top 3:




hours spent





The Verdict of the Best Inks for Stick and Poke


Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink Set

Best Ink for Stick and Poke

Although Kuro Sumi is originally from Japan, it is now being manufactured in the USA. This genuine tattoo ink is famous among top tattoo artists and loved for being one of the top tattoo inks for the poke and stick technique.

The quality of ink is outstanding; that’s why the best tattoo artists use it all over the world. The ink is made from organic and vegan-friendly ingredients, does not have a sticky texture, and is free from toxic material– it heals smoothy in your skin.

Pretty great, right?

Kuro Sumi is the authentic tattoo ink from Japan, providing the best tattoo inks for stick and poke in the world. They use an ancient recipe that hasn’t been changed for over 20 years. Furthermore, Kuro Sumi comes in genuine packaging and label.

Because it is water-based tattoo ink, it penetrates the skin easily and quickly–it is not very runny or thin, which makes it easy to handle even by beginner tattoo artists. Kuro Sumi creates bold, crisp tattoos that will provide life and dimension to your tattoos.

There are 16 tattoo colors to choose from in the set; all of the colors scream vibrancy and are highly pigmented; they also won’t fade with ease and leave a very sharp and defined stick and poke tattoo ink. 


  • Bright colors
  • Vegan friendly
  • Water base
  • No fading


  • Some customers complained not to get the color pack shown in the picture
Latest deal: Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink Set

Intenze Tattoo Ink True Black

Intenze True Black is loved in the world of stick and poke tattoos (hence why it’s stolen number two spot). Here’s why:  Intenze True Black Tattoo Ink is among the most prominent and pigmented black colors you will ever get.

But that’s not all: Intenze is made from quality ingredients and never fail to impress their users.

Intenze True Black Tattoo Ink is a sterilized ink, which means it is free from any impurity that can cause a reaction or allergy when in contact with the skin, especially in the stick and poke technique.

This tattoo ink is also packed in a tightly sealed bottle that is tamperproof, so you can guarantee that this ink is one of the best and among the safest tattoo ink you can use for this technique.

To top it all off.

Intenze True Black Tattoo Ink is free from any toxic material that can be hazardous to your skin. Furthermore, it is made from vegan-friendly ingredients and is not tested on animals in any way.

This tattoo ink has a good consistency; it is neither too runny nor too thick, but to make things even better, you can add alcohol or water to thin out the consistency needed for specific stick and poke designs.

All in all, this is one of the deepest black tattoo inks you can get your hands on; it is highly pigmented and won’t fade easily– making it a brilliant match for all your stick and poke desires.


  • Sterilized
  • Non-toxic
  • Pigmented
  • Good consistency


  • The ink forms a thin film on the cap’s inner

Latest deal: Intenze Tattoo Ink True Black


Bloodline Tattoo Ink

Now we all love our little stick and poke tattoos, but what about a tattoo ink that is best for tribal tattoos? Well, coming in hot is Bloodline Tattoo ink– it is the most versatile ink that serves all purposes from outlining to shading.

Their adjustable consistency and highly pigmented colors are one to get excited about; it is the best tattoo ink for stick n poke.

Where most of the tattoo inks serve a single purpose, Bloodline Tattoo Ink is versatile. Whether it is shading, outlining, or filling, this ink is compatible with every technique.

Although it is ideal for any purpose, it is recommended that you never use this ink straight from the bottle– in fact, you can use it by diluting it to get the consistency you require.

This makes this ink so great compared to Kuro Sumi, as it allows you to adjust the consistency according to the tattoo design, purpose, and technique.

Hold on, that’s not all, though.

Customers have raved about this product being brilliant for their stick and poke designs. The ink takes incredibly to the skin, plus most customers experienced minimal ink loss, signs of infection, or the need to top up after a few months after the stick n’ poke. 

Some have even said it looks darker after healing– tick tick tick! 

Even after years, this color will hold up a fair fight and not fade, like most stick and poke tattoo inks. As far as reviews go and after trying this product myself over the years, I cannot recommend this product more for your stick and poke inks! 


  • Versatile
  • No fading
  • Bright color
  • Reasonable price


  • It needs to be diluted for outlining

Latest deal: Bloodline Tattoo Ink


MOM’S Tattoo Ink – Black Onyx

If you’ve read some of my other guides, you may have guessed I am quite a fan of Mom’s Black Onyx Tattoo Ink. Millenial Mom’s is the ace of spades when it comes to the darkest black tattoo ink for regular tattooing, but what about for stick and poke?

Millennial Mom’s tattoo ink ticks all my boxes for all kinds of tattooing techniques, including stick and poke because of their smooth flowing formula and deep pigment in every color, for a brighter tattoo that will flow onto your skin like a dream.

I have used my fair share of cheap, crappy tattoo inks for my stick and pokes, but when I tell you I’ve found the best of the best, I absolutely mean it– and I always look for cheaper inks.

Hang on though; I’m not finished.

Say goodbye to redoing lines after a couple of months! We all know that stick n poke tattoos tend to fade quickly, but this tattoo ink is amongst my top trusted ones that won’t fade easily.

Each ounce of ink goes a long way, hence making it the perfect pair for stick n poke– it is beginner-friendly too!

Millennium Mom’s have a solid reputation in the tattoo industry; it is favored amongst millions of tattoo artists worldwide. Their bold, long-lasting pigments will look flawless for years to come.

But if you want a tattoo ink that you can use for stick n pokes one day and regular tattooing, you need to try this reputable brand (the color is even deeper than Intenze tattoo ink).


  • Vegan friendly 
  • Renowned brand
  • Durable and longlasting
  • Super dark black hue


  • Some customers experienced leaked bottles

Latest deal: MOM’S Tattoo Ink – Black Onyx


Dynamic Black Tattoo Lining Tribal Shading Ink

When doing a stick n poke tattoo, we can all agree that getting a black color that is fade-resistant is critical; stick and poke tattoos tend to fade a lot quicker and need topping up more frequently, so a durable, fade-resistant color is the top of our list. 

Dynamic tattoo ink fits the bill for a deep black hue that is fade-resistant; tattoo artists love it all around the globe. Their thinner consistency pairs brilliantly for stick n poke in particular as it makes brilliant fine lines. 

However, it can be quite harsh on the skin as it contains acrylic resin in the ingredients, so it is not recommended for regular tattooing techniques. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom; this tattoo ink is still pretty incredible. 

The black inks hold in the skin, and although the consistency runs thin, it creates pretty amazing results. The ink is favored amongst tribal, lining, and stick n pokes as it blends well with washes and creates vibrant and bold designs. 

It is one of the darkest black hues you will be able to find on the market, but if you’re looking for a more gentle design, I would recommend going for a brand like Kuro Sumi. 


  • Deep black, fade resistant hue 
  • Reputable brand loved by professionals
  • Mixes well for washes 
  • Thin in texture, great for stick n pokes 


  • Contains acrylic resin that can be harsh on skin 

Latest deal: Dynamic Black Tattoo Lining Tribal Shading Ink

Choosing the Right Stick N Poke Ink For You

When it comes to getting into the world of stick and poke tattooing, it can be pretty exciting. Stick n poke tattoos create unique tattoos and designs that cannot be achieved with a tattoo gun. 

Stick n poke tattoos are fairly straightforward than you may think, all you need to do is dip a needle in ink and poke into the skin repeatedly. 

The quality of ink and equipment you use plays an important role when it comes to achieving these designs. After all, everyone wants a tattoo ink that will last a long time, look insane, and won’t irritate your skin in the process. 

If you’re familiar with stick and poke tattoos you’ll well know that they will fade much faster than any professional tattoo as they are often tattooed onto areas that are frequently cleaned like your hands and fingers– no stick and poke tattoo will last forever if you don’t top it up. 

This is why a good quality tattoo ink is so crucial, using cheap ink may not be enough to do the trick, it is important that you find top-quality inks that are renowned for longevity, durability, and fade resistance.  

Now if you’re fairly new to the world of stick and pokes and have no idea where to begin, stay tuned as I’m here to break everything down and help you choose the very best tattoo ink for your stick and poke journey.

The Different Types of Stick and Poke Ink

There is a wide range of tattoo inks to choose to create stick and poke designs; here are the top popular options to choose from: 

Pen Ink:

This is a very popular and easily accessible ink that is available pretty much anywhere– but this doesn’t mean you should use this ink! You may see people using pen ink to do their stick inks, but it is probably the worst option as it is cheap, highly toxic, and unsterile, meaning that you’re stick and poke will most likely get infected. 

Don’t be tempted by platforms like TikTok using pen ink to create their stick and pokes; it can cause health complications and cause a very painful healing process. 

India Ink:

India ink is another option other than using tattoo ink to create your stick n poke inks; it is non-toxic, natural, and carbon-based, meaning it is less likely to irritate your skin and cause infection. 

It still isn’t the best alternative, though, as it won’t provide you with the same quality of tattoo ink and won’t hold up as long as professional tattoo ink. But in terms of affordability, India ink is a great option. 

Professional tattoo ink: 

When creating any tattoo, you should only really go for tattoo ink as it is created specifically to go under your skin and not cause irritation and be designed to last a long time. 

Professional tattoo ink is sterile and will provide excellent results for years to come without fading. Tattoo ink is designed to be safe for your skin as it is used in regular tattooing, so using it with stick and poke is your best option. 

Although India ink is more accessible, you can’t argue with regular, professional tattoo ink with the safety guaranteed. There are two types of professional tattoo ink: stable pigment-based ink and pre-dispersed ink. 

Stable dispersed-based inks have to be mixed, and they’re a more traditional stick and poke method, whereas pre-dispersed inks won’t require mixing– shake and go. 

What To Look For In Stick And Poke Tattoo Ink:

 When choosing the right tattoo ink for stick and poke tattoos, there are some key things to look for and to consider to ensure you’re getting the top quality product. Let’s break them down:

Ink Quality: 

As for getting any tattoo, the quality of ink is so crucial, especially as this ink will be under your skin for years to come. You know you’re getting good quality ink if professionals favor it, have a good reputation, and allows you to see the full ingredient list. 

Good quality tattoo ink may cost a little more than your standard ink, but it ensures long-lasting, bright colors and clean results for years to come. When it comes to stick and poke tattoos, this factor is crucial as stick n poke tattoos tend to fade much quicker than any other tattoo. 

High-quality inks also use sensitive skin-friendly products and tend to be vegan; this means that if you use a good quality ink, your tattoo is far less likely to get infected than using any old tattoo ink off Amazon. 

Infections from tattoos can be quite dangerous as getting any tattoo puts a toll on your immune system, so it is always critical that you search for top-quality products and know the products you’re buying. 

Quality of the Color

Since this tattoo ink is designed to be on your skin for a long time, checking the color of the ink is critical. Choosing between pre-dispersed ink and stable-based tattoo inks is all crucial here. 

Stable pigment-based inks tend to be much bigger and thicker; thus, the pigment, hue, tone, and shade won’t show much variation– this means that this ink will be best for base blends and tones. 

On the other hand, pre-dispersed ink is much thinner and highlights colors much more; they make stick and poke lines look much more vibrant and colorful than stable pigment-based inks. For stick and poke tattoos, I would recommend going for pre-dispersed ink as it provides much finer and more defined, and more pigmented lines. 


Along with the quality of ink, I would always recommend going for vegan-friendly options. Vegan tattoo inks don’t test on animals and often follow much more natural ingredients in their tattoos. 

Most renowned tattoo ink brands use vegan-friendly formulas that are gentle on the skin and won’t irritate or infect the skin during the healing process. 


This is especially important for stick and poke tattoos, as a stick and poke tattoos tend to be in areas that will fade easily– such as on the hand, as you wash your hands frequently (and even more so during the pandemic). 

Getting a tattoo ink that will last you years before needing a top-up or showing signs of fading is crucial; finding a long-lasting ink is a great first step but the upkeep of your stick and poke tattoo is crucial too. 

Keeping your tattoo out of direct sunlight and wearing SPF 50 will mean that your tattoo will last a lot longer as tattoos fade quickly in the sun and will need topping up more frequently. 

Lucky for you, I have considered this in my guide. Brands like Intenze, Kuro Sumi, and Starbrite have additional UV-resistant features, making them excellent for stick and poke tattoos that need that little extra durability.  

Frequently asked Questions

What are stick and poke tattoos?

Stick and poke tattoos are tattoos achieved using a non-electric needle. The ink is applied to the skin by hand using a needle attached to a rod-like contraption (almost like a pencil and thread).

The needle is still a professional-grade needle used in professional tattooing, but rather than being applied electrically using a tattoo machine; it is rather used by hand. These tattoos will last you up to 10 years with the right care. 

How long do stick and poke tattoos last?

As a general rule of thumb, stick and poke tattoos don’t tend to last forever; it all depends on the placement, how deep the needle goes in, the quality of ink, and the aftercare long it will last. 

On average, stick and poke tattoos tend to last 5-10 years before starting to fade and needing to be topped up, however, stick and poke tattoos on hands or fingers tend to last a lot less because we tend to wash our hands much more frequently. 

This is why durability and quality of ink come into play; cheap inks won’t last long at all and may need topping up after a year, whereas top-quality inks will last you for years before showing signs of fading. 

Looking after your tattoo comes into play massively too, if you expose your tattoo to direct sunlight regularly and don’t wear SPF 50 on the area, the sun will fade the tattoo much quicker than when you do use SPF 50 and keep the tattoo out of direct sunlight. 

Pairing a good quality tattoo ink with the correct aftercare will allow stick and poke tattoos to last for much longer than you may think. Ensure you keep your ink out of direct sunlight will help massively when it comes to longevity. 

How do you do stick and poke tattoos?

First, you should start with a pen to sketch out your tattoo design on your body; it is important to map out where you’re going to do the tattoo as it will make the final result look much better than ‘winging it.’ 

Before you start the stick n poke, you should clean and shave the skin, prevent infection, and promote quicker healing. 

You should also stretch out the skin when doing stick and poke, so one hand should be stretching while the other will be poking.  I would recommend using pre-dispersed ink as all you need to do shake the bottle, and you’re good to go. 

Using a sterile needle, pierce the skin at 45 degrees angle (because it is harder to be precise when the needle is at a perpendicular angle). The direction you’re poking matters when it comes to the final result. 

But how deep should you go? 

Poking the needle too shallow may cause the ink to drop out instead of remaining under the skin, whereas going too deep may cause the ink to spread. As a general rule of thumb, you can always go back and add more ink, but you cannot take ink away. 

You should go around 1/8 inch deep into the skin– you will notice the results quickly if you’ve gone deep enough, but don’t go too deep as this will cause discomfort and cause the skin to bleed. 

You should poke the needle in the skin 3-4 times to fill in any gaps in the stick and poke and give more defined lines than a sketch. Once you’re finished, make sure you clean the area and look after your skin during the healing process. 

How do you get rid of stick and poke tattoos?

Over time your tattoo ink will begin to fade naturally, but you can get them professionally removed– as you would with any tattoo using laser tattoo removal. This is a safe and effective way to remove tattoos and prevent infection. 

Your stick and poke tattoo may fade after a few years if the placement is on your hand, as we frequently wash our hands and it is constantly exposed to UV rays, so after a few years, your regretful stick and poke from college will fade to nothing. 

There are some myths that removal creams, dermabrasion, coconut oil, or lemon will remove the stick and poke tattoos, but these are not true and won’t fade your ink. 

How much do stick and poke tattoos hurt?

In general, stick and poke tattoos don’t tend to hurt as much as a machine tattoo; it is far less invasive and allows the skin to heal much quicker. The needle doesn’t tend to go in as deeper as regular tattooing, and it puts your immune system under less pressure. 

As with any tattoo, the pain all depends on the area on the tattoo; some areas may hurt more than others. Such as a stick and poke tattoo on a finger will hurt much more than one on your leg.


Now that you have 5 different options to choose from; so what are you waiting for? Choose what suits your requirements best and start tattooing. If you are still confused with selecting, then here’s our choice considering the above pros & cons.

For beginners, Kuro Sumi Tattoo Inks have proven to be the best stick and poke tattoo ink. Why? Because you don’t need to worry about blowouts with thick ink like Kuro Sumi.

I have selected the very top tattoo ink for stick and pokes, especially considering the quality of the ink and the longevity of the ink as a whole. Stick and poke tattoos tend to fade much quicker than any other, but they still create some insane designs. 

Experiment with some different inks and different designs and enjoy the joy of stick and poke tattoos! 

Steven Martin Headshot

Steven Martin

Pro tattoo artist


Steven loved art since his early adulthood especially tattoo art. Therefore, he picked up tattooing when he was researching it on the internet. Having experience of around 3 years in the tattoo industry, Steven has a great command over bold, bright, classic, grayscale, and tribal pieces. His passion for tattoo products drove him to do tons of research, etc. so that Tattoo Inksider can offer you the best tattoo products reviews.