When I first heard about long-lasting temporary tattoos, I was skeptical. I couldn't get out of my head those nostalgic 25-cent vending machine tattoos that used to last a day or two and then flake off in a super-messy way.
But I couldn't have been more wrong about Inkbox and its technology for temporary tats that last about 10 days and fade away so naturally. I've always admired tattoos and have a few ideas of my own for what I would get, but I hate the idea of committing to a design for the rest of my life.
Tattoos are so popular; one in three millennials have one. For those of us who love the style but hate the commitment, Inkbox or other long-lasting temporary tattoo brands are definitely the perfect solution.
After wearing a temporary tattoo of my own for a little less than two weeks, I definitely felt more confident that I actually would like a real-life tat one day. These tattoos would be the perfect holiday gift for a noncommittal friend in your life.
Inkbox sends all of the tools and instructions you need in a neatly packaged kit.
Inkbox sent me a few different designs, but my favorite was this delicate string of daisies that I thought would look totally adorable on my forearm. If I were to ever get a tattoo, that's where I'd place it, so I decided I should test the waters with this. The kit includes a primer wipe, a sticky tattoo made with Inkbox's "For Now" ink, and a protective seal. Altogether it costs $20 for one of the kits.
Apply both stickers with the ink side facing down and then settle in for an hour to let the tattoo sink in.
Pro tip: Pay close attention to how you lay the tattoo and make sure that it's facing the direction you want. For these flowers, I wanted them to be upright facing me. After I primed my skin with the included wipe, I carefully applied the sticky tattoo facedown and then sealed it in with the protective seal; I set a timer for one hour and watched the new live-action Lady and the Tramp.
If you're confused about application, Inkbox has a step-by-step tutorial that spells it out. Definitely don't do anything that will cause you to sweat or smear the ink, so stay as still as possible. Also, FYI, the sticker was so sticky, it made it difficult to move around too much anyway.
When you first remove the sticker, slowly, don't worry if it looks light green and faded — that will transform. After about eight hours, it was significantly darker but still somewhat blue.
Peeling off the sticker was slightly painful, like "getting your eyebrows waxed" painful. But, obviously, that's less pain and more temporary than a real piece of ink. I slowly peeled away the adhesive and — voilà! — the tattoo was on my arm. It was definitely blue-green and almost translucent when I first removed the sticker, but after about eight hours, it was a dark blue-black shade.
After a full 24 hours, it was fully developed, and I had a tattoo.
According to Inkbox, the For Now ink is a plant-based formula that is made with skin-safe, cruelty-free ingredients. The reason the tattoo lasts only two weeks is because the ink sits on the top layer of skin, the epidermis, which naturally regenerates as you shed your skin cells. The average cycle is about that long, but varies from person to person.
Inkbox also warns against applying the tattoo to anywhere with sensitive or thin skin, because there is a risk of allergic reaction.
I tried to test if the tattoo was good enough to fool my stepmom, who wouldn't have been all that surprised if I spontaneously decided to get some real ink.
I had the perfect plan to fool my stepmom, Katie, and see if she believed the ink was real. I was on a trip to San Francisco and, honestly, probably would have gotten a tattoo on a whim there regardless. I texted her a picture of the fully formed ink and waited to see her response.
She loved the tattoo and was a bit surprised. She asked if I was kidding, and I later found out that the only tell-tale sign that it wasn't real was that it didn't look red the way a brand-new tattoo would normally look.
The ink withstood a sweaty hot yoga session.
My brand-new tat was intact after walking around the streets of New York City and San Francisco. Plus, I went to my weekly hot yoga session, and it remained completely good as new. I was certain that it would smear or fade after sweating, but, nope, totally stayed put.
It also lasted through any showers or contact with water throughout its duration.
While my tattoo made an impression on my skin, anytime I would shower or wash my hands it remained unfazed. I didn't exfoliate that part of my arm, because I normally wouldn't anyway, but I would think that exfoliation could cause the skin cells to slough off faster.
After five days the tattoo slowly began to fade, so it didn't last quite as long as I expected.
The tattoo was at its brightest the first 72 hours, and then around day five, it lost its luster. Inkbox boasts a tattoo that lasts one to two weeks, and it did last that long overall, but the last half of its duration was a faded version of the once vibrant artwork.
I still loved having the design for the amount of time I did, and it's a great choice for those who want to test the waters on having a tattoo.
And after a full 10 days, it was basically all gone!
At day 10, the tattoo was almost all gone; there was just the slightest hint of the ink left on my skin. Writing this now at the end of week two, it's completely gone. Overall, I would recommend this for anyone who has a tattoo idea and wants to test it out. Most of the designs are only about $20, which could get expensive if you're trying out a new one twice a month.
I was already ready to try a new one.
After my arm tat faded, I was ready to move on to a different location and design. Inkbox released its latest designs earlier this month, just in time for the holidays. Not only does Inkbox have thousands of really cool premade designs to choose from, like the ones I tried out, but you can also create your own custom design. Or, for the truly artistic out there, there is a freehand temporary ink.