At first glance tattoos that “glow” might seem a little gimmicky, like designs you get purely for their Instagram appeal. But upon closer consideration, glowing tattoos offer the perfect opportunity for clients and artists alike to flaunt their creativity.
True to their name, glow in the dark tattoos are tattoos that glow on their own in a darkened room thanks to their main ingredient, phosphorous. However, with phosphorus known to be a toxic ingredient, the risk outweighs the result and so it’s unlikely you’ll find an artist today willing to give you a tattoo using inks with phosphorus in them.
Enter UV tattoos. Just as stunning and created with ink that presents fewer risks (though be aware that the risk of an allergic reaction remains), these tattoos illuminate when put under an ultraviolet light or, as it’s more commonly known, a black light. In natural light they’re very faint, which makes them a great choice for someone who wants their tattoo to be subtle and relatively easy to cover up. Here we round up some of the most vibrant best black light tattoos on Instagram right now. Make sure to click through the posts with carousels to see them under different lights.
Cosmology tattoos are gaining popularity – a symptom of fine line work being the most common among the Instagram set. On this design the stars are punctuated by UV ink and invisible in natural light, setting it apart from other constellation designs.
Washington artist Michael Adelstein’s owl design is nearly invisible in natural lighting which, again, can be one of the most alluring things about UV black light tattoos. They only appear when you want them to.
If you’re looking for even more UV tattoo inspiration, look no further than Kayla Newell’s feed, which is a veritably endless scroll of her dazzling UV ink work.
The neon on this geometric hand tattoo comes through in both natural and UV light. The color saturation is better, likely because each shape is outlined rather than filled in with color. A tattoo of this size on the hand will always be a conversation piece, which makes the UV ink exceptionally special. This tattoo is definitely one of the more unique pieces in our list of the best black light tattoos.
Staying in the vein of the cosmos, the barely-visible shooting star and moon really shines in the dark. Without the UV light, the tattoo looks more like a faded scar marking a different experience. This is the perfect placement and style if your vibe is low key or your office is a no tattoo-zone.
This tattoo has a lot of layers. There’s handwriting, line work, and symbols to make this audio tattoo really sing. When the black light is turned on, the word MEMORY becomes STORY. Apropos of every tattoo, the use of UV ink tells an entirely different story to the standalone black ink.
This solar system is a UV ink success story. The colors are vibrant with and without black light. It’s mature on its own yet playful and illustrative under the light. Each tiny detail of both designs require a keen eye and steady hand, making each dot of color really pop.
Dot to dot
Tiny finger tattoos are more common, especially as more jobs ditch their no tattoo policies. But these dots and lines won’t make their debut until the UV switch is flipped. There’s no evidence of the tattoo unless the light is on, not even faint red markings you saw with the shooting star, making this tattoo extremely personal.
The hand and fingers seem to be the most popular part of the body for UV black light tattoos and, with tattoos like these, we understand why. The heart is done in white ink, seen only by the trained eye, while AMOR is written in tiny, flirty letters. If you’ve never dabbled with color, this might be the place to start.
Say it with script
Some say the thinness of UV black light ink makes it difficult to blend colors, but this tattoo seamlessly transitions from green to orange to yellow. Under a black light, however, it turns into a monochromatic declaration of love.
Unicorns at your feet
Of course this hand-poked black light tattoo is a unicorn, checking all the unique tattoo boxes. In natural light this unicorn better resembles a donkey looking for a makeover but, as soon as the UV light is turned on, the subtle lines of color transforms this workhorse into a mythical being. This design marks off our list of the best black light tattoos on Instagram.