In eleventh grade, I began dreaming of future where my body was covered in tattoos. At 17 years old, I was desperately struggling to exert control over my life and to love my body, and tattoos, for me, felt like a good way to achieve both of those things at the same time. But because I was still underage, living at home and scared of my parents—who I swear, are truly lovely—I knew it would be at least a few years before my dream of a sleeve full of tattoos could be realized. So I waited.
I waited until just after my nineteenth birthday to get my first tattoo, and I was legitimately terrified at my appointment for it. As the first person in my group of friends to get one, I knew nothing about tattoos and what to expect. It wasn’t until quite a few years later, when I had finally gotten a good grasp on the tattooing process (I have around 20 pieces now) that Inkbox—the realistic temporary tattoo my teenage self didn’t know she needed—was born.
Inkbox (which—full disclosure—is the driving force behind Inside Out) creates “tattoos for now.’” Their tattoos—which look entirely real—last one to two weeks and offer the look of permanence without the lifetime commitment. They’re perfect for both test-driving a piece or making a statement for one particularly moment, whether that be to show support for a cause, represent hardcore fandom or show themselves some self-love.
While I love tattoos and don’t think I’ll ever stop getting new pieces, I wish my tattoo-curious teenage self could have tested out her first few designs and placements in advance. So for those of you who, for whatever reason, want to opt for temporary ink for now, below we’ve rounded up eight of the best temporary tattoos that look real.
The simple script tattoo
This custom script tattoo serves as a reminder to its wearer that she is powerful beyond measure, even through her struggles with anxiety. Placed along the wrist, an area where many people choose to showcase their permanent ink, this design tops our list of the best temporary tattoos that look real.
Bold, black-heavy designs
Personally, I’m a bit terrified of snakes and therefore would avoid getting one inked permanently, but I’ll bend the rules for this temporary tattoo that looks so real. The simple yet bold (and pretty badass) design is so well done that it’s almost feels as if the tiny snake is alive and slowly slithering away.
Which ones are real and which one is temporary? It’s hard to tell because the symmetrical flower design just above the nape of this model’s neck (whose name is Mei, follow her [@meicrosoft]) blends in so well with her many permanent pieces.
Illustrations of the sun and the moon are among some of the most popular permanent tattoo designs. This half moon is a modern take on an old classic. The wispy lines running along the inside of the piece add complexity, dimension, and mystery. Hence the design’s name “Eldritch”—a word used to describe something weird or ghostly—on the Inkbox website.
The minimal tattoo
Designed by Curt Montgomery—the Instagram-famous tattooer and resident artist at our studio, also named Inside Out—in his signature, minimal style, this is easily one of my favorite designs on this list. And its placement on the back of the arm, a location where Montgomery tattoos many of his permanent designs, only adds to its realism.
Maybe this will make you wanna yell out, “Cowabunga!” Or maybe something like, “Ride the wave!” Regardless of what it means to you, though, this single-line design is another easy pick for one of the best temporary tattoos that look real. In fact when I first saw this piece I truly believed it was a permanent, hand-poked design.
For the artistically inclined, Inkbox’s Freehand Ink allows you to design any tattoo you want. Perfect for any wanderluster, this fine line (you can purchase different sized tips for the ink to achieve lines of various thickness), travel-inspired tattoo is just one example of what you can create.
It’s hard to believe, but this is a temporary tattoo. The amount of detail this artist has achieved through freehanding with this little bottle of ink is incredible. And while it’s worthwhile to highlight that artistic talent is undoubtedly very helpful when drawing something as involved as this, it also goes to show that with temporary tattoos there’s no limit to the designs you can accomplish.
If you liked our post 8 Truly Incredible Temporary Tattoos That Look Real, make sure to check out Here’s How Long Temporary Tattoos Last.