Temporary Tattoos

Airbrush application

If you are not sure body art is your thing, give temporary tattoos a try. A temporary tat can last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks, while giving you the feel of the real thing. Experiment with a few temporary tattoos before you commit to something permanent; it can help you decide on the design that's right for you.

Why Temporary Tattoos?

Temporary tattoo image of heart

There are many reasons to choose temporary tattoos over permanent ones, including:

First Timers

If you're considering getting your first tattoo, you may still be wondering how well you will like the design long term. A temporary tattoo gives you the opportunity to try one out and see if this is what you really want. You even have the opportunity to experiment with placement until you find the perfect spot to have it applied permanently.

No Needles

Pain is also a great consideration for some people. If you want the body art without the sting, temps are a great way to achieve the look you want.

Change is Good

Temporary body art gives you the opportunity to change your tattoos to suit your mood. As soon as you tire of your original design, remove it, and choose whatever else catches your fancy. This way, you can have any tattoo you want, without wearing more than you want at one time.


Perhaps you loved having a tattoo, but you had an allergic reaction to the inks used and had to have yours removed. A temporary tattoo might not cause the same reaction, and some types can be removed rather quickly. You may even be able to place it on the site of your former tattoo to help hide scarring.

It should be noted that some people still have reactions to the pigments used in temporary body art, so proceed with caution and at your own risk.

Types of Temporary Tattoos

Boy with temporary tattoo

Decals for Children

Nearly everyone has seen these decal-type temporary tattoos at one time or another. They come in cereal, fruit snacks, gumball machines and dozens of other sources. Each tattoo comes with a cardboard backing. All you have to do is hold it against the child's arm and soak it with water. Press lightly, then gently peel the cardboard away and the decal remains on the skin.

Airbrush Tattoos

Would you like a realistic, long lasting tat, but the needle makes you a little squeamish? Try an airbrush tattoo. These temporary tattoos look like the real thing. Your tattoo artist will use waterproof, non-toxic body paints and a mylar stencil to create spectacular images of your choice. Even though they're made to be waterproof, they're still temporary, and you can scrub them off anytime you wish.


This body art form uses a natural plant dye known as henna to temporarily stain the skin with a reddish brown tint. The dye is skillfully painted on in what can be quite complicated designs, very Asian and mystic in quality. Some of the favorite locations for these types of temporary tattoos are on the hands and wrists. If you've ever seen pop star Madonna's video for her single Frozen, Mehndi body art is on her hands.

Henna works by sinking into the skin and lasts longer than some other types of temporary body art. You can renew your designs for a while by painting on a fresh coat. However, your immune system will eventually begin to remove the pigments from your skin, and the Henna fades away.

Note: Henna has been known to cause an allergic reaction in some people, and the practice of adding a coal tar colorant known as p-phenylenediamine has driven up the number of reactions. Both black henna and blue henna likely contain this product. It's a good idea to test yourself for an allergic reaction to henna before you go ahead with your body art, just as you would with hair dye. Apply a small amount to an inconspicuous place on your skin and wait at least 48 hours for a reaction. See your physician immediate, if you see redness, swelling, or experience burning or itching.

Where to Find Temporary Tattoos

Give a Temporary Tat a Try

As you can see, there are alternatives to permanent tattoos. If you're considering a temporary tattoo, why not consult with your local tattoo artist to see what methods they think deliver the best results. It's a lot easier to begin with temporary tattoos than it is to have tattoos removed.

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Temporary Tattoos