Tattoos for commitment-phobes
Temporary tattoos aren't just found in Cracker Jack boxes anymore.
Does the idea of getting inked interest you, but the permanency of it freak you out? Good news – you, too, can hop on the tattoo bandwagon without the commitment.
Apparently, many people don’t like the idea of sitting still while a tattoo artist permanently applies an inked design to their body with a needled tool. But perhaps the biggest reason that temporary is the new cool in tattoos is their ease of application and removal. Our styles and tastes change just as frequently as our moods do, so why not have body art that can keep up?
Around the world, the trend is sticking, thanks to a new crop of vendors and their original, off-the-cuff versions of temporary body art. Here are a few.
Fun, funky and earth-friendly
Hila and Naftali Nachum of Tel Aviv, Israel, noticed the trend and hopped aboard. The husband-and-wife business owners sell their fun and funky soy-based temporary tattoos from their online store called Dix.It.
Hila says she had toyed with the possibility of getting a tattoo, but she couldn't get past the permanency. So she started looking for alternatives.
“We found a technology that creates ink out of soy, and it matched our beliefs,” Hila says. “We are both vegan and great believers of nature and didn't want our products to be created with unknown ingredients that might harm the skin.”
The Nachums quickly earned repeat customers who love their tats, which are priced from around $6 a pair to around $15 for a set of 10 or more. They have “some addicted customers who share their temporary tattoos with us almost every day,” Hila says. “It feels great to know that we’ve found something that makes people happy and excited.”
The technique to apply the tattoos “is almost identical to the tattoos we had when we were kids,” Hila says. It's a coated paper with a film that allows the design to transfer to the skin when moistened. Simply press the tattoo face-down on the skin, add water, hold for about 40 seconds, and then peel off the paper. “They last for up to a week,” Hila says, but she cautions that the use of lotions, oils and perfumes near the tattoo can cause them to come off sooner.
In addition to words, phrases, hearts, rainbows, geometric shapes, foods and other whimsical designs, Dix.It now offers jewelry-esque metallic temporary tattoos – a look that's been spotted on celebs including Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and model Alessandra Ambrosio.
And no, these metallic gold and silver foil tattoos don’t look like it came from your 4-year-old's sticker book. They’re rather delicate and realistic-looking faux body art, even showing up in world-renowned designer fashion shows such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Tommy Hilfiger.
A major plus in the temp tat industry is ease of shipping. Tattoo For A Week, based in Ghent, Belgium, ships its temp tats to nearly every country around the world, including Oman, the Philippines, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, the U.S., Brazil and Croatia. The company offers more than 3,500 designs.
CEO Jan Buyle says Belgium is the perfect location for this type of business. “In Belgium, most people speak two to four foreign languages (Dutch, French, German and English) and that makes communicating with our customers very personal,” he says. "It really is a global thing; no matter what culture people live in, they seem to like the idea of decorating their bodies.”
Buyle says he's gotten positive feedback from his customers and even some amusing stories of friends and family thinking their body art was permanent. “People are always tell us how much fun it is, and how surprised (and sometimes worried) their friends and family were,” he says.
Temporary tattoos appeal to people who don't want permanent body art. (Photo: Tattly Tattoos/Flickr)
Brooklyn-based Tattly Temporary Tattoos has taken the craze a step further. Its founder, Swiss-born designer Tina Roth Eisenberg, employs a team of tattoo designers from around the world, who actually get a cut of the sales. Eisenberg says her company has grown not from marketing (they haven’t done any!) but from word of mouth. Tattly tattoos, which are shipped around the world, have been spotted on celebs, in fashion blogs and in stores. Corporations have asked Tattly to design them their own tattoos. And, similar to the Nachums' Israeli tat company, Tattly prides itself on its safe, non-toxic, FDA-compliant vegetable-based inks.
Fake Tattoos, based in Sweden, focuses on "trendy and fashionable tattoos," says its owner, Robert Nilsson. "Customers appreciate being able to switch tattoos and vary from occasion to occasion. It is not always wise to have the same tattoo on an employment interview as [from] a Halloween party. With our fashion tattoos, [customers] can adapt to the right time, just like with other jewelry or clothing style.”
Actress Clare Grant sports a fake tattoo at a party. (Photo: s_bukley/Shutterstock)
Temporary is the new cool
Because it’s so easy to apply and change, temporary body art can take many forms, originating from all around the globe. You’re probably familiar with henna, which is popular in India and South Asia. Henna is a paste made from crushed leaves and twigs from henna plants. The paste is then carefully applied on the skin, and, after drying for several hours, an orange or dark reddish tint appears, leaving a design on the skin that fades away in a week or two.
Henna is a paste made from crushed leaves and twigs from henna plants. (Photo: Tushchakorn/Shutterstock)
There is also the airbrushed tattoo route, which is popular in Europe. A tattoo artist uses waterproof, non-toxic body paints and a Mylar stencil to create a temporary tattoo that only looks like it’s permanent. With a little scrubbing, the body art wipes right off when you’re ready for a new design.
Similar to these fun temporary tattoos, the latest trend in hair styling is also perfect for commitment-phobes. Remember back in the ’80s when teens used to dye their hair with Kool Aid or get streaks from laying out in the sun with lemonade on their hair? Well, like all trends, this, too, is making a comeback, but with a twist.
Major brands are now marketing their temporary, easily washable hair-coloring products like Garnier’s wash-out hair color and Hot Huez’s hair chalk. Let’s say you’re going to a party this weekend and want to put some fun purple streaks in your hair to add some pizazz to your look, but the following Monday you have an interview for a new job. With these products, you can do both.
For those too squeamish of needles or who would rather just have their body art disappear in about a week, temporary tattoos and washable hair color may be the solution. And finding any of these affordable and pain-free products is as easy as hopping online or hitting up your corner drug store.
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