Glow-In-The-Dark Tattoos Are The Cool, Sneaky Way To Get Inked

Photo: Via gravenimagestattoos/Instagram.
Disney World's Electrical Parade, Lite-Brites, those OG sneakers with LEDs in their heels — we’re suckers for just about anything that illuminates. So when we stumbled across one of the latest creations from celebrity tattoo artist JonBoy — a Lightsaber that glows under blacklight — we were reminded what major eye candy UV-light tattoos can be.

Since the trend gained even more traction this summer, Instagram’s love for tattoos that glow in blacklight has only grown, with newer, more inventive designs cropping up in our feeds every day.

However, while these posts rack up serious likes, some tattoo artists express concern about the use of UV ink and its ability to stand the test of time once stamped on skin. “I don’t work with that type of ink because it’s unpredictable in terms of how it will heal,” says tattoo artist Miguel Toxtle of L.A.’s The Honorable Society. “From what I’ve seen, some of the colored UV inks, like pink and orange, may stay on the skin for several years. But I’ve seen the ink you can’t see in daylight only stay on the skin for about a year or two.”

New York City tattoo artist Scott Campbell of Saved Tattoo also steers clear of using the ink because UV-reactive chemicals may not be safe for the skin. But JonBoy, of NYC's West 4 Tattoo, does work with the medium and hasn’t noticed negative side effects on his clients. "I've been in the business for over 16 years. I remember when UV first hit the market. At the time, it was fairly new so people were a little iffy about how safe it was," he says. "I've had mine for years. I recommend it."

Bottom line: It’s best to get the advice of trusted pros when deciding whether a trendy new tattoo type is right for you. In the meantime, we’re happy to live vicariously through fans of the style on Instagram, ahead.

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Photo: Via jonboytattoo/Instagram.
New York-based tattoo artist JonBoy has inked dozens of celebs, from Kendall Jenner to Chloë Grace Moretz, but one of his most illuminating works is a new UV-ink creation for an unknown Star Wars fan: a Lightsaber that glows in the dark.
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Photo: Via tifflin123/Instagram.
With a little UV ink, this tree design at the nape of the neck looks ripped straight from Avatar’s Pandora.
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Photo: Via longhimatteo/Instagram.
Want an incognito hand tattoo that flies under the radar at work? Try a simple symbol done in UV ink.
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No fancy earrings? No problem. This filigree ear tattoo is just as ornate.
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Photo: Via tatmurphy/Instagram.
What better way to illustrate nature at night than with glowing stars and mountain ranges outlined in a moonlight-like glow?
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We love this rendition of a triforce design — a golden triangle from The Legend of Zelda video game, which uses thoughtfully placed glowing ink to make flowers pop.
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Sometimes, the simplest of designs are the most compelling. Case in point: this floating constellation of glow-in-the-dark dots.
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Be still, my black-lit heart: We love the X-ray effect of this inked creation.
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A lightning bolt that actually illuminates? Yes, please.
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In the daylight, this wrist tattoo may just look like a spattering of stars. But at night, the stars are connected to reveal the Libra constellation.
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Photo: Via kalai_leena/Instagram.
These inner-finger reminders look like they read “give up,” “ingrate,” and “false” with a strike-through. But in the dark, they double as different empowering messages: “perseverance,” “grateful,” and “true.”
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Photo: Via connectinkapp/Instagram.
How cool is this use of an invisible-by-daylight outline of a Cheshire cat, whose smile is done in traditional ink, but body appears only under blacklight?
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Photo: Via pukunso/Instagram.
A good reason for wearing backless tops at night? A galaxy of stars dance around this typographical tattoo when black-lit.
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Photo: Via gravenimagestattoos/Instagram.
Think of this knuckle-dusting tattoo as sacred geometry, deconstructed.
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Photo: Via claudzinthesky/Instagram.
The only thing needed to make these little stars twinkle? UV light.
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Photo: Via tantattooartist/Instagram.
How cool would these skeletal hand tattoos look when in motion in the dark?
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The flowers in this traditional hamsa design come to life with a little UV light.
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"Never forget" takes on special meaning on this one: The twin towers in this NYC skyline may look faded in daylight, but under black light, they stand out — along with other big-name landmarks, like the Statue of Liberty and Chrysler building.
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Photo: Via tulipeff/Instagram.
This tiny little bow on the base of the thumb may serve as a reminder to the wearer, but we think its size and placement are just plain cute.
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Photo: Via medusamonroe/Instagram.
Didn't think henna art could get any more beautiful? Think again.
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Photo: Via korimcintia/Instagram.
How cute are these dainty knuckle tattoos?
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Photo: Via angelxbebe/Instagram.
Get ready to be the coolest girl in the club.
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