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Tattoo | The Semi-Permanent Tatto And Its Alternatives

The Semi-Permanent Tatto And Its Alternatives


Since the beginning of the year, we have been particularly interested in tattoos through various articles. By popular demand, or at least ours, we are continuing this series today while awaiting the summer sagas at the Dolmen, Mediterranean, and Zodiac. As we have already pointed out, tattooing is not a trivial act since it will remain indelibly with you throughout your life. For some, the choice of the reason or the location is obvious but some are much more undecided or even totally lost. For all those who doubt and are afraid to get inked there may be a solution: the semi-permanent tattoo. How can a tattoo be half-lasting? Curiosity prompted us to look into this subject which apparently generates a lot of ink ... 

What is a semi-permanent tattoo?

We all know the classic tattoo the one that lasts a lifetime or almost. The principle is simple; using a demographic, the famous tattooist's machine with a needle, ink, and other pigments are injected under the epidermis in the upper part of the dermis. Depending on your skin type and your lifestyle your tattoo will have a variable lifespan and will remain more or less sharp and beautiful. What makes a classic tattoo different from a semi-permanent? Knowing that permanent means it lasts a lifetime and semi means "half", a semi-permanent tattoo lasts half a life? Strange! More seriously, even if its name does not mean much, the semi-permanent tattoo in fact has a limited lifespan, more or less 5 to 7 years according to specialists. This is because the ink is "light". Composed of mineral and vegetable pigments, this ink is diluted and therefore disappears more quickly over time. Also, it seems that the depth at which the needle injects the ink is shallower, flush with the skin, which would promote the short lifespan of the tattoo. Moreover, a few weeks after making the semi-permanent tattoo, after healing and renewal of the skin, it is often necessary to do a small touch-up.

The ink is injected under the dermis in the upper part of the dermis for a classic tattoo


Why choose a semi-permanent tattoo?

Why get a semi-permanent tattoo rather than a classic tattoo? The reason is simple: the short lifespan! For all those undecided, this is an opportunity to "test" a larger or smaller motive to find out if you really like it or if the location is the right one. For some, it is also the way to own a tattoo in their youth and to abandon them with age. Let's face it, a tattoo that was done when you turn 20 will have lost its luster when you turn 80, it's a matter of seriousness! Having the same tattoo all your life is not a decision to be taken lightly, the semi-permanent tattoo allows, with touch-ups, to change the tattoos or just the colors of the same pattern, a scalable tattoo of sorts. The change is the permanent tattoo!

Some would have done better not to take the plunge!

The effectiveness and disillusionment of a semi-permanent tattoo

 As we have just pointed out the differences between a permanent and semi-permanent tattoo are the fact that the ink is diluted and composed of mineral and vegetable pigments and the puncture is supposed to be shallower. However, it is precisely these two points that are controversial and that make this method still not very widespread in France. Traditional tattoo artists admit that less concentrated ink will tend to wear off more quickly over time than pure ink, but they are also convinced that a semi-permanent tattoo cannot go away entirely. A permanent tattoo loses a bit of vividness over time, the semi-permanent will just do it faster, it will become blurry, less sharp but will not come off completely and cleanly, it will fade irregularly. Doctors and dermatologists as well as tattoo artists themselves agree that it is impossible to tattoo the skin superficially. Any tattooing is necessarily done by injecting the ink under the epidermis and therefore above the dermis as for a conventional tattoo. Depending on the individual, the type of skin, the ink, the semi-permanent tattoo can absolutely not have a previously decided lifespan and above all, it will not be completely erased, there will always be a trace, a task more or less extensive depending on the reason for leaving.

Alternatives to semi-permanent tattooing: ephemeral tattoos 

For those like us who have doubts about the effectiveness of semi-permanent tattoos but would like to be able to test before taking the big step, know that there are other alternatives for

tattoos that are 100% ephemeral, inexpensive and painless.


 Henna is known to be used in the Maghreb countries. Henna is obtained by a mixture of water and spray of leaves of a shrub of the same name. It is the maceration that will give this orange-brown color. Since 2005, black henna has been banned because it is toxic and allergenic. A henna tattoo will last between 1 to 3 weeks and it will be more resistant on the hands and feet.


The jagua

 Coming straight from Latin America, the jagua is a fruit tree with multiple properties used to cure certain diseases, chase away evil spirits, or even make tattoos. By squeezing the pulp of the fruit, a bluish juice is obtained which will oxidize in a few hours on the skin. You can keep it for 1 to 2 weeks and the advantage of the jagua is its blue/black color very similar to a classic tattoo.


Australian ink

Even though it is ink, it does not inject itself under the skin, it sticks to it. Like a permanent tattoo, after completion, it will be very shiny and then become more matte. The advantage of Australian ink is that it can be colored for a tattoo in any color you choose. This method is practiced on actors for the cinema. Its lifespan is between 5 to 10 days. 



We are not talking about Malabar tattoos here, but real decals. This technique consists of transposing a pattern drawn on support onto the skin. This is the method that was used for the character in the series Prison Break thanks to the Tinsley Transfers company. You can even ask to make your own decal on some sites. Of course, after 2 or 3 showers your tattoo will disappear depending on its location.