The Best Paint for Airbrush Tattoos


All airbrush tattoo lovers want their personal piece of art to look its best for as long as possible. You can take many steps to achieve that, but the most crucial factor is the paint or ink you use. But, what kind of paint is used for airbrush tattoos?

There are two kinds of paints for Airbrush tattoos. They can be water-based or alcohol-based. Alcohol-based paints last longer and are more expensive. Compared to regular body paint, airbrush paints provide better-looking and longer-lasting results. 

These inks don’t cost much, and you can find multiple options on the market as an artist. Some are mass manufactured and easy to find on amazon. Other brands in the premium category can be found on their websites or in certain stores.

You’ll understand the difference between the paints for airbrush tattoos and find some useful recommendations in this article!

What Kind of Paint Is Used for Airbrush Tattoos?

Body paints differ from airbrush tattoo paints/inks. 

Regular body paints are water-soluble and will last you a day or until you take a shower. If you sweat or make contact with water, there is a high chance it will smudge or begin to rub off the paint. 

Airbrush tattoos have a longer life and come in two types:

1. Water-Based Paints

Water-based paints are skin-friendly and recommended for children. The tattoo lasts up to a week and can easily be removed by soap and water. Water-based paints/inks have a standard matte finish, which is more appealing than traditional craft paints.

They are readily available in shops and can be found online as well. A crowd favorite is the Createx paint set, with several color options.

2. Alcohol-Based Paints

As a more professional use commodity, these have a longer life of about 2 weeks on the skin. They are safe for all age groups and have different finishes based on the company and type of product. The ProAiir Ink set is highly reviewed and a good option for your kit.

Alcohol-based inks are water-resistant and can be removed using 70% Isopropyl alcohol or baby oil. They aren’t fully waterproof, but they can be maintained to last.

Learn more about airbrush tattoos and their waterproof qualities.

Which Airbrush Tattoo Paint is Best For You?

If you want to judge which type of paint would be your best fit, you should consider who you’re working with and what they want from their airbrush tattoo. 

Water-based paints would be a better option for children or working at festivals. This is because they are easy to remove and won’t leave stains or residues. If your client is attending a music festival at night and has a 9 to 5 in the morning, you’d be doing them a great favor. 

Alcohol-based paints should do the trick for people who want to savor their tattoo or are trying to figure out if they can commit to a permanent one. These tattoos are removable, but they stay on long enough for someone to fully enjoy the experience.

If it’s hard for you to choose, you can try out both types and see which gets better feedback.  

How to Use Airbrush Paints Properly?

Since airbrush tattoo paints are essentially paints, most people can handle working with them just fine. You can also use a guide if you’re unsure about how to airbrush temporary tattoos

But here are some tips to keep in mind for airbrush paints:

1. Store the Paints Properly

Always close the lid properly and check for faults in the cap. The application process is more challenging if the paints dry out or become thicker in consistency. 

Also, store them in a cool, dry place, or make sure whatever bag you use is appropriate.

2. Shake the Paints Properly Before Using Them

Sometimes if the paints have been left for a while or the temperature is too hot, the consistency may change, or they can separate. 

Make sure to give them a good shake before you use them. If the paint isn’t fixed after shaking, it would be best to get a new one. 

3. Don’t Mix the Paint With Water or Oils

Since the paints are removed using water or oils, mixing them together could ruin them. Do not mix industrial paint thinner or other products in them either.

4. Be Mindful of the Expiry Date

Like any other product, airbrush inks can expire as well. Make sure to be aware of the expiry date and avoid using them after the expiry date.

The application of expired paints could more or less look the same, but expired paint might react with the skin if you’ve got some allergies.

5. Clean Your Airbrush When Changing Paints

Always remember to clean your airbrush when switching paint types during application. 

Mixing water-based with alcohol-based paints could impact the quality and finish of the tattoo. The same goes for using different colors. It can lead to color mixing and creating splotches of unpleasant color.

How Do You Remove Airbrush Tattoo Paints?

The removal of paint depends on which type of paint you’re using. 

  • Water and soap work great for water-based paints.
  • 70% Isopropyl alcohol or baby oil are good for alcohol-based paints. 

The method of removal also depends on the surface. 

If you’re removing the ink off of the skin, it’s pretty straightforward. You can wet the area with the tattoo or unwanted stain and rub it with soap. It shouldn’t take long or leave any residue behind. For alcohol-based paint, wet a cotton pad with the substance of your choice and gently rub it on the area. 

At any point, if you experience irritation or rashes, it would be best to consult a doctor and refrain from getting more airbrush tattoos until the problem is identified. Generally, these reactions are uncommon because airbrush tattoos are safe.

Learn more about how safe airbrush tattoos are.

You can use the same methods if your equipment or workspace needs a clean-up. However, avoid using baby oil on the airbrush or other important parts of your kit, as it’s difficult to remove and can cause problems. It’s okay to use them on tables or other surfaces.


The best paint for airbrush tattooing depends on your preference and requirements. There are plenty of good options in the market for both types. Experimenting and figuring out which would work best for you would be the best way to go about it.


Q. Are Airbrush Tattoo Inks Waterproof?

No, airbrush tattoo inks may be water-resistant, but they are not entirely waterproof. Water-based airbrush paints are not water-resistant either. 

Q. Can You Mix Different Airbrush Tattoo Inks Together?

Mixing different brands or types of airbrush inks is not recommended. On top of lowering the quality of the tattoo, there could be reactions on the skin.

Q. Do All Airbrush Tattoo Inks Last the Same Amount of Time?

No, alcohol-based inks last longer than water-based ones. 

Q. Are Airbrush Tattoo Inks Approved?

Some bodies, such as the FDA, approve cosmetic use products before they are released into a country. You should only use airbrush tattoo inks approved by your relevant board.


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