Self-expression with confidence: Read our Regret Nothing Guarantee →

The science behind our made-to-fade ink.

ephemeral tattoo application needle palm
Ephemeral’s made-to-fade ink is applied just like a traditional tattoo
An artist uses a needle to transfer ink under your top layer of skin
Unlike traditional tattoo ink, Ephemeral ink contains medical-grade, bio-absorbable ingredients that shrink over time…
until they are small enough for your body to remove
As time passes, the particles shrink as your body breaks down the ink
70% of Ephemerals fade in under 2 years...
Everyone’s fade journey is slightly different because everyone’s body is different
But don’t worry: your Ephemeral will disappear

Explore the fade.

Real people, real Ephemerals.



5 Factors That Affect Your Fade.

Our bodies are unique, so no two fades are exactly alike-but rest assured, all Ephemerals are Made-to-Fade.

Tattoos may fade at different rates on different parts of the body because of variations in the skin at these parts. For example, the skin might respond differently in areas of bony prominence and in joint areas where there is lots of motion. Based on our research we’ve found that inner bicep, and upper torso placements (sternum, ribs, breasts) fade faster than wrists and forearms.

Paired with where you place your tattoo, another decision that affects fade is how much ink is transferred will lengthen your potential fade timeline. Tattoos with thick lines or shading typically take longer to fade than subtle tattoos with thin lines and no shading. You may notice finer details and elements that stand apart from the main design fading faster than denser areas in your tattoo.

With tattoos, skin physiology and the immune system are known factors in how our bodies respond to tattoo inks – how our body takes up the ink, how it heals after the tattoo is applied, how it heals in the long term. No two people are exactly alike.
We are still collecting more information about average body responses, if you already have an Ephemeral, add your response here.

Ephemerals applied to skin with more melanin may appear to fade faster than on skin with less melanin. This is because tattoo ink lays below your natural skin pigment in the dermis, as your tattoo fades it may appear that it is fading faster than someone with lighter skin tone. No matter your skin tone your tattoo will look great and completely fade!

How well you take care of your Ephemeral will affect how it fades.
We use hydrocolloid patches while healing because it results in a 40% faster heal than using other techniques. At the end of your appointment you will get an aftercare goodie bag with an extra patch, anti-itch cream, gentle soap, and instructions just in case you need a reminder while you are healing.

Check out this video on our healing process.

Fades vary, but Ephemerals will 100% fade away. Learn about our Guarantee. Fades vary, but Ephemerals will 100% fade away. Learn about our Guarantee. Fades vary, but Ephemerals will 100% fade away. Learn about our Guarantee. Fades vary, but Ephemerals will 100% fade away. Learn about our Guarantee. Fades vary, but Ephemerals will 100% fade away. Learn about our Guarantee. Fades vary, but Ephemerals will 100% fade away. Learn about our Guarantee. Fades vary, but Ephemerals will 100% fade away. Learn about our Guarantee. Fades vary, but Ephemerals will 100% fade away. Learn about our Guarantee. Fades vary, but Ephemerals will 100% fade away. Learn about our Guarantee. Fades vary, but Ephemerals will 100% fade away. Learn about our Guarantee.

Safe, biocompatible & plant-based ingredients.

Ephemeral tattoo ink incredients

Unlike traditional tattoo ink, Ephemeral ink is designed to be removed by our bodies. That's why our ink is made of ingredients that are all FDA approved for medical use and tested for biocompatibility.

We also selected plant-based ingredients where possible and stayed away from metallic or animal-based components. We are raising the bar for tattoo ink safety.

What people are saying...

Cassie's Journey.

Inspired by her grandpa, who got a panther tattoo when he was 18 years old—Cassie decided to pay tribute to him at our LA studio, where she got her first made-to-fade tattoo. Her grandpa loved it as much as she did!

“I'm sure you always heard your parents say 'don't get a tattoo, they last forever' – well, not for long!”


studio interior

Visit One of Our Locations

We're open in NYC, LA, SF, ATL, HOU, MIA, and DC— come visit our unique spaces and get tattooed.

studio interior

More Science

Everything you’ve ever wondered about our ink and the fade.

Ephemeral’s ink looks, acts, and is applied just like a conventional tattoo—the only difference is that it can be fully removed by your body’s immune system, making it the perfect balance between a temporary tattoo and a permanent tattoo.

Our ink is biodegradable and is naturally broken down over time by your body and removed from the skin by your body's immune system. Traditional ink particles are too large to be broken down by your body. Our ink is different–but only in ways invisible to the eye–and made-to-fade.

Yes, all Ephemeral tattoos will completely fade away.

Given the physical and chemical nature and known degradation rates of components in our ink, it is impossible for an Ephemeral tattoo to be permanent. As long as there is water present in a tattoo wearer's body, Ephemeral tattoos will break down and will be naturally removed.

Ephemeral’s ink is composed of medical-grade polymers (the same used in dissolvable stitches), water and dyes.

Simply put, polymers are chains of smaller molecules. The polymers in Ephemeral ink come from FDA-regulated manufacturers of medical devices—that’s what makes the polymers “medical grade.” They’re also biodegradable and bioabsorbable, so after they enter the body, they will gradually break down into carbon dioxide and water and then be removed.

The  dyes in Ephemeral ink are naturally available or FDA-approved for use in cosmetics, food and medical devices. Unlike most permanent tattoo inks, we don’t use metal-based pigments or PPD (paraphenylenediamine) in Ephemeral ink.

Our made-to-fade ink is also vegan, and many of our components are derived from natural plant sources.

Ephemeral ink naturally breaks down and is removed completely by the body. To achieve this, we dedicated the first three years of our research and testing to carefully selecting each material used in our ink. We deliberately:

  • Selected materials that break down, in the body, into carbon dioxide and water.
  • Selected materials already approved for use by the FDA in other products such medical devices, cosmetics or food.
  • Avoided the use of metallic components.
  • Avoided the use of known carcinogenic and teratogenic components.

Additionally, while the FDA does not regulate tattoo inks, we voluntarily conducted a rigorous clinical study approved by the Institutional Review Board (a governing body of the FDA) as well as a safety study in partnership with Henry Ford hospital.

Yes, our ink is vegan—we don’t use any animal-derived ingredients or byproducts.

All Ephemeral tattoos are currently available in BLACK ink only. Not only is it the most popular tattoo color, it’s preferred by most tattoo artists and allows fine-line work to stand out.

We are developing Ephemeral color ink (hint: 🔴). It’s a delicate process and takes time, but it’s on the horizon. Sign up for our newsletter in the footer to be the first to hear when new Ephemeral colors become available!

That depends on a few things. There are five primary factors at play when talking about your tattoo’s longevity expectations. Some are within your control and some are not. The factors that are in your control are the tattoo’s design (thin vs. thick lines, shading, size), placement (where on your body), and aftercare. The remaining factors, like your skin physiology and the immune system are unique to each individual.

With all these variables at play, we know that 70% of Ephemerals will fade in under 2 years based on the most popular tattoo design and placement choices customers make today. Regardless of where your Ephemeral tattoo falls in this range, rest assured: Your tattoo will completely fade. We guarantee that our tattoos will last at least a year and no more than three or your money back.

Regardless of where your Ephemeral tattoo falls in this range, rest assured knowing that it will fade away.

Yes, Ephemeral ink fades and is made for all skin tones. Our tattoo artists are diverse and have experience tattooing skin of all shades. They are committed to giving you an Ephemeral that looks great on you. Because darker skin tones are rich in melanin, the fade process may appear to happen more quickly (9-12 months as opposed to 9-15). Factors like sun exposure, skin tone, and the design and placement of your tattoo can affect the fade too.

Some of our tattoo styles—like bolder lines spaced further apart, and larger or more graphic designs—will look better on people with darker complexions.  Our artists will guide you through these styles during your design consultation and make sure you feel comfortable and confident before getting your Ephemeral.

tagline icon

Learn about our Regret Nothing Guarantee