Visiting our BC locations and looking for a nose or oral piercing? We require you to be double vaccinated for a minimum of 14 days before receiving this service. You won’t be able to book these piercings online, but you may call our Granville or Kitsilano locations to book, or chance a walk-in (time permitting).

Can You Tattoo Over Black Ink

As we continue in our quest to identify every question the public has about tattooing we find that a number of you are asking about whether or not you can tattoo over black ink. More specifically, you’re wondering if a cover-up tattoo is viable for deep, dark, black tones. It’s a fair question for those who have been inked accordingly – and many have lived with regretful tattoos because they have assumed that they cannot. We’re here to clear up your options.

3 Things to Consider When It Comes to Getting a Tattoo Cover-Up Over Black Ink

Can You Work It Into a New Design/Concept?

The easier and most budget-friendly course of action is to not necessarily receive an outright cover-up, but to instead figure out a new tattoo design that incorporates elements of the existing one. That way you can leverage the existing design as a jump-off point for something bigger and better. You may not be able to envision how this can be done on your own, which is why we suggest scheduling a consultation with a studio. Speak to the tattooist and let them know what kind of concept/theme you prefer. Through fresh eyes they may be able to see a way to make the new concept/theme work without performing a full on cover-up, even if you could not.

If a cover-up is the only option, they can still leverage the existing black ink and fill it in (or extend upon it) to come up with a better (to you) design.

What to Do If You Want to Add Color Over Black Ink

This is where things get a bit more complicated. The brighter the colors the more of a challenge it can be. Navy blue is one thing, but hot pink? That’s a whole other story. That said, you’re not without recourse, you just need to approach the tattoo in a whole new way.

For starters, you will need to fade the black tattoo to prepare for a cover-up. This can be effectively accomplished through laser tattoo fading (vs outright removal). In this case state-of-the-art laser technology will be employed to break apart the black ink particles to the point that they become noticeably lighter. The brighter the colors you want to add for your new tattoo the greater number of laser fading sessions will be required. Yes, this adds to the length of time (months in most cases) it will take before your skin will be prepared to receive the new and preferred tattoo, but it’s worth the investment. For most black ink cover ups that incorporate color this is the way to go. Learn more about laser tattoo fading for cover-up. But where should you go to get it done?

Choose a Tattoo Studio That Offers Laser Tattoo Fading for Cover-Up

When most people hear that they need to get their black tattoo faded via laser technology before receiving a cover-up they tend to give up. This is because they assume that they have to book their laser appointments with a cosmetic clinic. If this was indeed the case we get why one would be apprehensive. Thankfully, if you live in the Greater Vancouver BC or Greater Toronto ON area you don’t have to be subjected to the cosmetic laser clinic experience (ENYA soundtrack anyone?). This is because select Adrenaline Studios offer laser tattoo fading and removal.

As tattoo specialists we have far greater insight into the tattoo removal process, and as a result use superior laser technology to work with your body’s natural processes to remove the ink no matter how dark it may be. View more on why you should choose a tattoo studio over a cosmetic clinic, and learn more about the laser tattoo system we use to get the job done right.


Don’t live with that regretful black ink tattoo any longer. Schedule a consultation with an Adrenaline Studios near you today to assess your options.